Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Training clinic provides students with counseling from peers

Monday, March 1, 2021

Students at Southeast are able to receive counseling through the counseling training clinic on campus. The session is primarily run by students in the Master’s Program of Mental Health Counseling.

Counseling Training Clinic director Kirsten LaMantia said a main difference with the clinic is the hours they have.

“Because we have interns, their hours are a little more free, so we’re usually open until around 9 p.m. every night,” LaMantia said. “That allows students to have a little more flexibility and when they can have counseling.”

Danielle Wash and Amy Williamson are graduate students in the Master’s Program of Mental Health Counseling, and both said it’s important for people to understand that despite the fact that they’re students, they are actual counselors.

“Graduate students are still learning their basic skills, and they’re focusing on how to use a counseling theory,” Wash said. “We have all the basic tools in our toolkit, and we have all of the education to talk to clients [and] to educate them, we’re just not as specified in our own theory and our own way of doing things.”

LaMantia said even when the graduate students begin to counsel on their own, they are still supervised by faculty in the department of psychology and counseling as well as by her to be sure the clients are getting the best practice.

Williamson said she thinks clients have an easier time relating to them because of how similar they are in age.

“I do believe that in a lot of cases it helps because we clearly understand what it's like to be a student and how stressful finals week is and meeting homework deadlines [is],” Williamson said.

Wash said she wants students to know the clinic is a safe and helpful space.

“It's not like you're going to your doctor's appointment, and you're sitting in a white-walled box,” Wash said. “We try to make it warm and comfortable.”

LaMantia said the clinic also puts a big emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

“We have the opportunity because we’re unlimited with ideas to create counseling groups for different populations,” LaMantia said. “They’re able to come up with ideas, they come talk to me, and then if it seems like something that would be beneficial to our community, then we can do it.”

LaMantia, Wash and Williamson agreed that with heightened stress from the pandemic and politics in the world today, counseling is as important as it's ever been.

LaMantia said having the ability to discuss the trauma people may have experienced is important, as well as letting people know there are people at the clinic who care about students and care about how they are feeling.

The clinic offers a limited number of in-person appointments as well as Zoom appointments at both the Main Campus and River Campus. To book an appointment, call (573) 651-5169 or email