University News

WIU Psychology Clinic Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Providing Local Services

November 15, 2018


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MACOMB, IL – The Psychology Clinic at Western Illinois University is celebrating its 50th year serving both the University and the region.

The clinic, founded in August 1968 by Professor Emeritus Charles Potkay, had an early goal of providing low cost clinical psychology services to the community and to WIU's student population. The office provides individual, group and couples/family therapy and some mental health assessments in conjunction with therapy and as an independent service.

Over its 50 years, the clinic has seen five directors, including Potkay, Pete Neidig, Alphons Richert, Tracy Knight and current director and Professor Tracy Cruise.

The clinic staff currently consists of four doctoral-level psychologists, Kristy Keefe, Tiffany Bainter and Garrett Pollert, and some advanced graduate students. These psychologists have a range of experiences and approach treatment from a variety of perspectives.

In 1972, when WIU's clinical/community mental health Master of Science academic program began, the clinic expanded to include a venue for students to complete practicum work through carrying their own clinical client caseload.

"Our main goals are outreach and training," said Cruise. "We are the only free, outpatient mental health facility around. Over our 50 years, we have built a strong reputation in the community. Few master's programs in the country provide this in-depth type of community based training.

Cruise said the program's graduate students spend their first year sitting in on client meetings, which are led by the clinic's faculty members. During the second year, students take on their own caseload of clients with faculty members providing direct supervision.

The intensive training and supervision model, provided at each stage of the program, necessitates small cohorts of five-seven students. Students complete nine-month internships across the state and the country in their third year. Internships are completed in a variety of settings, including correctional facilities, in- and out-patient mental health clinics, domestic violence shelters and community mental health centers.

"Our clinic affords that training to allow our students to go on in their careers," said Knight. "We serve all ages and all types of mental health concerns."

Referrals come to the clinic from a variety of sources, such as doctors and school personnel. However, the majority of clients seen in the past 50 years came to the clinic based on "word of mouth" advertising. The clinic accepts clients on a first come-first served basis and does not select cases for training purposes.

Knight said the goals of the WIU Psychology Clinic align with the core values of the University, including academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility.

The WIU Psychology Clinic, located in Waggoner Hall, is open Mondays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more information about the clinic, call (309) 298-1919 or email psychologyclinic@wiu.edu.

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (JK-Pospeschil@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations