Catawba College’s New Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Represented at National Conference
November 10, 2020
The new Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Catawba College was represented at a national conference on Nov. 5, via Zoom, with a presentation by Dr. Chad Betters, Associate Professor and Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, and Elizabeth Webb, a Catawba graduate student.
The session, entitled, “Elephants, Ostriches, and Deer, Oh My! The Modern Church’s Response the Current Mental Health Context,” examined the relationship between mental health and the church.
The session examined the continued evolvement of the mental health epidemic, bringing new challenges to professionals in the medical and rehabilitation arenas. “Providers are always seeking new sources of assistance for their patients and clients,” Dr. Betters said, adding, that “for many individuals, the church is an interesting consideration due to the historically ambiguous relationship it has with mental health.”
According to Dr. Betters, whose clinical experience includes practicing Christian counseling for individuals and couples, “The data suggests that people still seek the church when mental health issues arise, and interestingly, more so than pursuing initial services than that from the medical community, including primary care physicians and medical specialists, such as psychiatry.”
The session also discussed how there appears to be a service delivery gap and concluded with recommendations for current referral mechanisms and future research. “The church is an ideal resource for the community in general, and there is clear need for improving the process of how the church interfaces with mental health, as well as how to support those with mental health concerns internally and out in society,” Dr. Betters said.
This session also hallmarked the first professional conference presentation for a Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate student from Catawba. Elizabeth Webb, Class of ’19 with a BS in Exercise Science, received significant positive feedback from academics and clinicians who were in attendance across the U.S. and Canada via Zoom. Ms. Webb is a first-year graduate student in the new program, and currently plans on specializing in working with children, although she has an interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling upon finishing the masters in health science degree program.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is a fully online, 60-credit hour clinical program, geared towards preparing graduates for clinical licensure in North Carolina and is currently taking application for the fall 2021 semester. For more information regarding the CMHC program, please contact Dr. Betters, LCMHC, BCPCC,at firstname.lastname@example.org.