A new Wichita State University mental health clinic is helping its clients take a positive and proactive approach to their mental health. The WSU Integrated Support and Empowerment (WISE) Clinic offers comprehensive counseling services to everyone in the Wichita community, and all services are free of charge.
The purpose of the clinic is twofold: First, it engages the community and neighborhoods surrounding Wichita State and empowers people to take control of their mental health; and secondly, it gives WSU counseling students the opportunity for real-world applied learning through their work with clients.
“We wanted to be able to reach out to the community and try to break down the stigma around seeking mental health services,” said Dr. Jody Fiorini, chair of Intervention Services and Leadership in Education for Wichita State’s College of Applied Studies.
The WISE Clinic takes a strength-based approach to counseling, meaning “we focus more on your internal strengths and resourcefulness in dealing with issues, instead of any perceived weaknesses,” according to the clinic’s website.
Counseling is different than psychology in that it’s more about wellness and preventative services than acute conditions.
"Individuals don't need to wait to reach the end of the rope to look for help,” said Dr. Mahsa Maghsoudi, WISE clinical director. “Sometimes having a trustworthy professional to talk to without feeling judged is what makes all the difference in someone's life."
Since the clinic opened in the spring, Fiorini and Maghsoudi have reached out to area churches, and they’ve received several referrals from schools.
Some of the services that WISE offers include the following:
- Adult and adolescent counseling
- Parent support
- Child play therapy
- Group counseling
- Counseling for people with disabilities
- Sports counseling
- A sensory room for children and adults on the autism spectrum
The WISE Clinic is staffed by graduate students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Wichita State, and the student clinicians are supervised by the six faculty members who also work at the clinic. Most services are offered in-person or virtually.
"It is a privilege to be a part of clients' journey and be trusted with their life stories,” Maghsoudi said. “To honor to that trust, our students receive on-site supervision from faculty to ensure quality services."
The clinic began accepting clients in April 2021, and plans are being made to have a grand opening event on Friday, Oct. 29.
“It’s been a really tumultuous couple of years,” Fiorini said. “There’s been this separation and helplessness and alienation and loneliness. Reaching out to these people who’ve felt isolated has been really beneficial and beautiful. It’s something that you feel like you’re actually having an effect on someone’s life.”