Grant helps IPFW Community Counseling Center add certification, expand services


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News release from IPFW:

Grant Helps IPFW Community Counseling Center Add New Certification, Expand Family Therapy Services

(September 22, 2015) — Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) will offer much-needed counseling treatment to the northeast Indiana community thanks to a $76,250 grant from The Lutheran Foundation.

The grant allows the IPFW Community Counseling Center (CCC), part of the College of Education and Public Policy (CEPP) and located in the Dolnick Learning Center on IPFW’s north campus, to offer an empirically supported treatment model for adolescent youth (ages 11-18) and their families.

The Community Counseling Center currently provides free mental health services that are available to anyone in the community. Services are offered by graduate students of the IPFW Counselor Education Program, including marriage and family therapy and school counseling students. The counseling programs at IPFW emphasize a systematic, family-based approach to dealing with individual problems.

The grant allows the Community Counseling Center to become a Functional Family Therapy (FFT) certified counseling site, allowing CCC to offer free FFT treatment to the northeast Indiana community.

“Recently The Lutheran Foundation published a mental and behavioral health needs assessment highlighting the community need for mental health awareness and services. Our proposal answers that need by allowing CCC to expand services available to address the needs of children and overcome the barriers to treatment identified by The Lutheran Foundation’s needs assessment,” said Amy Nitza, associate professor and chair of the Department of Professional Studies at IPFW. “We will be the only center offering this type of treatment in northeast Indiana.”

Functional Family Therapy was founded in the 1970s by Dr. James F. Alexander. FFT LLC is the model’s training and dissemination organization. The FFT model has received international recognition for its outcomes in helping troubled youth and their families to overcome delinquency, substance abuse, and violence. It is a short-term treatment strategy that is built on a foundation of respect of individuals, families, and cultures, but that includes powerful treatment strategies that pave the way for motivating individuals and families to become more adaptive and successful in their own lives. In doing so, FFT helps save families while preventing crime and victimization in communities.

Nitza says FFT treatment is expected to be available to the northeast Indiana community within the next several months following certification. FFT treatment targets youth ages 11-18 and includes the family and siblings as part of a family intervention process that has been well-documented and highly successful. Data from numerous studies show the treatment can reduce the tendency to relapse into behavioral issues between 25% and 60%.

Outcomes will be measured using an assessment and monitoring system that gauges behavior changes and improved functionality of the family.

“We believe this seed money will make it possible for the Community Counseling Center to become stronger partners through available counseling services for northeast Indiana,” said Lidija Hurni, clinical director for the Counselor Education Program at IPFW. “This new treatment option helps answer the call by The Lutheran Foundation for more mental health awareness programs to serve our community families.”

CCC will partner with area schools, school counselors, physicians, and mental health facilities to educate the community about the free FFT treatment.



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