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Educating Therapists: How Change Institute Removes Barriers and Facilitates Educational Courses

Since its’ inception in 1993, Change Inc. has invested in community solutions to systemic problems and the development of a diverse workforce to heal trauma of children and families. This remains core to our work and lives today, post-merger, in our Change Institute.


The Change Institute brings healing, teaching, and advocacy together to look at influencing systems change and approaching sustainability. In addition, Change Institute works to prepare and support caring adults within our community to best meet mental health needs for children, adults, families, and communities.


Inside the Institute:

Change Inc.’s mission is focused on utilizing the power of relationships and community to create educational, training, and healing opportunities for people so that they can achieve their highest ambitions. With the support of the Change Institute, Change Inc. can provide courses throughout the year to students, interns, therapists, teachers, and others to help them grow their knowledge and understanding of mental health and social cultural concerns.


The Change Institute fits into Change Inc.’s overall mission by providing trainings on-site and in the community for therapists, teachers, and other service providers, focusing on social emotional and mental health. Additionally, Change Institute works with employees and contractors to provide clinical supervision and case consultation hours to move towards licensure. One of Change Institute’s main goals is to remove barriers to the path of a career in mental health for those in our community.


Someone who knows all about the road to becoming a mental health professional is Nick Krause. Nick is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and Change Institute’s Training Coordinator. Together, he and Jennifer Garrido Santos, Director of Training, Supervision, and Consultation, work to create and facilitate all of the trainings and coordinate with other trainers to decide not only how they want to train Change Inc.’s staff, but also what trainings to provide to outside agencies and students.

Trainings:

In keeping with the mission of Change Inc., it is important to provide the community with culturally sensitive support, education, and knowledge, as well as support BIPOC and LGBTQ+ therapists. Change Institute provides various scholarship opportunities to members of these communities to be able to help lift barriers from education and trainings. This aims to help produce more diverse therapists which, in turn, can provide more diverse services to different communities.


The Change Institute provides many culturally-specific trainings as well, such as the “From Race to Culture” supervision course, slated to take place in 2023. This is a course specific to the cultural component of being a supervisor.


While many of Change Institute’s trainings are geared towards LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists), it also aims to expand its’ audience to LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors) and LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers). It is the Change Institute’s intention to provide trainings for everyone in the mental health field, not just one branch of the field.


Change Institute has been facilitating the Clinical Supervision course for close to a decade. However, in the last three years has there been a bigger push to be more intentional in the trainings they provide to hopefully have not only a place in the world of mental health, but possibly one day in academia to help advance the field of therapy.


Other courses are normally offered monthly on a variety of subjects ranging from suicide prevention to eating disorders to the relational diagnostic assessment. Change Inc. lends staff member expertise to multiple community initiatives where they are not the host or ‘owner’ of the group, but provide a key role as advisor or developer. While these projects take on many different shapes, they are core to our value and core foundation of living in community.


The Change Institute also holds space for new ideas to develop into a plan. This allows room for innovations in programming, service design, outcome measurements, and impact. At any given point in time, there may be zero or 10 projects living in this space.


Many of the upcoming courses being offered are geared towards therapists, whether that be internally within Change Inc., or external therapists and students. However, the goal is to broaden the audiences that can benefit from the trainings and courses provided by Change Institute. Future targeted audiences include teachers, mental health staff at other agencies, parent and parent psychoeducation groups, and community psychoeducation events. Change Institute hopes to one day work with a variety of different communities and provide trainings for what those specific communities’ needs are.


There’s something that sets Change Institute apart from other educational offerings, and that would be its’ intentionality. Change Institute does not operate to make financial gain, rather, it cares deeply about its’ community and who is practicing mental health in the city and state as a whole. Change Institute wants to make sure therapists are providing the best care and that people outside of the therapy community are educated on mental health and social cultural concerns. It is driven by a mission and a worldview that it wants to share with the world and there is a targeted focus to make sure the community is provided with the best care possible.


The overarching goals of the educational opportunities offered are to remove barriers for those preparing to become therapists, teachers, and educators and to give them the tools they need to provide direct services to the community. There are so many great educators and providers out in the world working hard to do their job well, and Change Institute aims to make that easier for them. Whether that’s in terms of licensing or education requirements, paperwork, or other obstacles — Change Institute wants to remove these barriers. It also aims to make sure that there are ethical and culturally competent therapists working in our communities. If Change Institute can provide support and training to benefit these providers, then they will have succeeded.


Change Institute would not exist without all of the hard work done by Change Inc. before it. While the Change Institute on its own is still very much in its’ infancy, it is hoped that one day it can grow to be a well-known institution that provides support and removes barriers to education in its’ community.



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