Psychology Department's Community Clinic at Bar-Ilan University
Since 1970, the department of psychology at Bar Ilan University has provided outpatient diagnostic and therapeutic services at a reduced fee to Israelis living in the Gush Dan area. The
outpatient clinic is unique in that it is the only community mental health clinic in Israel that is part of an academic institution. It serves as a training site in clinical and rehabilitation psychology for students and interns. The Ministry of Health of the State of Israel officially recognizes the latter activities and the psychologists who complete their internships are able to apply to the Ministry of Health’s professional committees for certification as clinical or rehabilitation psychologists.
The clinic strives to achieve the following goals:
1. Increasing the accessibility to psychological services with short waiting periods and reduced fees to mentally distressed community members, adults, children, and families. Often those seeking help from private mental health clinics in the community cannot afford to pay the fees that these clinics require whereas these individuals face long waiting lists when they attempt to obtain mental health services and therapy from mental health clinics in the public sector. Thus, Bar-Ilan University’s community clinic provides mental health care within a reasonable period of time while remaining sensitive to the economic limitations of those seeking this care.
2. Maintaining a high quality of psychological care. Psychological services provided by the clinic are based on up-to-date scientific knowledge and evidence-based treatment interventions while remaining sensitive to the cultural and religious identity of the persons who seek this care.
3. Providing a high level of training in clinical and rehabilitation psychology to students and interns.
4. Conducting clinical research aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of treatments and their suitability for specific groups of patients.
Structure and function
The clinic includes an adult therapy unit, a child and family therapy unit, and a rehabilitation therapy unit for persons with mental or physical illnesses and for these persons’ families. These units offer several broad types of services, which are provided by interns and graduate students in clinical and rehabilitation psychology under the comprehensive and close supervision of the senior staff of the department of psychology.
The numerous clinical services provided by the clinic include:
1. Individual therapy, play therapy, parental guidance, and family therapy,
2. Psycho-diagnostic and neuropsychological evaluation as well as psychiatric consultation services,
3. Workshops and group therapy, such as workshops for parents dealing with cancer, workshops for improving communication about the disease within the family, groups for young people with difficulties in establishing intimate relationships, and groups for people with mental illness, etc.
4. Holding an annual conference for the general public on such issues as parenting, coping with illnesses and life changes.
Prof. Tuvia Peri and Dr. Yari Gvion of the department of psychology are responsible for the activities of the clinic. In addition, two graduate students of the clinical program of the department of psychology serve as the coordinators of the clinic and are in constant contact with the patients and the staff: Maia Asher and Leeav Sheena.
Scope of activities
Approximately 1500 persons apply for services from the clinic each year. Two hundred and fifty of these applicants are generally found feasible and suitable for such psychological services as psychotherapy and diagnostic evaluation.
Each year the clinic trains approximately 90 students and about eight interns in clinical and rehabilitation psychology. These activities are accompanied by research that is carried out to maintain and improve the quality of the psychological services and professional training provided by the clinic.
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