Psychological Services Center

Information for Clients

Our clients range in age from young children to older adults. Some of our clients are Northern Illinois University students, staff, and faculty. However, over 50% of our clients are residents of the community in DeKalb & its surrounding areas, including Rockford and the west suburbs of Chicago.

We try to make our training center as similar to mental health centers, private group practices, and medical school facilities as possible, except that much more supervision occurs. We have case conferences and treatment teams. We keep careful statistics and records. We have in-service training. Our staff members are constantly updating their knowledge.

Graduate Student Therapists

As a training center, we want to assure the quality of both the services we provide to you and the education we provide to our student therapists. All therapy is therefore recorded or observed so that proper supervision can be given. You will be required to sign a consent form which indicates your acceptance of this policy. If this is not acceptable to you, we will assist you in finding help elsewhere. You will be notified anytime that you are being observed directly.

Our students do not provide services until our faculty supervisors feel they have adequate skills. When they begin seeing clients, they are carefully supervised by experienced clinical psychologists. Supervisors listen to or watch the audio or video recordings of sessions, and they retain full professional and legal responsibility for the services provided. Supervision takes place in treatment teams composed of the supervisor, your therapist, and other student therapists in the PSC. This approach is our method for supervising specific cases and training our graduate student therapists in the delivery of mental health services.

At times, your therapist may delay answering some of your questions to confer with the supervisor. In this way, you will get the added benefit of the supervisor's experience.

Recordings are used by your therapist and the supervisor to plan and improve therapy. Portions of recordings may be played in treatment team meetings to help your therapist learn how best to work with you and help other therapists learn about therapy in general. They are then destroyed to prevent further replay of the therapy session.

Will I be a Research Subject?

The PSC routinely collects information about clients' symptoms, improvement, and satisfaction. This information is used to plan specific services for you and to evaluate the effectiveness of our services for you and other clients. These records may be used anonymously in the future for a research study, with the permission of NIU's Institutional Review Board. At no time would you be identified.

In addition, at times the PSC conducts studies for research or teaching purposes. In these cases you will be asked to participate and be provided with information about the study. You will never be included in such a study without your written consent.

Emergencies

If a problem arises that cannot wait until a regularly scheduled meeting, contact the PSC secretary during office hours to see if a special appointment can be arranged. If an emergency arises after office hours, you should call:

  • University Health Service: 753-1311 (NIU students only )
  • Ben Gordon Crisis Line: 1-866-242-0111
  • Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE)
  • Depression Crisis Line: 1-630-482-9696
  • Kishwaukee Community Hospital Emergency Room: 1-815-756-1521, ext. 9

When calling, indicate that you are currently being seen at the NIU Psychological Services Center. If you feel that you are experiencing an emergency, state that clearly during the phone call.

The PSC closes for a week or more at semester break and on some national holidays. We are closed on weekends. We are closed on Fridays during the summer. If there is an emergency at those times, contact one of the numbers above.

Although we have an answering machine, this service is not monitored during non-working hours.

Medical Issues

We make referrals to either university or community psychiatrists when we feel clients may benefit from medication for a biologically-related mental health problem. We try to work closely with our medical colleagues to provide you with continuity of care.

Physical or mental symptoms (such as depression, fatigue, weight gain) are sometimes caused by medical illnesses. If you have not seen a physician recently for a check-up, we urge you to do so to rule out a medical explanation and treatment for your problems.

Client Rights

What should I do if I am unhappy with my therapy or feel that my rights have been abused?

We ask that you first raise this question with your therapist, if you feel capable of doing so. Part of what makes therapy effective is the ability to discuss such matters in a therapeutic way. Sometimes, however, this may feel too threatening. In this case, the fastest and best way to get satisfaction is to talk with your therapist's supervisor and/or the PSC director. Each of these persons has a responsibility to you to see that you are getting adequate therapy and protection of your rights. To arrange for such a discussion, contact the PSC director, Dr. Karen J. White, at 815-753-0591.

In addition, you may take complaints to the Illinois Psychological Association (1-312-372-7610) or the American Psychological Association (1-202-955-7600) which monitor the ethical practice of psychology for members of those organizations, or the Department of Professional Regulation for the State of Illinois, 320 West Washington St., Springfield, Illinois 62785 (1-217-785-0800).