The SCS is committed to excellence in training within the context of our comprehensive service delivery system that offers clinical, career, training and developmental/preventive services to a diverse university community while honoring the mission, vision, and values of the agency.
The philosophy of the SCS reflects the belief that the delivery of high quality counseling services, the professional development of staff, and the formal training of pre-professionals are intimately intertwined. The historical commitment to training is extensive, and occurs at several levels, including masters and doctoral-level practicum trainees, doctoral psychology interns, new staff supervision for licensure, and the ongoing professional development of our staff.
In mid-March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated changes to clinical service delivery, outreach/programming initiatives, and administrative operations at Student Counseling Services (SCS). All clinical and outreach services were transitioned to online delivery using a HIPAA compliant Zoom platform. In addition, all meetings, training seminars, supervision sessions, case conferences, and professional development activities were also transitioned to an online format. Illinois State University has been closely following the State of Illinois five phase Restore Illinois plan for guidance regarding the safe re-opening of campus for the fall 2021 semester. Provided that the state of Illinois meets the requirements for transitioning into Phase Five of the plan during the summer of 2021, it is anticipated that the university will return to a full “in-person campus experience,” meaning all classes and most students activities will take place in person for the fall 2021 semester. Student Counseling Services will likely deliver some clinical services in person (depending on client and clinician preferences and availability of space), whereas other services, such as group therapy, will be likely be delivered through a HIPAA compliant Zoom platform. Many SCS staff will return to the office in the fall of 2021 but may continue to deliver some services through Zoom. Some of the smaller meetings, such as supervision sessions and training seminars will be offered in person, whereas larger meetings may need to be conducted via Zoom with staff remaining in their individual offices. Additional future guidance related to our classification as a “health care facility” may impact the policies regarding face covering usage in the office. Currently, cloth face coverings must be worn in common spaces, during meetings, and while delivering clinical services. If staff members wish to remove their cloth face covering while alone in their own offices, they are permitted to do so. Commonly used areas and “Zoom rooms” for students will be subjected to additional cleaning measures. Illinois State University will continue to follow the benchmarks for the Restore Illinois plan. This means that if infection rates climb, the state may revert to prior phases, which may necessitate that more staff and trainees work from home. In that case, University-issued laptops and access to all clinical applications will be provided to staff and trainees. However, internet access will not be provided by the University; therefore, individuals are responsible for ensuring they have a reliable and secure Internet connection. During the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, there have not been any budgetary threats to our internship, externship, or postdoctoral residency programs and at this time, we do not expect there to be.