September 18, 2021

Brazil Adventist University Opens Counseling Clinic to Support the Community

Brazil Adventist University recently inaugurated a counseling center on the school campus in Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo. The opening ceremony took place on August 27, 2021, the same day that the South American nation celebrates Psychologists Day.

The new facility will serve as a practical study center for students enrolled in the psychology program at the school and offer free counseling services to the community, academic leaders said.

The celebration was broadcast live on the Brazil Adventist University YouTube channel and was attended by school officials and Engenheiro Coelho deputy mayor Adesio Dias, as well as university faculty, staff, and students.

Brazil Adventist University launched an initiative in 2017 that included a program to improve people’s mental health. A year later, Brazil’s national education department approved the plan, which today has around 300 students in it. The new clinic is the latest addition to that initial dream to support the community.

School officials shared that students will now be able to participate in the counseling services of the clinic under the direct supervision of the program’s professors.

Student Kassandra Vargas said she was curious to get to know the new facility. She said that she thinks it will be an excellent opportunity for improved learning. “The psychology program at Brazil Adventist University is different from other schools, where an internship is included only at the end of the program,” Vargas explained. “Here, we can have the opportunity of practicing from our first year!”

Professor and program coordinator Ivana Casali highlighted the importance of the new facility. “The clinic will allow students to participate in internships, group activities, observations, interviews, and, eventually, individual care,” she said. “This is something that helps their training but also helps residents of this and nearby communities.”

Leaders shared that the clinic will assist children, teenagers, young adults, adults, and the elderly, offering individual and group psychological care. It will take into account the needs of each patient and the school and city requirements. Cooperation agreements have already been signed with towns in the area and Seventh-day Adventist Church entities. The goal, leaders explained, is especially to assist schools and churches, as well as day care, health, and community centers.

Brazilian Adventist University president Martin Kuhn shared what leaders and professors feel about the achievement. “We feel joy, gratitude, and a sense of fulfillment. We feel we have fulfilled our mission, which is to educate and serve,” Kuhn said.

The new clinic has rooms for individual and group care, which will be used for student observation and clinical sharing during internships. It also includes specialized and private space for student supervision and administration of psychological tests.

Student Ingryd Mayara highlighted the academic and social contribution of the new facilities. “This space will help us to enjoy closer contact with people, which is the focus of our profession,” Mayara said. “Through these interactions, we hopefully will learn what it is to be a psychologist.”

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.