Whitworth marriage and family therapy center provides community with affordable support

Abebaye Asrat Bekele | Staff Writer

The Whitworth Marriage and Family Therapy Center has been serving Whitworth and the greater Spokane community for seven years at lower rates than many therapists. Douglas Jones is an assistant professor and director of both The Marriage and Therapy Program and The Marriage and Family Therapy Center.

“It is a very low cost option for getting therapy,” Jones said.

The center charges $25  per session and specializes on relationship issues.

“Because we are a marriage and family versus mental health counseling, we teach pretty much everything that a mental health counseling program does but then we teach probably about another 12 credits that other programs don’t teach,” Jones said.

The therapy sessions are conducted by graduate students in the marriage and family therapy program with the supervision of faculty. Clients are made aware of this fact before they start the session.

“This is part of our informed consent,” Jones said.

Taylen Gilden is a second-year graduate student at the marriage and family therapy program. She has been interning in The Marriage and Family Therapy Center for a year now.

“They [the clients] never complained that I was a student, they took that and it was helpful for them,” Gilden said.

The Marriage and Family Therapy Center also partners with the Northwest Autism Center “to train them (Special education majors) on behavioral analysis,” Jones said.

“It is a safe place to practice and get training,” Gilden said.

Ellie Wadsworth is a first-year graduate student in the marriage and family therapy program. She is also a graduate assistant to Jones.

“I love the community that we build here with our cohort and Whitworth in general is really great,” Wadsworth said. “This program has really equipped us to be good therapists.”

The cohorts, students move through classes together throughout the two years, build a sense of community within their program.

“I think [the program] has been really good in terms of being client-centered,” said Derek West, a second-year graduate student at the marriage and therapy program.

“We get couples work, we get family work and we are also able to do individuals,” West said.

The students get their clinical training from Marriage and Family Therapy Center and from other clinical training locations.    

“I think because we have been introduced to a lot of different modalities of therapy it helps us to be able to conceptually understand how to work with all those different kinds of patients whether they are clients; whether that’s like family or couples or individuals,” West said.

“I really like this concept of pre-premarital counseling,” Jones said.

The pre-premarital counseling notion is going to therapy with a partner at the beginning stage of a relationship to see if it will be worth the effort, this is a newer trend, Jones said.

“So that you can decide before you invest a lot of time and energy into a relationship whether or not it is going to be a positive thing for you,” Jones said.

The Whitworth Health and Therapy Center is located in Tacoma hall just off of the football field. The center offers affordable therapy to Whitworth students and the Spokane community.

The students cherish the experience that is provided to them by the center.

Contact Abebaye Asrat Bekele at abekele20@my.whitworth.edu