New Therapy Clinic Helps Families at a Low Cost

Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A new therapy clinic in Cedar Rapids aims to help people on a budget. It's taking new patients and only charging them between $10 and $30 per visit.

The Gerald and Audrey Olson Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic opened to patients just a couple weeks ago. It's located in Mount Mercy University's Graduate Center, about two miles from the main campus.

Mount Mercy Graduate students are just getting used to the new clinic.

"It's new and exciting, and it gives us a one-on-one ability to be able to work with our clients," said Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Student Kami Jones.

The clinic rooms are building blocks for a career, with services at a low cost to those who need help.

"We actually don't accept insurance, and that's so that then we are able to keep the costs down to $10 to $30," Jones said.

From toys for play therapy to video cameras for reviewing therapy sessions, students have all kinds of new tools. The clinic will be staffed with about 20 student therapists under the supervision of their professor. That could add up to 200 to 300 hours of therapy a week, if needed.

Many of the rooms are built with a two-way mirror. The professor can sit just on the other side and help when needed.

"As the session is occurring, I can be looking through the mirror, watching the student and observing what they are doing," said Clinical Director and Assistant Professor of the Mount Mercy Marriage and Family Therapy Program Jacob Christenson.

The professor said while the experience will open doors for his students, the therapy services also fulfill a great need in Eastern Iowa.

"There is a huge need for marriage and family therapy that has not been met in the Cedar Rapids area, and so we're able to actually take a lot of the people that have not been able to access services and provide them here at our location," said Clinical Director Jacob Christenson.

He said sometimes people can't get help because of their insurance or because agencies have no room for new clients. So, students are ready to help with just any issue from eating disorders to ADHD or depression.

The university said the clinic is the only Marriage and Family Therapy clinic in Iowa that's fully staffed by therapy students.

The clinic is at Mount Mercy University's CRST International Graduate Center on 1599 Wenig Road NE in Cedar Rapids. People looking to schedule an appointment can call 319-368-6493.
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