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Community counselling and Education Center in Santa Barbara: someone to talk to

Community counselling and Education Center in Santa Barbara: someone to talk to

The power of speech is amazing. Every little and big problem in the world can be solved by just sitting down and talking about it. With your couple, with your boss, even with yourself, speaking is an amazing tool that frees the soul and mind.

Sometimes we just need someone to talk to, someone that listens. Sometimes we need a third party that can listen to our arguments and help us reach a common ground. Other times we know about people that are struggling to get through difficult times or who are grieving. It can also happen that we just don’t find a good solution for things and we need a little push. And some other times we just need to talk to someone, just because, just because that will give us a little freshness or help us reach the solution. Either way, speaking to someone has a special power that one way or another helps the person to overcome whatever they are going through.

In Santa Barbara California there is a charity institution that is doing just that. Giving people the opportunity to talk about their problems and try to solve them. The name: Community Counselling and Education Center (CCEC) and they are offering opportunities for anybody to learn, improve themselves and their family or couple, overcome problems and grow. It doesn’t matter if you are a teenager, an adult, married, single, family member or just in need of someone to listen to.

Back in the year 1984 there was a bit of a crisis among people, especially in California. People just didn’t communicate that well and problems were not being solved. In Santa Barbara, two women had the idea of tackling this issue and providing a pair of ears to listen and try to solve problems.  Patricia Cooper, MFT (Clinical Executive Director) and Jaclyn Henretig, MFT (Core Clinical Staff) were the ones responsible of founding this community charity in order to take peaceful communication and understanding to people that really needed it. With time, they saw that it was not only about the people who were facing certain problems, but also about all the people out there that didn’t have a way out or felt lost because nobody could listen to their problems. And as a surprise, it was not only about the victims. The people that inflected harm to others also wanted a way to ask for forgiveness and heal the bad energies that surrounded them. So CCEC was born.

The way the provide such service is by partnering previously trained student interns so they can help the people that go looking for counselling or help. CCE provides the tools so this meeting can be a total success and can have the desired effect of reaching a fluid communication, identify and stop any unhealthy activity or approach to problems and teach positive and effective parenting. They also have bilingual volunteers and staff that can deal with clients either in English or Spanish. These volunteers, more or less 20 of them, are supervised by licensed clinical staff that provides the professionalism needed in theses types of cases. Roughly, they provide around 7,000 direct service hours every year to the community in the Santa Barbara area.

They have two main focuses to their services: counselling services and education services.

When they talk about counselling services they mean that they provide confidential and affordable counseling services by using graduate students under the supervision of their licensed Clinical Staff.  First, professionals will take your interview through the phone in a very confidential way to understand the immediate needs that clients have and any request that might arise.  Then, a counsellor will be appointed to the client which in turn will contact the client in order to arrange a meeting that lasts 50 minutes where the counsellor addresses the problem with creative and healthy approaches. CCEC also helps clients by identifying unhealthy coping mechanisms that are affecting the person´s feelings and environment.

Community counselling and Education Center in Santa Barbara: someone to talk to
Image courtesy of Stephan Hochhaus at flickr.com

As for the education part, they run the following programs: the “kids rule” program that focuses on nurturing and supporting children’s well-being. Sometimes children are left a side and CCEC aims at filling that whole in children’s lives. Other programs for children are  Girls Rule, Boys Voices, Children’s Feelings and Peace Up; the adult classes and groups which focuses on adults over 60 in order to provide information on how to deal with issues that arise when age is inevitable; and the CCEC workshops where they provide educational workshops depending on the community needs and concerns. There is an open line in order to propose topics that are affecting the community and that can be easily addressed through information and education.

Be sure to also check this post on the Santa Barbara neighborhood clinics that are providing health services to everybody despite their financial situation.