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Al Carlozzi Center for Counseling at OSU-Tulsa expands services and size

Director Sarah Johnson emphasizes that counseling is designed to be welcoming and supportive.

Clients of the newly renamed Al Carlozzi Center for Counseling at OSU-Tulsa will notice an increase in space and services as the center grows to further meet the needs of the Tulsa and university communities.

Renovations are in the works to redesign the center. Clients who have visited in the past will go to a slightly different location – now Main Hall 2403 – and will notice a number of other changes. The waiting room and some additional spaces have already begun renovation, but more is still on the way.

“We have plans to redo the whole space,” said Dr. Sarah Johnson, director of the center. “Everything from new carpets, painting and furniture are coming soon.”

More ways to serve

With a new look and new facilities, the center will not only be able to take in more clients, but see clients in different contexts as well.

“The counseling center operates under a unique blend of circumstances that allow us to serve a larger variety of clients and offer more services than most other university counseling centers,” Johnson said.

The center already sees couples for counseling and is now expanding its footprint to accommodate families and groups, allowing people to emotionally process together. The center is also organizing what they call “skills-oriented groups” – workshops where multiple people come not to handle a problem therapeutically, but to learn a new skill, such as anxiety reduction.

As a training clinic for graduate and doctoral counseling students, the center is able to employ more staff than some non-profits or similar services can. More staff means more professionals who can dedicate time to time-intensive services, like assessment. This includes ADHD evaluations for people over the age of 15, something Johnson says Tulsa desperately needs.

“Many university counseling centers don’t do assessment anymore,” Johnson said. “It’s hard for universities to support staff members spending 12 hours a week helping one person. We’re lucky enough to be able to handle the workload for a service the city really needs.”

Community-focused counseling

Most mental health services in Tulsa are south of downtown, meaning OSU-Tulsa’s counseling center – located on campus in the city’s historic Greenwood District – fills a geographic niche.

Clients at the center include not just OSU students, staff and faculty, but anyone looking for low-cost counseling services near downtown.

“Most of our clients are actually members of the community, not students,” Johnson said. “That’s reflective of a lot of factors, but is due in a large part to the relationship Dr. Carlozzi built with Tulsa’s Equality Center.”

Dr. Al Carlozzi retired in 2019 after serving as the director of OSU-Tulsa’s counseling center for 13 years and establishing a strong relationship with the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, a Tulsa non-profit for LGBTQ individuals offering education, advocacy and programming. During that time he co-lead a support group for parents of transgender children and teens and established OSU-Tulsa’s counseling interns as counselors and support group leaders at the Equality Center.

The Al Carlozzi Center for Counseling at OSU-Tulsa continues to partner with the Equality Center to help focus on the LGBTQ community – a population that is underserved, according to Johnson.

“Sexual and gender minority populations – and transgender people in particular – often aren’t getting counseling or have very negative experiences with counseling,” Johnson said. “Students here are not allowed to see any clients until they’ve received training in providing affirming counseling services.”

Expanding on excellence

While expansion is ideal to keep up with community demand, the counseling center’s average wait time stands well below most other options in Tulsa.

“We tend to have a waitlist because we serve so many people, but our average wait is two to three days. In private practice, you could wait six months,” Johnson said.

With a sliding cost scale that goes as low as five dollars a session, and five free sessions for OSU students, staff and faculty, clients would find it difficult to get counseling at a lower cost anywhere in the state, even with insurance.

For more information about counseling services or the center’s groups and classes, see their website. If it is an emergency, or you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, call the free COPES hotline at 918-744-4800.

 

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Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 | aaron.ross.campbell@okstate.edu