Image 69759484821600967886952 1600967886074NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The counseling department at Loyola University New Orleans welcomes its largest incoming class ever this fall. Parallel to this growth is the continued development of the Loyola Center for Counseling and Education (LCCE), a community health clinic started in January 2019.

Initially staffed by a single intern, the LCCE has grown over the last 18 months into a robust clinic providing over 2,000 direct clinical therapy hours a year. The community clinic heads into the 2020-2021 academic year with 15 clinical staff members and expanded therapy offerings to help meet the mental health demands of the greater New Orleans community.

The clinic opened with the intention of addressing the serious gap in mental health services for underinsured and uninsured populations in the New Orleans-area.

“The pandemic, coupled with mass unemployment and increased trauma related to racial justice issues have added incredible stress to many residents of the greater New Orleans area,” said Dr. John Dewell, clinical director of the program.

“Now, perhaps more than ever, we see a compelling need to serve the greater New Orleans community” said Sarah Zoghbi, co-founding director and resident clinician.

The community clinic is committed to providing effective mental health counseling services on a sliding scale to underserved families, couples, groups, and individuals at every stage of life. In tandem with clinical services, LCCE supervises exemplary training for graduate students in Loyola University New Orleans’ Department of Counseling. During these uncertain and difficult times, the LCCE continues to serve residents by providing sessions via telehealth until they can safely resume in-person services.

In addition to receiving support from Loyola University, the clinic has also partnered with Brett Thomas Doussan Foundation, the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic & Assistance Foundation and the Preservation Hall Foundation. Such founding partnerships helped the LCCE to extend low-cost mental health services to musicians and entertainers.

Recently, the LCCE has received several grants, including support from United Way Southeast Louisiana Hospitality Cares Pandemic Relief Fund to provide clients from the hospitality industry and their families with mental health services, helping to increase the center’s offerings. Through this grant, the LCCE aims to develop three service industry worker therapeutic support groups, provide targeted outreach, and prioritize treatment for hospitality workers in the center’s individual, couple, family, or play therapy services.

LCCE has also recently received a grant from the GPOA Foundation to provide children and families with access to mental healthcare services, as well as support from Brett Thomas Doussan Foundation to support targeted projects such as suicide prevention training, and from the Hargrove Foundation to support clinic operations.

The clinic’s expansion includes hiring Dr. Denise Gilstrap to join the team as Clinical Supervising Director as well as bringing on the clinic’s co-founding director, Sarah Zoghbi, as the resident provisionally licensed professional counselor.

For more information about LCCE’s services, such as current therapy group offerings, or to join the mailing list of announcements about mental health resources visit: Free and confidential phone consultations are available for anyone interested in sliding-scale individual, couple, group, family or play therapy services; no one is turned away for lack of funds.