Center now open for mental health treatment

ribbon cutting

Dean Jon Gould cuts the ribbon, officially opening the Psychological Services Center, as Jason Schiffman, center, and Naomi Tabak, right, applaud.

Psychological Services Center serves the public

With a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Feb. 28, the School of Social Ecology’s new Psychological Services Center (PSC), now is officially open to the public and accepting referrals for individual therapy.

“Since we’re opening a scientifically-oriented mental health clinic, I thought I’d frame my remarks in the context of psychotherapy,” Jason Schiffman, professor of psychological science and director of clinical training told dozens of students, faculty members and community members who gathered for the opening ceremony. “There are many evidence-based approaches to improving the human condition and potentiating an abundant life. Of them, the approach that resonates most with me shares philosophical roots with eastern thought and Buddhist philosophy. It’s called acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, and, among other tenets, it relies on mindfulness of values to guide committed action in the service of those values. Today, we’re here to celebrate the opening of the Psychological Services Center. I thought it might be appropriate, in ACT fashion, to reflect mindfully on the values and committed actions of so many who got us here.”

He went on to thank the many people who made the center possible.

Before cutting the ribbon, Dean Jon Gould called the day momentous.

“It is the culmination of a lot of hard work and it also is the official start of a lot of hard work,” he said, crediting the psychological science faculty for having the vision to realize that two important things needed to be addressed.

“No. 1, we had a crisis in mental health care. There is not enough access and not enough quality mental health care,” Gould added. “The second thing is we needed to train the next generation of mental health professionals in the best practices and how to do the best research. The faculty is what was behind the creation of what we’re seeing today.”

The center, located in the Social Ecology 1 building on campus, is the official training clinic for doctoral students in clinical psychology at UC Irvine. Under the supervision of licensed psychologists, PSC trainees provide online and in-person low-cost, evidence-based psychotherapy for individuals 18 and older.

Naomi Tabak, the center’s director, explained that the students in the clinical psychology program are expected to excel in psychological research while learning to be therapists.

“Finding affordable, quality mental health care is really hard,” she said. “It is hard for those of us with really good health insurance plans and it’s hard for people who can afford private practice. It is even harder for people from underserved communities and for those who are unlikely to seek mental health care because of stigma or other kinds of barriers. This training clinic is a place where knowledge on how to increase access to care and improve lives of those with mental health concerns will be translated into real-world clinical application.”

Schiffman pointed out that the students are “the best in the world.”

Only five students out of more than 350 applicants are admitted each year. 

“These students are the engine behind our clinic and will be providing top quality care because they are top quality individuals committed to providing the best,” Schiffman said. 

For more information or to make an appointment, call the PSC at 949-824-5411 or visit the website
Mimi Ko Cruz


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