The Psychotherapy Center at CPPNJ: Training and Community Mental Health
Contributed by: Sandra Sinicropi, Director and Debi Roelke, Coordinator
The Psychotherapy Center of CPPNJ (PC, www.psychotherapycentercppnj.com), was established in the late 1980ís by the then-treasurer of IPPNJ, Linda Meyers and Nancy McWilliams. The idea for a consultation center came from two outstanding needs; one was to provide high quality, long-term analytic therapy to New Jersey residents of modest means or with no access to agencies providing such services. The second reason was to provide candidates in training with referrals of patients for the practice of analysis or psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy.
The mission statement of the PC has remained the same since its inception, and over the years the clinic has succeeded in helping our candidates develop opportunities to practice analytically. Many referral sources, from academic institutions to social service agencies, use the PC as a trusted source for referring potential patients who they believe could benefit from an open-ended, exploratory-based therapy experience. With the growing constriction of managed care and the overflow of patients inundating mental health clinics, the PC may be one of the few options for intensive, long-term treatment for many people in New Jersey.
Currently, the PC receives an average of three calls per week to its toll-free telephone number. Calls are received from people looking for therapy, as well as referral sources. Although we seem to be known as a low-cost clinic, we have received inquiries from New York City and other out of state sources looking to make referrals for patients from New Jersey. The new PC website implemented this past fall has expanded our visibility. In addition, many callers are referred to us by word of mouth: current and former members of the institute, and our colleagues in the mental health community at large.
When prospective patients call, they leave their contact information and New Jersey location on the PC voicemail. Messages are retrieved daily, and the information is passed on to a screener nearest the patientís location. Screeners make the first contact with prospective patients, and if the case seems appropriate for the clinic, the screener then locates a clinic therapist for the patient. Patients contact the therapist directly to arrange an initial meeting in the therapistís private office. The clinic has a sliding fee scale that therapists use as a guideline in setting the fee with the patient. The clinic does have a minimum fee ($40); when patients are unable to manage this amount, we make every effort to suggest other resources for treatment. Patients who are looking for other types of therapy, such as child therapy, couples or family treatment, are also provided with referral suggestions; the clinic deals with individual adult therapy cases only.
The therapists of the PC are candidates who have their own private practices and are at least in their second year of training (or have prior clinical experience). CPPNJ faculty serve primarily as PC supervisors; candidates may use the fees from their PC patient to obtain supervision free of charge since each faculty member donates one pro bono supervision case to the clinic. As we expand the PC, our goal is to become more effective in providing a valuable mental health resource to our community and training cases in psychoanalytic psychotherapy for our candidates. This effort is part of the general project of the Institute and the greater psychoanalytic community to share our belief in the effectiveness and value of psychoanalytic treatment.