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A tender place

For doctoral student Adam Dickey, it is "an honor" to step into people's lives and help them work through their mental health concerns.

George Fox University

In 2010, Providence contributed more than $115,552 in community benefits to support the university's Behavioral Health Clinic.

Learn more about George Fox Behavioral Health Clinic »

While bringing down barriers to mental health care, the Behavioral Health Clinic at George Fox University is building up empathy.

The welcoming Newberg clinic, supported in part by Providence, offers mental health therapy to low-income or uninsured Yamhill County residents who otherwise would have difficulty getting this care.

Serving as the counselors are doctoral students in clinical psychology, supervised by a licensed psychologist.

"When a student works for six or eight sessions with somebody who's underserved, they have an awareness and understanding of true stressors in life, of the painful lives that some people lead," says Mary Peterson, Ph.D., director of clinical training in George Fox's Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology.

"And they see that woman or that man or that child as a person," she adds. "That's the kind of empathy that I think you don't get from textbooks, from watching videos or from lectures."

Opened in 2009 with grants from Providence, and supported by additional grants from other organizations, the Behavioral Health Clinic provides short-term care at nominal or no cost for adults, couples, children and families. Patients come with concerns ranging from depression to substance abuse. The clinic also offers parenting classes and a Parent Advice Line.

Providence continued funding in 2010 with a $115,552 grant for the clinic, located in a warmly remodeled house graced with student and faculty artwork. The clinic expands an existing partnership between the George Fox Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology and Providence Newberg Medical Center.

As part of a faith-based university, the clinical psychology program shares with Providence a deep respect for "the absolute value of the individual," Dr. Peterson says. "Regardless of how much money they make or what their cultural background is, everyone is created by God."