Cal State Monterey Bay faculty member Kathryn England-Aytes believes in the power of real-world experience. As a lecturer in psychology, she works to give her students a chance to learn first-hand from professionals. This semester, students in her clinical psychology course are getting that opportunity thanks to a collaboration with the Kinship Center, a nonprofit that provides mental health and counseling services to children and families touched by adoption, foster care, relative caregiving or legal guardianship. Professionals at the Kinship Center are providing students with a look at the field of child welfare and mental health. Using clinical theory, hands-on activities and lectures at the center’s Salinas campus, the course brings real-life applications to students considering careers in the mental health field. The Kinship Center, a member of the Seneca Family of Agencies, has been honored nationally for its life-changing outcomes for more than 2,500 children each year through therapeutic foster care, kinship (relative) care, mental health services for children and families, intensive support for families in crisis, prevention programs to keep children out of child welfare, adoption and education and training for parents and professionals. “We’re excited about this collaboration,” Professor England-Aytes said. “It’s already connecting students with the community in ways that make us proud." Kinship staff members will deliver six lectures during the course of the semester, covering topics including cultural issues, child trauma, behavioral psychotherapy, group and family therapy and working with children and adolescents. After two lectures, students are clearly enthusiastic. Student evaluations have included these comments:
?• “This experience has helped me choose my area of future study.” • “Great information from first-hand accounts.” • “The lectures get me thinking about what I really want to do with my education.” Kinship co-founder Carol Biddle said she is “delighted” to partner with the university to give students a better understanding of the practical applications of their educational program. She noted that the center has hired a number of CSUMB psychology graduates over the years. The center has also provided placements for students in CSUMB’s master’s program in social work, including two former students of England-Aytes.
"Being able to share our remarkable psychology students with the mental health care community before they are seeking career positions is helpful for them; Kinship Center makes it truly meaningful," Professor England-Aytes said. Learn about the psychology program at CSUMB. Learn about the Kinship Center
Clinical psychology students enjoy the benefits of a collaboration with the Kinship Center. Professor Kathryn England-Aytes is pictured at far left.