Counseling Center Benefits VU Students and Blesses Community

Thanks to a new partnership with Journeys Counseling Ministry, Vanguard University’s graduate psychology students are gaining practical experience while helping community members live more abundant lives. The new counseling center, Journeys at Vanguard, provides affordable mental health care and ministry support to individuals and families throughout Orange County.

Functioning also as a training center, Journeys at Vanguard is staffed by Vanguard’s graduate clinical psychology students who offer therapy while being supervised by licensed therapists. This model allows for low-cost or even free mental health care for community members, so no person is turned away. Clients pay what they can afford for each session. Clients who are not able to pay anything are also welcome, and their costs will be covered through a scholarship program supported by the generosity of donations made to Journeys. 

“We are so excited that we can contribute and help, with our students, to alleviate the mental health crisis that we are currently dealing with in our community,” said Brenda Gesell, Ph.D., director of the graduate program in clinical psychology. “We already have six clinicians placed–and they’re all Vanguard alumni. By 2023, we want to have up to 20 and see up to 350 clients a week.” 

Journeys at Vanguard, which opened in March 2022 and hosted a vibrant open house on May 21, is the result of a creative partnership with the university’s graduate psychology program and Journeys Counseling Ministry, who share a mission of providing care to their communities. They share more than that, though: Journeys Counseling Ministry was founded by former Vanguard campus pastor Reverend Randy Powell, who also was Dr. Gesell’s supervisor when she was in the graduate psychology program in 2000. 

Journeys’ trained and qualified staff provide therapy services to individuals, couples, families, adolescents, and children of all backgrounds and faiths who need support and guidance as they cope with relationship difficulties and symptoms associated with life transitions, stress, trauma, anxiety, depression, and the loss of a loved one. 

Setting up an appointment is simple: after submitting an inquiry online, potential clients will receive a short, 10-minute call to determine their needs and set up their first session.