One of the names for Jesus given in the Old Testament was Wonderful Counselor. Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that the definition for counselor is a person who gives advice or counseling. Counseling is needed now perhaps more than ever.
The purpose of the Julianna Poor Memorial Counseling Center (JPMCC) at Houston’s First is to provide biblically-based, clinically-competent, and Spirit-sensitive counseling, promoting the emotional, psychological, and spiritual health of individuals, marriages, and families.
To continue to serve their clients during the coronavirus outbreak, JPMCC has transitioned to telehealth and their counseling sessions are either conducted by phone, doxy.me, VSEE, or Zoom.
“We use HIPAA-compliant virtual platforms to protect client confidentiality while also adhering to state guidelines. The center has provided training resources (ie., workshops, tutorials, ethics) for our counselors to equip them in the transition to virtual counseling,” says Cynthia Barkley, Clinical Director, JPMCC, Ph.D., LPC-S, CSAT. “Counselors have also used platform tutorials to understand the mechanics of using the platforms and JPMCC supervisors have reminded counselors of virtual privacy concerns. We continue to have monthly staff meetings and weekly supervision (virtual) in which any questions or concerns may be addressed.”
Professional counseling is valuable during this trying time as it provides the client skills that help ease the burden of stress as well as other emotional or spiritual struggles they may be dealing with.
“Some of our clients are mentioning the stress of our times as the primary reason for coming to their sessions. Some mention job loss due to the pandemic as the main source of stress,” says Adam Mason, Minister of Counseling Services, MAMFC, LPC-S, CSAT. “For most, the stress of the season is exacerbating underlying stress making other problems more difficult. So, I would see that the anxiety and uncertainty of these times play either a direct or indirect role for all of our clients.”
“I believe that it is important to still have counseling sessions during this time because the clients still have the existing problems they had before,” adds Esther Barber, JPMCC Practice Manager. “They also can be experiencing new problems. Job loss, loss of connection to other people, depression, loneliness, and anxiety just to name a few. We are all experiencing the effects of the stay-at-home order because of COVID-19. Some people are experiencing marital conflict possibly because of spending too much time with their spouses.”
JPMCC has worked to make the transition smooth for all of their clients.
“Nowadays, we do so many things online like banking, making reservations, buying stuff, setting a doctor’s appointment and such that it made it smooth to transition from in person to online since many clients have this mind set already!” says Brenda Jimenez, JPMCC Administrative Assistant. “One thing that has been a bit challenging is our group of older clients who are not very familiar with computer systems. We have had to assist them and just go the extra mile to make sure they know what to do.”
Founded in 1983, the Julianna Poor Memorial Counseling Center (JPMCC) has approximately 10,680 client appointments a year and 41 counselors with various licensure and degrees. The staff seeks to help with personal and interpersonal problems through the application of biblical truths, with the Bible and the Holy Spirit as the primary agents in counseling and teaching. The JPMCC's services are available to Houston's First members and non-members alike. Visit the JPMCC home page to learn more about their services and to schedule an appointment.