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OBU Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic to Host Community Open House April 2

March 20, 2019

OBU’s Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic will host a community open house Tuesday, April 2, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The Kemp MFT Clinic is located at 2206 N. Kickapoo in Shawnee. The open house was rescheduled from a previous date, when it was postponed due to winter weather.

As part of the University’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) master’s degree program, OBU operates the Kemp MFT Clinic, providing high quality therapeutic services to individuals, couples and families. These services were previously offered only to students and employees within the OBU community. However, beginning in early February, the clinic opened to members of the community.

The University opened the Kemp MFT Clinic in Spring 2018. The clinic is housed inside a former restaurant, and funds for its renovation were provided by a $200,000 grant from the Avedis Foundation, a local charitable organization with a “vision to measurably improve the health, wellness and quality of life” for local citizens.

Dr. Ronald and Mrs. Lou Kemp, both OBU alumni, gave a $250,000 gift to establish an endowment to help fund the operation of the clinic. The Kemps have spent their lives dedicated to serving others, with the latter part of their careers working in the field of marriage and family therapy in their clinic in Missouri.

The Kemp MFT Clinic features graduate level therapists in OBU’s MFT program, who are supervised by faculty. The clinic commonly treats a range of issues including depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, grief, faith concerns, self-harm, addiction and a variety of other issues.

Dr. Tara Signs, director of the Kemp MFT Clinic, is pleased that the clinic is now open to serve residents of Pottawatomie County and surrounding counties. The MFT Clinic provides therapy for individuals, couples and families.

“I am excited that we have this opportunity to provide state-of-the-art training to our MFT graduate therapists while being able to offer high quality, affordable therapeutic services to those in need,” Signs said.

The clinic includes seven counseling rooms, a conference room, and a small workspace for graduate therapists and faculty supervisors. The new facility also features a play therapy room.

“The play therapy room has special meaning for me,” she said. “My friends and family generously donated the play therapy toys, supplies and art materials to complete this room. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that I received from family and friends who believe in and value the work our clinic does every day.”

Dr. Canaan Crane, director of the marriage and family therapy graduate program and associate professor of psychology, appreciates the benefits the new facility brings to his students as well as members of the community.

“The Kemp MFT Clinic benefits members of the community by providing access to quality therapy services at an affordable rate,” he said. “Our MFT students have been providing therapy resources in the community at local agencies and private practices and now this adds a nice, new and accessible space for people to access these high quality services and for students to gain valuable experience as they further their education. We’re excited to join with the local community in improving access to resources for more of the Shawnee area and surrounding communities.”

MFTs are trained to provide a systems-oriented treatment approach to work with mental, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal issues. A therapist may work with couples and families together, or with individuals to address mental health concerns, improve relationships, positively affect the family dynamic and improve communication between loved ones. The job of the marriage and family therapist is to identify factors disrupting the family and work together to resolve them.

The field’s growing prominence is partially due to the demonstrated effectiveness of this family-centered approach. More than 6.1 million people annually are seen by MFTs, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT).

“Most counseling takes an individual route,” Crane said. “However, in MFT, while we may work with individuals, we always think relationally. We look at enacting systemic change, because you get much better and longer lasting results.”

The MFT program at OBU equips graduates to practice marriage and family therapy from a Christian perspective. Students learn from faculty members who have clinical experience as practicing therapists and teaching experience in MFT programs, giving them a high quality academic experience, resulting in strong licensure pass rates. The expert faculty are not only experienced in the field, but also are AAMFT approved supervisors and licensed as MFTs themselves.

Learn more about the Kemp MFT Clinic and the MFT program at OBU.