UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School announces the creation of the Carol Ackerman Positive Psychology Clinic, made possible by a generous gift from Marshall Ackerman in memory of his wife Carol. The Clinic will provide services that foster the development of healthy toddlers, school-age children, adults, and families, while also providing state-of-the-art research and training in applied Positive Psychology. The Clinic provides strengths-based counseling and positive family therapy at two sites: The Hosford Counseling & Psychological Services Clinic on the UCSB campus and the Family Strengths Center at the Harding University Partnership School in the community.
The Director of the Positive Psychology Clinic is Dr. Collie Conoley, Professor in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology at the Gevirtz School. Among his many publications is the book Positive Psychology and Family Therapy: Creative Techniques and Practical Tools for Guiding Change and Enhancing Growth (Wiley 2009), co-authored with Dr. Jane Close Conoley. Collie Conoley is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a member of the National Health Service Providers of Psychology.
Conoley and the graduate student staff of the Clinic lead community workshops on a wide range of positive psychology topics, such as Physical and Emotional Health, Mindfulness in Everyday Life, and The Power of Forgiveness. This year graduate students conducted over 10 community presentations on these topics for a wide range of audiences including Reconnecting Youth classes at Santa Barbara High School, an at-risk youth group at Santa Barbara Junior High, youth at the Isla Vista Teen Center, and volunteers at the Fighting Back Mentor Program.
In addition to community workshops, The Carol Ackerman Positive Psychology Clinic is currently providing two multi-week groups Positive Psychology Stress and Anxiety Reduction and Mindfulness for Health and Wellness at the Hosford Clinic.
The Family Strengths Center at the Harding University Partnership School supports the healthy development of children of all ages in the context of their school community and families. The graduate student counselors who work there, many of whom are bicultural and bilingual, are trusted by the students, teachers, and parents, many of whom have young children at home. The counselors’ involvement with families helps parents use their personal and cultural strengths to promote healthy development in their children.
“Mrs. Carol Ackerman would be proud to have her name associated with the commitment to promoting the health and wellness of local youth that is shared by so many people here, including her husband Marshall, and three sons, Scott, Marc, and Stark,” said Dr. Heidi Zetzer, Director of the Hosford Counseling and Psychological Services Clinic, at a small dedication ceremony on May 18. “Thanks to this new service, counselors, educators, mentors, families, and youth will have the opportunity to learn more about positive psychology and the skills that can be used to promote resilience, foster hope, increase optimism, and build physical and emotional resources for young children, school-age kids, and their families.”