Latest information on operational modifications for fall 2021 Roadrunner Roadmap
Monday, November 29, 2021

Bilingual counseling program at UTSA addresses broad shortage of Latino mental health services

Bilingual counseling program at UTSA addresses broad shortage of Latino mental health services

OCTOBER 28, 2021 — The UTSA Department of Counseling’s Bilingual Counseling Certificate training program was designed to meet the needs of the underserved Latino community. The training program also includes a multidisciplinary approach by collaborating with UTSA’s Department of Bicultural and Bilingual Studies to provide bilingual and bicultural instruction.

Additionally, the curriculum addresses the migrant experience and issues impacting borderland culture.

Because of healthcare disparities that are often tied to cultural and linguistic barriers, this growing population may be facing increased mental health challenges.


“How do you translate ‘self-care’? This idea doesn’t translate too well in Spanish. We make sure that we rely on concepts that resonate with the Latino community.”



“This inequality in mental health service puts these communities at a higher risk for more severe and persistent forms of mental health conditions, because without treatment, mental health conditions often worsen,” said counseling professor Heather Trepal who is part of a team of UTSA faculty within the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) who lead the Bilingual Counseling Certificate training program.

Currently there are about 70 mental health training programs across the country. UTSA is one of only four programs with full accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) that offers a specialized bilingual counseling training program for both school and clinical mental health counselors.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health in 2015, about half of Latino millennials did not receive mental healthcare. The barriers for mental healthcare became worse during the pandemic. Now it’s estimated that about six in 10 Hispanic adults with reported mental health issues have not received any treatment.

Participants seeking UTSA’s 12-graduate credit hour Bilingual Counseling Certificate must pass a Spanish language assessment, complete two courses in the Bicultural Bilingual Department focused on culture and counseling skills and complete mental health field work in Spanish, including supervised counseling sessions with Spanish-speaking clients. The program offers language assessments and remedial programs to help students strengthen their communication skills in Spanish.

Assistant professor Claudia Interiano-Shiverdecker, who co-leads the Bilingual Counseling Certificate program and teaches one of the required mental health courses in Spanish, is instructing students how to best attend to culture and language when counseling the Latino community.

“How do you translate ‘self-care’? This idea doesn’t translate too well in Spanish,” Interiano-Shiverdecker said. “We make sure that we rely on concepts that resonate with the Latino community.”

The UTSA Bilingual Counseling Certificate is part of a strong mental health curriculum at the university. UTSA currently offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs for those entering the mental health fields, including those interested in serving primary and secondary schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were an estimated 5 million bilingual learners in the U.S. public school system last year alone, yet there is a shortage of bilingual school psychologists. UTSA addresses this shortage by offering a pipeline of well-trained mental health professionals to address the needs of K-12 students.

The UTSA Department of Counseling has offered training during the most difficult times for the community. In 2017, the department received nearly $2 million to create curriculum and services to address the mental health needs of survivors of the Sutherland Springs church shooting. Derek Robertson, associate professor in the department and co-leader of the Bilingual Counseling Certificate program, helped design the training. He was also an early adopter of virtual sessions—offering this resource prior to it becoming the standard method of care for many of today’s services.

“For members of smaller communities, they tend to be embarrassed because mental health is seen as a stigma,” Robertson explained. “Virtual sessions allow for more privacy and immediate care.”

The Department of Counseling is accepting applicants for the upcoming 2022 terms. Those interested have the option to pursue three graduate degrees: a Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling, a Master of Education in school counseling and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision. An additional certificate in integrated behavioral healthcare, and training in neurofeedback, is also available.

The University of Texas at San Antonio is a multicultural discovery enterprise institution with more than 34,000 students. It is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region with four campuses across the city. UTSA is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Milady Nazir



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu.


UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


Events


Spotlight

Spotlight

dtc-utsa-sign_680.png
University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.