Utilization of by hcj


									                Utilization of
            Psychological Services

Pasadena City College Office of Psychological Services
        1570 East Colorado Boulevard, L-108
             Pasadena, CA 91106-2003
        Since 1950, the Psychological Services Program has been an integral part of the
educational experience at Pasadena City College and has been helping students to
creatively handle the stresses of college life. Learning to master these challenges will
enhance a student's psychological, interpersonal, educational, and career development
while at PCC and long after leaving the campus. The Psychological Services Program is
committed to helping college students increase their awareness, knowledge, and
resources in order to successfully meet the challenges of encountering new ideas, relating
to others from diverse backgrounds, and coping with the transitions of adulthood.
        This utilization report will summarize data collected from those students who
received direct services from this department, in the form of individual psychotherapy,
and provide a comparison between 06-07 and 07-08 student data. These statistics do not
include those students who were enrolled in the DSPS-Psychological Disabilities
Program, or those students who received “indirect” services in the form of classroom
presentations, walk-in counseling, emergency assistance or campus-wide consultations.

                                  Student Demographics
        Information describing the demographic characteristics of the students seeking
psychological counseling was collected from the standard pre-counseling intake form
completed at the first session. In total, 296 students received psychological counseling
this academic year for a total of 1026 scheduled personal counseling sessions. These
figures do not include those students who were seen through the DSP&S Psychological
Disabilities Program, walk-ins, or emergencies.

        The average age of students seeking psychological counseling was 26.5 years,
with 76.0 % of the total number of students seen 30 years of age and under. The rest of
the students fell between the ages of 31-40 years (13.9%), 41-50 years (4.7%), and 51+
years (5.4%).

AGE                             STUDENTS 2006-2007           STUDENTS 2007-2008
18-30 years                     75.8%                        76.0%
31-40 years                     11.7%                        13.9%
41-50 years                     7.2%                         4.7%
51+ years                       2.7%                         5.4%
Figure 1: Distribution in Age
Figure 2: Distribution in Age Comparison

        While the average age of the students seen for psychological counseling was 26.5
years, this average is skewed due to the small but significant number of students that are
of much older age. The frequency distribution above illustrates that more than three
quarters of the students who utilize our services are between the ages of 18-30. This
trend is consistent with student data from the previous year at Pasadena City College
Psychological Services, with majority of the students between the ages of 18-30 seeking

         Out of the 296 students seen for psychological counseling, 194 were female
(65.5%) and 102 were male (34.5%). This trend is also consistent with previous years at
Pasadena City College Psychological Services, and is also consistent with utilization
statistics found in other college counseling centers. In the mental health and also medical
field, women tend to demonstrate a higher degree of help-seeking behaviors than men.

        Data on the racial distribution of students seeking psychological counseling was
also collected and compared with a Spring 2008 census of students at Pasadena City
College as this is the most recent date available. The chart below illustrates the
comparative data (Note: the category of “Multiracial” was not included in the Fall 2005
PCC census).

STUDENT                 PCC Spring 2008       PSYCH                   PSYCH.
Ethnicity/Race          CENSUS                SERVICES                SERVICES
                                              STATS 2006-2007         STATS 2007-2008
Hispanic/Latino         34.2%                 28.0%                   31.7%
Asian-Pacific           30.5%                 29.9%                   24.3%
Black/African           5.9%                  5.5%                    6.8%
Native American         0.6 %                 0.3%                    0.3%
Multiracial             -----%                7.6%                    6.1%
(PCC Filipino)          4.9%
White                   19.3%                 20.4%                   21.6%
Other                   4.5%                  8.2%                    9.1%
Figure 3: Distribution by Race/Ethnicity
Figure 4: Distribution by Race/Ethnicity Comparison (PCC vs. Psych Services Stats 2007-2008)
Figure 5: Distribution by Race/Ethnicity Comparison (Psych Services Stats 2006-2007 vs. 2007-
        The most notable differences observed when comparing the racial background of
those students who come to Psychological Services to the demographic make-up of PCC
as a whole are seen in students of Asian-Pacific Islander descent. It is also noteworthy
that “multiracial” is not a category listed in the PCC Census Student Characteristics, but
“Filipino” is listed. Psychological Services does not assess “Filipino” , while PCC does
not assess “Multiracial” as a category.
        Asian-Pacific students make up 30.5% of the total student population here at
PCC, while 24.3% of the students who utilized Psychological Services were Asian-
Pacific Islanders. The underutilization of mental health services by Asians has been well
documented nationwide in community agencies, hospitals and university settings. In
2001-2002 a videotape of mock counseling sessions for International Students was
developed to meet this need. It was thought that if Asian students saw the nature of
psychological counseling then it might desensitize them to the process. In the last few
years a more targeted outreach was endorsed to ensure awareness of our services by
Asian-American and International students. This years statistics show a 4.2% difference
between the PCC Asian Pacific population and Psychological Services reflecting a
significant decrease in the number of Asian-Pacific students seeking services. For the
last several years there has been one Chinese speaking therapist in the office. Although
research suggests that Asians prefer non-Asian therapists, we hypothesized that possibly
having a native speaking therapist in the office last year made it easier to accept the
premise of seeking therapy. This year, we had two Chinese speaking therapists, which
disputes this hypothesis. In addition, one Chinese speaking therapist made an
extraordinary effort to reach out to the PCC community by speaking to academic groups,
and conducting workshops on a variety of subjects.

        Interns will continue conducting ESL outreach by speaking to selective ESL
classrooms. It is also crucial to work in partnership with campus student organizations to
promote healthy mental health, and provide workshops targeting potential issues for
multicultural student population in a college setting. In addition to the above monthly
collaboration with the International Student Services staff to address potential issues for
international students is also important. Collaboration will continue in the form of
workshops to train the staff, monthly review meetings, and emergency consultation. An
outreach to the Office of International Students has been helpful and will continue.

        The percentage of Hispanic/Latino students seeking services increased by 3.7%
over last year. As Hispanic/Latino students make up 33.9% of the total student
population at PCC, the increase of Hispanic/Latino students using services is important to
note. A more focused outreach to the Hispanic population, such as that previously
directed toward the Asian-Pacific population in 2001, appears to be having an effect.
One factor to consider is that in 2005-2006, there was a Spanish speaking therapist half
time and in 2006-2007 a Spanish speaking therapist was only available one day a week
for four hours. Having a Spanish speaking therapist in the office for the full half-time
internship this year may have contributed to the increase in Hispanic/Latino students
seeking services.

        Another noteworthy statistic is the percentage of students who identified
themselves in the category of “Other.” For the year 2006-2007, it was suggested students
be encouraged to clearly indicate their racial background rather than identifying in the
category of “Other.” Front office staff was trained to review students‟ responses and
clarify any ambiguity. It was suggested that the 2007-2008 office staff be trained in the
same manner to encourage continuation of this more precise identification. In 2007-
2008, the category of “Other” rose 1% compared to 2006-2007. Possibly students of
mixed race are choosing “Other” rather than “Multiracial” as they feel the “Other”
designation is most closely aligned with their racial heritage. Consideration of adding the
“Filipino” category to our intake sheet (to match the data collection approach of PCC)
could be helpful in aligning with the way the college collects data.

                                   Perceived Problems
       On the intake questionnaire students requesting services were asked to indicate
what concerns they had and to what extent they felt troubled by these concerns. For the
purposes of this utilization review, only those concerns that were marked as “quite a bit”
or “very much” were included.

       The table below indicates the top five and bottom five concerns, and the
percentage of students that endorsed these items.

TOP 5 CONCERNS                                    BOTTOM 5 CONCERNS
Excessive worry over college          60.3%       Eating pattern                    20.0%
performance or future goals
Anxiety or nervousness                59.3%       Effects of childhood abuse or     19.0%
Depression or deep sadness            51.3%       Thoughts of harming yourself      12.8%
                                                  or others
Relationship problems                 43.4%       Concerns over sexuality           8.6%
Difficulty paying attention and       41.7%       Alcohol or other drug use         5.0%
Figure 6: Top Five Reasons for Seeking Services

        As seen in these results, student‟s most pressing concerns usually relate to
academic performance, and the most prominent clinical issues are anxiety and
depression. Attention and concentration difficulties are also common symptoms of
anxiety and depression. A large number of students come to Psychological Services or
are referred to us by their professors specifically to assess attention and concentration
problems (e.g. ADHD).

                                     Number of Sessions
         The primary modality of treatment for Psychological Counseling is short-term,
solution focused counseling. Due to the large student population and the resources of this
department, this treatment orientation best fits the needs of the college. As seen in this
utilization review, slightly less than half of the students (47.7%) are seen in 5 sessions or
less. The mode of this sample was one session, with 123 students (12.0%) receiving a
single session.
         While the mode of one session remains consistent for the 7 years these statistics
have been recorded. Coming for only one session may indicate students being “crisis
oriented” and only seek help during the crisis. While slightly less than half of the
students were seen in 5 sessions or less, this year‟s distribution between 6 and 15+
reflected 15 students with 6 sessions, 27 students with between 7 -14 sessions and 13
students having 15 or more sessions. Over the past 7 years, the “number of sessions” used
by individual students has risen 1-2% each year, with the most significant increase,
(19.0% this year compared to 15.9% last year), seen in the 15+ category.

        The chart below illustrates the distribution in number of sessions.

NUMBER OF SESSIONS             STUDENTS 2007-2008            STUDENTS 2006-2007
1-5                            47.7%                         45.0%
6-10                           23.9%                         24.7%
11-14                          9.5%                          14.3%
15+                            19.0%                         15.9%
Figure 7: Distribution in Number of Sessions Attended 2006-2007
Figure 8: Distribution in Sessions Comparison

                                   Satisfaction Survey
         During the month of April and May, Psychological Services asked students to fill
out brief questionnaires to assess the quality of our psychological counseling and to gain
input and feedback on potential additional services. In addition to surveys distributed to
current Spring ‟08 Students, 25 students selected randomly from the Fall ‟07 semester
were sent questionnaires. Students were asked to fill out these surveys anonymously, and
a total of 34 questionnaires were completed.
         Overall, 97.0% of the students rated the quality of our services as “excellent” or
“good,” with 64.7% rating our services as “excellent” and 32.3% rating our services as
“good.” When asked if the services helped them stay in school, 94.1% answered “yes,
definitely” or “yes, I think so”. When asked if therapy helped them deal with their
problems more effectively, 91.2% responded “yes, it helped a great deal” or “yes, it
helped somewhat”. 82.3% of the respondents indicated that they would “definitely”
recommend our services to a friend and 73.5% of the students responded they
“definitely” would return for services if needed. When asked about reasons why a
student decided not to return to therapy, 35.2% responded “meeting with my therapist
solved my problem”, while 29.4% said “there wasn‟t enough time to fit therapy in my
         Regarding the number of sessions, 45.4% of the students responded that the
number of sessions that they received was sufficient to meet their needs. Another 45.4%
of the students responded that the number of sessions did meet their needs, “but they
could have used more.” (This information was not asked on the survey this year)

        When asked about how soon you were seen in our office after you made initial
contact, 32.3% of the students reported that they were seen by a counselor within 2 days
of contacting the office, and 50% were seen within 3-5 school days. 17.6% of the
students in 2007-2008 reported waiting between 6 and 10 school days, a significant drop
from the 24.8% of students reporting that they had to wait between 6 and 10 school days
for an appointment in 2007-2008. This may be due to the increase in hours scheduled
this year for individual counselors, as one of the providing Doctoral programs increased
the hours required of their interns. This is an area for discussion as this same school has
now decided to rescind the increased hourly requirement.

        In reviewing our philosophy of utilizing a brief solution-based approach to the
therapy practiced in Psychological Services, 47.7% of the respondents have had 1-5 visits
with their counselor, with 52.3% of the students having 6 or more visits with their
counselor. When asked about “Walk-in” times, 50% of our students responded either
“definitely” or “maybe” they would have used “Walk-in times if services were offered at
different times.” While one student suggested, “more consistent „Walk-in‟ hours through
the week” would be helpful, a variety of times were suggested. If these suggestions were
implemented, “walk-in” hours would be available all the hours the office is open. The
one student remarking that often “Walk-in” hours conflicted with class times supports the
suggestions made by other students. Finally, when asked “how satisfied are you with the
variety of services received (including individual counseling, outreach presentations,
walk-in times referrals to community contacts)” 94% responded “very or mostly
satisfied.” (Also not asked)

       Here are some of the comments made by students who received services:

“(Therapist named) is the future of the business. Give her a raise.”
“Warm and welcoming first impression is of critical importance in determining if a
student would continue the service or not.”
“Looking forward to coming back.”
“So far everything is great. I have only had 2 appointments as of now, but I am looking
forward to the rest.”
“I am glad I came to talk to a therapist. I really need to talk about my problems.”
“The services are helpful.”
“(Therapist named) has changed my life for the better. With his help, I was able to
significantly raise my grades this semester and build a new sense of self worth and self
esteem that I did not know before receiving therapy from him.”
 “The young ladies in the evening help me a lot. They were very kind in giving me
advice not to give up on my success in math. (Front office staff named).
“The services I received helped me out a lot for the better of myself.”
“The therapist was very compassionate, attentive and helpful. The therapist I saw gave
me positive tools I can use for the rest of my life as well as in the now.”
“Great service + great people.”
“(Therapist named) rocks! But some of the gals upfront are rude and talk to each other or
on the phones loudly & the music is bad. This should be a relaxing place.”
“I hope this service is never replaced.”
“Good useful service.”
“Going to therapy for me was useful because it helped me to see I had a problem. It
allowed me to decide to get serious about getting more help.”
“Sometimes difficult to have a consistent time to meet with therapist, as sometimes my
regular time was already booked.”
“One of my therapists said I was making excuses.”
“My therapist (Therapist named) was excellent. I have even decided to follow him if he
“Overall, I would rate the psychological program as great.”

        Last year it was suggested that increased participation for this questionnaire be
encouraged by the counselors and the front office staff to better enable our office to
improve the quality of services. It was suggested that the questionnaire be given to all
clients by the front office staff when they check in, to be filled out before their therapy
treatment. While a great effort was made to assist in the distribution of the questionnaire,
the number of questionnaires collected has remained consistent over time. It is suggested
that the practice of randomly mailing 20- 25 surveys to fall students who do not return
for Spring semester be continued.

        Psychological Services provides both direct and indirect services. Students
encounter a variety of stressors related to their academics and their personal lives. Due to
the broad age range encountered in a community college, students may experience
developmental milestones and conflict in their personal lives such as entering adulthood,
marital and familial discord, changes in career, etc. In addition to this, in the community
college environment more severe psychological disorders and disabilities may be factors
in many students‟ lives. Psychological Services provides support and intervention for a

broad range of students, from those experiencing temporary setbacks and obstacles to
those living with chronic mental health problems.

       Important findings of this utilization review are:
      The average age of students seen at Psychological Services this year was 26.5
       years, with the majority of students (76.0%) using our services are between the
       ages of 18-30 years.
      More women (65.5%) than men (34.5%) use our services.
      Compared to the racial demographics of PCC as a whole, fewer Asian students
       use our services (24.3% utilizing services versus 30.5% PCC population) while
       the use by Hispanic students using our services (31.7%) rose this year (over last
       year) by 3.7%, bringing the number of Hispanic students using our services
       closer to the PCC demographic of 34.2%.
      The top concerns of students seeking counseling were excessive worry over
       college (60.3%), anxiety or nervousness (59.3%), and depression or deep sadness
      Just under half of our students (47.7%) were seen in 5 sessions or less, where as
       just over half of our students (52.3%) were seen 6 or more sessions. 4.4% of our
       students used 15+ sessions. This is a significant change from previous years
       where the majority of students (80.9% in 2005-2006) were seen in 1-5 sessions,
       but is more closely aligned to the way students used Psychological Services last
      Overall, 97.0% of the students rated the quality of our services as “excellent” or
       “good,” with 64.7% rating our services as “excellent” and 32.3% rating our
       services as “good.”.”
      The majority of the students (94.1%) responded that they would recommend our
       services to a friend, and 73.5% of the respondents indicated that they would
       “definitely” return for services if needed.
      Regarding the number of sessions, 47.7% of the respondents have had 1-5 visits
       with their counselor.
      An increase was seen in the number of students indicating they would “definitely”
       return for services if needed (73.5%).
      No students reported that they had to wait for more than 2 weeks for an
       appointment, and 82.3% were seen within 2-5 school days. The time period
       between initially seeking services and being scheduled for an appointment is a
       significant improvement over previous years. This is interesting when noted that
       additional therapist hours scheduled were increased this year as well.
      Finally, 94.1% of the students indicated that the psychological services helped
       them stay in school and work toward their goals.

Completed by:

Gail G. Ellis, Psy.D.
Registered Psychologist


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