Back in August of 2015, I was given the privilege of working as a research assistant for GMU’s Center for Psychological Services. Under the supervision of Dr. Patty Ferssizidis and Dr. Robyn Mehlenbeck, I am part of a research team that is tasked with tracking client demographics and converting client files into data to be used in a statistical model built with SPSS. Our main goal is to collect data at different points during a client’s treatment in order to monitor outcomes and treatment effectiveness.
More recently, I was tasked with auditing collected client fees for the current fiscal year. I work closely with Center staff in tracking client files and any associated payments and condensing the data into a brief to be used internally. This data will eventually be used to help build a projection for the Center’s budget and report total academic revenue being brought in by the Center’s clinicians. Auditing client files also allows us to collect encounter-related information so that we can track the number of clients served, as well as the total number of client contacts across different service lines (i.e., mental health evaluations, individual and family therapy, etc.) and providers. The end goal for this project is to help the Center operate more efficiently and highlight potentially problematic methods of client fee recovery and tracking.
As a non-profit training clinic, GMU’s CPS has been providing mental health services for the surrounding community at a discounted rate. My past studies in psychology and business, combined with my current work in accounting, allow me to appreciate the impact CPS has made for families and individuals seeking mental health services who otherwise may not be able to afford professional help. In the future, I hope to be able to use the experience learned here and help other non-profit clinics with similar models to further help individuals gain access to professional mental health services.