There are five steps to becoming a patient at the Center Clinic. Our staff is available to support you throughout the process.
- 1. Call to Schedule
Call the intake line at 202-994-4937 to schedule an appointment.
Note: The Center Clinic has a 24-hour cancellation policy. Payment will be required for cancellations not made 24 hours in advance.
- 2. Prepare for Intake
The staff member you speak with during the initial phone interview will usually ask you specific questions about the nature of your call. In preparation for your intake, consider these questions:
- With what specific difficulties am I currently struggling? Be as specific and descriptive about your symptoms as possible.
- What recent event(s) led up to these difficulties?
- Why have I chosen to seek help at this time? What makes this time different than previous times? For some, these concerns may have been an issue for a long time. You may even have sought help before. It’s still important to consider why you are choosing to seek help now.
- What do I hope to get out of treatment?
Please arrive for your intake early. This will allow you to complete the necessary paperwork, leaving adequate time for the intake coordinator to meet with you and get a comprehensive understanding of your needs. Individuals who arrive after the scheduled time may be asked to return another day to complete the intake.
Please bring a personal check or exact change, which will be collected at the time of your intake evaluation. We cannot make change. Please make checks payable to The Center Clinic.
- 3. Complete Intake
Your intake evaluation will last approximately 65 minutes. The purpose of the intake is to gather information about what brings you into the clinic at this time and other pertinent information related to your current situation. As we are a training clinic, it is likely that your intake will be observed by a staff member or training clinician. Anyone observing your intake will be held to strict confidentiality standards, which will be explained to you when you come in.
- 4. Hear Recommended Treatment Options
Once the intake is completed, your intake clinician will consult with the clinic staff and a team to provide treatment recommendations. Depending on your needs, recommendations may include treatment here at the Center Clinic and/or another treatment center or provider that may be better suited to meet your specific needs. Recommendations in the clinic may include individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatric consultation, case management and/or a psychological evaluation. Most new patients are referred for a comprehensive psychological evaluation so we can better understand your treatment needs.
Your intake coordinator will contact you in 5-7 days following the intake to provide recommendations. If the Center Clinic is not the most appropriate treatment option for you, your intake clinician will provide more appropriate recommendations to other agencies.
- 5. Receive Assignment or Referrals
If the Center Clinic is determined as the best place to meet your treatment needs, then your intake clinician will provide you with the clinic’s recommendations and the name of your therapist and/or evaluator. Your therapist and/or evaluator will contact you shortly to arrange a meeting time. All therapists and evaluators are assigned based on availability. While we are open to hearing your preferences for therapists, we may not be able to meet your request.
If you require further information or assistance, please call the intake line at 202-994-4937 and a staff member will return your call shortly.
Clinic Access and Closures
The clinic is closed on university holidays and breaks, as outlined in the GW Academic Calendar. In the case of inclement weather, the clinic follows the university’s decision as published on the GW Campus Advisories website.
The door remains unlocked during daytime hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Patients arriving between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. must ring the doorbell to gain access. The clinic is not staffed by a full-time receptionist, though graduate students staff the front desk at various hours and in the evenings. There is no need to check with our front desk staff. Please just have a seat and wait; your clinician will welcome you at the time of your scheduled appointment. Please note that this coverage may vary in the summer months; we appreciate your patience.
About the Clinical Extern Relationship
Our treating staff are doctoral-level graduate student clinicians. They are supervised by licensed mental health professionals who base their professional practice in ongoing critical consumption of relevant research.
Clinicians and patients work collaboratively in psychotherapy and explore core issues. This process has been shown to promote positive changes that can last long after the treatment ends, including: the expression of emotion, the exploration of interpersonal relations, an emphasis on the therapy relationship, the exploration of attempts to avoid distressing thoughts and feelings, the relevance of past experiences and the identification of recurring themes and patterns.
Clinicians are assigned based on their availability. All of our clinicians are qualified to work with sensitivity to diverse factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation and social status. While we are open to hearing your preferences for therapists, we may not be able to meet your request.
As an assurance of quality care for you, our clinicians receive supervision and case consultation on a weekly basis. Supervision and consultation involves confidential discussion of cases with licensed professionals and other externs. All Center Clinic affiliates adhere to HIPAA guidelines and the laws of the District of Columbia.
Clinicians typically work in the clinic for one or two years. The Center Clinic is dedicated to your treatment, and your clinician will discuss treatment options in advance of his or her departure from the clinic so as to minimize any disruption in your treatment. If your treatment goals have not yet been met and you are interested in continuing, your clinician may arrange for a transfer to a new therapist in the clinic or, occasionally, to providers outside the clinic.
This is also an important time to reevaluate your treatment needs and determine if the Center Clinic remains the most appropriate treatment option. If you decide to end therapy, prepare for the termination process with these tips.
Content discussed in psychotherapy sessions, as well as any testing data, is confidential and all staff members adhere to the guidelines of HIPPA and the laws of the District of Columbia. Patient records are maintained under strict security measures that are consistent with professional practices. Psychological treatment is most effective when you feel able to be direct and honest with your clinician without fear that personal information will be shared with unauthorized persons. We do not release information outside the clinic without your direct permission, except in legally required situations.
The laws of the District of Columbia require certain exceptions to patient confidentiality:
- If the therapist has knowledge of child, elder, or a person with disability is being neglected or abused.
- If the therapist has knowledge of intent to harm himself/herself.
- If the therapist has knowledge of intent to harm others.
- If the therapist receives a court order to release information.
Director: Oversees the policies and procedures of the Center Clinic. Also communicates any issues, updates, concerns or needs to the program’s faculty.
Associate Director: Oversees the day-to-day administration of the clinic to ensure effective operation.
Postdoctoral Fellows: Help manage the clinic. They are responsible for case assignments, psychiatric referrals and being the primary points of contact for clinic externs. The chief postdoctoral fellow oversees all scheduling and works with the associate director in facilitating clinic operations.
Clinical Externs: Doctoral-level graduate student clinicians in training in the Professional Psychology Program who treat patients.
Clinic Assistant: Typically a student who provides administrative support.
Clinic Executive Committee: Consists of the director, associate director, postdoctoral fellows, team leaders and one student representative from each class year. This committee monitors the functioning of the clinic and seeks to improve its efficiency of operation, quality of training and integration with academic components.