Licensed therapists and graduate students invited to join our network of volunteer counselors

This month, Project Access Northwest is launching a new outreach effort to build up a network of volunteer counselors to support our new program and improve access to mental health care in Washington state.

We are seeking both licensed therapists and graduate students seeking supervised clinical experience. Those supervising students will also need to participate.

Our volunteer therapists pledge to see clients to address such issues as stress, anxiety, sadness, grief, life transitions, and relationship issues. Therapists choose how many people they would like to see and the dates and times they prefer. Therapists can determine how long they wish to see the client.

Project Access Northwest ensures that all individuals seeking care are screened by a care coordinator during the intake process. We match only uninsured/underinsured adults who are referred by a community health clinic and can engage in insight-oriented counseling.

Program milestones

In early 2023, Project Access Northwest has been steadily building up the new Pro Bono Counseling program, identifying and hiring key staff members, developing program materials and processes, and beginning outreach efforts.

Here are some highlights of that work:

  • Confirmed that our first pro bono providers will be up to 12 Seattle University students pursuing their Master of Social Work degrees. Starting in June, these students will each see one patient, at a donated space on Capitol Hill, and be supervised by our contractor who is also an Adjunct Faculty Member of Seattle University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Our first clients will come from two different FQHCs, covering King and Snohomish counties.
  • Hired a provider relations representative to raise awareness as well as recruit and onboard pro bono counselors and therapists.
  • Contracted with an Adjunct Faculty member in the Seattle University’s Clinical Mental Health counseling program to provide additional subject matter expertise and to help recruit pro bono providers.
  • Contracted with a grant writer who is seeking matching grant and/or contract support to sustain the program through Federal Government funds (SAMSHA, CDC, etc.).
  • Developed the pro bono counseling pledge and support services forms to gather necessary information regarding our volunteer providers to ensure data is tracked accurately and that clients are well matched to a pro bono counselor.
  • Developed preliminary promotional materials for outreach to providers, students, and clients with the goal of presenting the program to colleges and universities that train counselors and therapists.
  • Met with our public health and free clinic partners in Skagit County to discuss expansion into the area, to include specialty medical care and counseling services. This will be an ongoing discussion as we seek additional funding.
  • The senior program director traveled to Baltimore, MD and Denver, Co, where he was joined by our executive director, to meet with leaders in their respective communities who are doing pro bono counseling work, with a focus on learning best practices and gleaning program development opportunities.