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Circle of Care employees Shannon Boyd and Nancy Poole, try power poses as part of a talk by Scott Ketring. — Donna Williams

Circle of Care highlights new counseling services

VALLEY  — Dr. Scott Ketring, Associate Professor at Auburn University stopped by the Bradshaw-Chambers County Library Friday to talk about Circle of Care Center for Families’ new counseling services.

Though Circle of Care’s services are free, the Auburn program charges for counseling on a sliding scale based on income. Fees begin at $5. Evening appointments are available for individuals, couples and families. 

The program began in August and is offered in collaboration with Auburn’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program, which Ketring is the director. 

Ketring teaches and supervises student interns in the program, including Michael Schiferl who works at the Valley center. Schiferl works with a range of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, marriage and family issues, grief and substance abuse. If the client needs more specialized care, Schiferl said he can refer them elsewhere. 

“We don’t operate as student therapy but as a community mental health center,” Ketring said. “It’s a collaborative model of care. The client knows each session where they are and where they’re going.”

He said this is not the typical model used in the states, but it has been successful with the Auburn program. Besides collaborating with clients, the program also wants to work with local hospitals, churches, and social workers. 

At the talk were staff members of Circle of Care and probation officers. 

“We do home visitation,” Circle of Care Maternity Care Coordinator Shannon Boyd said. “And when we see people dealing with anxiety or abuse, we can make referrals for care.”

Nancy Poole, program supervisor at Circle of Care, said there are several patients who have financial barriers to receiving needed services.

“We see a lot of people who may have received services in school, or while on their parents’ insurance, and they can no longer afford the care they have been receiving all their lives,” Poole said.

Boyd said for these reasons, the sliding scale is a big help for patients.

The talk was part of an effort to get the word out about the services.

“We just want to let people know,” Schiferl said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here.  I’m enjoying the people I’m working with. I’m from a small farming town in Kansas, so this feels like home.”

For more information, call the counseling line at (334) 521-2259.