By Jacob Factor, News Editor
OBU’s Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic is now serving the Shawnee community.
The clinic, which employs final-year graduate students from the marriage and family therapy program, opened in April 2018 to OBU students and faculty, and February 4, it opened its doors to Shawnee.
Dr. Ronald and Lou Kemp, OBU alumni, gifted $250,000 for an endowment to fund the clinic’ April 2018 opening. The Kemps both worked as marriage and family therapists.
Ronald Kemp entered the field through ministry work in prisons, and Lou Kemp through counseling the parents of her students when she was a kindergarten teacher.
“I found a real love for families and a belief that MFT was the way to go in terms of therapy,” Ronald Kemp said when he toured the newly open clinic in May 2018.“It became a legacy for us, especially after Lou became a marriage and family therapist. [The gift] was a way to give back to the therapy community.”
The clinic was named after the Kemps to honor their contribution.
The Avedis Foundation, a charitable organization serving Shawnee, also gave the MFT program a $200,000 grant so they could open the clinic to the public.
MFT program director Canaan Crane said this is a big step, not only for the community, but for the graduate students as well.
“It gives (the students) practical experience in a community wider than just OBU,” he said.
Crane said the clinic works with families and couples, as well as individuals “to address mental health concerns, improve relationships, positively affect the family dynamic and improve communication between loved ones.”
The clinic is located at 2206 N. Kickapoo, just south of the Art Building and Art Annex on campus, and is free to students, staff and faculty of OBU, according to the clinic’s website page on okbu.edu.
The MFT program teaches its students to approach counseling from an emotional, psychological and relational perspective.
OBU’s MFT program began in 2014, after a nine-year hiatus.
Crane said the program welcomes about 18 students every year, and it has about 50 students in the program currently.
“Because of this extensive training, MFTs can be successful in diverse settings, including community and government agencies, hospitals, religious settings, residential/inpatient and outpatient facilities and private practices,” Tara Signs, director of the Kemp MFT Clinic said in OBU Magazine.
Students in the MFT graduate program can earn a masters of science in marriage and family therapy.