Thomas Mondragon, Interim Co-director of the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology’s LGBT Specialization, recently had the honor of addressing the Los Angeles City Council at a City Hall proclamation. The purpose of the event was to publicly announce and support the new Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) LGBT affirmative therapy center and their collaboration with Antioch.
The AULA LGBT Specialization’s 2017 partnership with AMCS, in addition to providing AULA students and graduates with opportunities to fulfill clinical training hours, also involved assisting AMCS in creating an LGBT component of their counseling program, the AMCS LGBT Affirmative Therapy Center. “I am thrilled to partner with the LGBT Specialization track at Antioch University. The training they provide our therapists is invaluable,” said Eden Garcia-Balis, CEO for Airport Marina Counseling Service. “LGBT treatment is specialized and because of our partnership, we now offer services to this underserved population.”
The new center will make AMCS one of the few clinics in Los Angeles and the only one in the area specializing in services specifically geared toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) population, reads the AMCS website.
The Specialization’s unique curriculum for AMCS covers intricate and essential topics for counselors working with LGBTQ clients, such as “The Trauma of Growing Up LGBTQ and the Impact of Internalized Oppression,” Considerations, Challenges, and Potential for LGBTQ People of Color,” and “Medical Transition & Writing Letters for Gender Confirming Surgery.”
“The Specialization provides LGBT Affirmative training to all their [AMCS] staff, and specific monthly training to their student therapists focused on LGBT Affirmative theory and practice,” wrote Mondragon in an email explaining how it all came about. “Eden Garcia-Balis brought the project to the attention of L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin. As a representative of the Westchester district and as an openly gay man, he [Bonin] became very interested in AMCS’ program and arranged a proclamation at City Hall to honor AMCS and its collaboration with the LGBT Specialization and AULA.”
Garcia-Balis and Mondragon were both given a few minutes to speak during the event, which took place at Los Angeles City Hall. In his remarks, Mondragon thanked Councilman Bonin for his invaluable interest in the psychological and mental welfare of LGBTQ+ individuals as evidenced by his support of AMCS’ collaboration with Antioch University’s LGBT Specialization. He also emphasized AULA’s history of social justice and the importance of the unique education the university offers its students. “The LGBT Specialization invites student clinicians to become leaders in the unique study of LGBT Affirmative theory and practice,” wrote Mondragon. “The curriculum approaches working with LGBTQ clients from a unique perspective that can and will continue to ripple out to the larger community in the form of healing and new forms of program development and organization.”
AULA administration and MAP faculty are enthusiastically looking at the possibility of offering the training to other AULA traineeship placement partners in the near future.