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Monday, May 30, 2016
Opening PCC's doors to the public
Counseling center treats clients with respect
Jeffrey Bessen/Herald
Gladys Weisberger sets up an appointment. PCC receptionists are an important contact point for clients.

Counseling is the second word in its name and the most important function the Peninsula Counseling Center serves.

From the time the mental health treatment center opens its doors at 9 a.m. and closes them at 9 p.m., (5 p.m. on Fridays), the administrators, therapists and receptionists have helped approximately 205 clients each day.

What exactly transpires in PCC’s Valley Stream building is protected by medical privacy laws, but a few staff members gave the Herald a glimpse into what they do on a daily basis.

Referrals from doctors and schools, along with hospital discharges and walk-ins, are how clients — adults and children — come to PCC, said Associate Director Lois Goldsmith, who oversees the clinical aspects of the center. There are scheduled appointments, but if a client is “in crisis” they are seen immediately, Goldsmith said.

“We do an intake and a first disposition. That is the best way to assess the client’s needs,” Goldsmith said. An intake coordinator interviews the client, then the clinicians hold a disposition meeting, where treatment decisions are made.

Collaborative thinking shapes those decisions, which creates a sense of teamwork and helps both the client and the clinicians. “It helps tremendously getting what needs to be assessed to get the client what he or she needs,” Ernie Dixon, PCC’s Adult Unit administrator, said about the disposition meetings. Throughout the day, clients meet with therapists individually and in group sessions depending on the course of treatment.

The Meeting Place, a pre-vocational and drop-in program, seeks to get clients prepared to work and develops their social skills through an array of educational services and computer and clerical training. “‘Everyone can have a productive life’ is the message we convey,” said Meeting Place Director Helene Goldberg.


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