Training and Research Objectives


The Center is committed to training interns and trainees in the clinical skills and awareness necessary for counseling adults, children, and families from a diverse, multicultural, and low income population. We know that many of our clients bring difficult and challenging issues to the center and that, by the end of their term, counseling interns will have worked with cases that many counselors rarely, if ever, see in their professional careers. Comprehensive supervision is provided for interns and in-service workshops are offered by Center supervisors, staff, and other professionals.


Counseling begins with the expectant, alert, and compassionate presence of the counselor. The Center fosters an environment in which interns and trainees can develop and maintain the virtues of a positive disposition, restfulness and courtesy.


The emerging field of School-Based Family Counseling takes a holistic approach to the wider systems of which the school student is an integral part. Systems thinking is integral to another multi-disciplinary field, that of environmental health. The word "ecology" comes from the Greek word for "home." So ecology means the study of the relationships that comprise our home in nature. Just as every parent is a teacher, a psychologist, and a counselor, so every person is an ecologist; we all live and manage resources on this home planet. We believe that respect for the ecology contributes to the cause of child and family health, which is our mission. Center staff and supervisors model for interns and trainees a regard and awareness for the values of conservation, quality of environment and quality of our lives.

Research Objectives

The Center conducts ongoing research on client demographics, the course of counseling, and clinical outcomes. All trainees and interns participate in data collection for this project as an integral part of their internship.

Scientist Practitioners

Taking on Active Roles | Allen Ivey suggests that one way of looking at our role in counseling is as "scientist-practitioner." That is, in collaboration with our clients, we form hypotheses about the nature of their problems and the types of solutions available to them. We gather data, and may encourage our clients to gather their own data about their experiences and their ways of responding. We test hypotheses, we generate alternative explanations, and we seek understandings which set our clients free for more fulfillment in life.

What we learn through research into the results of our work reinforces our belief in the unique effectiveness of the School-Based Family Counseling model in the treatment of school students, produces ongoing feedback to further refine the model and, most crucially, helps all of us to improve the quality of our services to our clients.

Measuring and Monitoring Clients

Another, more formal, way of fulfilling the role of scientist-practitioner is to measure and monitor change in our clients’ lives through standardized instruments. To this end we have designed and developed a variety of instruments to help us get to know our clients’ needs and their demographics, as well as their progress in treatment. The ongoing collection of data by means of these customized instruments is another first for the USF Center for Child and Family Development.

Few community counseling programs (much less private practices) have a systematic method to ascertain the value of their services, whether as perceived by the treating professional or as experienced by the client. The growing body of research material amassed by the Center represents a vast store of knowledge for ongoing analysis and is used by us in the preparation of development requests to grantors and funders.

Contact Info

Center for Child and Family Development

Offices are located at Mercy High School
3250 19th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132

Outreach Program Director
Toni Nemia, MFT:

Executive Director CCFD
Judy Goodell:
(415) 239-9300