Orange, Calif. (October 5, 2011) — Chapman University’s Frances Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy will celebrate its re-opening in its new location on Saturday, October 22, 2011, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Media are invited. The new center location is in Crean Hall, Suite 122, 501 West Palm Avenue in Orange, Calif., a few blocks west of the main campus.  (The center was previously located in Smith Hall on the Chapman main campus.) Parking is available in the back of Crean Hall. The new state-of-the-art therapy facility features eight rooms where families and individuals can receive mental health services from supervised student therapists in training.

Established in 1965 by faculty and students concerned about helping families and individuals affected by the Vietnam War, the Frances Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy (formerly known as the Chapman University Community Clinic) has grown into a well-respected training facility offering psychological treatment services to the local community at very low cost.  The dual mission of the center is to provide high- quality and affordable mental health services to the local community, and to provide an excellent training and research environment to the 65 graduate students in the marriage and family therapy (MFT) master’s program at Chapman University. 

Since 2007 the center has been nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. Of the approximately 80  marriage and family therapy masters programs in California, Chapman is one of just seven with national accreditation.

 “What is exceptional about Chapman’s clinic is that it is located on university property, which affords better supervision for the students,” said Dr. Brennan Peterson, director of Chapman’s marriage and family therapy program. Students in California university-level MFT programs are required to complete 150 hours of face-to-face clinical training, often in an off-campus clinical setting.

Dr. Peterson worked with architects to design the clinic facilities, which provide enhanced clinical supervision, including live observation through one-way mirrors and digital video recording of therapy sessions.

 “The presence of our on-site clinic helps us attract high caliber students, as every one of our MFT graduate students receives their clinical training at the Frances Smith Center.” said Dr. Peterson.  “At Chapman, when you couple our national accreditation with our new state-of-the-art training facility, we have one of the premier MFT programs and training clinics in California.” 

Named for Dr. Frances Smith, who at 96 is still a practicing therapist in Laguna Niguel, the clinic is an integral part of Chapman’s MFT program.  Student trainees are under the direct supervision of licensed clinical faculty.  The Center is composed of eight therapy rooms, including a play room for child therapy, and larger rooms for family and couple therapy.  In addition, these rooms are equipped for direct observation and/or videotaping of sessions by clinical supervisors. 

The center serves the entire Orange-area community, including underserved and disadvantaged families.  The cost of one session ranges from $10 to $50, and the clinic does not take insurance.  The most common presenting issues that center therapists work with include depression, anxiety, marital and couple distress, parent-child relationships, parenting stress, adjustment to unexpected life difficulties and post-traumatic stress issues.

Sessions are once a week and may continue as long as they are needed. If, after an initial evaluation, it is determined that the issue is beyond the available resources at the clinic, then the individual is referred to an appropriate outside establishment. Medication is not prescribed at Chapman’s clinic; however student therapists work with psychiatrists and physicians to help clients in need receive necessary medications. 

The clinic sees an average of 160 clients each month. Its hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  While many families and individuals who visit the clinic are referred from agencies, it is not necessary—direct appointments can be made.

For more information about the opening celebration event please contact Dr. Brennan Peterson, director of Chapman University’s MFT program, at 714-744-7915 or at For more information about the clinic, please visit or contact Dr. Naveen Jonathan, director of the Frances Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy at (714) 997-6932 or at

 About Chapman University

Tracing its history to 1861,ChapmanUniversityis one ofCalifornia’s oldest and most respected private institutions. The university is known for its commitment to deeply engaged learning, providing students with a remarkable educational environment from the moment they step onto campus.ChapmanUniversityalumni are found throughout the world, providing ethical and innovative leadership in their communities and disciplines. Our graduates now excel in film and media arts, performing arts, educational studies, business and economics, law, humanities and the sciences.





Log In
Open Main Menu