Bringing Comfort

Even in the best of times, members of a community can be suffering from relationship problems, illness, stress, and myriad issues for which they need counseling services.

But the past months in the Fairfield area were not the best of times. Last October, the community endured a severe storm that washed away six homes, rendered many others uninhabitable, and disrupted families, schools, and businesses for weeks. Just six weeks later, a devastating shooting in Newtown left a world shocked and a community traumatized.

“In both these instances, the team at the Koslow Center gathered to brainstorm how we could reach out and help,” recalled Maryann LaBella, M.A., LMFT, director of the Kathryn P. Koslow Center for Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), situated on the edge of the Fairfield University campus.

The Koslow Center is both a training facility for students in the Marriage and Family Therapy program and a clinic that provides the community with excellent, low-cost therapeutic services for individuals, couples, and families.

In the aftermath of the storm, for example, The Koslow Center offered space for counselors from a damaged clinic nearby to see their clients.

That generosity of spirit was also evident after the December 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, which left 20 first-graders and six teachers dead. The Koslow Center again opened its doors to drop-in sessions and pro-bono consultations for those dealing with profound grief. Faculty members with clinical training and connections to the school staff provided counseling to Sandy Hook employees. “The teachers, administrators, school psychologists, and counselors of Newtown — some of whom are our alumni — have been outstanding models and mentors to our students,” said Susan D. Franzosa, Ph.D., dean of the University’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions.

In the three years it’s been open, the Koslow Center has made a significant difference in the lives of many. Advanced Marriage and Family Therapy graduate students in the Marriage and Family program provide therapy, under the supervision of state licensed marriage and family therapists.

Due to generous funding from Katherine P. Koslow, a graduate of the MFT program, and the Koslow Foundation, the Center is able to offer service on a sliding scale basis. “We would never want finances to impact access to service,” said LaBella.

The Koslow Foundation has established a five-year matching grant challenge to support the Center’s work. For more information or to donate, visit www.fairfield.edu/koslow.

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