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New Chicago School of Professional Psychology Forensic Center Opens Doors to the Community

Practice Arm of the School's Department of Forensic Psychology Dedicates New Facility in the Merchandise Mart

CHICAGO, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is poised to further connect its psychology services to the legal sector and community agencies that interface with the court system thanks to its new Forensic Center, which was formally dedicated at a Merchandise Mart event on January 30.


As the practice arm of the Forensic Psychology Department, the center brings students together with local organizations on projects that bolster hands-on learning experiences while addressing unmet needs in the community. Students benefit from the opportunity to put classroom instruction into practice in real-world settings that range from the Cook County Department of Juvenile Probation to women's shelters, residential treatment centers, and programs for ex-offenders.

"For nearly three decades, we sent students, faculty, and alumni into the community to lend their skills and compassion to the underserved," said Chicago School President Michael Horowitz in his event remarks to faculty, staff, students, trustees, and community partners. "Now, because of the center, we are inviting the community to our campus and providing services to our neighbors who need help keeping their families together and strong. The Forensic Center is another example of how our campus isn't just in Chicago but of Chicago."

The new home for the Forensic Center is the school's 40,000 square feet of annex space in the Merchandise Mart, which opened last fall. At the heart of the center is the new Mr. and Mrs. Philip R. Utigard and Transwestern Treatment and Observation Room, which supports the center's initiatives including instruction of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). The facility is equipped with a one-way mirror and a separate observation room that will allow the use of a "bug-in-the-ear" communication system to facilitate observation and discreet coaching by therapists to parents as they interact with their children. Because PCIT is empirically based, it carries the endorsement of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as a recognized model for helping families with a history of abuse. Although it is a therapy that has been shown to be effective with abusive families in several states, few Illinois practitioners have been trained in its use.

The Forensic Center is staffed by Chicago School Forensic Psychology Department faculty, who collectively bring years of experience and expertise to the initiative. Although launched with a single program, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, the center has since expanded to include a wide range of short-term services that address issues of delinquency, child maltreatment, pre- and post-transitional living for offenders, and victim-related trauma. In addition, the center offers professional development and continuing education workshops. The center was developed under the leadership of Dr. Mike Fogel, department chair; Dr. Darlene Perry, executive director; and Dr. Tiffany Masson, director of the center.

"With students working alongside faculty gaining hands-on experience and direct supervision, we have provided psychological services to ex-offenders to address factors that lead to increased rates of recidivism," said Dr. Fogel at the event. "We have provided parent training to individuals working toward reunification with their child or children after a finding of child abuse or neglect. And we have assessed the effectiveness of a high school to college program for youth in care and a life skills program for gang involved youth."

Started in 2002, The Chicago School's M.A. in Forensic Psychology was the first of its kind in the Midwest. Since then, the program has grown to become one of the school's most popular with more than 200 students currently enrolled and more than 300 graduates.

The Forensic Center is the latest example of initiatives introduced by Chicago School faculty and staff to open the campus community to the outside world. Other examples are the Center for International Studies, the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Studies, and the Center for Latino Mental Health.

About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology:

Founded in 1979, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is the nation's leading nonprofit graduate university exclusively dedicated to the applications of psychology and related behavioral sciences. TCS is an active member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology, which has recognized The Chicago School for its distinguished service and outstanding contributions to cultural diversity and advocacy. The Chicago School's community service initiatives resulted in recognition on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to disadvantaged youth.

For more information about The Chicago School Forensic Center, visit

For more information about The Chicago School, visit

    CONTACT: Matt Nehmer

SOURCE The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
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