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Loyola Center for Counseling and Education Returns to Campus

By Loyola University on Wed, 07/07/2021 - 16:37

Community mental health clinic returns to in-person sessions with expanded client capacity and upgraded facilities

NEW ORLEANS (July 7, 2021) – The Loyola Center for Counseling and Education (LCCE), a sliding-scale community mental health agency on Loyola’s uptown campus, resumes in-person services next month and is accepting new clients. After a year of providing tele-therapy to meet current clients’ needs throughout the pandemic, the LCCE began conducting play therapy at the clinic again in March and will resume in-person sessions for individual, couples, and family counseling on August 16, 2021. 

LCCE clinicians and directors are truly excited. “After a year of so much isolation and distance, I know it will be transformative for my clients and I to finally connect in a shared space,” explains Nikki Piazza, LCCE’s new Managing Director. “Conducting counseling sessions in-person can really enhance the overall impact.”

Throughout the pandemic, the clinic filled a critical need, providing mental health services to local residents, particularly underserved members of the greater New Orleans community. Staffed by licensed professional counselors, faculty, and Loyola graduate counseling interns, the clinic held 337 therapy sessions for clients in March 2021, alone. No one is ever turned away from the clinic for a lack of funds, which utilizes a sliding-scale payment structure. 

“Overall, the pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues across the nation, and that trend is visible in the greater New Orleans community,” said John Dewell, chair of the Department of Counseling and Education at Loyola. “The clinic continues responding to this rising need by expanding the number of clinicians and offerings available, as well as forging new community partnerships that allow us to meet increasing demand.”

Recently, the LCCE has expanded its capacity to serve those in need by onboarding the largest number of counselors since the clinic’s opening in January, 2019, with a total of 12 student counselors and three licensed counselors now leading the clinic. Through ongoing fundraising efforts, donations, and grants, the LCCE has increased capacity to train counselors and serve a greater number of clients than ever before. Facility updates, including the addition of a treatment room and upgrades to the clinic’s play therapy space, now allow the clinic to serve more clients in an enriching environment, while maintaining its commitment to provide sliding-scale counseling regardless of a person’s income or insurance.

“The pandemic has increased stress on families and children, often in unseen or hard-to-articulate ways,” said Dr. Denise Gilstrap, extraordinary professor of counseling. “Play therapy allows an opportunity for parents and children to reduce stress and work out problems too difficult or abstract for young children to express. We also offer child parent relationship therapy and group therapy designed to create mindful relationships.” 

Free and confidential phone consultations are offered prior to booking initial appointments, which can be made by calling (504) 864-7858 or by emailing The LCCE is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

More information and frequently asked questions about LCCE can be found online at 

All details are subject to change. Please visit for the most up-to-date information or contact Nikki Piazza, Managing Director, at (504) 864-7858 or