Antioch University -- Santa Barbara
- M.A., in Clinical Psychology
- B.A., in Psychology
Gina Bell has an accomplished career in the field of education and counseling with extensive history of community volunteerism and leadership achievement. She also has an astute understanding of student-centered learning approaches with a track record for producing successful learning outcomes for adult learners and non-traditional students. Skilled in evaluating systems, enhancing program quality and influencing ideas at the highest levels, Gina is particularly interested in the aging population and advocates strongly for elderly rights and mental well being.
Q: What is the difference between a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and a Clinical Psychologist?
Gina: “There is some overlap between the roles of clinical psychologists and marriage and family therapists (LMFTs). Both are mental health professionals. Both assess and treat clients with a range of problems, including diagnosable mental illness. Clinical psychologists are more likely to work with individuals who have severe mental illness, but some marriage and family therapists do so as well. When a person has a serious illness, it's often more effective to involve the whole family, and this is an area where LMFTs have specialized training. However, the severity of illness that they treat will depend on their own training as well as the laws of the state where they are licensed.
Marriage and family therapists must have at least a master's degree. Master's programs take a minimum of two years to complete. One in five marriage and family therapists has a doctoral degree. This does not confer a higher license, but may be an asset for various positions, including those in research or higher education. Clinical psychologists need doctoral degrees. They have two options: the PsyD and the PhD. A clinical psychologist generally spends at least four years earning the degree.”
Q: You have a strong background in counseling and it is psychologically taxing. What is your advice to students who want to take this path?
Gina: “The best thing I can say to that is to realize that you are assisting people in their healing not solving a problem for them. We must allow people to find their inner power to solve their concerns and be aware that we are simply there as a support and guide. I also always encourage people to remember to have a life outside of work and to do things they love!”
Courses Taught at SBCC
- Psych 100: General Psychology
- Aging Population
- Advocacy for Elderly Rights and their Mental Well Being
- Advocacy for children and women and their rights.
- The Center For Successful Aging (CSA), Santa Barbara, CA, 2014 – 2015
- Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 2008-2012
- Phoenix House of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 2007-2008
- Santa Barbara City College Wellness Center
- Hospice of Santa Barbara