Faculty and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Open Kulynych Center for Alzheimer and Dementia Patient and Caregiver Support

The Wake Forest University Department of Counseling in conjunction with the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Memory Assessment Clinic has initiated a counseling program for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.  Co-directed by faculty members Ed Shaw, MD, MA and Phil Clarke, EdS, LPC, the program provides individual and group counseling services, working closely with physicians in the Section of Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine, including Memory Assessment Clinic director Dr. Kaycee Sink.  Shaw, Clarke, and 2nd year graduate students Jonathan Adams and Joe Wilkerson spent the summer and early fall developing this new clinical service, primarily modeled after the New York University program developed by Dr. Mary Mittleman and colleagues.  However, unique to Wake Forest’s program is the inclusion of the dementia patient as a recipient of counseling services.  “We fundamentally believe that clients with mild cognitive impairment (so-called pre-Alzheimer’s disease) and early stage dementia will benefit from psychotherapy,” says Shaw.  The dementia counseling program will have significant educational and research opportunities.  Adams is a clinical intern in the program and even in his first few months observing, co-counseling, and seeing clients, has seen a tremendous diversity of mental health issues as well as opportunities for individual, couple, family, and support group counseling.  Both Adams and Wilkerson are also graduate research assistants funded by the dementia counseling program, analyzing mental health data from a large database started by Dr. Sink three years ago.  “Our intent is to become national and international leaders in gerontological and dementia counseling,” says Clarke.  For further information about the dementia counseling program, contact either Dr. Ed Shaw (eshaw@wakehealth.edu) or  Phil Clarke (clarkepb@wfu.edu).