Highlight on Bay Area Psychotherapy Training Institute (BAPTI) Marie Hopper, LMFT, Clinical Director BAPTI

December 08, 2012 1:40 AM | Admin EBCAMFT
Next year, in April 2013 the Bay Area Psychotherapy Training Institute (or BAPTI) will be celebrating 20 years as a counseling and training center. BAPTI was founded in 1993 with the intent of providing moderate fee counseling services to the Lamorinda and greater Contra Costa County community while also educating and mentoring mental health professionals interested in starting a private practice. This mission for BAPTI has not changed over the years, and we are excited to be celebrating its accomplishments while also preparing for its next 20 years.

In the fall of 1992 Dr. Robert Marino began discussing his vision for BAPTI with a colleague, Margaret de Petra.  The ideas that developed--gathering top notch clinicians in various specialities and establishing a training program for MFT interns and Ph.D post doctorial students, soon came together, and in April 1993 the first offices were opened in Lafayette.  Within a few months, a local psychologist, Dr. Beth Ferree, joined Margaret and Bob as a partner and immediately joined in the implementation of the intern training component.  Margaret and Beth served as BAPTI’s first directors and Bob became Board President. But BAPTI has been much more than just a counseling center.  It is, and has been a collective of private practice clinicians who have taken to heart the idea that if they support each other, and share their skills they could both enjoy their work more deeply and serve their clients more effectively. This larger group of licensed clinicians came to be known as ‘MDF’ (for Marino, dePetra & Ferree)

The community grew quickly.  Many interns who completed the BAPTI program elected to remain involved after they became licensed by becoming members of the board of directors, supervisors in the program, or by offering training or other skills to the newest class of interns. BAPTI and the clinicians associated with it have gone from four offices in one suite 20 years ago, to four suites shared by over 30 clinicians today.

Currently, BAPTI interns collectively see between 50 and 60 clients a week with a client population ranging from children to adults in individual, couples or family sessions.  Some interns work from a CBT perspective, some from a psychodynamic perspective.  Others are developing specializations in trauma and EMDR. Working with couples from an attachment perspective is a growing interest for many, as is mindfulness and using ACT.  This holiday season BAPTI is offering a ‘Holiday Support Group’ on Thursday nights for clients that need extra support during the holiday, and to help provide coverage for therapists on vacation.  Interns come into the program with a variety of previous experiences, but all share the interest of becoming strong licensed clinicians who can survive in the private practice sector.

Over the years a wealth of diverse perspectives have developed among the BAPTI and MDF clinicians.  By having seasoned MFT’s, Psychologists and LCSW’s with a variety of specializations involved in supporting BAPTI, the interns have the ability to consult on a wide range of topics whenever they like.  All of the MDF clinicians offer consultation to the interns, so interns are able to more easily educate themselves on a given topic whenever necessary for a specific case.  In building this supportive and skilled resource for the interns, they are able to provide clients needing a sliding scale a good option for mental health services.  

Clients come from many sections of Contra Costa and Alameda counties for services, and have enjoyed the ability to continue working with their clinician after he or she has become licensed.  One of the unique aspects of the BAPTI training program is that it also allows interns to build their client base while in the program, and then take clients when they leave. This has been a critical piece for many newly licensed clinicians graduating from BAPTI so that once they are on their own they have the clients necessary to open their private practice.  Services for the client are therefore uninterrupted by the licensing process.

As BAPTI enters the new year we are reflecting on what has been our history, and what we hope will be our future.  In this complex era, when mental health services are needed more and more, but are unaffordable to many, we hope to continue to provide an alternative solution.  We know we share the goal of excellent patient care with those of you who also work in the mental health field.  And, in the spirit of supporting everyone in this larger community of care providers, we wish you all a very happy new year.

BAPTI's intake line is 925-284-2298. BAPTI is located at 3468 Mt. Diablo Blvd #B201, Lafayette, CA 94549. Marie Hopper can be reached at 510-919-1110.

Marie Hopper, LMFT is the clinical director for BAPTI.  In addition to working at BAPTI, Marie has a private practice with offices in Lafayette and in El Cerrito.  She specializes in working with couples, parenting issues, and young adults. She also enjoys running women's support groups.

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