Technology has given clinicians a new way to connect with their clients and this process has allowed many people safe at home to receive necessary mental health care.
When people experience a massive change to their daily lives it can be scary and stressful. According to the World Health Organization, people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fear is something we can all relate to because our lives have changed, we are spending less time with friends and family, we have suffered job loss, we have learned to teach our children at home and in too many cases we have lost loved ones.
An instillation of hope is one thing I can give my clients, as I navigate therapy options in this pandemic. Things are a little different than I expected, but I am still able to get the job done.
I knew I wanted to complete my practicum hours at the Michigan School Psychological Clinic after my interview, April 2020, with Clinic Director Dr. Jim Maher. He expressed the importance of serving the community, and a need to help people alleviate their suffering. His focus was on taking care of the client and teaching his students. The values he discussed resonated with me, and I knew that I could use the knowledge I gained from school to help future clients. Upon learning about the clinic, the year before, I knew this was a place I wanted to work and was very excited to be offered a practicum position.
The clinic is not filled with a myriad of students moving through the hallways. There are less people, and it is quiet in the building. It is necessary to wear a mask and make sure we are six feet apart to stay safe. Didactics and staff meetings are run via Zoom, and I have gotten to know most of my cohort on the computer screen.
However, I am still working with my cohort, gaining experience, and having a chance to learn about multiple therapeutic theories.
The most beneficial part of this process is that I am connecting with my clients and building strong alliances through telehealth. Although I have not met any of my clients in person, I still feel a strong connection and they have been able to meet goals and objectives to help them on their path to healing. I have found that this process has helped me, as much as I am helping my clients.
As I walk through the MSP clinic, I can see what is to come in the building. I imagine a student clinician sitting in a room with their client, a group starting in another room, testing being completed down the hall, and a client sitting in the lobby waiting to be seen. Today, that is not the current picture in the building, but I remain hopeful that we will see that view in MSP clinic soon.