Introduction: Say a Little about Yourself! {by 5/19}

Yes, this is a bit cheesy, but it’s been awhile and we need to break the ice.  Please answer the following about yourself: (1) Name?  (2) Where did you do your internship (how was it?)?  (3) What has been your most adaptive coping skill during the pandemic?  (4) What are your thoughts about graduating soon, including during the pandemic?

 

Your original post should be posted by 5/19.  Post your two replies no later than 5/21.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

 

*Strong suggestion: Write all your blogs on a separate document.  Then, copy and paste it.  This will make your life easier and less stressful in case something “wacky” happens with technology.

 

*Your first post may not immediately appear on my website.  I have strong spam filters.  So, I may have to approve your first post before it is visible.  I should only have to do this once unless you post in a different name and/or email address.

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Robert Salvucci
    May 17, 2021 @ 14:52:32

    Hi everyone! I’m Robert/Bobby. I did my internship at the substance abuse outpatient center Genesis Counseling in Framingham, where I’m now working as a fee for service clinician. I had and continue to have a very positive experience here. The office feels like a quirky family and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to see and take part in a variety of clinical work. I’ve taken part in running/observing men’s groups, women’s groups, doing intakes, anger management classes, parenting classes, vaping education, drug education and drunk driving programs. I currently run two groups, do intakes, teach the first offender driving program and see several individuals. If all goes according to plan I’ll stay here fee for service along with working full time at an outpatient center following graduation, and eventually have my own private practice while making additional income from creating online content.

    It’s hard for me to pick just one coping skills that stands out as the most useful/adaptive. Perhaps the most useful approach to the change in pace for me was making sure that I planned out part of my days and always set new goals that challenged me. A lot of new habits/lifestyle changes cam out of the pandemic for me, I started cooking more and eating a lot better, I picked up running more seriously, I started livestreaming, I re-decorated a few rooms in our home, the overarching helpful theme I think was planning goal setting, and staying focused n what was in my control rather than what wasn’t.

    I’ll be graduating in the Spring of 2022, at which point it’s looking like things will be normal-ish in terms of the pandemic. I have a mixture of disappointment and gratitude for so much schooling being done online. I’m disappointed because I really enjoy being on campus, meeting people and engaging, and grateful because it’s amazing we were able to continue school at all. I anticipate feeling sad but also excited as graduation nears. I really love being involved in academia and will miss being a student and meeting so many incredible folks, but I also look forward to having more time to focus on my career, hobbies, and personal intellectual pursuits in psychology outside of a formal setting.

    Looking forward to another semester with everyone!

    Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      May 20, 2021 @ 11:26:01

      Hi Bobby! I really like what you said about your adaptive coping skill during the pandemic. I think coming up with daily goals is a great idea to keep yourself motivated and engaged. Especially in the beginning of the pandemic, the days seemed to blend together as it seemed like I was doing the same things every day. And I like how creating new goals for yourself helped to switch up what you did on a day-to-day basis and helped you focus on the things you could do in the present moment to distract you from what was going on the outside. And I also love how you were able to create new habits/lifestyle changes for yourself! Though it wasn’t in the beginning of the pandemic, for lent for Easter, I decided to go vegan and it really opened my eyes to the kinds of foods I’ve been eating and how I can incorporate better foods into my diet while still enjoying the foods I love.

      Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      May 21, 2021 @ 17:15:37

      Hi Bobby! Your internship experience sounds like it was filled with many exciting learning opportunities. I agree that goal setting is a great coping skill to use, especially during the pandemic when we have little control. I know many people have much more free time then they are used to so setting small goals throughout the day can be really beneficial to feel like you are still challenging yourself. I think the pandemic has awarded us the opportunity to find interests and new hobbies we enjoy doing which is a great change of pace. I agree that it is slightly disappointing to not be on campus with everyone, however it was great that we were all able to adapt and continue school virtually.

      Reply

  2. Monica Teeven
    May 18, 2021 @ 09:53:27

    1. Hey everyone! My name is Monica.
    2. I interned at Spectrum Health Systems at the Lincoln Street location in Worcester which is a methadone treatment center. I learned a lot about myself as an individual, as a mental health counselor in training, and the overall mental health field in general. I learned: how to run a group session (it was an anxiety group) and how to manage my time with the caseload I was given (about 24 clients). The other clinicians and supervisors at my site were smart, caring, and hardworking individuals and would assist me whenever I needed help or guidance which I gratefully accepted.
    3. My most adaptive coping skill has been the ability to learn how to give myself some “me time” and not look at my internship email or any schoolwork, at least on Saturday’s and sometimes Sunday’s. My main issue was looking at my internship email daily because there was always something that needed to be done. I learned to take a step back by not checking my internship email because I was aware that I was experiencing some burnout symptoms.
    4. My thoughts on graduating (this is my last semester and I am taking my oral exam in the fall) are mixed. I am excited to be graduating soon and to be able to get a job in the field which will help me reach other goals that I want to focus on in my life. Some of these goals include moving out of my parent’s house and travel (or at least save money to travel until the pandemic subsides). I am not concerned about finding a mental health counselor job in this area (I live in Northborough), but I am a concerned I will not find a job that will allow me to work with the populations I want to work with. I want to be able to work with both adults and children. I am willing to move around the state in order to find a job that meets both of these criteria.

    Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      May 19, 2021 @ 20:27:03

      Hi Monica!

      It’s great to hear that you learned so much from your internship and had such a supportive environment 😊 – that really makes a big difference. Having exposure to both substance abuse and anxiety related clients provides for a lot of opportunity to grow too I imagine.

      I also had to work with how to establish good boundaries and take a break from working during the pandemic. It’s important to notice when we’re feeling overwhelmed and take some time to focus on our own physical and mental health, especially early in our careers.

      Hopefully you find a position that meets your needs! I think we’re lucky in that Mass seems to have a lot of opportunities for mental health professionals. I’m also happy that the pandemic is coming under control for many reasons, one of them being that I’d also love to travel post-graduation.

      I hope you have a pleasant rest of your week/weekend!

      Reply

  3. Melanie Sergel
    May 18, 2021 @ 13:32:47

    Hi everyone, my name is Mel. I completed my internship at the Key Program in their Outreach and Tracking program. This program is designed to assist youth and families in the community. The clinicians at this program only conduct in-home family therapy, so this is what I had done during my internship. If you only have experience with outpatient or residential work, working in the community is a very different aspect/experience. I was very nervous at first to be going into the home to conduct therapy for several reasons, but I was able to grow professionally by stepping out of my comfort zone. I was able to observe my clients home environment firsthand which really helped me gain a better understanding of the behaviors at times. Although I enjoyed this experience and working with families, I do not think I would do home-based therapy again.

    There are multiple adaptive coping skills that I have used during the pandemic. I have spent a lot of time taking my dog out on walks. I have also spent time painting and watching Netflix/movies. I love movies so this has always been my go-to thing to take my mind off of things.

    I am very excited to be graduating soon, this is my last semester and then I take the oral exam in the fall. I really do not have any feelings or thoughts about the idea of graduating during the pandemic as I am just really eager to finish and get a job in the field. It definitely will feel weird as I have been in school for a long time, as most of you have if you did not take a break after undergrad but I am definitely excited to be receiving my degree and taking the next step in my life.

    Reply

    • Monica Teeven
      May 19, 2021 @ 15:48:06

      Mel, I am glad to hear that you had a good experience at your internship! I know it is a bit different, but I can relate in that I did home services with kids, but for kids on the autism spectrum (I used to work in ABA as a Registered Behavior Technician), and working with kids and their families in their homes I know it can be anxiety producing. However, as you said, it allowed you to get out of your comfort zone and grow as a professional. In addition, I can also relate to what you said about taking your dog on a walk and that being one of the coping skills you have used during the pandemic while in grad school. I do not have a dog, but I have 2 cats, and I have found that just being in the same room with them can lower my overall anxiety because I can interact with them throughout the day and am not “alone”. When I am alone for long periods of time, especially during the pandemic, negative thoughts have a higher chance of occurring to me which can lead me to struggle with focusing on the tasks at hand. Having pets has helped me tremendously.

      -Monica

      Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      May 19, 2021 @ 18:26:06

      Hi Mel! I agree that in-home therapy would make me a bit anxious/nervous but I think that is great you were able to grow professionally! I also believe that if I were to begin a career as an in-home based therapist this would challenge me in different ways and take me out of my comfort zone. I also agree that getting outside and taking my dog on a walk has been a coping skills utilized throughout the pandemic. It has been a way not only to get his energy out (that Aussie energy lol) but also gave me time to reflex on myself and differing situations in my life!

      Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      May 20, 2021 @ 11:12:11

      Hi Mel! Even though I was doing outpatient therapy, because clients weren’t able to come to the office, I was able to visit them in their respective homes once we started seeing clients in person again. I can definitely relate to being nervous about doing in-home therapy, but the more I got to know my clients and the more I visited them at their homes, I less nervous I got. It definitely took time to feel comfortable being one-on-one with a client in their own environment, but it definitely helped me get out of my comfort zone more and learn more about them as people by seeing them interact in their own environment. And because of the pandemic, the majority of them had been spending a lot more time at home than ever before, which was interesting to see how that impacted them as well. However, I agree that I am not sure if I would want to do home-based therapy in the future and would prefer to have one location where I could see all of my clients.

      Reply

  4. Shelby Piekarczyk
    May 18, 2021 @ 19:10:44

    Hi everyone!

    1. My name is Shelby Piekarczyk.

    2. I did my internship at Family Services of Central MA. This is an outpatient clinic providing services to various age ranges and disorders. I learned a great deal in my internship including, how to cope/handle telehealth and doing internship during a pandemic, a lot about myself as a clinician, using other clinicians as resources and always asking for help when needed. Internship has taught me a great deal about myself and our profession as a whole.

    3. My most adaptive coping skill has been exercising. Luckily, I have an online platform to do workouts so when the pandemic hit I could continue with my daily workouts. This really helped me deal with stress, along with take this time for myself and my health. Working out has given me an outlet to set goals and continue to see improvements in myself.

    4. I am excited but also nervous about graduating and ending this chapter of my life. I have learned a lot at Assumption so I feel excited/prepared/ready to start my professional career and feel that I have been given the tools to succeed. However, I am a bit nervous to be out in the field as a working professional. The pandemic has also strengthened my nervousness because my Internship was conducted solely via telehealth, therefor I have not completed any in-person therapy sessions. This causes me a bit of stress and concern on how I will handle in-person therapy sessions moving forward.

    Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      May 19, 2021 @ 20:21:00

      Hey Shelby!

      The pandemic definitely presented all of us with a lot of unexpected challenges, I’m happy that you were able to grow and learn from the process. Hopefully doing our internships during the pandemic will translate to more resilience working in the field moving forward.
      I also started exercising a lot more during the pandemic, I got a treadmill and started doing more online video workouts. Glad you’ve seen progress there too!

      A mixture of excitement and nervousness seems to be what many of us experience nearing graduation. It introduces a lot of uncertainty along with opportunity. Personally I’ve found that in person therapy sessions run a lot more smoothly than video sessions. It’s much easier to be engaged with a client and connect with them.

      Have a great rest of your week/weekend!

      Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      May 20, 2021 @ 13:09:08

      Hi Shelby! I am happy to hear how much you learned and grew during your internship. It is interesting to hear other people’s internship experiences and how it helped them gain knowledge for our future careers, especially hearing how you learned to cope with telehealth as I did not have to do much telehealth. It is normal to feel nervous about doing in-person therapy since you have more experience with telehealth but I think you will really enjoy and prefer doing in-person therapy. Like Bobby said, it runs a lot more smoothly and it is easier to engage with the client, you may also feel that it is easier to build those therapeutic relationships with your clients.

      Reply

  5. Jenna Nikolopoulos
    May 18, 2021 @ 22:26:45

    1. Hi guys! My name is Jenna.
    2. I did my internship at Open Sky Community Services in Worcester in their adult (ACCS) division. I really enjoyed the team I was on as everyone was supportive and welcoming. I also really enjoyed the clients I got to work with and the therapeutic relationships I built. I learned a lot about what it is like to work in the field as well as gained some beneficial information in regards to working with clients and completing necessary documentation. I feel like my experience really showed me what my strengths and weaknesses are in terms of my counseling skills and where I need improvement. Fortunately, I was able to experience doing group therapy for a short period of time and was even able to lead the group through a module. Overall, I had a great time working with my other team members and was always given support when needed.
    3. My most adaptive skill has been making sure to remind myself that it is okay to take breaks and do the things that I enjoy doing. I feel like doing online school plus an internship last fall and spring could be really overwhelming at times and occasionally I would feel guilty for taking breaks from my work, either school or internship related, because I wanted to do something for me, but I had so much to do. At some point, I had to take a step back from myself to evaluate the situation and remind myself how important it is to take care of me and doing things for me. Now, I try to do a better job of prioritizing my needs and learning how to balance “me time” with getting my work done.
    4. This is my last semester at Assumption and the thought of graduating soon is kind of scary. I have been a student for so long that the idea of not being in school anymore feels somewhat weird to me. Also, I occasionally wonder if I’m ready for the “real world” and ready to take the next big step. Despite my worries, I am excited to finally be finishing my academic career and am looking forward to what is to come after graduation. I also hope that graduating will allow me to focus on other areas of my life that I haven’t been able to devote as much time to. I am not too worried about finding a job as there seems to be a lot of opportunities available, but am nervous about going through the application process and whether I’ll be able to find a job that really interests me. I would ideally love to work with young adults, but am open to working with other populations as well.

    Reply

    • Monica Teeven
      May 19, 2021 @ 15:49:04

      Jenna, I am glad you had a good internship experience! I can completely relate to you about your concerns about finding a job in the field that really interests you and what population you would ideally like to work with. Another concern I have for people who are going to graduate soon is being faced with the mental health effects related to the pandemic and how it will affect our workload as new mental health counselors. A lot of people need mental health services especially with the pandemic occurring and many of these individuals have been placed on waitlists for months for a mental health counselor. I am worried that I will be placed with a high caseload at the agency I end up working for due to the high demand for services. I also worry about feeling guilty for not taking on clients who want/need mental health services. In addition, I had the same feelings of guilt when I took a break when at my internship since so many clients (not just my assigned clients, other clients at the agency) needed assistance of some sort and deserved to receive that assistance. However, clinicians were not always available to provide assistance in the most timely manner due to a lack of staff and high caseloads.

      -Monica

      Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      May 21, 2021 @ 17:16:12

      Hi Jenna! Your internship experience sounds like it was really great. I agree with you that through my internship I was really able to identify what my strengths and weaknesses were and what I can still improve upon. It’s so cool that you were able to gain experience running groups during your internship. I feel like that was one of my favorite parts about my own internship experience. Also, I agree that taking breaks is a great adaptive coping skill to have. I often find it hard to take breaks when there is always something that I could be doing, but it is definitely important to prioritize yourself and find the right balance. I also have been a student for so long and it will be weird to not be a student anymore. However, I am looking forward to having more free time to do other things that I haven’t been able to prioritize.

      Reply

  6. Madison Armstrong
    May 19, 2021 @ 11:22:22

    Hi everyone, my name is Madi. My internship was with Community Impact in Milford, MA. My internship experience was great, and I feel as though I have learned so much. It has been great to be able to apply what I have learned in graduate school thus far to real life situations with clients. During my internship I have worked with children, adolescents, and their caregivers and I was able to meet with these clients either virtually or at the office. The other staff there are helpful and knowledgeable of the field and have helped guide me throughout my internship experience. I was able to help co-facilitate and develop various age ranges of anxiety groups which was one of the highlights of my internship experience.

    My most adaptive coping skills that I have used during the pandemic is practicing mindfulness more frequently. During this time, especially at the beginning of the pandemic this coping skill has helped ease some of the stress. For me, taking a minute to ground myself, breathe, and focus on the present moment has been beneficial.

    This is summer will be my last semester of classes and I will take the oral exam in the fall. Thinking of graduating soon is surreal to me. Only having taken the summer off between undergraduate and graduate school I think it will be rewarding to no longer have assignments to complete and be officially done with school. I am definitely looking forward to have more free time to devote to self-care, hobbies, family, and friends more frequently. I am excited to begin working more in the field and continuing to learn.

    Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      May 19, 2021 @ 18:23:02

      Madi! I agree completely that self-care will be great after graduation and being able to spend much needed time with loved ones. I can only imagine (because I did not do this, I took a couple years off) how intense it must have been to start graduate school right after undergraduate. I also think that your internship experience sounded amazing and being able to co-facilitate anxiety groups is very rewarding! Lastly, I agree that mindfulness and taking time to be in the present moment has been a positive coping skill used throughout the pandemic, especially during heightened stressful situations!

      Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      May 20, 2021 @ 13:01:57

      Hi Madi! I definitely think it is important to focus on the present moment, especially during the pandemic as it could cause a lot of stress to think about the future, especially as we did not know how this was all going to affect us. I also started graduate school the summer after undergraduate and I think that has definitely made me more excited to be so close to the finish line. I can definitely agree with you about how it will feel to not have assignments and be able to have more free time to ourselves for self-care and other fun activities.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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