My second-year PsyD practicum is at Wheelock College, a program that complements my first-year practicum work at Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s Psychiatry Unit. I went from diagnoses, formal titles, and overhead lighting to psychotherapy, first-name bases, and Bed Bath & Beyond lamps.
When I first started interning here, the idea of engaging in 50-minute psychotherapy sessions intimidated me. What would happen if the client and I ran out of stuff to talk about? I could just imagine it: an awkward pause – I panic… and continue panicking as the awkward pause extends into an awkward minute… after which I frantically blurt out something – anything (“So, um, what’s your favorite candy? Do we really need any more half-hour cop dramas? What are your thoughts on US foreign policy in Libya?”).
Everyone starts out nervous when first performing psychotherapy, but, as a student here, your education, experiences, and personality will smoothly get you through. I’ve been able to recruit knowledge gained through my coursework and past and current practicum trainings – from CBT and motivational-interviewing techniques to psychodynamic and attachment theories – to help foster comfortable, engaging, and productive sessions. Amidst my crazy, hectic schedule, Tuesday is my most hefty-duty day as I tend to have up to seven sessions, but I’m no longer nervous – in fact, sometimes I wish the sessions could be longer than 50 minutes, but I might feel different about that in a couple months or so… I’ll keep you updated!