SSW Students Find Success During COVID-19 Internships
Frances Parrish '22 and Cheryl Fromularo '22 reflected on their experience interning in-person at the Austen Riggs Center and its Erikson Institute this spring.
Among their takeaways were the incredible value of observing and participating in team and clinical meetings, the nuance of medical writing and record-keeping, the value of different disciplines working together on patient treatment and the importance of piecing together family histories and conducting psychosocial assessments as a part of clinical work.
"As a non-traditional student, having an opportunity to examine myself and open myself up to just learn and take advantage of whatever Riggs had to offer was new and exciting. Separately, watching COVID unfold, the impact that had on the clinical system, and the challenges it presented for patients and staff was alternately difficult and heartening to witness. Interpersonal relationships are such a necessary focus here and Zoom forced us all to find other ways – people were amazingly perseverant," said Fromularo.
Said Parrish, "being immersed in an organization that emphasizes psychodynamic theory was really valuable; it is not a perspective that is always present in other settings. I also really appreciated getting to work closely with all of the members of the clinical social work team here; they are smart, dedicated, and caring people–it was illuminating to see their different styles, approaches, and perspectives. I’m grateful for all the time and teaching they invested in us."
Austen Riggs Center provides education and training for mental health professionals. It is a therapeutic community, open psychiatric hospital, and center for education and research, promoting resilience and self-direction in adults (18+) with complex psychiatric problems. The Center specializes in the long-term treatment of psychiatric disorders with intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy and a full range of psychiatric services, offered in a completely voluntary continuum of care that includes inpatient, residential, and day treatment programs.