Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit Internship
Leading into the fall of my senior year, I decided to apply to an internship with the Seattle Children's Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit (PBMU). This is a ten-week long internship, during which participating students get to learn from mental health specialists working at this acute crisis stabilization unit. During the first few weeks, I was primarily an observer, taking notes and asking questions. However, as the weeks went on, we learned to fill out their charting system, use functional analysis, practice emotion coaching, lead mindfulness activities, conduct dialectical behavior skills groups, and to do all of this while first and foremost maintaining children's safety and confidentiality. As this is a crisis stabilization unit, the children who are admitted are often struggling suicidal ideation, self-harm, and/or high levels of aggression in the context of mental illnesses ranging from major depressive disorder to anxiety disorders to disruptive behavior disorder and more. I entered this internship with trepidation, worried that I would find myself in a situation that I wouldn't know how to handle or that the patients and coaches would see me as unqualified to be there. However, as I became comfortable leading the skills groups and interacting with patients, I not only found confidence in myself, but also discovered that I am passionate about developing strengths in clinical work. It has secured for me that my path forward from college will be to pursue a PhD in a child clinical psychology program.
See the slideshow below for a broad overview of the care provided by staff at the PBMU and a couple of my experiences there!