Summer time as a Clinical Mental Health practicum II student has been very busy and fun! I committed to a year at Veterans Village of San Diego, so I decided to get started now so that I will fulfill my commitment at the same time I graduate the program (Final year! Yay!!!). I am counseling 3 to 5 individual clients weekly and co-facilitating a process group. This has been a very hands on experience! My clients are all homeless veterans who have either an alcohol or drug addiction problem and live on campus at VVSD. Each client comes in for counseling with different issues; I have already had issues ranging from sexual abuse to anger management. For each client, I assess their needs through a comprehensive assessment (including risk assessment), create a treatment plan based on their goals and use interventions learned throughout my education and experiences to give each client the best care possible.
All practicum students write up case notes and have heavy individual and group supervision so that they can discuss their own feelings and each case. These cases are so complicated; sharing them with a group of colleagues and supervisors helps get different opinions on what is going on and ways to help the clients. This summer is a glimpse into what working as a mental health counselor is really like, which is helpful when thinking about applying for jobs after graduation. As the incoming cohort starts the program, I recommend they look at the different practicum sites available to see which ones interest them and start thinking about what populations they would like to work with in the future!