March 28, 2007

1 clinical down....CHECK!

I finished my first psych clinical and not only was it interesting, it was very depressing. I was placed in the peds ward with children from 5-12 years old. I didn't get the chance to view their charts beforehand so I wasn't sure why the kids were even there, but I knew that a lot of them had suffered many kinds of abuse. Mental, emotional and physical. I first noticed there was a lot of structure for these kids. They were to get up, get dressed, have breakfast and then clean and tidy their rooms. Once their rooms were checked for order they were locked up and the kids couldn't return to their bedrooms until late in the afternoon. Their first projects were to write down their goals for the, I will find something posisitve with therapy today or I will try to use my coping skills if I become angry today etc... From there they went into their frist group therapy for the day. My objective was to observe, but to try and communicate with the kids in a therapeutic way. I found it hard to try and have a decent conversation with the kids because a) most of them were really withdrawn and b) they kept them plenty busy all day. THe first group session was about anger management and coping skills. The kids talked about what they feel like when they become angry and they learned that they owned their feelings so the only way they could become angry etc... was if they they allowed themselves to become that way. They learned some excercises for relieving tension such as stretching, deep breathing and other forms of positive coping skills. Then they made stress balls from split peas and balloons. Many kids were receptive, but you could tell others were not. Other therapies throughout the day included games where they would draw their favorite ways to relieve their stress etc... You have to understand that these kids were very disturbed so these games didn't render smiles and raised hands like regular, healthy children. Activities were met with long faces and inward contemplation. I felt very drained being in those therapies and felt a lot of sympathy, which we aren't suppose to do.

One boy of age 6 became so frustrated he decided he was going to yell at the staff and call them some of the most horendous names I've ever heard. He was put in the "time out" room (4 plain concrete walls) to think about what he'd done. He screamed yelled expletives and kicked walls for 45 minutes before his "shot" kicked in and he tuckered out. Sad.....

I tried my best to get a conversation out of atleast one kid, but it was difficult. Many of these kids have trust issues so getting them to open up to me was really hard. Not only was I there to observe but I also have to write an IPR (interpersonal response) as well, so I was doing my best. I can't say I had a great conversation with anyone, but I guess I got enough to write something down. I will write more later when I get a chance.