Student Spotlight: Psychology major’s internship gives her life-changing experience

By Dominique Vinas

Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and drug addiction are just some of the emotional and physical battles that are seen at Bridgeway Partial Care in Elizabeth, NJ, on a daily basis.

Partial care is a day program from nine to three, Monday to Friday that was designed specifically for people with mental illnesses.

Marcia Calle, psychology and psychiatric rehabilitation major at both Kean University and Rutgers University has been given the privilege to put her skills to practice at this program.

She is now enrolled in a six-credit class called “Practicum 1/11” that came along with this internship opportunity. Between the
two universities, she takes both psychiatric rehab classes and psychology courses.

“So far this has been a great experience,” said Calle. “Because I get to help people with certain disorders learn ways to cope with their issues, but at the same time they teach me more about the field, as well as myself.”

Recordings with members about certain issues at Bridgeway, along with counseling reflective responses, are just some of the tasks that are given to Calle that bring the skills she learns from her courses to life.

“This spring semester, I have two focus members who I work with one-on-one weekly to establish a recovery plan that helps each patient achieve their individual goals,” said Calle.

Calle has a busy schedule this spring. Taking on 18 credits can be quite stressful for her at times, but when she is at Bridgeway, it is rewarding to know that she is touching and changing people’s lives every day.

Calle is learning more about her field than she ever would have known before. Its one thing to learn from textbooks, but it’s a totally different ball game when you’re dealing with real-life situations.

“A typical day at my internship consists of morning meetings with members and their counselors, about 15 per unit,” said Calle, who is all about hands-on experience.
This is where they discuss any questions the members have, and/or concerns that the counselors may have regarding the patients.

“It’s vital that as a team we establish a personal goal for the day for each member,” said Calle.

There is no set criterion for the type of goal a patient has to have. It can be very little or big. Every member is different with regards to personality, disorders, and situations. Some goals consist of staying in groups, smoking less, or even just making someone else smile.

“It’s always a good day when a goal is accomplished.” said Calle.

One exciting thing that Bridgeway has to offer is their wellness unit, where they run different groups such as exercising, healthy eating, budgeting and hygiene.
Calle expressed how amazing it is that even these people with mental illness still have drive to succeed, and she feels proud to be a part of their motivation and success.

“One very awesome fun fact is we actually have a group of members who want to go to culinary school and actually make the food here at Bridgeway daily,” said Calle.

This internship means a lot to her, because she gets hands-on experience as a counselor, which is something she aspires to do after graduation. The best thing to her is the fact that she gets to help these members better their lives.

“I learn from them everyday,” said Calle, “and these experiences will help me be a much more effective counselor in the future.”


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