Licensed psychologist Lara Friedrich is Editor-in-Chief of the Time2Track Blog. She holds adjunct appointments as an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and as a clinical supervisor at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University. Dr. Friedrich lives in New York City, where she has a private practice. To learn more about her, visit http://www.drlarafriedrich.com
Hospitals are their own worlds, and psychiatric units even more so. Most of us don’t know much of what happens in these mysterious places, leaving us to pop culture and our own imaginations to try to figure it out.
For example, will these units be like Girl, Interrupted, or look like one of Carrie Mathison’s hospital stays on Homeland?
Psychiatric units are generally locked, but you, dear reader, have the keys – and you’re headed in. Here are six tips they don’t teach you in school.
I went to graduate school in a large city, and I was lucky to have over a dozen hospital sites to apply to once I knew I wanted inpatient experience. The problem was that I didn’t realize how much variation existed within the world of hospital training.
Knowing what kind of hospital you’re applying to will help you focus your cover letters, know what you’re walking into on interviews, and pick the site that best fits with the experiences you want.
While you’ll probably want to cast a wide hospital net when you apply for practicum, in the jumble of names that invariably include terms like “behavioral,” “psychiatric,” “center,” “health,” and “hospital,” it’s important to know what you’re headed for. Applying to the nearest Psychiatric Behavioral Health and Hospital Center is meaningless, unless you know what type of hospital it is.
So here’s a brief primer to help you find your way, along with some questions to guide you.
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