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COVID-19 Changes to our Internship Program

Given the unprecedented challenges of providing doctoral internship training while in the global COVID-19 pandemic, several changes were made to the internship program with additional adaptations likely necessary over the course of the year. Much of this will hinge on CDC, state, and university guidelines. It is presently unclear what protocols will need to be in place at the start of the 2021-2022 internship year.

While this is a challenging time to be an intern, it is also an opportunity to practice flexibility and to learn things you never expected.

At present, any out-of-state travel requires a subsequent 5-day quarantine. WVU will be testing all employees for COVID-19 prior to starting in-person work. Significant changes to the internship training program are delineated in the categories below.

Telehealth Services

Most services are being provided via telehealth for the foreseeable future. At the beginning of the internship year, interns received specific training on provision of services within a telehealth environment. Our interns began providing telehealth services out of their Carruth Center offices to allow ease of access to senior staff for consultation and support. Over the course of the fall semester, our interns were given opportunity to work from home two days per week. It is essential for interns to have a confidential and secure home environment from which to provide services.

In-Person Services

For the duration of the pandemic, in-person service delivery has been rare and typically only in the event of utilization of crisis or emergency situations. Such services are delivered with appropriate physical distancing and utilization of masks. Interns are unlikely to provide such crisis services independently until after a period of shadowing and co-facilitation. This depends on developmental level of the trainee and supervisory discretion. For any in-person services, strict sanitation protocols will need to be followed by staff and interns. If there is an improvement in the global health crisis, any return to in-person services more broadly will be done in a gradual manner.

Group Therapy Changes

CCPPS group offerings will take place via telehealth with the suspension of interpersonal process groups or trauma-focused group offerings. Primary group offerings are skills groups, psychoeducational groups, and support groups. Our hope is that we will be able to broaden our group offerings later in the year should we be able to resume in-person group treatment.

Triage Changes

CCPPS has suspended typical drop in hours. We instead offer a larger number of scheduled triage appointments. We maintain an in-person Crisis Clinic for higher-risk students who can be seen virtually, or in rare cases, in-person.

LD/ADHD Assessment Changes

Interns have continued to administer learning disability/ADHD assessments throughout the internship year. These evaluations are done in-person with utilization of personal protective equipment (PPE), physical distancing, and sanitation protocols. During periods of increased incidents of COVID-19 cases on campus, we shift to an ADHD screening process which utilizes an abbreviated battery that can be administered remotely. 

Providing Supervision Changes

Supervision provision has remained largely unchanged, although staff has received training on telesupervision and the Supervision of Supervision curriculum has included more emphasis on telesupervision.

Consultation & Outreach Changes

Outreach will be provided primarily in a teleconferencing environment, although there are some outdoor outreach opportunities with appropriate physical distancing. Depending on clinical demand experienced by the center, trainees may have the option for additional outreach opportunities (which count as direct hours) in place of any reduction of individual counseling opportunity.  We have also started providing supportive phone consultations to students in quarantine.

Individual Supervision Changes

Individual supervision is likely to be received primarily in a teleconferencing environment. In some cases, supervision has taken the form of discussion outdoors (only in cases where adequate privacy can be ensured) or in larger rooms with appropriate physical distancing and use of masks.

Seminar Changes

Seminars are provided primarily in a teleconferencing environment. In some cases, it may be feasible for seminars to take the form of discussion outdoors or in larger rooms (e.g. yoga room) with appropriate physical distancing and use of masks.

Staff Meetings/Case Conference/Committee Work Changes

Staff meetings, case conference, and committees are conducted in a teleconferencing environment.

After-Hours/On-Call Changes

After-hours phone coverage will remain largely unchanged. In-person interventions are rarely needed but, if necessary, on-site services will be conducted with PPE and appropriate physical distancing. As is always the case, a supervisor will arrive with you for any in-person emergencies.

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