In early February, our Scholars attended a session focused on career pathways in mental health care. They met with Dr. Portia Pieterse, a Clinical Psychologist, Virginia Gutman,Clinic Coordinator for the Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic, and a Licensed Social Worker and 4th year psychiatry resident, Dr. Tri Tran. Ms. Gutman also serves as a mentor to one of our Albany Scholars.
We learned how mental health issues are treated with a combination of medicines, therapies, and community resources.
The session was hands-on, with Scholars testing their art skills by drawing their current emotional state and practicing therapeutic mindfulness with bubbles. Perhaps the most important lesson learned was the importance of having chocolate present during psychotherapy sessions (as Dr. Pieterse promotes with her patients!).
The students left the session with stress balls, a greater understanding of the link between mental and physical health, and valuable insights into the range of mental health professionals.