Sampling Careers at Summer Institute
July 30, 2015
If you were given a week to sample a desired major and connect with professionals in your field, all before coming to college, would you take it? The high school students who attended Drexel’s Exploration in Mental Health Careers hosted by the Behavioral Health Counseling Department certainly did. From June 22 – 26 and July 6 – 10 nearly 30 students made the journey to Drexel to get the inside scoop on all things mental health, and their experiences couldn’t have been more positive.
“I loved the counseling workshop where we practiced skills we learned during the week on one another,” said one student. The counseling skills workshop prepared the students for a more realistic counseling experience in the College’s Standardized Patient Lab that took place later in the week. Students engaged in a simulated counseling session with Standardized Patient actors who served as clients in 15 minute, digitally recorded sessions. Standardized Patients, which are regularly used in College of Nursing and Health Professions programs, gave the students an authentic Drexel experience. “I was caught off guard by how real and challenging the actors were,” remarked another student.
In addition to counseling simulations, Summer Institute guests sampled creative arts therapies techniques and toured two outpatient facilities in Philadelphia: Horizon House and Sobriety Through Out Patient. The tours exposed students to real patients in actual treatment settings and gave insight to the dynamics of outpatient care. Students were also impressed when given the opportunity to meet Jeffrey Wilush, President and CEO of Horizon House, who spoke with them about the services offered at their locations.
The students found it beneficial to meet professionals and clients in actual treatment facilities, but two aspects they found to be the most exciting and innovative were sampling creative art therapies and simulated counseling sessions. “I had no idea what creative arts therapies were before Summer Institute,” recalled one student, “but could definitely see myself doing that in the future.” Another student revealed that learning and practicing basic counseling skills, then seeing those skills used by professionals in treatment settings, was extremely beneficial. “It was interesting to see such a wide variety of illnesses and people at different places [in their treatment]” she said.
At week's end, at the celebratory lunch in downtown Philadelphia, students’ faces were beaming with excitement. The group collectively felt like they learned a lot about the field of behavioral health, had a rewarding academic and professional experience and made many new friends. We hope to see Summer Institute students at Drexel full-time soon!