Through the Gil Internship, I have spent the semester working as a Clinical Intern at Veritas Collaborative, a treatment offering care to children and adolescents with eating disorders. My role as an intern has been somewhat unique to that of my fellow interns, as I am not working on a specific project in my time at Veritas. Instead, I have spent my time trying to become familiar with the experience in the holistic nature of eating disorder treatment. Eating disorders can be a difficult mental illness to treat because they impact the patient both physically and mentally. In line with their mission of providing best-practice care, Veritas uses a multidisciplinary approach in providing treatment to their patients. As a result of the dynamic nature of eating disorder treatment, my role as an intern tends to be dynamic as well. Over the past few weeks with Veritas, I have gone through multiple trainings, attended a day-long symposium, observed various therapy groups on both the Inpatient and Residential Unit and the Partial Hospitalization Unit, and have eaten several meals with the patients.
I feel as though the opportunity to work at Veritas has been especially invaluable as I entered my final year at Carolina. In my time at UNC, I have developed a solid knowledge base of eating disorders and other mental health conditions through my classes in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, as well as through my participation as an undergraduate research assistant in the Bardone-Cone lab for the past couple of years. There is a vast difference between learning about eating disorders in class or interacting with participants in a research setting and actually working with patients as they receive treatment for their eating disorder. Getting out of the classroom and the lab and into the field at Veritas has greatly deepened my understanding eating disorders, and just how persistent and debilitating of an illness they can be.
Working at Veritas has also allowed me to assess my post-graduation goals. As a senior, I have been constantly turning over in my head what it is that I want to do when I graduate. Throughout my undergraduate career, most of my mentors have been those with PHDs in Clinical Psychology. The staff at Veritas is made up of professionals with many different degrees, and in talking with them I have begun to think about other routes that I could take towards my professional goals. I have always had a strong interest in advocacy work and social justice issues, and my favorite thing about Veritas is that all of their employees are not only passionate about providing the best care within the walls of their facility, but also advocate for better treatment for all mental illnesses across the country. My internship has allowed me to see that my hopes of someday being a researcher, a clinician, and an advocate are all within reach, and I have found many people who are doing just that in their work at Veritas.
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