Shannon is a graduate level counseling student enrolled in practicum at a community mental health agency. Shannon is in a state where there is an increasing rate of cases of COVID-19 infections and therefore the governor has instituted a number of policies, such as social distancing, mask mandates, and only essential activities being in person. This means the community mental health agency is required to limit in person activities to essential needs. Shannon is relieved to learn that her site and program are allowing her to work with clients remotely.
The site does not provide training regarding the chosen platform, simply telling their workers and interns that there is a how-to video on the company’s website. She quickly proceeds to engage her clients online in an effort to ensure she reaches the required number of direct hours for the semester. She soon encounters a number of issues. First, she shares a loft apartment with two other students. She does not have her own space and lacks privacy. On several occasions her roommates have entered while she is in session with a client. Additionally, she has “spotty” internet service in her area of town. This has resulted in dropped calls, freezes and other interruptions that have become a source of frustration for both her and her clients. Finally, Shannon has learned that she feels very uncomfortable doing counseling this way. It is very different from what she has practiced in roleplays. Due to not being at her site physically, she does not have any in-person support. While she does meet with her university faculty once a week for group supervision, she is expected to rely on her site supervisor for more clinical issues. However, all supervision is done virtually and she feels like her site supervisor is “distant” and they have missed a couple of their meetings together.
Shannon realizes she is in over her head but is unsure how to proceed.