A Postcard From: Ashley Macina ’17

img_2405Name: Ashley Macina

Year: 2017

Major: Psychology & Religion

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

This summer, I have the pleasure of helping with clinical research at the Center for Family Intervention Science (CFIS) at Drexel University. I start my day by commuting to 30th Street Station amidst the hustle and bustle of the workweek mornings. These mornings are exciting, fast-paced, and yet worthwhile as I think about the day that’s ahead of me. CFIS is a therapeutic space, as well as a research center for depressed adolescents, especially with co-occurring symptoms of suicidality, trauma, and substance abuse. CFIS is currently running an adherence study under the direction of Dr. Guy Diamond. Adherence studies typically measure what happens in routine clinical practice, so specific themes of therapy are brought about when measuring adherence. One of the main models of therapy at CFIS is called attachment-based family therapy, which looks to reattach adolescents with their caregivers in an attempt to solve/improve psychological conditions. As a research assistant, I get to watch many therapy sessions, and learn about how research and practice are implemented in a clinical setting. Although I have just started this in-depth journey of clinical research, I am excited to see where this experience will take me. For example, I will learn how to manage and analyze data, and hopefully improve my writing skills in the field.

Throughout each of the therapy sessions I have observed, what strikes me most is seeing the crossroads of research and therapy, and how therapeutic spaces are improved through such study/research. Each of the therapists shows such compassion for their clients, but they also do it within a structured therapy framework. It also amazes me how each is able to connect with their clients and their families on such vulnerable topics and attachment ruptures. The success in the reattachment of family systems through this therapy seems very rewarding to me. The lifelong work of the researchers at CFIS inspires me every time I walk into work, and that’s all I can ask for!