As people explore new ways of working and using technology, telehealth services are quickly becoming the norm for many counseling practices. In March, The Barry Robinson Center (BRC) successfully moved its intensive outpatient program (IOP) adolescent substance use groups to telehealth.
The move, in response to the global pandemic, enables BRC to continue providing essential services to clients. Two BRC clinicians work with these groups. They’ve adapted an in-person group model to a secure online platform. This means they can support teens during a socially distant situation that’s especially challenging for people dealing with substance use issues.
Kalie Iacobucci, adolescent IOP group facilitator, joined BRC late in 2019.
“I wanted to work in substance use because I’ve always wanted to advocate for the people that society seems to ignore or toss away,” Iacobucci said. “I began working in substance use six years ago with pregnant women, and that solidified my goal.”
Iacobucci earned bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Human Services with a focus in addiction treatment from Old Dominion University. She’s found a niche in BRC’s program.
“I enjoy working with IOP because it allows me to work with our most vulnerable population—teens. We have some really amazing and resilient kiddos,” she said. “The transition to telehealth was relatively smooth. I think because the kids already use technology so often, it wasn’t a difficult transition for them.”
Selwa Yatim-Badra agrees the move to telehealth has gone well, especially in light of program adjustments.
“We’re unable to do some things, such as journaling and responding to those journals,” she explained. “But considering the circumstances, I’m really glad we have this option because the kids are struggling with the quarantine, and we are able to be there for them.”
Yatim-Badra recently joined BRC as a fulltime substance use clinician. She previously worked as coordinator for Community Based Services, which includes both IOP and Foster Care. From there, she transitioned to an internship placement in the IOP program as part of her master’s degree in Social Work program at Norfolk State University. She completed the internship requirements earlier this year.
“I really enjoy working with the adolescents. I look forward to speaking with them, especially after we’ve established a good rapport with each other,” she said. “A lot of teenagers have a difficult time trusting adults, and I always try to be someone they know they can rely on not only for support but also for guidance and honesty.”
Learn more about the outpatient substance use program at BRC.