Internship Program for Music, Occupational, Recreational, and Horticultural Therapy Students

Hospital Location

Catawba Hospital is located in Catawba, Virginia, a rural setting in the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. Catawba is approximately 15 minutes from the city of Roanoke, a metropolitan area with a population of 99,000. Roanoke City lies within the Roanoke Valley, which includes many towns and the cities of Vinton and Salem, and has a combined population of 250,000. The Roanoke Valley has two malls, two civic arenas, a local zoo, several city and county Parks and Recreation Departments, numerous museums, a variety of seasonal festivals and continuous cultural events. Our state parks provide excellent facilities for hiking, swimming and camping. The Roanoke Valley houses the campuses of Roanoke College, Hollins University, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, National College of Business and Technology and Virginia Western Community College. Virginia Tech and Radford University are 45 minutes away.

Clinical Setting

Catawba Hospital is a psychiatric facility operated under the auspices of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. Catawba Hospital is fully accredited by The Joint Commission. Our current census includes adults ages 18 to 64 and geriatric adults 65 and older. Patients are admitted to Catawba primarily for the care and treatment of psychiatric illnesses including, but not limited to psychotic disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective), mood disorders (depressive and bipolar), anxiety disorders, personality disorders, comorbid substance use disorders, maladaptive behaviors associated with varying degrees of intellectual disability and other developmental disabilities.

Clinical Services

The Adjunctive Therapy department is an integral part of engaging patients and assisting them in pursuing mental health recovery. The Adjunctive Therapy team offers treatment that targets the individualized and person-centered needs of the patient population. The Adjunctive therapy team works with other disciplines including Psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Nursing, Psychology, Social Work, and Dietary. Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy services are obtained through a contract with a private rehabilitation agency.

The staff of the Adjunctive Therapy Department consists of six Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, one Registered and Licensed Occupational Therapist, one Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, three Board Certified Music Therapists, one horticulture therapist, two treatment mall coordinators, as well as peer recovery and chaplain services.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services

The adjunctive therapists are involved in the planning and implementation of treatment programs. Each therapist serves as a department liaison on an inter-disciplinary treatment team, and is responsible for authoring treatment plans (in collaboration with team) defining target behaviors, treatment goals, objectives and interventions as well as documenting progress. Each therapist is also responsible for documenting patient assessment and progress as well as communicating treatment issues back to the treatment teams.

Programming Structure

Catawba Hospital currently operates varied treatment programs. The centralized program (treatment mall) provides programming to patients that have stabilized enough to benefit from off unit programming. These include both younger and geriatric adults. Treatment teams review consumer needs and interests and make referrals to groups based on this information. Treatment groups are co-facilitated by Adjunctive Therapy staff and staff from many other disciplines. Included in the treatment mall are a large gymnasium with a stage and closets full of equipment, greenhouse and raised bed and traditional gardens, a sensory garden, and a game room equipped with ping-pong table, pool table, and games cabinets. An exercise room offers a variety of exercise equipment. A fully functional community preparation room is also available for group use, as are a variety of sensory stimulation and special event supplies.

The geriatric program is offered to adults age 65 and older who are experiencing symptoms of dementia and/or chronic mental illness or who are insufficiently stable to attend groups in the active treatment mall. Engagement groups are provided to allow consumers and staff to establish relationships that will increase participant receptiveness to verbal or physical participation in activities.

Modalities include, but are not limited to, activities of daily living, arts & crafts, horticulture, Music Therapy, Recreation Therapy, exercise, reminiscence, sensory stimulation and faith and life.

Group leaders attempt to determine the modalities that elicit positive responses from the participants and use these interventions to help bring about positive changes in behavior and/or improve or maintain cognitive functioning. Groups are generally offered in a low stimulus environment to decrease participant agitation and frustration.

Internship Expectations

The internships at Catawba Hospital are designed to meet the requirements of the certifying/licensing bodies for that specific clinal discipline. Therapeutic Recreation Internship Program at Catawba Hospital is designed to meet the requirements of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. Occupational Therapy fieldwork is designed to meet standards set by the National Board of Certification in Occupational Therapy. Music Therapy field placement is structured based on standards set by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

A thorough hospital orientation is offered, including orientation to our population and their needs and departmental orientation with your internship supervisor. With supervision, students will attend treatment team and department staff meetings, participate in assigned clinical training sessions, complete co-signed progress notes, case presentations, special hospital wide event and other assignments in a conscientious and timely manner.

With time and experience, the student will be expected to progressively assume more responsibility and independence. By the end of the internship the student will have had an opportunity to perform virtually all of the assignments of a CTRS at Catawba Hospital.

Internship Benefits

Adjunctive Therapy students have the opportunity to observe all types of therapy sessions at the beginning of the internship. This allows a student to better understand the structure and purpose of the department. The student will begin co-leading Recreation Therapy sessions as soon as orientation and group observations have been completed (generally by the third week).

Each student will have an assigned supervisor, but will have contact with various other therapists throughout the fieldwork experience. Each student will have exposure to a variety of psychiatric, developmental, medical and social issues in both the adult and geriatric populations.

Housing may be available on the hospital campus. Three meals per day are available at nominal charge in the hospital dining room.

We also welcome students who are interested in shadowing an adjunctive therapist for a day, tour our facility, and attend treatment groups.

Apply for Internship

For further information, please contact:

Recreational Therapy:

Summer Matics, PhD, CTRS-BH
(540) 375-4309

Occupational Therapy:

Faith Cooner, OTR/L
(540) 375-4315

Music Therapy and Volunteer Services:

Shey Dillon, MS, MT-BC
(540) 375-4285


Shelley Barham, HT
(540) 375-4347