Intern Name: Valcia McGann
Intern Title: Psychology Intern at CORE Professional Services
How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process?
I actually found out about this opportunity through the Career Services/Internship website! I searched for internships by major and looked in the Psychology section for internships that were done in the past and which ones I thought would best fit my goals. To apply, I submitted a cover letter and resume, and then later had an interview with the Clinical Director of the organization.
What are some of the highlights?
It was exciting to be in a clinical setting and see how psychology is practiced first-hand, especially because this is the type of environment I would like to work in! I had the opportunity to observe individual, couples, family, and group therapy sessions. I also benefited from being able to work with other interns and learn from their experiences as well. In addition, I met with clients on an individual basis to provide assistance with group assignments from a treatment workbook. I loved being able to actually apply the concepts I have learned from my classes and the techniques I have observed from therapists during my sessions with clients!
What was a "typical day" like? What were some of your major responsibilities?
At the start of the internship, I mostly observed therapy sessions in order to gain a better understanding of the techniques used and how things are done in the organization. I also observed some of the graduate level interns in their sessions to learn more about what I would be doing. After a few weeks, I felt ready to start conducting my own sessions and took on the challenge. Soon I began doing a combination of observing therapy and conducting my own sessions. A few other responsibilities included completing progress notes for observed sessions as well as each session provided. On Fridays, we had group supervision with all the other interns (mostly graduate levels), the Clinical Director and sometimes a few other therapists. We got trained on new developments in psychology, including assessments and therapy techniques. We also discussed our "most challenging" client/case with the group and received feedback on how to best proceed with the client/case.
What were some of the challenges of your internship?
One of the challenges of my internship included some ethical issues that may typically come up while working individually with clients in mental health. Luckily, I was able to clarify these issues with my supervisor, faculty moderator and other therapists when needed. This challenge also helped me learn to trust and use my own judgment when ethical issues are presented with clients.
What did you learn?
One of the biggest things I have learned is to be determined and go after my goals. This internship was competitive and usually offered to graduate level students because of the level of direct interaction with clients. However, I knew that direct interaction with clients and observation of therapy was exactly what I needed to solidify my interest in this field! I had to go after the experience I needed, and that is exactly what I did. I have also learned to be confident in the knowledge and skills that have been provided to me through my education at CSB/SJU, as I have found them to be very valuable when applied to my field of interest. It is rewarding to learn that you can help make a difference in someone's life, even as an intern. I also learned that I enjoy working in the helping professions and that this is something I could see myself doing as a career.
What advice would you give other students interested in internships?
Be sure to make use of the resources and opportunities offered to us as students at CSB/SJU! I cannot emphasize how valuable an internship experience is! Utilize the Career Services' website as well as the Internship Office. Try to do more than one internship if you can, and start your research early! It is a great way for you to utilize what you have learned in class and apply it to hands-on experience. It is also a great way to learn more about your field of interest (or something you always wanted to do) while gaining experience, and it can perhaps help to solidify your career choice. Always remember to have an open mind and be willing to try new experiences. Work hard, be creative and don't be afraid to go after your goals!