Intern Name: Ellie Riitters
Title/Place of Internship: Undergraduate Intern, CORE Professional Services, P.A.
How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?
I found out about CORE from Dr. Stelzner. I was talking to Steve about my future career interests within Psychology and he pointed me in the direction of Frank Weber who is the Clinical Director at CORE. I talked with Frank, then that led to me gaining a summer internship with CORE.
What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?
At CORE, my responsibilities as an intern were somewhat limited since I do not have a degree yet but I was still able to experience a lot. A typical day included observing group therapy sessions, individual sessions, doing research for Frank, and observing personality assessments. I also was able to read psychological tests to clients who could not read or write.
What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?
The most beneficial aspect of my experience was building a connection with Frank Weber as well as being able to gain experience observing how therapy is conducted with the offender population. I was able to see first hand how working with a difficult population of clients can actually create change, unlike certain stereotypes people hold. Having a connection with Frank has also been very important as I am now applying to graduate schools to become a forensic psychologist like him.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced or learned during your internship/fellowship/etc.?
The most surprising thing that I experienced during my internship was the fact that offenders can heal and change their mindset. Before going into this internship, I was thinking it would be a bunch of men not wanting to change their ideas and were just there because the court ordered them to be. In reality, it was the opposite. Yes, there were men there that did not want to heal, but the number was small. The clients also were not only men. There were women, adolescents, the elderly, etc. I am not in any way condoning the abuse of others, but I just want to emphasize that change is possible.
How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?
In the future, I plan to work with offenders either in a correctional setting, probation, or somewhere else, so being able to get exposure to working with an offender population now has been essential to my future. I can apply different therapeutic tactics that I have learned at CORE to future offender situations because of this experience.
What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?
Even if you have doubts, DO IT! Working with sex offenders or offenders, in general, is very intimidating, but is worthwhile in the long run. You will learn how to handle intense situations, and make connections with professionals along the way. If your future career involves working with offenders, intern at CORE!