Addicted To Interns
It is a joke within Family Service Association that I am addicted to interns and do not know how to identify that I have had enough. As with most jokes, there is at least some truth to it. I love, love, love working with interns! They come in so full of life, excited, with fresh ideas and ready to save the world! I am reminded of a younger version of myself that shared those same feelings. I still maintain a lot of passion for my work, but it comes in a different form.
Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area provides opportunities for internships for Master’s level Counseling, Psychology, and Social Work degrees. All of these aspiring social service professionals come to FSA looking for ways to advance their skills and put to use some of the information they have been learning in the classroom. It is one thing to talk about what a youth experiencing depression might present like and a whole other to actually work with a youth experiencing depression. These future professionals of our field not only come in and provide services for free, but are still paying some rather hefty tuition rates to have this experience. So, in other words, they are paying to work! You have to appreciate the motivation of one who is willing to do this.
Keeping this in mind, I have always taken the approach with interns that this is their experience and you should get from it what you want. FSA provides a lot of different services from Screening, Assessment, and Support Services (SASS) to Therapy to Mental Health Juvenile Justice to name a few. We encourage our interns to sample each one of our programs and take the opportunity to find what you like and don’t like about working in different areas. One of the things I love about working at FSA is that we are small enough to be flexible. This flexibility comes through in our internships as well. Most people come in thinking they would like to be an Outpatient Therapist. You might find after doing it for a while, that you really prefer the “action” of being in the field doing SASS crisis assessments. One of my biggest goals for each internship at FSA to learn good assessment and treatment planning skills. These are foundational skills for all mental health services. Without these important skills, the rest of what you attempt to do might be compromised. Being young in your career, foundational skills can make or break you.
So, am I addicted to interns? The answer is yes. Despite a workload that I sometimes have trouble managing, I will not give up supervising interns. I benefit from their new ideas, their excitement about the work, and their intelligent questions that make me think each and every day about why I do what I do. Bring on another school year!