There are two major goals of any internship experience; professional growth and personal growth.
An internship experience will support a student’s growth in both knowledge and skill. In working with clients and in working with supervisors, students will learn a great deal about the profession.
This experience is different than previous internships they may have participated in as an undergraduate student. This experience is geared toward increasing the student’s knowledge and skill in their own unique way. Students will learn the practical aspects of the mental health/illness issues discussed and read about in class. The clients they will be working with will not present their problems and issues in a clear, neat manner. Students will learn to assess those issues in ways that can only occur on the job. They will develop the skill to move clients along towards their goals. The actual practice, coupled with the supervision process they will engage in with both an on-site supervisor and a faculty supervisor, will enhance the student’s ability substantially.
There is also a personal growth component of an internship experience. Students will grow intellectually and emotionally. They will learn to think critically, assess logically and reflect clearly. This growth will be apparent in the student’s demeanor, confidence, and approach to their work. This is what future employers look for. They certainly want knowledgeable and skilled employees; however, they also want thoughtful, confident and compassionate colleagues who will enhance the work environment in professional and positive ways.
The clinical mental health counseling program provides an internship handbook to students as they start the internship application process. This handbook covers all aspects of the internship process including objectives, guidelines for the internship experience, supervision, evaluation and how to decide on the right internship placement for students.
The Internship Program provides the student with an approved list of sites to apply to that provide experience with many different populations and settings. Internships settings include forensic, inpatient psychiatric, outpatient settings, outreach and crisis to name a few and include experience with child, adolescent, adult and geriatric clients.
In Massachusetts, the pre-masters internship requirement is as follows:
- 600 total hours.
- 240 of the total hours must be direct client contact.
- Individual Supervision: On average, an intern needs one hour per week of individual supervision. The supervisor must be a licensed mental health professional such as a mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, clinical social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist. The supervisor should have at least five years post-master’s clinical / counseling experience.
- Group Supervision: There is a requirement for group supervision hours. This requirement is met by the faculty supervisor in the internship seminar.
- Other States: Other states may have different requirements. The intern may need additional hours and/or additional supervision to meet requirements in another state.