Joining the Mental Health Army
"My experience with this aspect of the program is one I will never forget. My first experience sitting in on a patient’s session was exciting and educational all at the same time. I was able to sit in on a session in which the patient suffered from selective mutism. Selective mutism is a communicative disorder in which a person, most often a child, who is normally capable of speech, is unable to speak in given situations, or to specific people. Selective mutism often co-exists with social anxiety disorder. From this one session, I was able to witness how a mental health counselor goes about treating a patient of this kind. I took notes the entire session, trying to write down every detail. This was a great experience for me because I had only been able to imagine what a therapy session would be like. I concluded that day; there is only so much a textbook can teach a person. With the field of mental health, I feel sitting in on a session was more informative then reading about it." - Lauren E. Parks Summer 2011/Fall 2011 Intern
The graduate students spend 20 hours a week for two full semesters at the facility. Graduate students are able to work with patients in therapy, evaluate new patients and work hand in hand with the therapists and psychiatrists on treatment plans for patients. A licensed Social worker, who is part of the staff, supervises them. The focus is to see patients and learn the art of being a mental health therapist.
Many interns have expressed what a positive experience it was interning at Freedom From Fear. They feel the experience was educational and that it motivated them to want to pursue a career in the mental health field. Several of the graduate students now work full-time as therapists at Freedom From Fear.
Here are some statements from past interns, expressing their feelings towards the program:
“For me, the most beneficial aspect of interning at Freedom From Fear was learning the interdisciplinary approach to mental health, in which therapists, social workers, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, and psychologists worked together to provide for clients.”
Cassandra Lenza. 2010 Summer Intern