Improving Lives Since 1984
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FFF Internship Program

Joining the Mental Health Army

 
Since the year 2000, Freedom From Fear has opened their doors to more than 100 students studying for careers within the mental health field. Both undergraduate and graduate students are able to participate in the program. Some institutions that undergraduate students have come from are St. John's University, Wagner College, College of Staten Island, New Jersey City University and several others. Graduate students from Pace University, Wagner College, Brooklyn College, Post University, Rutgers, Caldwell College to name a few, have also participated. Each intern is able to gain hours and credits through their school while interning at Freedom from Fear.
 
Mary Guardino, Founder and Executive Director of Freedom From Fear, lets each individual intern that comes  to the facility know that they are about to join the mental health army. They will have the opportunity to be trained to be soldiers in the fight to bring light to mental illnesses and become advocates for those suffering with mental illnesses. In addition, interns are trained in understanding the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses and how to dispel myths regarding them. Mary always reminds interns that mental illnesses are medical conditions just like diabetes or heart disease.
 
The program varies depending if the interns are undergraduate or graduate students.   Each individual is afforded the opportunity to have hands on experience working in an active mental health facility. Undergraduate interns typically spend 10 hours a week within the facility per semester. Some duties of undergraduates include filing, making appointments and writing articles for Freedom From Fear’s website. Students also get a chance to work on different advocacy projects such as Mental Health Wellness Week. The most exciting and interesting part of the internship is getting the opportunity to sit in on sessions with the mental health professionals who work at the treatment center at Freedom From Fear. These include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and mental health counselors.


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.

 If you are interested in joining our internship program, please do the following:

  • State whether you are an undergraduate student or a graduate student
  • State what school you currently attend
  • If you are a graduate student, state the program you are currently in
  • State the line of work you are interested in pursuing, what you want to specialize in
  • Provide us with the time period you would like to intern
  • Send an updated resume

All of this information is to be sent to Mary Guardino (Founder/Executive Director) at maryfff@aol.com. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Mary at 718-351-1717 x. 20.


Hello, my name is Lauren and I am currently a second year graduate student at Baruch College where I am working towards my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. I was fortunate enough to be accepted at Freedom From Fear for my internship placement this past Fall and my experience has been an extremely positive one thus far. I am truly enjoying all of the learning opportunities that this organization has to offer. What interests me the most about Freedom From Fear is the vast population of individuals who seek out mental health services.

The opportunity to be able to work with such a diverse and challenging population on a daily basis has been both rewarding and challenging at the same time. This experience so far has allowed me to gain the expertise and confidence I will need to be the best counselor I can be.  One important reason as to why I have chosen to become a Mental Health Counselor is to end the stigma that comes along with having a mental illness. Also, to be given the opportunity to shed some light onto others about the importance of mental health services for everyone in need.

My journey in training to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) has been an enthralling one. Interning at Freedom From Fear has helped navigate me towards my goals in becoming a CMHC. After graduating with my Master’s in CMHC and completing my internship hours, I plan to work with adolescents and young adults in my career. While interning here, I have worked with several adolescences and young adults. Eventually my primary goal will be to work with adolescents and young adults suffering from eating disorders. Living in a world that revolves around objectification has notably increased the number of women and men living with eating disorders in the past several years, which is why I have become so passionate about helping others with this. I have gained a lot of experience and insight from interning at Freedom From Fear that will shape me into the best clinician I can be.

-Alexa, Graduate Intern, 2015-2016

 

 
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.
 

 “Over the course of three months, I was able to meet and interact with many interesting patients with various mental health conditions. I was able to interact with an amazing staff consisting of social workers, mental health counselors, and psychiatrists….I appreciate the staff including Mary Guardino, the founder, and the excellent psychiatrists and therapists who helped me along the way and I hope our paths cross again”
Danielle Caputo.
 
“My experience at Freedom From Fear exceeded my expectations. Writing articles for the website on various mental disorders has allowed me to acquire knowledge while also educating others. Once a week, I was allowed to sit in on sessions with consent of the patients. I witnessed the application of cognitive behavioral therapy and gained a perspective on how therapy can motivate a person to heal”
Rachel Fisch.