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Why Work With An Intern Therapist?

Written by Talisa Haskins, Practice Director & Registered Psychotherapist

 

Therapy can be a powerful tool for personal growth, emotional health, self-discovery and for those experiencing mental health struggles or diagnosis. When seeking a therapist it can be overwhelming to decipher the types and qualifications of the therapists you find. At our practice, all therapists have completed a minimum of a Masters level education. This means that everyone completed a 4 year bachelor degree, and a 2 (ish) year masters program. There are two basic differentiations between therapist types; intern or non-intern. Non-interns are individuals who have completed their masters degree program. Interns are still students who have completed the theoretical portion of their degree and are actively completing the practical requirements. Essentially interns are therapists who are just in the beginning of their careers.



Making the selection of who to work with can be difficult at times and be a source of uncertainty for many. In the journal entry, we hope to demystify this process while exploring the pros and cons of working with an intern.


Of course when we make an informed decision we need to evaluate both the positives and negatives (or pros and cons).


Let’s Start with ...


The Cons of Working With an Intern Therapist:


  1. As intern therapists are still completing their degree requirements, they do have limited experience. They may not have encountered all the possible clinical situations and may not be skilled in extreme niche or unique issues.

  2. With any new experiences, comes inevitable mistakes! Although, it is important to remember that interns are the most closely supervised professionals and even a licensed therapist is human!

  3. As interns are completing part of their academic commitments and training, they may have limited availability. Many intern therapists are only with their placement site for 8 months to a year. We understand that the therapeutic relationship is such a valuable one, and committing to work with someone that has only limited time available means potentially starting over with someone new. Our clients in the Affordable Therapy Program are guaranteed a spot with a new intern once their therapist has graduated. What we love about this, is that every therapist has a unique worldview and experience which provides clients with the opportunity to learn and grow from many different therapists.


Pros of Working With an Intern Therapist:


  1. Cost Effective: Our intern therapists work exclusively within the Affordable Therapy and Drop-In Therapy programs, offering care at half the cost of a fully qualified therapist. This can provide accessibility to individuals who may have financial constraints or limits insurance coverages

  2. Research has shown that intern therapists have very fresh and open perspectives. When beginning their careers, intern therapists have up-to-date knowledge on therapeutic techniques and theories. What they lack in clinical experience, they surely make up for with their eager attitudes and fresh education. The more experienced a therapist, the farther away they are from their formal education (which can be both good and bad). An intern therapist who is learning to support their clients is actively seeking consultation and instruction which can result in new perspectives and creative solutions.

  3. All interns and legally and ethically working under a supervisor. This means that you are not only benefiting from the intern therapist expertise but also from the guidance and oversight of a second seasoned professional. This dual approach can provide safety and support. As an added bonus, our interns learn from all of our therapists throughout their experience. It takes a village to raise a therapist…. Well that’s not actually how the saying goes, but that is what we believe!

  4. Research has shown that intern therapists may bring an extra level of compassion and empathy into their session. They are actively learning about the challenges and struggles clients face, oftentimes they are also very eager to learn and be more open to feedback and working collaboratively with their client.

What we hope to make clear to all of our clients, whether they are reading this or consulting with our Care Coordinator, is that every intern is thoroughly supported. Our team works collaboratively to ensure our clients receive the highest level of care possible. Our interns seek regular supervision and peer support from experienced therapists. They also maintain professional support through their instructors at their educational institution while in their internship. And of course client input is also an invaluable part of the interns’ learning process and we welcome your feedback!


 

Talisa is not currently accepting new clients.

To be put on the waiting list, please email info@thejourneycounselling.com

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