Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shelter Intern works on the Hotline

As a senior Psychology major at George Mason University, I enrolled in a service-learning course, a class that combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. As a student in a service-learning course, the experience is intended to focus organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing my academic skills, sense of civic responsibility, and commitment to the community. After graduation in May, I plan to pursue a graduate program in Clinical Psychology. With this goal in mind, hands-on, relevant internships are a difficult find, but working here at Alternative House has given me more learning opportunities and experiences than I could have imagined!
I chose the Alternative House for a multitude of reasons, including the chance to work with a different population of youth than I had previously. In addition to simply observing the on-goings at a residential facility, this internship has allowed me to assist the primary counselors run group education discussions. One of my favorite experiences, facilitating “Group” ties directly to my course work at school in my Therapeutic Communication, Group Psychotherapy, and Counseling Psychology classes.
A unique aspect of working at AH has been the Hotline process- both training for and documenting. The 24-hour crisis line is not a service that all facilities provide, therefore it has been an added beneficial experience to learn and become comfortable with. Not only does it enhance my skills that can be used in the future for one-on-one counseling, but it exposes me to one more aspect of this extensive field.
The hands-on training and experience has helped me to begin narrowing down my desired career concentration. Furthermore, I have learned a great deal from simply interacting with both the youth and the staff. The opportunity to ask practiced-staff questions about their jobs, practices, and experiences has been invaluable and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. In fact, since my internship course ended in early December, I have continued to volunteer twice a week!

Teal Dye
George Mason University

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