By Cierra Karson, Graduate Student Intern, Friends University
The need for mental health services is rising daily and with this there has been an influx of new mental health professionals entering the field. Most states require students earn a certain amount of internship hours before they are able to graduate and receive licensure so you might find yourself with the opportunity to receive therapy from an intern. The thought of receiving therapy from someone who is still a student or has not yet received their license, might make some people nervous. However, there are plenty of benefits to seeing an intern for mental health services.
While a student therapist might not have years of experience, they do have a supervisor (and likely other professors and site mentors) they are always learning from and consulting with. Supervisors have years of experience and training to come alongside a student therapist and be a helpful resource for them. This gives a student therapist a an invaluable resource and a willingness to ask questions and learn more. When you see a student therapist, you essentially get 2+ mental health professionals because the supervisor takes great responsibility for any client the student therapist works with. If there is anything that the intern is unsure about, they get to go to their supervisor about it and receive counsel and resources on how to support the client. Interns also tend to have smaller caseloads ensuring your case gets the attention it deserves. This leads us to the next set of benefits to seeing an intern for mental health services.
With a growth mindset, a student intern also has fresh eyes with clients. They are in the midst of their learning which causes them to look at cases with great attention to detail and care for the clients as they get to apply what they are learning in the classroom. They are less likely to overlook factors that could be unique to each client. They are also less likely to make assumptions or have biases in the therapy room because everything is fresh and new requiring curiosity, research, and care. This provides the opportunity to hold space to the client’s story and support them without making assumptions based on previous experiences. In addition, they are excited to apply the knowledge that they have been spending their time in school gaining and can bring an optimistic energy into the therapy room.
Up to Date Training
Student therapists will have the most up to date training because they are in the midst of extensive learning . All mental health professionals require an amount of continuing education hours to stay up to date on the latest research and treatment but they are not having to relearn old habits. Interns are studying new information for several hours a week; their enthusiasm surrounding the therapy field often leads to an eagerness to read new books or pursue additional training.
Student therapists often offer a much lower rate because they are in an internship. Depending on placement and the level of experience or specialization, the cost of therapy can vary. Utilizing a student therapist can be a resourceful way to get great therapeutic care at a much lower cost. Additionally, a lot of counseling offices currently have a waiting list. Seeing an intern may be the quickest way to receive treatment, where you would otherwise have to wait.
With supervision at their disposal, fresh eyes to hold optimism in the therapy room, and up to date training, a student therapist can be an exceptional and low cost therapeutic support in a time of need. If you believe an intern might be the right fit for you, give us a call and get a free 15 minute consultation with our very own student intern and hear for yourself the benefits to seeing an intern for mental health services.