I intern at a private practice clinic in Lansing, Michigan that has about 8 therapists. I have a combination of both administrative and clinical assignments. In terms of the former, I find and apply for grants, sort files, take care of some day-to-day tasks, and work on paperwork related to patients. In terms of clinical work, I have the opportunity to sit in on some therapy sessions, learn about the theories guiding the work of therapists, and the general methods of helping patients. The combination of these tasks gives me a holistic understanding of what being a therapist entails.
I was drawn to this internship because of my interest in counseling. With high rates of mental illnesses among the population today, I see counseling as an important part of addressing this problem to some degree. Of course, all widespread problems have a systemic foundation, and counseling by its nature can only address the problems of individuals and not the root cause. The root cause of these widespread mental illnesses can be attributed to the underlying economic system of capitalism, which promotes individualism and extreme competition, the natural result of this induced isolation being depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. So, while systemic change is necessary to truly address these underlying problems of society, therapy is an important measure in the interim to help those who suffer the worst consequences brought about by capitalism.
This specific opportunity stood out to me because of its proximity to where I am living over summer and its relevance to my career path. Since I plan on becoming a counselor with a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), this clinic was relevant to my career aspirations, as all the therapists here hold this degree and do similar work to what I plan on doing.