Author: Maddie Mayhew
Congratulations, you just made your first step toward elevating your life and reaching your counseling goals! Let’s talk about the benefits of working with a clinical intern. First of all, you may ask who are clinical interns? Clinical interns are Master’s level graduate students in clinical mental health counseling or social work programs. Clinical interns are required to not only complete their academic studies, but also train under the supervision of a licensed professional in the field and complete clinical experience hours before they are awarded their degree. This professional training includes working face to face with clients, attending training, passing exams, and documented supervision hours.
Let’s jump into five of the greatest benefits of working with a clinical intern. Clinical interns receive supervision with a clinical supervisor, which means that there are two providers who are invested in your mental healthcare. As will be stated on the confidentiality and privacy agreements you sign before therapy, everything said in session will be confidential, with exceptions being mentioning harming yourself or others, or the abuse of a minor, elderly, or vulnerable adult. The only ones who will be able to view your records, should you choose to work with a clinical intern, are your therapist and their direct supervisor. Your therapist will be able to refer to their licensed supervisor for multiple perspectives and resources.
A second benefit of working with a clinical intern is their up-to-date training. Clinical interns are learning the newest, most effective, and up-to-date evidence-based approaches to therapy. Long-serving therapists also stay up to date on cutting edge resources, but interns have a fresh perspective which may be beneficial to clients. Counseling is an ever-growing field, and clinical interns invest so much of their time learning the most up-to-date information to best serve their clients.
Additionally, there’s the low cost associated with working with a clinical intern. Clinical interns offer a more affordable, reduced sliding-scale fee. Since many private practices don’t accept insurance, having a lower fee per session is beneficial for clients on a budget.
Another benefit of working with a clinical intern is their smaller caseloads. Clinical interns are more likely to have smaller caseloads than their licensed peers. A smaller caseload allows clinical interns the ability to pay close attention to treatment planning for more individualized care. Clinical interns are also less likely to experience burnout.
Last, but certainly not least, availability. Clinical interns are more likely to have more immediate openings and flexible schedules. Having providers with more flexible availability is great for prospective clients who are struggling to find time in their own lives to dedicate to counseling. You may consider working with a clinical intern for a better opportunity of being seen sooner.
Howard, E. M. (2019, March 21). 7 Surprising Advantages of Having an Intern as a Therapist. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/parent-s-guide-children-s-therapy/201903/7-surprising-advantages-having-intern-therapist
Shelton, K., & Hunter, E. (2016). Graduate practicum and internships in college and university counseling centers. The College and University Counseling Manual: Integrating Essential Services Across the Campus, 305.