What do clinicians Victoria Bukey, Molly Clark, Jessica Hauck, Kerry McCann, Laura Munoz-Torres, and Fernando Vasquez have in common? They all got their start with the Mental Health Counseling Program at Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB) through our graduate internship program. Together, they represent more than half of our staff!
“We’re very proud of the opportunities we provide through our internship program to learn about counseling and social work,” said Staela Keegan, MSW (Master of Social Work), LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), LCADC (Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor), and Clinical Director at NFSB. “All interns at NFSB receive real-world clinical experience, which includes everything from evaluating clients for outpatient treatment to providing therapy.”
How Our Internship Program Works
NFSB interns already have an undergraduate degree in a related field such as social work or psychology and are enrolled in a graduate program. Most schools offer a field placement course, which covers clinical obligations and regulations, while hands-on experience is gained through an internship.
Once an individual has been interviewed and offered an internship, they are assigned an LCSW who has completed a course that qualifies them to serve as an intern supervisor. There is close collaboration between the intern, the clinical supervisor/field instructor, the field liaison at the intern’s school, and the sponsoring agency to monitor and assess the intern’s progress. Interns also must have client notes reviewed and signed by the supervising clinician.
The interns add a fresh approach to the clinical team and are often up to date on latest trends and interventions in the field. Many clients request an experienced Clinician to work with, but those clients who agree to work with an intern, experience the dedication, cutting edge knowledge interns possess in addition to the input and direction from a highly skilled and experienced supervisor.
Tricia Politi, LCSW and intern supervisor states, “One of the reasons our internship program is so successful is that we afford our interns a rich, real-world experience where they are treated as professionals but in a completely supportive environment. Our interns are provided with individual and group supervision with senior staff, trained in providing supervision, on a weekly basis. This ensures that interns have the opportunity to ask questions, process what they are learning, and see how the team processes difficult cases in an effort to provide our clients with the highest level of care.”
Why Our Interns Join the NFSB Team
Again, these internships sometimes lead to full-time positions at NFSB on our clinical staff and in other key roles. For example, Molly Clark was a social work intern who had a background in case management. Following her internship with NFSB she joined the staff full-time as the case management coordinator. “When hired, I was excited to work on developing some of the ideas that were discussed during my internship, and eager to get the program off the ground” stated Molly. “Now that I am working with the interns, I really enjoy watching them learn and understand firsthand what it means to help others in the field of social work”.
Caitlyn Conselyea, a counseling intern, comments on her experience. It has been a pleasure working at NFSB so far, with a supportive and close-knit community guiding me along the way. I really appreciate the steady transition process and feel confident that I will experience significant professional growth while interning here!
The number of clinicians and staff at NFSB who started as interns speaks to the quality of our internship program and the value of the supervision interns receive from our clinicians. When an intern applies for a position, we know their skillset and what they bring to the table. These individuals also make a strong statement when they decide to pursue a career in social work and counseling at NFSB.
“One big reason why interns join our team is because they believe in our mission,” Staela said. “They believe in serving a local community. They’ve seen the difference we can make and want to be a part of it. We’re very proud to have a homegrown team largely built through our internship program. That’s very rewarding.”
To learn more about The Center at NFSB, our mental health and social services, and the programs we offer, visit the NFSB website or call 973-667-1884.