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Jessica PenaThis past Saturday, I was finally able to begin my internship! For my internship, I am shadowing a staff member of the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services in Delaware. This is a secure residential treatment program for boys and girls who have been adjudicated by the Family Court. I am connected with the family counselor in one of the boys’ cottages. I just met her, but I already know my new mentor is a wonderful woman and I am glad to be working with her for the next two months. She seemed pretty excited too. It took very little time to get right into the mix. My mentor told me that in the cottage we currently house 14 boys. She also told me a little bit about each boy, and how they ended up in the cottage. The boys are between the ages of 13-17 and have been placed into the program by the court system of Delaware. Each boy is required to stay at the cottage for a minimum of 90 days. After a brief description of the current situations, I was able to sit in on my first family counseling session. I spent this time listening and observing how my mentor handled the various situations that arose. I did get a piece of advice from the mother of the boy being counseled. She told me not to be stiff; reminding me I would be working with “real people.” She is right. I took notice that to be an effective counselor, a connection with your patients must be created. Along with assisting my mentor and sitting in on both family and individual sessions, I will also be helping organize events at the cottage and decorating the cottage bulletin boards. I’m excited to get started and begin these tasks.

I think of this internship as an introduction to the experiences I will likely face in the future. I hope to one day be a member of a similar staff, or become a substance-abuse counselor. I want to further my education in counseling psychology and continue from there. This internship is my first experience into the real-life working field of counseling. I am considering it my “make or break,” as in helping me decide whether or not I truly want to get into this field. I am currently a junior at High Point University, majoring Strategic Communications, Spanish and minoring in psychology. I have always had a strong passion to help people and my psychology class this past fall taught me a way I could help people as a career, so let’s see where this goes.