Sure, one of the benefits of working with a therapy intern is that it’s easier on your wallet, but there’s many more perks that have nothing to do with pricing.
Every year Walnut Psychotherapy Center hosts a handpicked cohort of advanced year students from various graduate programs. These students are at the final stage of their programs - gaining professional clinical experience. We receive quite a few applicants, but we only accept those that we feel best aligned with our principles and vision - members of the queer and trans community, those committed to liberatory politics, BIPOC, and those from other marginalized groups. We hope that by providing guidance and supervision at a social justice minded therapy practice like Walnut, we can contribute to the next generation of LGBTQ+ affirming therapists.
Here are a few perks to working with a therapy intern:
1. Easier scheduling and more availability
We know that finding an affirming therapist with open availability feels like returning a haunted ring to Mordor. Fortunately, interns have much more flexible schedules than their full time peers. Our interns start seeing clients in September and will have open availability so that you are able to receive support right away. Wait lists? Never heard of it!
2. A fresh perspective from a new practitioner
While excellent therapists seek to treat each client as an individual, for some, it can be tempting to fall into the habit of copy-paste treatment plans that provide most clients with positive outcomes. Clinicians that are bogged down in repetitive work may miss an opportunity to look outside the box and find alternative explanations for symptoms. Interns, however, haven’t had the opportunity to become stagnant in their practice. They are more likely to consider a broader range of possibilities and are less likely to assume that your particular experience is the same as past cases.
3. Up-to-date on the latest research and literature
All therapists are required to continue their education and to stay current, but Interns spend 10+ hours every week learning about the latest modalities and evidence-based practices. Their training isn’t something that they check off once a month, it happens concurrent with the sessions they are providing. Some more experienced therapists may find themselves stuck using outdated techniques, but interns are learning to use current treatment interventions that research has shown to be the most effective. Interns are ready and able to provide you with the most appropriate and effective care.
4. They are closely supervised by senior staff
It’s true that most therapists maintain supervision and peer review groups throughout their career, but these usually only occur a few times a month. In contrast, therapy interns receive multiple hours a week of individual supervision and group supervision with licensed, experienced clinicians. While interns may not have a ton of their own professional experience, they have access to multiple seasoned mental health professionals with a wealth of knowledge who are committed to assisting them. Because they are still learning, interns are also more apt to ask questions and seek guidance from other professionals.
5. More individual focus
Interns have much smaller caseloads than full-time therapists and because of this, they have more energy and time to focus on each client individually. Interns have more time to plan and reflect on sessions, more time to develop client-specific activities, and more time to coordinate care with other health care providers, such as psychologists and primary care physicians.
6. Intern sessions are more affordable, it’s just a fact
As demonstrated above, this isn’t the only perk but it’s certainly a perk! At Walnut Psychotherapy Center, our interns accept a discounted sliding scale rate of $25-65. Unfortunately, we are unable to bill insurance for sessions with interns.