Finding an Internship
Start with your academic advisor or another faculty member tasked with helping students find internship placements. Normally, they maintain a list of internship sites that students have used previously.
- Networking with professors, program alumni and local counseling associations can be a great resource when looking for the perfect internship. These professionals are already in the field and will have contacts that may be useful in an internship search.
- Direct Contact
- Conduct research to find organizations in the type of counseling setting in which you wish to intern. Don’t forget nonprofit organizations. Many of them have counseling, case management and other general support programs that may work for you. Contact those organizations directly to set up informational interviews. Informational interviews are a great way to learn about organizations, and they are a strong networking tool as well.
Tips for Informational Interviews
Suggested questions to ask during informational interviews include:
- What kind of face-to-face counseling takes place here?
- Is supervision provided by the agency?
- Is payment for supervision required?
- Do supervisors work with more than one intern?
- What is the expectation for interns handling clients in crisis?
- Does the position require travel?
- What can interns do to make credentialing easier and faster for you?
- How much of the work is face-to-face with clients and how much is administrative? What is the client “no-show” rate here?
- What are the hours and can they be adjusted on occasion to accommodate children, elderly parents, school, continuing education, etc?
- Do interns have access to counseling tools of any kind–sand trays, books, reference materials, etc?
- How do therapists here address clients’ spirituality or religious views and their needs in counseling?
Starting an Internship
It is a common requirement that counseling interns or practicum students hold professional liability insurance. NBCC works with the Lockton Affinity Co. to provider low-cost liability insurance to graduate counseling students. Please view the NBCC page of the Lockton Web site where you can request an online quote.
Some counselor preparation program graduates recommend working out a contract with the internship supervisor or agency in advance so that the expectations of all parties are reasonably defined and a definite time commitment is established. Interns should seek help from their counselor preparation programs if they believe they are not being adequately supervised. Other solutions, including additional supervision, may need to be put into place.