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  • Writer's pictureKaterina Yaroslavsky

Clinical Intern, Student Therapist, Why See One?

If you've been looking around for a therapist, you may have noticed some of the ones you'll find are clinical interns or student therapists. Is it worthwhile to see a clinical intern? It depends. Let's walk through what it means to be a clinical intern and how that may affect you as a client.

Firstly, clinical interns or student therapists are still in school and getting supervised hands-on experience with clients as part of their training. This usually means they have completed the theory portion of their Master's degree (or higher, depending) and are now in the practicum or clinical placement stage which is typically the final stage of their degree. Clinical interns work with clients directly and receive hands-on, weekly supervision from an experienced and accredited clinical supervisor (aka, a well-seasoned therapist) who gives them feedback and advice on their work with clients.

Now, let's look at how this affects you as a client. Clinical interns are new and therefore by definition inexperienced, however you as the client get to benefit from the experience of the more senior therapist that is supervising them. The intern also has a fresh and up-to-date knowledge of cutting edge treatment options and the latest research in mental health. Because they are new and still in training, they are typically available at a significantly lower cost than a fully licensed therapist and you may get better value from this option.

What are the risks?

If you read my previous blog post about How to Find the Right Therapist, then you may already know that thankfully the risk to you is low. Because you have the option to do a free 15-minute consult call prior to booking a paid session, you can determine whether the therapist feels like a good fit initially. As long as you're open with your therapist about your needs, then your therapist will be receptive and willing to work with you based on your concerns. If they are not, consider this a red flag and do move on. You deserve to work with someone that you are comfortable with and will hear out your concerns.

Because clinical interns are required to get ongoing close supervision, the supervising therapist is ultimately responsible for your care and they do not take this lightly.

All in all, this can be a great option for many and one worth considering. That said, if you feel your situation is too complex for working with a clinical intern or student therapist, that is where you may consider working with a therapist that is specialized in the area of treatment that you are looking for.

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