Everyone’s internship experience is different, and of course right now many are virtual. Some are very very busy while some are a bit more slow-paced. Sometimes, you may even find yourself with nothing to do. However, your internship years are a time where you can learn so much without the full pressure of being a full time mental health worker.
So, when (if ever) you find yourself with extra time, what can you do?
Whether your role involves a lot of case management or very little (I doubt many jobs have no case management), it would be helpful to know the resources in your area. I, personally, do not do much case management as my agency has case managers (I am a therapist). However, my client’s have needs, and I need to be at least a little knowledgeable of resources.
When I was an intern, I made a couple of resource lists (categorized) for my agencies.
Researching How Systems Work
Again, clients have needs, and it is helpful to be able to guide them. When clients have questions, it may be good to (a) know the answer or (b) know where to direct them!
Ideas: How to get an IEP, How to get a child evaluated for Autism Spectrum Disorder, How to apply for SSI or SSDI (or any public assistance)
Researching Interventions (Especially for Less Common Diagnoses)
Whether you are a therapist or any other role in the mental health and/or social work field, it can be helpful to look up interventions before you even need them. For me, my anxiety decreases when I feel more knowledgeable of how to help clients.
During my internship years, trainings helped prepare me for the future. I searched Youtube, Psycotherapy.net, and watched the TFCBT training (Tfcbt2.musc.edu) online!
Make Tables for Due Dates
I don’t have much to say here except get organized in your down time so you can keep it together when you do not have extra time.
Review Client Charts (If You Are Allowed To)
Reviewing charts helped me see how to document well and the types of interventions that other social workers used to help their clients. Of course, I did this with permission.
Make a Questions List for Supervision
In supervision, I ask a million questions. However, if I don’t write them down, I forget. Taking the time to write down what I need to ask has been helpful.
Review the Agency’s Policies
Review agency policies for two reasons: (1) just to be aware (2) to recognize problems (ie discriminatory policies)
Research Policies (Local, State, and National) That Are Pertinent to Your Field
Same as above!
Print Worksheets or Info-Sheets
Sometimes you may wish you had the right info sheet or worksheet just ready. Try googling Facts For Families and print common info sheets or download worksheets from TherapistAid.com
Develop Info-Sheets as You See Fit
Sometimes you may not be able to find the right info-sheet, so make it! Maybe it’s voting rights, maybe it’s self-care ideas… whatever!
Please let me know what kind of articles you’d like to see in the future!Check me out on Instagram @eagersocialworker for post updates!