Graduate interns earn experience in counseling
New interns look to help students and further their education
September 17, 2019
Amy Clark, NKU’s new director of counseling, is pushing for NKU’s Health, Counseling and Student Wellness office (HCSW) to have more visibility on campus and increased collaboration with students.
In the past, HCSW has housed student interns from local universities, but usually not NKU students. When Clark came to NKU, she decided that she specifically wanted student interns from the NKU counseling and social work programs in the office.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for them to learn how to do therapy, how to learn intakes—so why wouldn’t we use our own students?” said Clark. “I think it shows that people who attend NKU and are getting their education at NKU, it’s quality—quality enough that we want them in our own center.”
She believes that the interns are “an asset to the center.”
Brittany Combs—who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is working on getting her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling—and Chantelle Thompson—who has a bachelor’s degree in social work and is working on getting her master’s degree in social work—are two of the interns at HCSW.
Combs was able to get some experience at Gateway Community & Technical College before returning to NKU for her internship, and she is happy to be back.
“I love NKU and I am comfortable here at NKU. It was really nice for me to go somewhere where I feel passionate about helping the people I’m working with,” Combs said. “Building your confidence as a counselor is really important and this opportunity is something that can really make that happen.”
Thompson was looking for internship opportunities when she heard about the position.
“[The internship] definitely has, kind of, reinforced some of the things that I’ve learned because learning is one thing, but when you come here and you’re able to actually apply it is something else. Then, it kind of also just showed me a lot of things that I have to learn,” Thompson said.
Combs and Thompson were both enthusiastic about the programs at NKU and wanted to emphasize how rewarding they were for them.
“The quality of education I’ve been able to receive and the opportunities I’ve been given from that program and from Amy here at the Counseling Center have just been life changing,” Combs said.
Combs and Thompson have weekly clinical supervision, where they are able to discuss cases, watch videos and be held accountable in their journey as counselors. They see clients and get hands-on experience at the Wellness Center.
For students who can’t afford the $15 fee for a counseling session, there are free sessions with the student interns.
“Not only are they getting a free service, they’re also getting a quality service,” Clark said.
HCSW, including the student interns, are passionate about helping people and providing them the care they need.
“Their problems and what they’re going through, we understand it,” Thompson said. “We all go through different things, people aren’t alone, there’s people who are here to help them achieve their goals.”
Combs and Thompson shared how important hands-on experience is when working toward a career in counseling and are grateful for the chance to get that at HCSW. They hope that this internship will not only be beneficial for them, but also for their fellow NKU students.