If you’ve started to search for a counselor for the first time, or to try counseling again, you might be feeling unsure how to make the best choice for you. Among the different choices are Counseling Interns (CIs). CIs are graduate-level student counselors in their final phases of academic training that pursue additional direct training at counseling sites around their community. Here are 8 reasons that CIs might be a great choice for you:
1. Professional-level work at lower or no cost
Let's face it… currently counseling can be expensive, especially if it is not covered by healthcare. Working with CIs offers you multilevel support involved in your care at a lower or free rate. Research has shown that clients of CIs also have meaningful experiences in sessions that clients might hope for from experienced professionals.
2. More accommodating to the unique needs of each client
Counselors grow every day working with clients. As counseling students, CIs regularly ask questions and do research to find answers. They also consistently receive and incorporate feedback on how they can improve their work as counselors. CIs are less likely to have established patterns of care that clients might experience with seasoned counselors.
3. Extra supervision and consultation
Counseling Interns (CIs) have to meet requirements for supervision and consultation. Supervision occurs when experienced professionals review, guide and support the sessions performed by CIs with their clients. Consultation involves discussions with professional colleagues about client cases (minus any client-identifying descriptors) to gain alternative perspectives. Not only do you get the expertise of your counselor, you receive additional insight and knowledge offered by supervisors and consultants thus offering a more well-rounded therapeutic experience.
*Please Note: All professional consultation and supervision is bound by confidentiality.
4. Fewer clients
CIs are usually starting at a new location. While they gain clients they have more time, energy, and effort to focus on helping you.
5. More availability
This also means they have a wider range of open appointment times.
6. Counselor-in-training curriculum includes the latest research
Researchers are always learning more about ways to help clients effectively. CIs are actively engaging in new material for evidence based practices.
7. Trained in telehealth
CIs who were in a graduate program from early 2020 forward likely received training on virtual counseling. This has been a great tool for reaching clients and training helps counselors effectively translate their skills to an online setting.
8. Help future counseling professionals
CIs are required to earn a high number of supervised clinical hours to become professionally certified. This means working with clients directly. By choosing CIs, you will get professional level mental health support while helping a student reach their professional goals.
Blog written by Kelsey Brumfield
Geller, S. (2021). Cultivating online therapeutic presence: strengthening therapeutic relationships in teletherapy sessions. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 34(3–4), 687–703. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515070.2020.1787348
Howard, E. M. (2019, March 21). 7 surprising advantages of having an intern as a therapist. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 9, 2023, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/parent-s-guide-children-s-therapy/201903/7-surprising-advantages-having-intern-therapist
Sackett, C. R., & Lawson, G. (2016). A Phenomenological Inquiry of Clients’ Meaningful Experiences in Counseling with Counselors-in-Training. Journal of Counseling and Development, 94(1), 62–71. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcad.12062