In 2018, we developed a partnership with the University of Maryland School of Social Work and through this program and the amazing interns we’ve been able to work alongside with, our team has evolved in unexpected ways. Brad Friedman, our Intern Supervisor, sat down with us this month to share more about our internship program and how it helps better our team.
Let’s dive in!
Our Interview with Intern Supervisor Brad Friedman
Q: Tell us how the internship program started? How long has it been running and how has it changed over the years?
When I began working at Help in the Home in 2018, Nicole Zimmerman, Stacy’s sister, was in her first year of her MSW program at The University of Maryland. She introduced the Director of Field Education via email to Stacy and Rayetta, and thought it would be really cool to start an internship program. In order to be an intern supervisor it’s required to be a licensed social worker with a few years of experience and since I am licensed and had been a supervisor at my previous employment, this position was a great fit for me to step into at Help in the Home.
Our internship program began with one student in the 2019-2020 school year. The program went so well that we decided to take on two interns for the 2020-2021 school year. It was a bit challenging at that time because we were in the middle of a pandemic, but we were able to make it work and the interns were able to get a great experience, even though everything was virtual. Since things ran very smoothly, we decided that we could take on 3 interns for the 2021-2022 school year. The first two years we only had Master of Social Work (MSW) students, but this year we expanded to include a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) student as well.
Q: What does your role as supervisor look like?
In my role as supervisor I provide clinical supervision to the interns that aligns with the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) guidelines. I meet with our interns once a week and review their process recordings. These are techniques used to observe the intern’s internal reactions to a client’s behaviors and to help them understand their own reactions and internal biases. I provide feedback on how the techniques were used, whether it was appropriate or effective, and if needed, provide suggestions on alternative techniques that could be used in the future.
Q: What kind of experience can an intern expect to have?
Our MSW interns are trained over time to do everything our Care Coordinators do, just under a more watchful eye. Our BSW intern fills the role of a Community Manager and teams with a senior care coordinator. All of our interns are part of the team and treated as staff.
Q: What does an intern’s role look like at HITH? How long do they stay for?
Our Interns stay with us for an entire year (fall and spring semester) taking a break during the summer time. If they are full time students in their second year, there’s also the potential to hire them after graduation.
Q: How does this program help drive the mission and values of the organization?
First and foremost, it aligns with the idea of treating everyone like an extension of our family. They are part of the team from day one. Even our clients give feedback to our interns which is really cool. We are teaching students to be social workers.Teaching young professionals coming into the field what it’s like to work with people who have a severe mental illness is really important. It can help reduce the stigma and preconceived notions that social work students might have about working with this population, as well as help people realize their passion for working with individuals with SMI. I know when I went to school, I really wanted to work with adolescents but after working with adults with SMI, I discovered that I really loved it.
Q: Are there any staff that started as interns at HITH?
Yes! Maura Beehler, our Program Director, started as an intern before the official program. Our former Care Coordinator Nico Fiore started as an intern as well
Q: What do you love about the program?
The teaching! I love to teach social work and help develop future social workers. While getting my MSW, I most enjoyed getting to learn from my social work supervisors, pick their brains about things that came up on any given day, and develop a friendship. Some of these relationships even turned into lifelong friendships. Nowadays, working one on one with clients and helping them through difficult times and seeing positive change overtime is the most fulfilling part of what I get to do.
What Our Current Interns Say About Being at HITH
It has been an honor and joy getting to build this program over the course of these past few years. Here’s what our interns had to say about their experience.
“I really enjoy watching people grow their skills and confidence over time. I bring a solid, friendly presence to my practice and I enjoy working in the HITH community as we break down barriers and stigma around mental health treatment.” -Steven Isaacson, MSW student
“I love the feeling of community at Help in the Home. Everyone feels very close and I do not feel ashamed or embarrassed if I do something wrong or need help with a certain situation. I try to bring a fresh perspective to the mental health field, since I am still in school and can directly relate what I learned in the classroom to my work with the clients.” -Caitlin Wheeler, BSW student
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