As I was preparing to write my blog, I thought it would be a good idea to engage our interns in the process. We collaborate with local universities to offer internships. It is a great way for students to get real life experience. So let’s take a few moments to find out from our practicum students what their experience at Safe Haven has been. I asked Charlexia Stokes and Rachael Marshall to share their thoughts in their own mini blogs below.
Tina Waymire Collier, LMFT is the Clinical Supervisor/Therapist at Safe Haven
Charlexia Stokes, Lipscomb University
Interning at Safe Haven Family Shelter has been a privilege and a journey. I have enjoyed and learned a great deal from my practicum experience! Working several days out of the week with various clients’ children and adults, I was able to apply what I have learned in class in a practical setting, as well as getting hands on experience on what it’s like to be a therapist. While I struggled a bit in the beginning with finding enough hours in a day to get everything done and have time for myself, the latter part of the semester yielded improved results. My learning process is forever ongoing, but I have learned the importance of just being present with my clients and how natural the sessions will be than being in my head constantly. More importantly, I have learned more and more about myself which has allow me to fine tune now so I will be a better therapist in the end. I was surprised at the clients’ ability to be so open, honest and willing to share their feelings with me. I feel very privileged to have been trusted with such valuable information. The staff at Safe Haven also made my experience fulfilling. Each and every one of the employees work so hard to give all they can to our residents, and it shows on our clients faces. I see and feel the love, sweat and tears that goes in to making Safe Haven what it is today – which makes me put that much more effort into what I do for my clients! This is truly an awesome place, with an even more awesome staff that empowers and impacts Nashville homeless families every day. I’m a living witness! I love it!!!!!
Rachael Marshall, Lipscomb University
Studying, learning, reading and memorization have nothing on experience. That is the ultimate goal of practicum. Without it all of my education would be ineffectual. Imagine spending years standing inside looking out at the world through a window and reading about the wind’s power, but never being able to feel the breeze through your hair. That being said, experience is something that in its entirety is very hard to describe, especially with my limited literary skills. So I am going to employ a cheat to storytelling…pictures.
If the goal when first coming to Safe Haven is to get experience, then I know I will be able to complete it. Starting this position is like learning to walk as a toddler, wobbly knees and unsure steps. Also your head is a little too big, as a toddler it is just that way, but as a practicum student it is full of unused knowledge. However, we grow into it, and our body’s confidence soon catches up.
As time progresses I feel more comfortable walking, talking and just being myself. Therapy requires all of these skills. Being you is the hardest at first, though it would seem like the easiest. It is difficult because you have to be yourself with a new set of boundaries. It’s like changing religion, and discovering how you can still be you, but also follow the new rules. Or going to a 3D movie for the first time. It is a time to try new things, discover strengths and step out of your comfort zone while still knowing your boundaries.
So my experience at Safe Haven is not only increasing therapeutic skills and counseling knowledge, but also a story of personal growth. It is discovering how to integrate knowledge, experience and connections into a way of being. Getting to know the families, staff and leadership have helped create an environment where I can grow and explore. It has been an enlightening experience, and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings.
In short, I know there is a dance coming up, and I have just got the walking part down.