As I prepare to return home from this internship, I begin to reflect on all the things that I have learnt while I have been here. For me coming here was a big step. I wasn’t sure of I should take a risk and come to Malta for 2 months and experience something new on an internship or stay at home and find work in my chosen field. Ireland is an extremely difficult place to be a psychology graduate in. Its often not what you know but who you know that gets you in the door. So for me coming to Malta on an internship and getting to experience and work first hand in a psychology clinic with other professionals was something of a dream come true. Plus I had the added bonus of visiting a country I had never seen before and did not know much about. When I got the email to stay that I had been accepted, I had been waiting so long to be told that I would be able to work in the field that I have studied in for the past 5 years. To be given the opportunity by the Willingness Team is something I will never forget. And I hope this is the first stepping stone to pursuing a career in psychology for me.
I have gained so many experiences at Willingness that I feel I would not have been given the opportunity to do at home. It was a privilege getting the opportunity to spend time with each professional at Willingness and hearing about the work they do. I appreciate the time that each of them gave to us throughout our time on the internship. During each session we were given the opportunity to review case studies of theirs. For me this was extremely beneficial to put the theory that we have learned into practice and to gain some knowledge and insight into the way each therapist would approach different situations, often combing a mixture of therapeutic approaches, from psychodynamic to CBT, to help the client. I really enjoyed learning from each one of them and their speciality and there are little bits of knowledge that I have picked up here and there from each one of them that I will use in my own professional career.
Other aspects of the internship I enjoyed were the meetings with Matthew every Wednesday. Every week we would learn about something new and during this time we listened to a therapy session, did role plays with one being the client, therapist or observer or we were given the space to have discussions about anything that we learnt that we wanted to know more about. Chat bar was something I was really interested in doing before I started my internship. Its a concept that I was unfamiliar with as it is not something that is commonly found at festivals however much needed. I was very hesitant in doing it as I felt out of my comfort zone. However I really enjoyed the experience, I met some lovely people who just wanted to come into the tent to have a chat and a break away from the festival and the tent provided this safe space for them. All of these experiences have helped me to gain some practical skills that will be useful when it comes to working with clients in the future.
I feel as a result of this experience I am more confident in myself and the path that I would like to pursue as a professional. Ultimately this experience has allowed me to grow as an individual and as a professional. Getting to experience all the different aspects of the internship and on occasion being pushed to do something that you may feel is out of your comfort zone, only makes you a better person and psychologist in the long run.
Alicia is a Masters Graduate from Ireland and is currently on an internship at Willingness Hub. She has an interest in child and adolescent mental health and how it affects the family as a whole.