These past two months of the Willingness Internship passed, and this is my time to reflect on this. It seems like yesterday when we had our very first introduction to the whole Willingness Team. Back then we could only guess what was ahead of us. However, now the days are running out and my thought was to finish my Blog writing journey at Willingness in a way similar to the one I started.
It was the 9th of July and the deadline for our first Blog was approaching. The topic I had chosen for this first attempt of mine was ‘Couples Therapy’ and whether choosing to go for it would initiate a relationship’s end or the beginning. In this blog, I had tried to touch upon the reasons why this type of therapy might be beneficial and whether it should be seen as an end or a beginning. Similarly, today, basing all my thoughts in this first blog of mine I will try to share the reasons why this internship might be beneficial and whether it should be seen as an end or a beginning of our career path as psychologists.
Funnily enough, the advantages of couples therapy which I had mentioned back then, overlap somehow with the ones that I found myself throughout this internship.
Altering my view of a presenting problem to be more holistic:
After a great number of case reviews, multidisciplinary meetings, extra training, and observations of each of the Willingness Clinics, I found myself forming a better and more well-rounded understanding of each human’s journey and psyche.
Modifying some dysfunctional behaviors
In the field of psychology , there is the tendency to follow a ‘lone wolf” career path. This means that although you might get some supervision, you don’t necessarily have a supporting team backing you up, challenging and expanding your knowledge and experience. Through my internship at Willingness, I realized this doesn’t have to be the case! Having a multidisciplinary team around you and multiple sources of feedback and supervision can be a very productive way to face some of the ‘dysfunctionalities’ in our field.
Other than that, sometimes there is this other tendency when in clinical practice to neglect somehow the constant update on new research findings on the field. However, during this Internship, we had the chance to improve our research skills and expand our knowledge on conducting systematic reviews and clinical audits. In this way, we expose ourselves to the idea of constant reviewing of practices used in our work and adjective auditing of services we might offer based on trustworthy research.
Decreasing exposure, responsibilities, and challenges avoidance
In this team, the communication channels were always open and your opinion was genuinely appreciated. Therefore, you always have the chance to challenge your comfort zone and speak up, share your opinion about a case, and present a topic. Therefore, your clinical judgment confidence could be increased and expanded, your efficacy in delivering tasks and carrying on responsibilities was appreciated and further fostered. By the end of those two months, you will have faced various challenges regarding the clinical or the research aspect of the internship, which will render you more ready and confident for your working reality.
Improving your communication skills
Working in the group of your clinic will give you a first-hand experience of what collaboration means. Being in a group will serve not only as a support working system but also as a source of knowledge exchange. You will share thoughts, deadline stress and so much more.
Lastly, when it comes to communication skills the blogs writing and presentation cannot be overlooked. Writing weekly blogs was for me personally one of the top experiences at Willingness. This is because it taught me how important it is to know how to simply communicate your science to a wide audience. Bringing the research-reality gap and helping to the establishment of open and approachable science communication by writing blogs and presenting our projects, was a skill I very much appreciated gaining experience on
Emphasizing strengths and reinforcing gains
Through our goal alignment and internship manager meetings at Willingness, we had the chance to reflect on our strengths, weaknesses, and gains. This procedure was very fruitful since you were pausing for a minute and you could realize what you had already learned and reflect on what else you wanted from this Internship.
To all psychology students wondering: Is spending two months of our summer at Willingness as interns worth it or not? I can describe my internship journey at Willingness like a sailing trip. I had wanted to work on my clinical and research skills. Keeping this in mind, I made the conscious decision to apply for this internship. By doing this decision, I feel that I have acquired the knowledge I need. I embarked without knowing the final harbor I will end up in. The route was full of new information, experience, challenges, and knowledge, but sometimes also stress, deadlines, and a lot of demanding work. Nevertheless, now, while approaching the end, I just know that the Willingness Team gave me some very valuable ‘sailing skills’, which I will always try to use as a professional!
So the question here is: Are you ready for your next sailing trip?
If yes, hop in, pack your career ambitions in your suitcase, and may the wind be in your favor:)
If you want to learn more about Willingness internships you can reach out here.
Alexandra Symeonidou is an Intern at Willingness with a BSc in Psychology, who will start her MSc in Clinical Psychology this following September.