Supporting the next generation of mental health professionals

Valley Cities internships provide a strong foundation for future mental health care professionals

While internships are not a new idea at Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care, the program itself has been recently rebuilt from the ground up, offering more support, new opportunities and a clearer vision for the future leaders in mental health and community services.

“We expanded and revamped our existing internship program with a vision for educating future mental health care providers with a deeply rooted sense of compassion, community and connection. Our hope is to better serve our community by providing easier access to trauma-informed counselors, therapists, and support workers, especially in underserved communities,” says Deborah Mulein, LMFT, marriage & family therapist, Clinical Supervisor and Programs Manager at Valley Cities.

The new internship program boasts a diverse range of benefits:

  • Education centered around trauma-focused care
  • Quarterly training opportunities
  • Clinical onboarding
  • Consultation groups
  • Exposure to diverse clientele
  • Experience working both in-person and through telehealth environments
  • Evidence-based practices
  • Supportive and passionate clinical supervisors
  • Individual weekly supervision

“This work requires a lot of compassion for the individuals you work with, and that well of compassion is often formed during an internship. One of our primary goals and a key benefit of internships at Valley Cities is that we offer a well-rounded experience,” says Employment Services Manager and Internship Coordinator, Erin Lloyd.

“We also ensure we provide a team-based approach not only to our interns but also to our employees – knowing that you’re never holding a client alone fosters a collaborative, healthy learning environment.”

Two of Valley Cities current interns share their experiences and how Valley Cities is helping develop lifelong skills in their chosen fields of practice:

“I have had a positive experience interning at Valley Cities Behavioral Health in Auburn. As a new intern, I have felt the support from my supervisors and colleagues within the clinic. Valley Cities has given me the opportunity to explore who I am as a couples and family therapist while also allowing me to introduce and provide services as a dance and movement therapist. Valley Cities is the perfect place for my professional journey,” says intern, Johnathan Liporada.

Ariel Richards, another intern at Valley Cities, adds, “Though it was scary at first to jump out of the frying pan of school and into the fire of practice, I’m so grateful to have landed in such a warm and supportive environment. It has been amazing to learn from my supervisors, colleagues, and clients at Valley Cities. I look forward to expanding my skills and supporting couples, families, and individuals in our community for years to come!”

For many interns, this is their first ‘real world’ experience and ensuring it’s as positive an experience as possible is a top priority, Mulein says.

“Our strong focus on teamwork and collaboration ensures everyone has the opportunity to thrive at Valley Cities, from our interns and staff to the communities we work with.

Apply for an internship online today or find more information about the Valley Cities program by emailing Internships@valleycities.org. Learn more about Valley Cities and their services by calling 253-833-7444, or visiting valleycities.org or on Facebook for the latest news and updates.

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