Contributed by: Shellie Cheirs, M.Ed, NCC, LPCA
Good day Interns, I know the challenge of managing classes, study time, clinical hours, family, and jobs can be a challenge to say the least. These constant juggling acts sometimes blind us from the harsh truth that awaits after graduation-securing a job in the field. So I would like to offer some valuable advice and another item to your graduation bucket list and that is…diversifying your clinical experiences. Now before you dismiss this advice think about this truth. When you graduate and pass your state exam(s) many of you will be competing for jobs with other new and/or seasoned competent professionals, so how are you going to differentiate yourself from the competition?
Well, I believe clinical diversification is one of the best ways; for when you have varied clinical experiences you gain priceless insight into “real world” practice and populations. Not to mention, broaden the number of professionals who are able to vouch for your competence and work as a therapist upon graduation. Plus, diversification allows you to test populations and/or specialties you enjoy before getting locked into a job you hate.
For example, when I was working on my Master’s there were times I held three internships in a semester. Yes the juggling act was cumbersome; however, working in the prison setting I was able to see personality disorders first hand-a population one of my professors stated many clinicians never encounter. At the psychiatric residential treatment facility for adolescent girls, I had the pleasure of working with state custody clients with severe behavior and emotional issues. In addition, the psychiatric hospital internship gave me insight into impatient treatment facilities; dual diagnosis, family counseling, military clients, and working with interdisciplinary treatment teams which all aid my competency as a now private practice professional. Furthermore, I have built invaluable contacts in the professional community. Therefore, before you figure out how you can clear your bucket list you may want to consider adding another site and diversifying your experiences for job opportunities.
About Shellie Cheirs, NCC, LPCA
Shellie Cheirs serves as an Account Executive, Contract Trainer, and owner of a Private Practice Counseling Practice. She has conducted numerous seminars, workshops, and training classes as well as delivered multiple presentations and trainings to a wide variety of audiences, ranging from small and intimate interactive group settings to hundreds of participants. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and loves to impact the lives of others through speaking. Specialties Include: Coaching, Leadership, Hiring Smart, Sales Training, Team Building, Customer Service, Diversity Training, Time Management, Conflict Resolution, Stress Management, Assertiveness Training, Dealing With Difficult People & Change Management.