My name is Rachel Lerner and I am a junior Psychology and Communication Studies double major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My goal is to get my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to become a child and adolescent psychologist. With this being said, I was thrilled when I received my Karen M. Gil Internship placement at 3-C Family Services in Cary, for they offer individual and group therapy for both children and adults. I was immediately drawn to 3-C Family Services because I knew it would provide me with an opportunity not only to learn more about individual therapy and group therapy, but also a chance to learn more about research as well as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is a therapy for people who have a hard time regulating their emotions and often turn to extreme coping mechanisms such as self-harm, substance use, anger outbursts, or disordered eating to manage their emotions; thus, this is a common treatment method for those with borderline personality disorder. Often times people being treated with DBT will undergo both individual and group DBT therapy, which is why 3-C Family Services provides both of these services. I have learned about DBT in previous classes, but was very excited to have the opportunity to learn much more about it. Although I have yet to learn about DBT, I will be given the opportunity to learn more about it and view session/group tapes within the coming weeks.
At 3-C Family Services I have had the pleasure of working under Dr. Lori Schweickert, who is a psychiatrist. Thus far at 3-C Family Services I have done a wide variety of tasks and already have had many amazing experiences. I have completed training for S.S.GRIN, which is a social skills and bully prevention program that is offered to children ranging in age from 5-12. This group will begin in mid March at 3-C, and I will have the amazing opportunity to co-lead these group therapy sessions, which are done for kids in K-2, 3-5, and for those with high functioning autism. I am very much looking forward to co-leading these sessions because it will teach me many new skills that will be extremely relevant to my future, such as how to prepare sessions, how to work with children, how to write clinical notes, and much more. Furthermore, I have been trained to help with the research study called Sertraline Pediatric Registry for the Evaluation of Safety (SPRITES), which evaluates the affect of long-term sertraline treatment on aspects of cognitive, emotional, and physical development for those with either an anxiety or depression diagnosis. This is extremely relevant experience since research is a huge component of a clinical psychology Ph.D.
Already I have had so many great opportunities and experiences at 3-C, but one of my favorite experiences thus far was sitting in on a psychiatry session with Dr. Lori Schweickert and sitting in on a normal therapy session with Dr. Miles Gilliom. I found both of these sessions very interesting and enjoyed seeing the differences between what a psychologist and psychiatrist does during individual sessions. I am very much looking forward to sitting in on more psychiatry sessions as well as getting the chance to sit in on more therapy sessions with Dr. Miles Gilliom. Also, every week I attend case conference, which is where all the clinicians come together to discuss their cases, and each time I hear these clinicians talk about their diagnoses, treatment plans, and approaches for various clients, I know this is exactly what I want to do with my life. All the experiences I have had so far at 3-C have only further solidified my passion for clinical psychology and my goal to become a child an adolescent psychologist. Ultimately, I have already learned so much after only being at 3-C Family Services for a month, and I can’t wait for all the new experiences and opportunities that lie ahead.
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