Hello! My name is Breanna Dede and I am a senior here at UNC majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Social and Economic Justice and Spanish for the Health Professions. I’ve lived in Gainesville, Florida for all of my life, so coming to North Carolina has been such a fun, and cold, adventure! My interest in the field of psychology has only grown since attending UNC, and has blossomed even further with my participation in the Gil Internship Program.
This semester, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with Dr. April Harris-Britt at AHB Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness, a mental health clinic in Durham, North Carolina centered around helping children and adolescents with psychological issues. This practice matches well with the areas of psychology that I hope to pursue a career in, as I hope to pursue clinical psychology with a focus on adolescents in minority communities. While working at AHB, I have gained both invaluable exposure to adolescent clinical populations and skill development in areas such as psychological therapy techniques and conference planning. As an intern, my responsibilities have been extremely varied from week to week, and this has been advantageous in many ways, as I’ve been able to about many of the individual pieces that make up the larger puzzle of the career of a clinical psychologist.
One of my favorite parts of my experience as an intern at AHB has been interacting with the patients at AHB through therapy sessions. Through sitting in on therapy sessions with different clinicians at the practice, I’ve been able to learn about a multitude of approaches to individualized therapy for children and adolescents. With younger patients, I get to play soccer and use play therapy to teach skills such as collaboration and physical activity as a means of connecting to mental states. With older children, I’ve learned about the importance of emotional expression in fully understanding the root of psychological issues beyond the surface level. These clinical experiences have been extremely influential in convincing me that this is the work that I want to be involved with for the rest of my career.
In addition to clinical exposure, I’ve also had the opportunity to organize and implement a parenting conference series at AHB, in which clinicians present monthly on a topic of their choice centering around parenting tips to improve the parent-child relationship. Organizing this has not only been a valuable experience in terms of organization and business aspects of the field, but was also a great networking experience, as I worked closely with different clinicians to learn about their areas of expertise and ensure that everything ran smoothly. This project was a great combination of clinical work and professional development, as I also used many of the skills we focus on in the class component of the internship, such as effective communication and professional writing.
Overall, I could not imagine any other program that could provide such a plethora of opportunities to psychology students at UNC, and I am so thankful to have been chosen for this internship. The experiences and skills I’ve gained this semester will be valuable far beyond the bounds of this semester, and I will forever be grateful to have been apart of the 2016 Gil Intern Cohort!
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