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katie_reiter_lavery_originalMy name is Katie Reiter-Lavery and I’m a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Religious Studies. I’m broadly interested in positive psychology and its intersections with social, clinical, and developmental psychology while being culturally sensitive and relevant. Ultimately, I am interested in the application of positive, evidence-based programs and bridging the gap between research and practical application.  I want to see the impacts of research in action. This semester, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work as a Gil Intern at 3C Family Services, a private therapy clinic in Cary. I’m so grateful to both Dr. Buzinski at UNC and my supervisor at 3C, Dr. Lori Schweickert, for the wonderful experiences I’ve had through this internship.

I have done a fair amount of research at Carolina, including my senior honors thesis, so I was really excited that my placement would have a strong focus on the application of research and the ways it can directly improve individual’s lives. 3C Family Services embodies the practical application of research and has enabled me to dive into the practice of clinical psychology. 3C has roughly 15 licensed clinicians, each of whom have a general practice. Many specialize in different areas, such as specific disorders (e.g. PTSD) or treatment models (e.g. DBT). It has been incredible to see and learn about the variety of work that they do.

My work as an intern is very different from that of a licensed clinician and, as a result, I have worked on a wide range of projects for multiple clinicians. I have scored psychological assessments (and learned their significance in the process), reviewed patient reports, organized information on North Carolina special education programs, and researched various topics such as drug interactions and the distinguishing differences between disorders. The range of these activities has highlighted the range of services that therapists provide for their clients and the ways they support them. My favorite and most meaningful activity has been co-leading a group therapy, S.S. GRIN, with children ages 3-5. It is an evidence-based therapy that builds and develops social skills. This therapy has been adapted for multiple different groups, typically based on age. One of the most rewarding aspects of co-leading this group is the observable difference it makes; the children come in unable to answer our questions and by the end of each session they are already using the skills we just taught them. For me, this experience highlights how a research foundation creates the positive outcomes and growth that individuals experience.

Being a Gil Intern at 3C Family Services has combined class material and research-based knowledge and immersed it in the world of clinical practice. It has been a wonderful foray into the world of mental health practitioners. The semester isn’t even halfway over yet, and I’m so excited to dive even deeper during the rest of the semester.

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