My name is Dan Ta, and I am a Junior from Charlotte, North Carolina, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry. I became interested in psychology during my first year through my experience volunteering as a research assistant in a lab that studied emotions. My interests have always been rooted in a desire to improve overall health and well-being, so I began to explore different avenues of community service and research in my time at Carolina. Currently, I volunteer with the Refugee Health Initiative, an organization that strives to bring health education and care to refugee families in the Triangle area, and who might otherwise be struggling with navigating the U.S. healthcare system. I have also been working in Dr. Mitch Prinstein’s Peer Relations Lab for the past two years, where I plan to complete my Honors Thesis. The lab is focused on the importance of peer interactions and stressors during childhood and adolescence, and its links to depression, suicidality, and health-risk behaviors.
I gained a great amount of knowledge and exposure to mental health and mental disorders through my experiences in the lab, and I realized that I wanted to see the application of everything that I had learned. I wanted to see how my research in the lab translated into practice, and the Gil internship allowed me the perfect opportunity to do so. This semester, I have been interning at the AHB Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness under the guidance of clinical psychologist Dr. April Harris-Britt. This private practice employs clinicians of diverse backgrounds with a wide range of specialties and fields of experiences. In addition, the clinic treats adults and children from various backgrounds and with differing levels and types of psychopathology. At the clinic, I have observed clients ranging from all ages, and seen first-hand the different types of therapies such as play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness training, and EMDR in practice. I have also had the opportunity to learn about the field of forensic psychology, through reviewing court documents and health records, in order to see the importance of mental health and its implications for families, relationships, and overall well-being.
My internship has given me the opportunity to learn from many different clinicians, observe therapy sessions, score psychological evaluations, write case reports, and understand the workings of a private clinic. In addition, I am able to learn about all of the different aspects that factor into the well-being and health of a patient, and that these aspects vary from person to person. My time at the AHB Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness has shown me that mental illness affects all aspects of life, and is vital to overall health. As I continue the semester, I am looking forward to gaining new experiences and perspectives that will be invaluable for my pursuit of a career in the field of healthcare.