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Hello! My name is Curtis Smith IV and I am a senior from Fayetteville, North Carolina. I am pursuing a double major in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in “Psychosocial Determinants of Crime”.  I am also very passionate about forensic psychology research. In the past, I have done research on a Family Dependency Treatment Court in Tampa, Florida and evaluated the interactive effects of trauma and traumatic brain injury on violent offending in justice-involved youth as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Currently, my senior honors thesis is exploring how trauma contributes to the development of malevolent personality traits and how they predict different types of juvenile offending. I also work with the UNC Office of Undergraduate Research as an ambassador and am an Undergraduate Learning Assistant for the Research Methods in Psychology course at UNC. After graduating, I intend to obtain my PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Forensic Psychology. While I had such impactful research experiences, I had a strong desire for clinical experiences in psychology to understand its applied nature. As a Gil Intern with Lepage Associates, I have had the opportunity to learn about the preparation and application of psychological evaluations and assessments within a psychological practice.

Lepage Associates is a multi-specialty, private psychological practice with multiple offices in the triangle area. At Lepage associates, the clinicians emphasize finding positive and practical solutions to issues in life for their clients. In practice, solution-based care distinguishes concrete strategies and skills that clients can incorporate in their lives to achieve their goals and overcome hardships. Interestingly, the clinicians have a diverse range of experiences, enabling Lepage Associates to offer a wide variety of services such as teletherapy, forensic services, family therapy, marriage counseling, and outdoor therapy to name a few. Working with my mentor, Dr. Bailey Cole, and the team at Lepage Associates has given me invaluable insight into the inner workings of a psychological practice and the various responsibilities associated with being a psychologist that. In addition to practicing therapy, clinicians also have a great deal of supplementary work as well.

The majority of my responsibilities have been aiding in these supplementary tasks which allows clinicians to maximize their time spent working with clients. My work has mostly involved writing up clinical interviews and parenting evaluations. Clinicians at Lepage Associates do a variety of court-ordered evaluations and after conducting them, they will send them over to me to write-up in a more succinct style. I also have been tasked with doing literature reviews on topics that occur in therapy sessions that clinicians may not have much experience with or knowledge on. In this process, I will search through empirical databases, find information on the desired topic, and relay my findings to the clinician. One of the most interesting topics I have had to look into was “betrayal trauma”, which is a specific form of trauma from a loved one and how that can lead to issues in emotional development. My responsibilities have also included writing posts for Lepage Associate’s “Something to Ponder” and “Happiness” blogs.

Despite being completely virtual, my internship experience has been incredibly formative. Dr. Bailey Cole and the other clinicians at Lepage Associates have been very receptive and open to providing me with both tasks and feedback throughout this experience. Being able to incorporate my research skills into my internship has demonstrated how effectively both practice and research can work together to make effective clinicians. I appreciate the Gil Internship program and Lepage Associates for giving me this amazing experience. I am excited to see how the remainder of the semester pans out!

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