I'm hearing this story a LOT as a therapist in communications with other referring small businesses... Tell me if it sounds familiar...
You finally drum up the energy/courage/information you need to carefully select a new therapist. Then, you find out that there are waitlists... FOR EVERYONE. The problem isn't going away, and no one is in a hurry to see you either. Get in line. The chain of supply is bottlenecked after two years of gridlock in getting what you want and need. Want a new pickup truck? A new house? Your Amazon delivery? Well, get in line with the rest of people who are on a hold in the same disjointed chain that are looking for mental health therapy. It's a sad truth, but this is the state of therapy right now. If you're looking for mental health support right now, with someone who knows what they're doing, your waitlist is looking about 3-9 months long and you're not even sure who you're waiting for is worth the wait. If you can't wait for a therapist that long, the honest truth might be that working with a counseling intern is your best bet.
The good news is that Tides Therapy and Consulting meets has now transformed itself into a teaching practice! While mental health treatment is an ever-growing field, any "really good" therapist will tell you that practice improvement NEVER stops. It does, however, need to start somewhere.
Gladly, Jessie Howell, B.A, has joined in the effort of development, turning this solo practice into a teaching practice. Jessie attends Colorado Christian University for her master's degree in mental health counseling. Jessie was carefully selected to make this team based on her life experience, professionalism, and quality of education received in the past and present to ensure the highest quality experience for clients.
Counseling Intern Program Allows Tides Therapy to:
Offer mental health treatment to a higher number of people
Provide a sliding scale responsibly to clients who qualify
Aide the experience and development of the mental health profession as whole.
What are the Benefits of Working with an Intern?
You can get started right away with an intern because they often have immediate availability Interns also have small caseloads, which is a benefit to clients again because this means more time to review and research into the needs of each individual client in advance of each session. This results in a prepared clinician that prioritizes your needs as they arise while using evidence-based practices that have been used during class exercises and discussed with supervisors and professors between sessions.
Interns also have a high level of energy, passion and curiosity that lends itself to non-judgment and compassion. Interns that work with Tides Therapy prioritize the concept that "you are the expert on your life story." Have you ever seen someone who is burned out and thought, wow, I'd love to get to know more about them? Probably not so much. Have you ever seen someone who really loves their job and thought, I want to know their story? Probably much more likely. Because Tides Therapy uses a particular multi-step process to carefully select interns, you will find that passion for helping and learning about you as a person is ever-present.
Interns work very closely under supervision to sharpen their clinical skills. Amber Fender is a clinician with the highest level of licensure available with SC LLR board approval to supervise not only interns, but graduated clinicians seeking future independent licensure. This means that interns with Tides Therapy will receive a high-quality level of supervision in field while maintaining ethical care coordination support for the best quality of treatment. Keep in mind, too, that the intern knows they are learning. Therefore, they are expecting feedback and are therefore much more receptive to constructive feedback as well.
Are Interns Suitable for Short-Term Therapy?
Absolutely. You may find that you simply need an educated source of empathic support while you are on a waitlist to see a therapist you once worked with or would like to see for a particular niche of treatment (such as EMDR or hypnosis).
Not to worry, though, while you may primarily see an intern for your sessions, the structure of frequent case review and supervisor shadowing means that you are essentially receiving the support of two clinicians for less than the market rate cost. All sessions provided by an intern are reduced below standard market rate as a show of appreciation towards our clients. Your contribution towards the development of the mental health field is appreciated, but please consider that this discount does not mean that your treatment will be less effective than that of a graduated clinician.
Are Interns Really Qualified?
Yes. Just as Owner/CEO Amber Fender, LISW-CP/S once completed coursework and then had to practice what had been learned, all interns go through this process. Rigorous education has been provided through an accredited university, allowing students to then be granted an opportunity to put into practice hundreds of hours of research and role-playing prior to internship placement. No student is awarded a field site without first having proven mastery of understanding what is expected of a clinician.
One should note also that not all clinicians who apply for internship with Tides Therapy will be selected. Multiple conversations, paperwork, and interviews are completed as a vetting process in advance of any agreement to work together. Well-being and quality of service are among the highest priorities when interns are selected.
All interns with Tides Therapy are supervised thoroughly through at least one (but often more) supervision meetings with Amber Fender, LISW-CP/S, Amber also shadows during telehealth sessions as well to offer feedback when the respective client is comfortable with this arrangement.
How Often Should I Meet with My Intern?
Three important factors in the frequency of meeting are:
Your intern's availability
Your plan of care
The first two are a given. However, if your plan of care includes more in-depth treatment, we strongly encourage you to attend a minimum of weekly sessions for at least 6-8 sessions to determine whether the current treatment you are receiving is sufficiently effective. No matter how well-seasoned a clinician is, it's important to take time and patience with each other to learn how to best communicate. The more clearly you and your intern collaborate on what you need, the more feedback you can offer each other equally to ensure a successful relationship.
What Happens When Then Internship is Over?
Interns are committed for two semesters equaling 9-10 months of service. The intern may choose to leave the practice or engage with Tides as a private practice community partner if that is in their long-term plan. If the intern does not choose to become a community partner with their own practice, you will be offered an opportunity to meet with another intern, community partner, or Amber Fender herself depending on availability respectively. This is discussed weeks in advance of the intern graduating from their school program and discussed as client transitions are highly important in ensuring quality care is provided from beginning to end.
How Much are Sessions with An Intern?
Tides Therapy is pleased to offer reduced rate sessions below the standard market rate as a show of appreciation toward our clients.
Tides Therapy is pleased to provide a unique offering of a sliding scale subscription. An annual fee of $75 allows you to access these low-cost sessions at a minimum rate of $75/50-minute session depending on your statement regarding income limitations. This is a 40% reduction over market rate as of October 2022.
Your contribution towards the development of the mental health field is appreciated, but please consider that this discount does not mean that your treatment will be less effective than that of a graduated clinician.
Can I Use My Health Insurance for Sessions?
Most licensed therapists (who also have full waitlists miles long) are not filing with insurance anymore because of the high workload for low payout. Only the insurance companies tend to win in that arrangement. Therapists become burned out and the clients suffer because the therapist is no longer in their best headspace. Because interns can't file under insurance, working with an intern will likely be your best option if you have a high deductible or no insurance at all.