MAIDP Internship Presentations
Click on a student's name below to learn more about their internship.
Name: Hiba Ali
Placements: Community Reach Center (CRC) – EMDR Adjunct Therapist and Intake Assessment Clinician; Mindfully Muslim
CRC mission: To enhance the health of our community
EMDR Adjunct Therapist - Administering EMDR protocols and the AIP model to support consumers in addressing/reprocessing their trauma to address their concerns with emotional dysregulation and traumatic responses
Intake Assessment Clinician - Utilizing assessments (PHQ9, Columbia, ASAM, AMSR, Brief MSE), psychosocial interviews and person-centered approaches to build rapport and identify consumer needs to best support access to appropriate services.
Mindfully Muslim mission: Spreading peace and ease through the mental & emotional suffering and the release of pain.
Social media and Blog content creation regarding Islam and Mental Health (including history, approaches, and therapeutic benefits of religious rituals)
Program Evaluation: participating in discussions to address next steps in growing this program
CRC - I’ve been challenged as a clinician and had to step out of my comfort zone every day I’m at CRC. At Intake, I’ve been given amazing opportunities to work with unique and complex cases, diagnostic features I’ve never dealt with, and the complexities of a community mental health system. At EMDR, I’ve been provided with amazing tools and didactics that have broadened my understanding of trauma and how I want to approach trauma-informed care.
Mindfully Muslim - I’ve had an amazing experience learning more about Islam and the rich history that has been overlooked. It provided me a greater insight into historical influences on the modern world of psychology. I’ve also gained great experience in content creation and how to synthesize research into condensed and accessible writings. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be challenged and to challenge my own biases of my own experiences with Islam.
Name: Madison Braid
Placement: Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health: Rapid Stabilization Unit
Description: The Rapid Stabilization Unit (RSU) at Devereux serves the purpose of treating children and adolescents who are at risk of harming themselves or others or are experiencing an exacerbated symptom of a mental illness. The program at RSU aims to provide rapid stabilization, just like the name suggests, to clients by providing individual, family, and group therapy in a structured milieu setting and set them up services to support continued treatment after discharge. As an intern with the treatment team, I conducted intake, suicide risk, and other routine assessments, facilitated daily group therapy, and completed collaborative safety plans with clients. In addition, I worked to organize a handbook consisting of the complete curriculum and configuration of the program to utilize in trainings for future RSU clinicians and interns.
Reflection: In light of the unfortunate circumstance preventing us to travel abroad, I was fortunate enough to continue my previous placement at Devereux during this spring quarter. Because of this, I was able to further sharpen my clinical skills in a way that wouldn’t have been feasible in a new and unfamiliar situation. As disappointed as I am that I was unable to have an international experience, I do believe that my expanded time at Devereux has led me to be graduating as the confident and competent clinician I now am. My supervisors have provided me with unparalleled guidance and allowed me to participate in so many aspects of the clinical realm, and more specifically that within the residential treatment/partial hospitalization system, that I would not have previously had the opportunity to do. I am thankful for my time at Devereux and believe that it perfectly complimented my training within the MAIDP program.
Name: Chelsey Brown
Placements: PEERS, Acacia Counseling, and Humanex Academy
Acacia Counseling: Acacia Counseling Inc in Denver, Colorado is a drug treatment center focusing on substance abuse treatment services. Acacia offers outpatient substance abuse treatment to a diverse range of clients with DUI or DWI offenses, as well as to clients who have difficulties with addiction.
My responsibilities included:
- Facilitating therapy groups for substance users, DUI, and DWI offenders.
- Facilitating substance use education classes for substance users, DUI and DWI offenders.
- Providing one on one counseling to substance users, DUI, and DWI offenders.
- Recording clinical notes discussing one on one sessions, clients’ treatment goals, and progress.
- Attending weekly clinical meetings to discuss clients’ therapeutic progress, difficulties, and treatment plan.
PEERS Program: PEERS is run through a Denver private practice that offers an evidence based social skills program for teens and young adults diagnosed with autism, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
My responsibilities included:
- Providing supportive counseling and behavioral coaching to youth and their families.
- Co-facilitating social skills groups to youth.
- Engaging in weekly meetings to discuss the social skills needs for each youth and voicing observations about the youth's behaviors and engagement in the groups.
- Collecting and analyzing data regarding teens’ progress after they completed the program.
Humanex Academy: Humanex Academy is a private, alternative middle and high school in Englewood, Denver Colorado, for students who have learning disabilities and face frequent emotional and behavioral challenges.
My responsibilities included:
- Providing one on one supervised counseling to 6th-12th grade students who have endured severe trauma, and struggle with anxiety, suicidality, and social skills difficulties.
- Engaging in weekly clinical supervision to discuss the student’s presenting problems, challenges, and progress.
- Engaging in frequent conceptualization of the students’ behaviors with the clinical supervisor and teachers.
- Maintaining clinical and timely documentation for students after each session.
- Creating safety plans with students struggling with suicidality.
- Collaborating with the teachers, school principal, and clinical supervisor to ensure student safety and therapeutic progress.
From each placement, I learned so much and would do it all over again. Each placement has helped me grow in asking relevant and curious clinical questions. Each placement has taught me how to work with many people who come from a various range of backgrounds. They have also helped me gain confidence in myself when it comes to advocating for myself and others, trusting my clinical judgment, and meeting people where they are at. I have become a better person because of the people and clients I have worked with. Each placement has helped me see the beauty in this work and has added fuel to my passion of being a trauma therapist.
Name: Andrea Browndorf
Placements: Jefferson Center for Mental Health; National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute at Columbia University
JCMH: The mission of JCMH is to inspire hope, improve lives, and strengthen the community by providing mental health and related solutions for individuals families. I worked on the Colorado Spirit team within JCMH, which is Jefferson County’s COVID-19 behavioral health response team. Their mission is to promote resilience, empowerment, and recovery while strengthening existing community support systems by helping with the emotional needs of the community and those affected by the pandemic. While on the team, I co-facilitated psychoeducation wellness groups for a senior living center and in collaboration with Mental Health Partners, my co-intern and I developed, conducted, and analyzed a qualitative research survey to assess the level of burnout and self-care among all of Colorado’s CCP teams.
NCDP: The mission of NCDP is to understand and improve the nation’s capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. I worked on the Resilient Children/Resilient Community Initiative which aims to enhance local planning capacity, fortify relationships and partnerships in preparedness, and identify critical policy levers to affect systematic change to address the unique needs of children before, during, and after disasters. During my time I specifically worked on a project to develop a child-specific mental health response and recovery plan template to be utilized by counties across the nation following a disaster.
Reflection: Working on both of these teams has been a wonderful experience. They both allowed me to engage in projects that were outside of my professional comfort zone for someone who is primarily clinically focused. Doing mostly remote work was certainly a challenge but it taught me valuable lessons about flexibility and expectations and I am grateful to have had both opportunities over the past 8 weeks.
Name: Emily Burns
Placements: Fox Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Denver; Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital, Banepa, Nepal; National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network, Terrorism and Disaster Team, UCLA
Fox Lab, Department of Psychology, University of Denver
The mission of the Fox Lab is to identify causes of suicide and self-harming behaviors to help improve the prediction and prevention of these behaviors globally. As a Graduate Research Assistant, I have primarily been leading a project studying barriers to crisis services for Black young adults. This project is critical given the noted underuse of services and growing disparities in mental health treatment for Black communities (Cook et al., 2017). I have simultaneously been involved in other projects in the lab. I assisted with qualitative data coding for a study examining teen’s experiences disclosing thoughts of suicide and/or engagement in suicidal/self-harming behaviors and am currently assisting with writing a chapter on intrapersonal risk factors for non-suicidal self-injury to be published by Oxford University Press.
Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital, Banepa, Nepal
The mission of SMAH is to provide compassionate, patient-centered care to international standards for all patients regardless of their ability to pay. The hospital is located in rural Banepa, Nepal and provides services to the surrounding communities, many of which live well below the poverty line. The hospital has few mental health resources despite a high need. Kaitlin, Heidi, and I worked remotely with our supervisor who is a social worker at the hospital to run discussion groups with staff. The initial goal was to better understand prevalent mental health issues, stigma surrounding mental health, and mental health care needs locally. After getting a better understanding of the context, we then focused on teaching practical psychoeducation and self-care techniques to hospital staff, given the increased demands created by the COVID crisis. Our final goal was to create a comprehensive, yet easy to use mental health resource guide to help staff manage everyday symptoms of stress and burnout.
National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network, Terrorism and Disaster Team, UCLA
The Mission of the NCTSN is to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States. Meriweather, Alex and I worked specifically with the Terrorism and Disaster team looking at qualitative data collected after several mass shootings in the U.S. This data came from interviews with community leaders, recovery service providers, survivors, and family members and specifically focused on understanding the impact of media and social media around these events. We used this data to determine best practices and to inform recommendations for responding to future events in ways that are trauma informed and promote greater community healing.
Though there were many challenges in adapting to this internship period, I had the opportunity to engage in three unique and meaningful internships. I learned so much from each of my supervisors and valued the opportunity to apply what I learned throughout my studies to each of these projects. This has certainly informed my future career goals and helped me to build great connections in the field.
Name: Meriwether Denman
Placements: Maria Droste Counseling Center, National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Maria Droste Counseling Center (MDCC)
Maria Droste Counseling Center (MDCC) has been formed out of the understanding that people need access to counseling regardless of their ability to pay. Their goal is to create a community mental health center where all Coloradans feel welcome and safe. They are committed to serving others with enthusiasm, empathy and humility as we assist in creating a place of peace, love and harmony within others, ourselves and our community. MDCC embraces and honors diversity in all its forms.
Based on MDCC’s mission, they partner with many local organizations to provide services to a wide range of populations. Some of these organizations include public and private schools around Denver, domestic violence shelters, nursing homes, and their own community mental health clinic. While interning with MDCC, I worked as an intern therapist both for the Options community mental health clinic and for the Children’s First program as a school counselor.
During the internship I worked with adolescent and adult clients in the Options clinic providing psychotherapy, as well as working with Children First in a local Catholic school practicing play therapy with students.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
The mission of the Terrorism and Disaster Network Committee (TDNC) is to promote the behavioral health and well-being of children and families by strengthening our nation’s preparedness and response to terrorism, disaster, mass violence, and public health emergencies. The TDNC vision is to enhance public awareness of the need for planning and to increase disaster behavioral health services for children and families by promoting collaborative partnerships, integrating services into local communities, and developing and adapting resources.
During this 8-week internship I worked in a small group of fellow IDP interns and our supervisor to read through qualitative data from a Mass Violence research project that focused on understanding the role of media in response and recovery to mass violence events. We collaborated to identify themes within the research that could inform NCTSN recommendations to survivors and community leaders about how to interact with media follow an event in the most protective and trauma informed manner.
Over the past year working at Maria Droste Counseling Center, I have grown as a professional through the exciting responsibilities and challenges of managing a full caseload (up to 11 clients) while also managing school and my personal life. I have learned a lot about the importance of reliability in working with children and families and the finesse of empowering caretakers and children in their care while also having confidence in my clinical judgement and recommendations.
At the National Child Traumatic Stress Network I have been introduced to a world of qualitative research and have come to appreciate the process and value of research in a new way. This internship has challenged me to set boundaries for myself around when and how much difficult and heart wrenching interview data to digest, and to set my own schedule and deadlines. In collaborating with NCTSN, I have grappled with my passion for trauma work and understanding mass violence while also coming to terms with the personal impact this work has and considering how I can engage in this work with longevity in mind.
Name: Tiara DuBose
Placements: Denver Health -RISE (Resilience In Stressful Events); SCARF ( Schizophrenia Research Foundation)
Denver Health- RISE
- Provide PFA and staff support in a timely manner to staff experiencing distress either due to the workplace or outside aspects of daily life
- Created and implemented a seven day spirit week and series of mental health focused activities for Denver Health personnel
- Assisting in ongoing program evaluation, development, and disaster response during COVID-19 for staff
- Assisted in managing the RISE space from open to close
- Helped implement three moves of the center, oriented new staff members to the RISE center, and modeled standard work necessary in the space
- Attend weekly staff meetings, debrief encounters, and facilitate group support for Denver Health personnel
- Helping return a stressed individual back into the “resilient zone” through confidential, non-threatening and objective peer support
- Provide support to other members of the peer responder team
- Identify situations outside of the scope of RISE and connecting staff with resources in the community that work best for their current situation
- Understanding the complexities and stresses of the health care environment as well as the potential impact of acute and chronic and cumulative stress on healthcare workers
SCARF -Research foundation in India which seeks to provide quality care and rehabilitation to those suffering from severe mental disorders.
- Conducting a systematic review of published articles around best treatment and practices for individuals with dementia as well as their caregivers during COVID-19 (and future disasters)
- Working to provide insight into the struggles and experiences of individuals and their caregivers during COVID-19 in LMIC/ the US
- Addressing gaps and needed changes in policy in order to better aid individuals with dementia during COVID-19
During both of these internships I have grown in my level of adaptability and flexibility in my attempts to help address the mental health needs of individuals in my local and worldwide community. I have been able to realize that the individual experiences that people are having are deeply impactful for us all as a collective. Through this process I have been able to see the value in staying connected to others and finding unique ways to maintain community and places for relief. I also have realized the many barriers and gaps in our systems that are influencing lives of individuals on the daily which has fueled my fire to be more of an advocate in my work. I hope to be continue to push this field towards adapting towards clients needs and grow in my clinical experience.
Brianna Nicolle Garrett
Name: Brianna Nicolle Garrett
Placements: SandStone Care; Kenya - Kaaja Methodist Church, Meru, Kenya
Kenya - Kaaja Methodist Church: Meru, Kenya
This site has numerous programs that are psychosocial and also serve those struggling with Addiction and Substance Use. They have programs for children/teens/families). This organization offers a variety of psychosocial programs as well as medical camps. They do outreach work with AIDS orphans, people living with HIV and AIDS and street children as well as other vulnerable populations. Under the supervision of Bishop Catherine Mutua (psychologist) are 2 caseworkers, 2 community health workers and counselors. They serve 730 children – needs are identified through home and school visits and they help serve through group psychotherapy, counseling & provision of basic needs. Issues of concern include increasing rates of adolescent suicide, drug use, stigma regarding HIV and AIDS. Have Rehabilitation Center for substance abuse-related cases with group treatment and individual counseling.
This site has numerous programs that are psychosocial and also serve those struggling with Addiction and Substance Us as well as having programs for children/teens/families. This organization offers a variety of psychosocial programs, as mentioned, but also medical camps as well. They do outreach work with AIDS orphans, people living with HIV and AIDS, children subjected to living on the street, as well as other vulnerable populations. Under the supervision of Bishop Catherine Mutua (psychologist) are 2 caseworkers, 2 community health workers and counselors. They serve 730 children – needs are identified through home and school visits and they help serve through group psychotherapy, counseling & provision of basic needs. Issues of concern include increasing rates of adolescent suicide, drug use, stigma regarding HIV and AIDS. Have Rehabilitation Center for substance abuse-related cases with group treatment and individual counseling.
This is a substance use and addiction recovery center. At this location I am known as a Junior Clinician where I do Intakes for the site and co- facilitate multiple groups (PHP and OP specific) to which I have also ran these groups by myself on multiple occasions. I also acquired an individual and family caseload that I was seeing weekly along with doing the above mentioned. Along with this I help in giving Urinalysis Screenings and help with Academic and Vocational Support as well.
I have many reflections that I believe extend to both sites both regarding personal and professional development. One of the largest areas of growth I experienced was increasing my flexibility while maintaining my boundaries. This extends to both clients and professionals that I have begun to work with. Along with this, I also learned to better give myself grace while holding space for others in a professional sense.
Name: Morgan Haviland
Placement(s): National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR); Essential Grace, Malawi
Description of each placement:
NNIRR is a national organization composed of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights, and labor organizations and activists. It serves as a forum to share information and analysis to educate communities and the public, and to develop and coordinate plans of action on important immigrant and refugee issues.” NNIRR works “to promote a just immigration and refugee policy in the U.S. and to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status.” The NNIRR follows “principles of equity and justice, seeks enfranchisement of immigrant and refugee communities, advocates for rights, systemic structures that exacerbate issues and problems, emphasize a need to build support and cooperation internationally to strengthen the rights, welfare, and safety of migrants and refugees.
Elise and I worked on several projects during our time at NNIRR. We created and implemented virtual trainings for NNIRR staff and interns. The NNIRR team was comprised of researchers for trends and policy recommendations, individuals who work on the ground at the U.S.-Mexico border, and a team focused on Migrant Deaths. Jen and Alma, who are co-directors of NNIRR are dedicated to incorporating mental health focus into their organization. We created two trainings focused on vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, burnout, as well as promoting wellbeing through self-care, and considerations of sustaining oneself in the face of difficult work. We also did a training with the migrant deaths team to help them prepare for interview with families who have lost loved ones at the border. This training provided tools, recommendations, and considerations about leading the interviews in a trauma informed manner and taking care of themselves in the process. Additionally, we wrote a resource doc for the team for them to refer to in future work. Elise and I also conducted research for the NNIRR spotlight report, which documented human rights abuses at the border and in detention centers, border patrol abuse and impunity, family separation, migrant death, and missing migrants and recovering remains. This research included mental health impacts as well as findings and recommendations for immigrant and refugees. We complied our findings for the team to utilize in their final report.
Malawi is a country in Southeast Africa, where Emma and I were supposed to be for our international internship this past summer. Our supervisor, Julie is a mental health counselor in the country. Her practice is called “The Haven Center” and she provides services to her community. She also founded a magazine called Essential Grace, which spreads mental health awareness around the country. Mental health is a growing field in Malawi and Julie and her peers are working to de-stigmatize mental health and provide services to those who need them.
Emma and I collaborated on presentations virtually for two groups within Malawi. One group consisted of community members from across the country who were interested in attending and learning more about mental health and the second was a group of mental health professionals. We presented several topics to these groups, which included, grief and loss, suicidality, and gender-based violence. We approached these topics from a global perspective as well as local considerations. Emma and I formatted the presentations and discussions to prioritize facilitated conversations with attendees throughout each topic. We also wrote a magazine article for Essential Grace which highlighted who we are, what we do, and our perspectives on mental health and different topics. Additionally, we had to the opportunity to meet with a mental health professional to discuss the work their organization is doing to de-stigmatize suicide within the country.
Both of my internships were unique opportunities, and I enjoyed the experiences within each one. I was thankful to be able to work remotely with both internship sites, since traveling physically was not an option. Engaging in the different areas of work at the NNIRR and with my site in Malawi granted me the opportunity to explore my interests and develop new skills. I was also able to learn from others around me throughout. The conversations with community members and mental health providers in Malawi were rich and a valuable part of our presentations. We approached topics from a global mental health lens and the perspectives and experiences shared by participants provided context for culture considerations in communities within Malawi. At NNIRR I felt grateful for their engagement and our ability to help them fill a gap. Overall, I grew in confidence in my knowledge and ability to convey information thoughtfully and comprehensively. I also used introspection and mindfulness to assist with work-life balance which I hope to maintain throughout my future career endeavors. I enjoy many aspects of work opportunities within this field and I am thankful for the experience I gained with two great placements over the past 8 weeks.
Name: Melissa Johnston
Placement: Colorado Coalition for the Homeless - Stout Street Health Center
The Stout Street Health Center is a integrated healthcare center in downtown Denver. Services offered include:
- Primary care, including pediatrics
- Dental care
- Eye clinic
- Behavioral health care
- Mental health care
- Substance Use Treatment (Medication Assisted Treatment)
- Medicaid enrollment
Mission: The Mission of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is to work collaboratively toward the prevention of homelessness and the creation of lasting solutions for families, children, and individuals who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness throughout Colorado. CCH advocates for and provides a continuum of housing and a variety of services to improve the health, well-being and stability of those it serves.
What I Did: During my time at SSHC I provided individual therapy, responded to crisis calls, completed intakes for the Medication Assisted Treatment program, and provided consultations for medical providers if they had a patient in need of mental health services.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. I have always wanted to work in a clinic or hospital setting, so being able to work at the Stout Street Health Center was the perfect opportunity. In terms of professional development, working in the clinic helped me become more confident in my skills as a mental health clinician. In part due to my experience at SSHC, I have decided to pursue my Masters in Nursing in hopes of becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
Name: Katie Kershenbaum
Placements: Maria Droste Counseling Center; Colorado Spirit Team @ JCMH
Maria Droste Counseling Center Mission: “To serve others with enthusiasm, empathy and humility as we assist in creating a place of peace, love and harmony within others, ourselves and our community.”
I worked as a school-based therapist with elementary-aged students and as a psychotherapist for adults through the clinic for approximately 20 hours/week. I conducted weekly psychotherapy and play therapy sessions on both telehealth and in-person platforms.
Colorado Spirit Team @ JCMH Mission: “To inspire hope, improve lives, and strengthen our community by providing mental health and related solutions for individuals and families.”
The CO Spirit Team is a FEMA funded crisis counseling program established through Jefferson Center for Mental Health. I participated in a qualitative research project to evaluate burnout and self-care for all CCPs across the state. I conducted interviews with team leads and collaborated in analyzing the data. Additionally, I co-led a three-week presentation for a community partner covering topics such as stress cycles, burnout, and self-care.
This internship with the Maria Droste Counseling Center challenged me, especially during an already challenging year. There were times I felt thrown into the deep end hoping to swim and not sink, which I personally believe was the best method for me to learn. I gained incredible clinical experience, found some grounding in my competence as a therapist, and grew immensely as a person.
My biggest takeaway from the Colorado Spirit Team @ JCMH internship was learning about the widespread scope of Colorado’s mental health disaster response. The collaborative nature of all CCP’s across the state and their community outreach strategies are very impressive! I also really enjoyed gaining presentation skills and believe that will be useful for me in the future.
Name: Emily Koon
Placements: Community Reach Center - Thornton Outpatient; Community Reach Center - Quality Assurance and Compliance
The mission of Community Reach Center is to enhance the health of our community. They do this through providing a number of services such as: community-based services, behavioral health urgent care, housing, outpatient counseling, peer services, psychological testing, therapy groups, vocational services, and telehealth.
At Thornton Outpatient, I provide both outpatient therapy and EMDR to clients. I work mainly with adults who have experienced significant trauma in their lifetime that affect functioning on a daily basis. I mainly use EMDR therapy to assisting in changing how the brain stores a certain memory and to see it in an adaptive way.
On the Quality assurance and compliance team, I work to help with things such as chart audits and training developments for the clinical teams.
I have really appreciated my time at Community Reach Center. I got an incredible amount of time to work with different clients and to learn and use EMDR. Through this experience I have a new found understanding of how the brain functions and stores events throughout a life. I have discover that I do feel drawn to being a full time trauma therapist and that EMDR is my intervention of choice. Through my quality assurance work I have gained valuable knowledge on how community mental health operates behind the scenes. I know feel like I am educated on how to build programs, work with insurances, and work in best practice.
Name: Elise Legge
Placements: Family Rehabilitation Center (Sri Lanka); National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (United States)
Family Rehabilitation Center
Mission: “To serve as one of the leading national organizations in rehabilitation of trauma survivors by engaging in counseling and holistic psychosocial services, and build capacity of relevant stakeholders to effectively address and prevent trauma in Sri Lanka.”
Activities: Developed and conducted virtual training sessions on how to administer psychological first aid in post-disaster settings and working with clients who have experienced gender-based violence. Contributed to creation of documents outlining the structure of a Psychosocial Emergency Response Team to be deployed by the organization in post-disaster settings in Sri Lanka.
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Mission: “The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) is a national organization composed of local coalitions and immigrant, refugee, community, religious, civil rights and labor organizations and activists. It serves as a forum to share information and analysis, to educate communities and the general public, and to develop and coordinate plans of action on important immigrant and refugee issues. We work to promote a just immigration and refugee policy in the United States and to defend and expand the rights of all immigrants and refugees, regardless of immigration status.”
Activities: Developed and conducted virtual training sessions on preventing vicarious traumatization and burnout when engaging in humanitarian work. Contributed to research on mental health needs and services at the U.S.-Mexico border and recommendations for areas of advocacy.
This work provided an opportunity to work cross-culturally with Sri Lankan psychosocial health providers. I appreciated being able to compare and contrast mental health approaches I learned about in the U.S. to approaches being used by my Sri Lankan counterparts. I was also interested to see the variations in national approaches to the COVID-19 crisis, especially as cases in Sri Lanka began to increase and my counterparts were experiencing a country-wide lockdown.
This work helped me to deepen my understanding of immigration processes for migrants attempting to come to the U.S. through various channels of immigration. My research highlighted the inadequacies in the ways that mental health is handled at the U.S.-Mexico border for migrants and their families. Knowing this solidifies my commitment to continue working toward better mental health programs for refugees, asylees, and immigrants that are culturally relevant and easily accessible.
Name: Heidi Maurer
Placements: iAmClinic (Denver, Colorado) & Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital (Banepa, Nepal)
The iAmClinic is dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community in the Denver Metro area by providing psychotherapy, neurofeedback and ketamine treatments. Their emphasis in treatment is focused on the religious background and upbringing many of us in the community have experienced. Isaac Archuleta, the owner of iAmClinic, grew up as a Christian and realized after coming out that there was little to no resources for people like him who had been raised in a church. During my time at the clinic, clinical work with clients took the back seat because of how short the internship was, so, instead, I focused my time learning the ins and outs of running a clinically based business which included learning how to market the business on social media. I created many Instagram and Facebook posts that described important dates in the LGBTQ community and other mental health related topics. I was also privileged with the opportunity to appear as a guest on the clinic’s podcast and was able to give a voice to my own experience as a gay woman. Over the course of the pandemic, Isaac found such a devastating increase in anxiety in most of those seeking services that they wanted to create an anxiety workshop in hopes of mitigating harmful stress responses. I was asked to take lead on this project and was able to create a recorded workshop that will be offered through the iAmClinic. Finally, I was allowed to shadow neurofeedback and ketamine treatment sessions. This allowed me to broaden my clinical scope to other modalities of treatment and think of how I might incorporate them in the future.
Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital is a local hospital located in Banepa, Nepal, a small village just outside of Kathmandu. As a local hospital, they serve a variety of people and for a variety of reasons. However, we were asked to focus on the mental health side of the patients in the hospital, more specifically, those who had attempted to take their own lives and their families. The hospital sees a handful of patients everyday who fit into this category, so they were no stranger to the psychopathology of suicide, they just weren’t trained how to treat it. At the beginning of the internship, we were hoping to be able to teach the hospital staff about the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and basic therapy skills to use with their patients. However, after meeting with the hospital staff it became apparent that we needed to change the course of our time with them. These individuals have one of the most difficult jobs in the world and it was so clear that they needed help not only understanding their own distress but how to manage it. With this new direction in mind, we decided it would be the most beneficial to create a distress guide that they could utilize in the hospital. This guide included psychoeducation material describing stress related topics, why we become so distressed and when it becomes debilitating. We also thought it would be helpful to include self-assessments so hospital workers would be able to have a clear understanding of where their distress levels are at. We also included mindfulness and grounding techniques that could be implemented in the hospital setting and at home to decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. Finally, we included local resources for mental health in both treatment centers and hotlines that hospital staff can use on their own time whenever they feel the need.
I obviously would have loved to have been able to travel to Nepal and work inside the hospital. It would have been such an incredible experience, but COVID hit, and everything changed. The biggest lesson I have learned personally this year is that COVID has taken control of so many different aspects of my life however, it never controlled how I reacted or my attitude. The way I responded to this pandemic and how it changed my graduate school experience was up to me and for a while I was extremely bitter and angry. Until I realized I could still the make the most out of this experience. Without the lemon of a year, I don’t think I would have gained such a humbling perspective of what I can control. Overall, as a professional I have gained so much in terms of the business side of therapy that I wouldn’t have been given if I had been able to go to Nepal. I wouldn’t have met Isaac or anyone at the iAmClinic so for that I am grateful because I feel prepared to take the steps necessary to open my own clinic. I wish it would have been easier to connect with Pukar and the hospital workers in Nepal. Working remotely through zoom presented its own challenges but it was still very exciting to teach people in a different country about the techniques I have learned. It is very rewarding to have actually helped someone else in a different setting, culture, and part of the world. All in all, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given in spite of the pandemic and everything I have learned because of it.
Name: Alex Mitchell
Placements: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center
NCTSN: The mission of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network is “to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States.” Working with their Terrorism and Disaster Program, my fellow interns and I read through excerpts of interviews conducted with survivors of mass shootings to create recommendations for survivors and communities of areas impacted by mass shootings.
NUPPC: The mission of the Public Policy Center is “to link policy with research, process, and practice by working with researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders to actively inform public policy.” During my work with them, I assisted with Nebraska’s COVID-19 crisis counseling program by compiling information in provider reports to be included their quarterly report; conducted interviews and focus groups with providers about successes, challenges, lessons learned, best practices, and recommendations regarding the implementation of the program; and wrote a report on those interviews and focus groups for that information to be included in their final report on the program.
Working with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Public Policy Center allowed me to grow my qualitative research skills, something I see as invaluable no matter what direction I end up going with my career. Both experiences have also allowed me to explore career options outside of becoming a clinician.
Name: Christopher Pineda
Placements: ODIM (Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya) and Judi’s House
ODIM is a non-profit organization based in San Pablo & San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala that provides evidence based and culturally aligned healthcare and education to the local community. Services include diabetes treatment, perinatal support for pregnant women, and an adolescent health program.
ODIM Mission: To enable access to healthcare and preventative health education for the population, with equality, honesty, and confidentiality, that is focused on programs that promote development and empowerment of the communities of San Pablo and San Juan La Laguna.
Judi’s House is a non-profit bereavement center for children and families that provides group and individual grief therapy services. Judi’s House also provides school and community-based grief care workshops and continues research and evaluation of services through the JAG institute.
Judi’s House Mission: To help children and families grieving a death find connection and healing.
I feel grateful for the experience I have had working with ODIM. I learned so much establishing a relationship with the promoters and coordinators of the organization. Being able to adapt what I have learned and provide trainings on a variety of mental health topics and facilitate staff welfare groups has given me confidence to continue to pursue work with the Latinx community. I hope to continue to improve mental health services and possibly immigration services for the Latinx community.
I have grown a lot both professionally and as a person working at Judi’s House for the past year. It can sound intimidating to provide grief therapy or facilitate groups about grief, but I’ve learned how powerful a group dynamic can be for healing and how children can impress you with how they address this topic. I have grown to truly enjoy the work I do at Judi’s House and hope to continue while I work towards my LPC license.
Name: Zee Riggs (they/them)
Placement: Queer Asterisk
Queer Asterisk is a mental health organization run entirely by queer and transgender professionals. Queer Asterisk is also rooted in social justice advocacy and compassionate counseling and education. While at this organization I helped with Client Care, which involved phone screenings and other aspects of the intake process. I also helped co-lead the Trans Masculine Group and provided temporary counseling for 6 clients.
While being at Queer Asterisk I was able to grow both personally and professionally. Being my authentic self while in a safe environment contributed to a lot of personal growth. Additionally, the work I did with clients and as part of teams helped me grow as a clinician.
Name: Ethan Rosen
Placements: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response (CDPHE: OEPR); Organization for the Development of the Indigenous Maya (ODIM)
Mission: CDPHE serves Coloradans by providing public health and environmental protection services that promote healthy people in healthy places. Public health professionals use evidence-based practices in the public health and environmental fields to create the conditions in which residents can be healthy. In addition to maintaining and enhancing our core programs, CDPHE identifies and responds to emerging issues affecting Colorado's public and environmental health.
Description: This office within CDPHE responds to and coordinates recovery from emergencies around Colorado. While this work includes any disasters or crisis situation in the state, the team has largely been tasked with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What I Did: Supported an ongoing statewide crisis counseling program, conducted and presented on qualitative interviews with the subcommittee chairs of a statewide healthcare worker resiliency and retention program and completed updating a guidance document for public health workers on reactions to quarantine and isolation during a contagion event.
Mission: To enable access to healthcare and preventative health education for the population, with equality, honesty, and confidentiality, that is focused on programs that promote development and empowerment of the communities of San Pablo and San Juan La Laguna.
Description: A non-profit organization in Guatemala that believes that compassionate, competent and comprehensive medical care and education are possible even in the poorest places on earth. ODIM believes that working together with the people of San Pablo and San Juan la Laguna is better than going it alone. The staff is made up of individuals from the local Mayan community, from other parts of Guatemala and from around the world.
What I did: Worked on an ongoing program development and evaluation project addressing perinatal mental health, facilitated staff support groups and provided psychoeducational trainings on suicide and self-harm, domestic violence, substance abuse and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.
I was excited to continue working with people and an organization that I had been helping for the past year. I was impacted professionally in the way that I learned to balance a schedule and communicate professionally. I was impacted personally by re-experiencing the importance of giving back to my community and developing professional relationships. I feel so fortunate to have played a role in the pandemic response for my home state.
At ODIM, I was pleasantly surprised with how feasible it was to coordinate with this organization remotely. I was impacted professionally in how I grew comfortable working remotely at an international site and in moving past feelings of imposter syndrome. I was impacted personally by making a difference from very far away and connecting with people from the local community. It has been an engaging and unique learning experience to compare real-time experiences of the pandemic from the United States with those from Guatemala.
Name: Emma Stadele
Placements: Judi’s House; Julie Soko- Mental Health Provider in Malawi and Founder of Essential Grace Magazine
Judi’s House is a childhood grief and loss center in Denver, CO. Their mission is to help children and families grieving a death find connection and healing. During my time at Judi’s House, I have co-facilitate support groups providing grief counseling. Conduct initial intakes and assessment of new families. Present case conceptualization to staff and determine clinical recommendations for families and clients. I also carry a caseload of family and individual clients and attend training and intern support meetings.
My internship with Julie Soko in Malawi has focused on holding community discussions over zoom with mental health workers and community members in Malawi. These discussions have focused on grief and loss, gender-based violence, and suicidality. These presentations have focused on these subjects through a global perspective and highlight these subjects in Malawi.
During my time in graduate school, I have learned that everything is intersectional and it is important to speak up in times of injustice. Professionally, I have become someone who is confident in my ability to provide counseling and I have learned that it is all right to make mistakes. Without mistakes, there is no learning or growth. Personally, I have learned how to speak up for myself, set boundaries, and allow myself to find creativity in the work I am doing. This past year was full of uncertainty, and I have also had to manage my own expectations and allow space to grieve the experiences I did not get to have.
Name: Kaitlin Stecklein
Placements: Denver Health RISE Program and Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital
The Denver Health RISE Program is a peer support program that serves everyone working at Denver Health. I have worked in the RISE center, providing Psychological First Aid and teaching mindfulness activities. I was present in RISE through 2 moves of the physical space and subsequent program adjustments. I was also involved in facilitation and observing support groups through RISE.
Our Scheer Memorial project was originally intended to be creating a community based suicide prevention intervention. With COVID-19 rates rising in Nepal, we quickly shifted towards providing support to staff through creating a mental health resource guide that contains psychoeducation, the stress continuum for self-assessment, short interventions to help with lowering stress, and resources that they might utilize for further help.
My time at RISE has greatly increased my confidence in my ability to provide support in an environment that requires flexibility, and in providing group facilitation. I have greatly benefited from working with such wonderful people in a team setting. I was somewhat surprised to discover that I really loved working in a hospital, despite the various systems at play that may complicate our work. Overall, the experiences I have had during this spring quarter have shown me how important supporting our health care workers has been, is currently, and will continue to be long after this pandemic is over.
Name: Evelyn Yip
Placements: Rocky Mountain Welcome Center (RMWC); Girls Rule the World program; Schizophrenia Research Foundation
The Rocky Mountain Welcome Center (RMWC) is an immigrant-led multi-tenant, shared space not-for-profit organization with the mission of fostering intercultural learning, understanding, and integration among immigrants, refugees, and Colorado receiving communities through programs and activities that develop supportive multicultural and welcoming environments.
I evaluated participants in Girls Rule the World program (e.g. intake, pretest). I created a Employee Handbook, Standard Operating procedures, a Resources List, COVID-19 procedures, and other forms for the organization. I assisted in the facilitation and observation of the groups in the Girls Rule the World program for refugee and immigrant youth girls.
Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) was founded with the primary objective of providing quality care and rehabilitation to those suffering from severe mental disorders.
I systematically reviewed existing literature on recommendations for caregivers of Dementia patients during a disaster/pandemic.
During these internships, I have enhanced my knowledge of working with diverse populations, specifically minoritized populations. I also learned more about my own identity and what I am passionate about. While working with the girls in the Girls Rule the World program, I reflected on my own identity and was reminded of why I came into this field. I am bicultural and still navigating between those identities. I want to work with those who are minoritized, lack resources, and face multiple barriers to accessing mental health services. While working with SCARF, I gained more knowledge about low and middle-income countries and their need for resources. With the knowledge gained through these internships, I will be more prepared to work with the populations I feel passionate to work with. I hope to continue to learn more and do my part in eliminating barriers to mental health services/education.
Dr. Tom Welch - 2021 Excellence in Training Award Recipient
Dr. Tom Welch is the recipient of the 2021 MAIDP Excellence in Training Award. He is the founder of Humanex Academy, and you can read his full bio here. You can learn more about Humanex below.
Dr. Welsh is the author of "The Breakaway," a must have resource for any parent looking for a concrete and realistic approach for guiding their neurodiverse teen into young adulthood. Inspired by the many families with whom the author has worked, the title refers to these teens/developing young adults, as they face the challenge of taking greater initiative and responsibility for themselves. This practical and relatable guide is designed to help parents develop a plan and strategy appropriate for their specific circumstance. Through the use of real-world case studies and practical suggestions parents will learn to personalize their approach to include well-timed and purposeful nudges forward - promoting progress, not power struggles. Setting goals, creating game plans; staying engaged, but flexible; winning their Breakaway’s trust and cooperation; maintaining a strong relationship even when the inevitable conflicts arise. How do you inspire your Breakaway? How high should goals be set? When should you reassess the plan? How do you provide helpful feedback? When should you intervene and when should you resist the impulse to panic? These are all things that are discussed.
The book has been broken down into the major components of a winning strategy. Parents will learn to evaluate their Breakaway’s Readiness For Change, the importance of setting the correct Expectations and giving good Feedback, dealing with the awkwardness of Identity Development, creating a culture of Accountability, allowing for the Resilience factor, projecting Commitment, as well as their own learning curve as parent, and the Human Experience.
At the end of each chapter there are questions so the reader can apply the issues raised to gain insight into their Breakaway, and their development. By writing down answers and keeping a journal/notebook it is possible to work through and return to observations, thoughts and feelings at each stage of the process. This is essential to the creation and maintenance of an effective plan and strategy. At the end of the book there is a sample of such a journal, with an expanded case study. This added resource provides an additional point of reference, and is a great example of what another family implemented when faced with similar challenges. You can buy the book here.
What do you love about working with kids with learning differences?
We love working with our student population to help them find success in school, realize their strengths and passions, help them to build academic and social skills, and see them thrive while at Humanex and beyond!
What is your area(s) of specialty?
OUR STUDENT COMMUNITY
We educate and support neurodiverse 6-12 grade students looking for a safe and supportive community where they can celebrate their strengths and uniqueness, while stepping away from a deficit focused approach.
OUR STUDENT POPULATION
Students come to us with diagnoses such as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), Anxiety, ADHD, and a wide range of learning disabilities including executive functioning challenges. Additionally, many of our students are identified as Twice Exceptional (2E), where they present with areas of great strength and co-occurring areas of weakness, which can make it challenging to consistently tap into those strength areas.
OUR ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT
Our academic environment tends to be a quiet one. Our students most broadly can be defined as internalizers, where they feel things profoundly and their response to frustration or overwhelm tends to be held inside, emotionally rather than in external behavior responses.
EMBRACING THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE
What all of our students have in common is the need for an environment to be around peers that are like them. This allows for both academic and social interactions where it is safe to make mistakes and where conflict disagreement and resolution are possible with embedded adult coaching. We focus on students' strengths and help students to build continued successes creating space to approach areas of challenge.
Types of learning differences your services help:
ADHD, Anxiety, Assistive Technology, Autism, Depression, Diverse Learning Styles, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Educational Advocacy, Educational Testing, Executive Functioning, Oral/Written Language Disorder & Specific Reading Comprehension, Deficit Sensory Processing, Socialization, Twice Exceptional
Grades 6-8Grades 9-12