There are several opportunities for interns to complete the 40-hour domestic violence training. A relatively comprehensive, and typically current, listing of available 40-hour trainings is available online at http://www.ilcdvp.org. Please note that 40-hour trainings tend to fill up very quickly; advance registration is strongly encouraged.
Scheduling internship hours can be somewhat flexible-we understand the many demands on your busy lives. Interns should plan to work at least one or two evenings per week (until 6 or 7pm) in order to accommodate clients' schedules; limited Saturday hours may also be available.
Intern Responsibilities & Learning Opportunities
Interns receive regular individual supervision. Additionally, interns may participate in group supervision and case consultation as available. They are expected to bring thoughtful reflection on their own clinical work (and the work of their peers, as applicable), presenting and responding to challenging and difficult cases and clinical issues.
Interns will have the opportunity to conduct developmental assessments and complete family psychosocial histories. They will provide individual therapy to children and adults, as well as family therapy (parent/infant dyads, siblings, several children and a caretaker, etc.). They will also provide mental health consultation to the Head Start programs (both center-based and homebased) at Casa Central. If interested, interns will have the opportunity to facilitate or co-facilitate a group of their own design for adults and/or children.
If interested, each intern will also have the opportunity to design and implement at least one public education presentation for parents, community members or professionals who work with young children related to children's exposure to violence, keeping children safe, and/or promoting optimal early childhood development. Possible themes/topics might include:
-Supporting traumatized children in the classroom
-Overview of children's exposure to violence,
- Recognizing and responding to domestic violence.
Interns can also participate in Casa Central Safe Start Coalition activities, including quarterly meetings, trainings, and outreach activities. Interns will also have the opportunity to participate in other community coalitions, trainings, and outreach activities.
Through its partnership with Safe from the Start/Safe Start sites across the state, Casa Central's Safe Start participates in an ongoing research/evaluation process, coordinated by Dr. Paul Schewe from the Interdisciplinary Center for Research on Violence at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This research is exploring the effectiveness of the clinical services provided to children ages 0-5 and their families. With permission from the funder and UIC, site-specific data may be available to students for use in research. Bear in mind, however, that the process of getting this approval may be lengthy; students should plan accordingly.
In the past, several students have completed research projects with VPI. One student interviewed program participants to explore service adaptations for Latino families receiving violence-related clinical services; another conducted follow-up research to gauge the impact of a Safe Start training program on participants' work with families impacted by violence. Many students also complete course assignments based on work with families they are serving; with client consent, students can typically videotape sessions or complete additional assessments with families. Large-scale/macro-level projects are also an option.
In order to complete any research with Casa Central clients, students must submit a written description of the proposed research to their immediate supervisor, who will seek out the appropriate administrative approvals. The intern's supervisor can help facilitate this process. Again, this process does take some time, so students are encouraged to plan accordingly.
Supervision is extremely important to VPI; we value and prioritize it. We believe that-much like a therapeutic relationship-the primary value of supervision comes from having a safe and supportive environment in which the supervisee can build on his or her own skills and insights as a practitioner, and in which the supervisee can reflect on any aspect of his or her profession and his or her client and professional relationships. We draw on Jeree Pawl's "Platinum Rule" in our supervision: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto others." In other words, supervisors treat students in the same way we hope students treat parents... and students treat parents in the same way they hope parents treat children.
The ultimate aim of supervision is to enable supervisees to enhance the service they offer to clients, and to safeguard and enhance their own well-being while doing it. In terms of subject matter, the primary focus of the supervision process is the supervisee and the therapeutic process unfolding between her/him and her/his clients as opposed to administrative issues.
The Safe Start program primarily draws upon a Reflective Supervision model. This model is common in early childhood settings, and emphasizes the importance of collaborative reflection (or "thinking and wondering together") in an atmosphere of safety, consistency and trust.
We believe that the agenda for supervision should be driven by the supervisee; as such, students will get as much from supervision as they are willing to put into it!