Author Archive

What’s Next?

Looking back at how much I was able to figure out from one internship, is insane. I started off with knowing about what I wanted to major in but not exactly knowing what I want to do. During my time at Valley Community Healthcare, I decided that I wanted to go to graduate school and strive to any means necessary to avoid a gap year. I began to do more research on scholarships and possible way to get loan forgiveness by working in high-risk communities.

During this time of exploration, I never had to worry about my necessities. The Dickinson Internship Grant gave me the funds to help alleviate some of the financial pressures that I felt. I was lucky to find an internship that created a position for me but I did have to sacrifice a possible paid internship. This made me feel better about having the opportunity to really figure out what I wanted to do.

Overall, I did not know that there was more to the social work field. I know now that I want to pursue Clinical Social Work. I have a better idea of the kind of population and age group I would like to work with. So thank you Dickinson and to everyone who helped me achieve this remarkable internship and those who helped guide me throughout!




Networking and Getting Advice

As my internship was coming to a close, I saw how my relationships with my co-workers had become very beneficial. This was my first internship within a field that I was very interested in. I was working with people who were either awaiting their licensure or were already licensed. My co-workers have had experience in being interns while gaining their hours and in my last days they told me some helpful tips:

  • Keep all of your work (if it does not break confidentiality), such as projects you worked on and finished products.¬†
  • Build a relationship from the beginning, and perhaps ask your supervisor to be a future reference.
  • If possible, ask if you can volunteer if your stay is temporary (for example, you only come to California for Christmas but go to Pennsylvania for school). This is helpful when you only have a short time being at home and it happened to be where you obtained your internship.

I was grateful for the words of wisdom that my co-workers gave me! I immediately emailed Amity Fox for her take on it. She encouraged me with specific advice that made me feel more comfortable asking an employer for a reference.

I think what I am most grateful for is not only the opportunity to have an internship and aid with the Internship grant, but also the amount of support you receive from the Career Center. I thought of emailing Amity Fox first, because I know they want nothing but success for student interns (why do you think we go through an assessment when we do the INP) !



Update on Opioid Project

As you all remember, I was given the opportunity to gather up some information on the treatment centers that are available in the San Fernando Valley area and the North Hollywood area. Out of about 110 treatment centers that were presented by the resource list, only seven offered inpatient and residential treatments. From those seven only three offered residential treatments that were for spanish speakers. Out of those three, only two offered treatments to MHLA or Medi-Cal patients.

Gathering this information became very frustrating. Many of these centers did not even know what to do with MHLA patients and whether or not this would effect their possible wait time.

With this assignment, we were able to provide some evidence that supports our concern. Where can this population get drug abuse treatment?


I was at first really nervous about this task because it was gonna be used to present an argument to very important people. I became frustrated with the lack of information I was getting from these treatment center and was worried that this would negatively effect the outcome. However, as my concern grew, I went to my supervisor and had an honest conversation. I was not aware of the initial intention of this task. I told her, I have been trying my hardest, but many of these places were not helpful. She told me that my results were what she expected to hear and that if I came back with an abundance of information she would have suspected that I was being dishonest.

Lesson learned: Be honest, if you feel like your task assigned is not going the way you suspected. SPEAK UP! It would be better to catch any mistakes early rather than when your boss is ready to receive a well-finished product.


Thoughts on my Future Career and the Opioid Epidemic

At Valley Community Healthcare, I’ve been working alongside LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Workers) and it has been an amazing experience thus far. I was always sure about my career choices and how someday I would be a practicing psychologists.

However, as much as I knew what I liked to study, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.

After several conversations with my supervisors who have been training me on my role as an intern, I have had conversations that have given me many new perspectives.

After making a decision this big for my educational and career. It has motivated me to start searching for graduate schools! With my new focus in mind, it has made searching much less intimidating.

More specifically, I would like to work with teen and adults who have substance abuse disorders. During the upcoming week, my internship site is focusing on the opioid epidemic. It is quite interesting to learn about what treatment options are available and also who actually has access to these treatments.

The opioid epidemic has been described as being worse than the AIDS epidemic. It has been acknowledged by the white house but also, who are these policies and changed really helping.

For my next blog, I will be researching the treatment options available specifically in the San Fernando and North Hollywood area. I will also see how these treatments are payable and if there are options for Medi-Cal and individuals with no insurance. This population has been hit and has no access to treatment in reasonable times. Stay tuned!


Week 3: Specialty or Whole Person Centered?

Something that came up this week was whether someone would like to work in a specialty clinic or a whole-person centered clinic?

I am currently working at Valley Community Healthcare where they focus on whole person centered treatment. This means that not only are patients able to receive behavioral health services, they are also able to come in for general medicine, dentistry, counseling, and even optometry. This is different from specialty services such as one that is called Tarzana Treatment Center, where treatment is solely focused on substance abuse treatment and mental health services.

An important point came up that made me think of a future career choice. Do I want to work in a specialty clinic or a whole-person centered clinic?

This is something I want to keep exploring during my time at my internship.

Here’s an idea of what Whole-Person Care means!

I think so far….this internship is making me really think about my future career choices.


Week 2: Team Meetings

At the end of the work week, we come together for a Team Meeting where we discuss patient’s cases in order to get feedback from our co-workers. ¬†During the Team meetings, a lot of policies are discussed in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page in regards to procedures and patient rights. During this discussion, I noticed how little I knew about policies in regards to patient rights!

Luckily, the point of every internship is to learn and I have been encouraged to asked questions because it was established from the beginning that this would be a great learning experience for both of us.

We discussed HIPAA, and how writing progress notes play a large role in ensuring the rights of patients.

This brings me to another point: I wish we discussed these processes more in depth during class discussions. Usually, the ethics and patient rights section tend to be one of the shortest in classrooms. I never knew the extreme importance until I started working at Valley Community Healthcare.

During our meetings, the LCSWs are sure to discuss protocols and processes that keep the patient’s privacy rights in mind. This is important because many times patients who come in for behavioral health services are court mandated or an open case with the state’s social services.

So far, I’ve been trying to learn the terminology and policies that involve the field I am working in! Let’s see how this works out.



Week 1: Getting Orientated

So I just finished my first week at Valley Community Healthcare! So far I’ve experienced a lot of new responsibilities that I have never had in any of my previous internships. This was actually very nerve-wrecking at first because these expectations are set of for Master level students. As an undergrad, I am still learning about all of these methods but asking qusetions have been very beneficial to me.

REMEMBER: An internship is about learning, don’t be afraid to ask questions!!

I was able to observe my first Patient Intake, this went really smoothly! Most of the population we are working with are Spanish speakers (which means a lot more practice for me). First, my supervisor assessed how long her syptoms have been present and also what may have led to her current state. It was very interesting to see how everything kind of interconnected and how clear it was to see which stressors in her life caused/triggered her symptoms.

Additionally, I was also invited to observe Triages. Triages are when the primary healthcare provider refers a patient to Behavioral Health Services. It is then the responsibility of BHS to assess the patient and refer them to either open access hours (they can come in during walk-in hours) or if the condition to the patient is severe enough, set them up with an appointment as soon as possible.

Additionally, I am expected to participate in weekly staff meetings, this week we looked into psychosis and substance abuse/addiction. I think it is very interesting to see that even after many years of schooling, these mental health providers still like to discuss and re-train themselves on different psychological disorders.

By the way, here is a picture of my temporary home!


What I learned from my internship site’s interview

Hello everyone!

I was able to obtain an internship with Valley Community Healthcare located in North Hills, California. Specifically, I will be working in their behavioral services. This is such an exciting opportunity because this internship will be able to help me better understand what I would like to use my major for. I am a Psychology major and eventually I would like to provide mental health services to individuals.

If you would like to know more about what Valley Community Healthcare provides check out this link:

This is very exciting but I am also very nervous. Let me begin by telling you about my interview…

It was one of the most surprising interviews I have ever had! Usually, during an application process I have been in, the questions have been quite similar, for example, “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “how would you solve this problem?”. However, I learned quite a few lessons from this interview:

    • My interviewer asked me about specific terms found in the Psychological field, more specifically those found in my Psychopathology course (which I was taking that semester). Thankfully, I had a good idea of what the majority of those terms were.
    • More specifically, if you claim your speak fluent Spanish, be prepared to speak fluent Spanish. Thankfully my Spanish is just fine but if someone was lying about their fluency they would have been confronted with a very hard task. I was asked to explain what a Psychology word meant in Spanish and how I would explain the organization’s mission to a Spanish speaker.
    • I was extremely eager to apply for an Internship Grant because my internship was a car ride distance away and was unpaid. This was a great opportunity to speed up my interview and application process and helped me secure a committed internship early. Thankfully, I got my internship in time and was able to obtain an internship grant that will take the pressure off commuting costs.

My internship starts very soon, so make sure to check back next time to take a look at my internship’s location.