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My Internship Experience - Denelle

The process to become a registered psychologist is neither easy nor expeditious.

One must first complete a 4-to-5-year undergraduate degree, followed by a 2-to-3-year master’s degree. This culminates in a 6-month internship before beginning practice as a provisional psychologist. During these 8 years, one of the most stressful experiences was finding a suitable internship site. One must look for a site that is aligned with their professional ambitions in terms of both population and theoretical orientation. When I was hired as an intern at Aspire Counselling and Psychology Inc., I was grateful not only that I had found a placement, but that this particular placement would challenge me and provide the support I would need to grow and develop as a professional. For that reason, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude toward Aspire, which allowed me to work with so many quality, professional, fun, and caring people. Each one of them has helped my growth both as an individual and as a future psychologist. Furthermore, I would like to thank my many clients, to whom I cannot express enough appreciation. I have learned so much, personally and professionally, from each and every client. Indeed, my time spent with them has been invaluable. In addition, having the opportunity to form authentic relationships with clients and fellow clinicians kept me excited to complete my internship and transition into my career.

A unique part of my schooling and internship was that it was almost entirely completed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic created unprecedented uncertainty and necessitated dramatic change for clients, clinicians, and the field of psychology in general. I believe, however, that my passion for counselling has been strengthened even further during the pandemic. The way in which the field adjusted to provide support for clients and clinicians was truly inspiring.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world at large, it actually may have been beneficial to me in terms of my internship. Not only did I experience all that would normally be part of this stage of psychology training – I also learned how to support clients virtually, to communicate without the aid of facial expression and body language, and to help clients with problems that I and others in my life were also contending with. I was gifted with the unusual opportunity, at the beginning of my career, to not only help people with their usual struggles, but also to help clients cope with a global problem – a challenge that was unusually universal among the world’s population. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it imposed on our daily lives, nearly everyone was experiencing grief, worry, and anxiety. These circumstances taught me the importance of diligent self-care, as well as how to listen and be there for someone when I too might be facing similar struggles. While the pandemic made this experience more difficult in certain respects than it might otherwise have been, it ultimately provided an excellent learning opportunity!

Internship is often thought of as one of the last steps in school and in the process of becoming a registered psychologist. I, however, viewed internship as a beginning – the beginning of my professional career and lifelong process of growth and development. Indeed, my internship at Aspire Counselling and Psychology Inc. provided me with my first experience in a professional setting. The experience it has afforded me has helped prepare me for the new challenges my future will undoubtedly bring. These last seven months have flown by; I look forward to continuing my journey, especially since the beginning was such a phenomenal experience thanks to Dawn and the team at Aspire!

Kind Regards,

Denelle O'Reilly

Psychology Intern 2021-2022

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