You are an intern – What does that mean?
In order to be a fully licensed therapist in California, the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) requires the completion of 3,000 hours of supervised psychotherapy practice subsequent to the achievement of a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. This is comparable to a post-doctoral residency. An intern is a therapist in the process of getting fully licensed, practicing psychotherapy under the supervision of another licensed clinician and is often in this process for up to 2-5 years. This system is the best way to fully assure therapists are adequately skilled before seeing clients unsupervised. However, it is not uncommon for licensed clinicians to continue to seek peer consultation and senior mentorship with other clinicians throughout their career.
What do you mean by supervision? Are there two therapists in the room?
No, typically only one therapist is in the room. However, the therapist intern has weekly consultation with a supervisor to discuss their cases.
What does this mean for me? Are you sure you can help me?
Rest assured… A therapist intern has all the necessary requirements to perform therapy and is legally registered with the BBS. If any situations arise beyond the therapist’s experience, they are able to consult with their supervisor for guidance in moving forward. In working with an intern, clients benefit from the expertise of at least one additional licensed supervising clinician, which means that there are two capable clinicians working for you. A further benefit of working with an intern is that their cost is typically lower than a licensed therapist, allowing people who might not seek out therapy due to cost, an option to see a competent therapist.