Exploring Mental Health Care professions through my Clinical Psychology internship, with Intern Abroad HQ.

Are you aspiring to establish a career in healthcare? Learn more from the experiences of other internship participants, to gain more insight into Intern Abroad HQ opportunities.

Samantha Borenstein is a pre-medical student from Princeton University who is keen to explore medical care from a psychological standpoint, with the aim of improving the lives of others.

Intern Abroad HQ’s remote Clinical Psychology internship (hosted out of India) provides students and young professionals with the unique opportunity to interact with diverse experts in their field - saving you the expense of needing to travel across the world.

Read more to learn how Samantha applied professional and academic concepts to real-world situations. If you’re seeking to complement your theoretical medical and psychological concepts with real-world scenarios outside a classroom setting, this internship could be for you too!

Hi Samantha! Can you please share more about your remote internship role?

In this Clinical Psychology internship, I shadowed an Indian clinical psychologist through her different sessions, counseling meetings, and appointments. I also attended talks as well as training sessions with different professionals in mental health related careers. I wrote reports about all of these meetings, asked questions to the professionals I met, and pursued relevant further research that I submitted to my advisor. My psychology internship role allowed other interns, as well as the organization, to facilitate conversations and understanding about healthcare in different nations, as well as the diverse experiences of myself and of researchers currently engaged in the field.

Exploring Mental Health Care professions through my Clinical Psychology internship, with Intern Abroad HQ

What was it like getting started and settled into this internship opportunity?

My first week was much more diverse than what I had expected. There was a large variety of clients and issues tackled by my host organization. Everyone was extremely welcoming and, thanks to the nature of this online internship, there is a large amount of flexibility with attendance since everything can be recorded. This was great, as I had work commitments that I needed to manage around the remote internship schedule. The most memorable moment during my first week was being assigned a Meyers-Briggs personality type to myself, and learning more about the natural instincts and traits that people have.

Were there any challenges that you needed to overcome?

I did have work commitments outside of this internship and my own scheduling issues slightly impacted my ability to join in some of the sessions. However, this was addressed as my supervisor assured me that meetings were offered at different times of the day to account for differences in both time zones and interns’ schedules. In addition to this, I could watch the recordings of any sessions that I missed.

Do you have any significant learning points that you acquired from this internship which can be applied in practice in the field of psychology?

My most significant learning points were that improving someone’s life in a small way (even just offering a listening ear) can greatly affect the course of their life in a positive way and empowering them to improve their mental health and their situation in life. I expanded my knowledge of cultural differences (and similarities), and investigated how profoundly the mental health of people in both India and the US was negatively impacted by COVID-19 as well as the lockdowns and the impact of those lockdowns.

My number one take-away from the internship is that people often dissociate from their true desires because their brain is working against them. Since the brain controls the body, we often assume that our thoughts are pure and well-intentioned, but things like mental illness, societal pressures, familial obligations, and cultural norms can influence how we think or feel or act, oftentimes in ways that cause us emotional or mental or academic harm.

Exploring Mental Health Care professions through my Clinical Psychology internship, with Intern Abroad HQ

Do you have any interesting observations on multiculturalism that you would like to share with us?

Yes! There are some cultural similarities, like the emphasis on family values and structures, punctuality and creating a collaborative and supportive work environment. I was pleased to discover that while respect for the supervisors was emphasized, there were very few barriers between the mentors and the interns and that there was both an open dialogue and a desire to personally get to know everyone.

The interns and the mentors communicated and got to know more about each others’ backgrounds and values in order to get to know each other better. Through recordings of sessions as well as online meetings with clients, we were able to see what the Indian clients value and how they interacted and viewed the world around them.

Please share with us more about the support you received from your supervisor in this internship.

I asked my supervisor for guidance on whether it was feasible to combine different webinars into one report as I was synthesizing material from the sessions and performing an in-depth analysis of the topics. I was able to communicate this clearly with her with no issues.

I learned that my supervisor appreciated my desire to do further research and she gave me invaluable advice and ideas for research topics, especially in areas related to Indian culture or medical practice in which I was a complete foreigner. She was very responsive to my request and was always happy to help.

Exploring Mental Health Care professions through my Clinical Psychology internship, with Intern Abroad HQ

How did the Clinical Psychology internship empower you for your future career?

I felt empowered to understand people that I will encounter (especially with people who may have very different cultural backgrounds and expectations). I also learned how the brain works.This internship role exposed me to a wide range of mental health care professions and research topics that allow me to determine areas of potential interest for career opportunities. I learned that the healthcare sector is so diverse and there are jobs that require psychology knowledge than I was previously aware of and it has shown me that there are very different definitions of healthcare and medical practice that are popular and accepted between different populations.

I am not limited to one certain career based on my concentration in school, as there are plenty of opportunities for applying medicine and counseling in areas as diverse as: the corporate world, criminal justice, the education system, authoring novels, doing research, and nonprofit work.

Talking about the future, what are your plans now that you’ve completed your internship?

I would like to get training to work with a mental health helpline, especially because mental health is so important for one’s well being. I would like to shadow (in person) different medical professionals that treat sexual abuse survivors, children with disabilities to see how the treatment occurs, how the professionals interact with their clients and how they handle the challenging situations they are faced with.

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