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Invaluable Experience


Experience Information

Employer: OAR- Harbor House
Job Title: Intern
Major: Psychology
Received Credit?: Yes
Paid?: No

Description of the Organization

The Ottagan Addictions Recovery incorporated works with individuals recovering from substance abuse. I interned at Harbor House, a women's home located in Holland. Harbor House is home to many women from all over state. The women are treated for substance abuse through therapy and counseling. The 90-day program includes skill building, education, and other rehabilitation services.

Description of the Tasks/Projects Completed

While interning at Harbor House, I was responsible for several tasks. Throughout the day, I helped distribute medication to the women. I also transported individuals to and from meetings, sessions, and appointments. Because there are many women at the house, they often had different schedules and appointment times. These appointments were important and it was my job to get them there on time. I was also able to sit in and observe group therapy sessions.

Skills/Knowledge Gained Through The Experience

I gained a lot of new skills and knowledge through my internship. By directly participating in and observing therapy sessions, I gained interpersonal skills. I have more of an idea how group therapy works and the different agendas that can be taught. I learned about different skill building exercises and coping strategies. I gained knowledge on how to effectively communicate and lead a group. More specifically, I learned how to work with recovering addicts. There were often comorbid diagnoses so I also gained knowledge about other psychological disorders.

Favorite Part of the Experience

My favorite part of working at Harbor House was the interactions with the women. Even though many had very negative life experiences, they were often cheerful and positive. There were several women whose company I really enjoyed, and I learned a lot from them. They were all going through a difficult time in their lives, but they were still very warm and welcoming.

How the Experience Influenced Future Career Goals

Although I only interned for a few months, it has changed my outlook on life and substance abuse. I understand more about psychological disorders and substance abuse. It absolutely true that substance abuse is a disease. Relapse is a serious problem and recovery is a long and hard road. By seeing this firsthand, I am less naïve about the recovery process and understand that it takes a lot of patience. I will remember this when I become a therapist. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to work in the area of substance abuse and I am more prepared to take on its challenges.

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of GVSU.

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