Essay Social Work Intership

Business Hours:
Monday thru Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm
Appointment-Scheduling hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-4:00pm
Phone: (512) 471-3515 - Student Services Building 5th Floor

Program Philosophy

The program's philosophy is based on the belief that awareness of self enhances the ability to work effectively with others. Many of the training activities focus on the development of the professional use of self.

Professional Use of Self is considered the intentional use of one's knowledge, experience, perceptions, and skills in the therapeutic relationship in order to benefit the client.

CMHC recognizes that this can be a challenging process for the trainee, but it seeks individuals who are open to self-exploration as it applies to professional identity development.

Field Placement Description

The Counseling & Mental Health Center (CMHC) is staffed by social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed professional counselors.

Social Work interns receive supervised training in a clinical setting involving individual, group, brief assessment and crisis intervention. In addition, interns receive training in Program Development, outreach skills, and various specialized therapeutic skills involving specific populations and treatments.

Unique Aspects of the placement

  1. August Orientation and Training. A training and orientation program, which runs from August 1 - August 31 is planned for our social work and psychology interns before the Fall Semester begins. The program is 40 hours per week for the month of August. A variety of presentations, experiential workshops, and other activities are scheduled to help interns prepare for their roles and responsibilities. In addition to the intensive training activities, informal social events are planned so that interns can build group cohesiveness and meet CMHC staff members.

  2. Training Hours. When classes begin for the Fall semester, Social Work interns begin their 20 hour per week placement for the Fall semester. The 40 hour per week Spring semester block placement begins in January.

  3. Stipend. A small stipend is provided during the orientation training period.

  4. Self & Systems Training Model. CMHC's intern training program reflects a belief in a generalist training model which exposes interns to the functions and service delivery areas common to many agency settings, especially university counseling centers.
  5. Interns initially participate in defined, core areas. As they gain experience in the common areas and develop a clearer understanding of their own interests, training needs, and goals, an increased flexibility to determine individual training options is provided.

    Professional seminars complementing the on-going work experiences are an integral part of the training. Trainees from various mental health disciplines, including social work, psychology, and psychiatry, enrich the program.

    CMHC is committed to each social work intern's personal and professional development and is sensitive and responsive to individual needs and interests.

  6. Intern Supervision. The CMHC staff seeks individuals interested in recognizing their own strengths and integrating personal and professional growth. Training occurs within the context of close supervisory contact with different senior staff members and through participation in various special training and service activities, such as preceptorships and apprenticeships.


The CMHC staff is strongly committed to addressing the needs of a diverse student population, and our training programs strive to incorporate and highlight issues of difference as a fundamental part of the training experience.

In 1991, CMHC was one of the first university counseling centers to adopt a Statement on Diversity, as we believed that it was important to make a public statement about our values, commitments, and responsibilities in this area. In 2007, this statement was reviewed and revised by our staff in order to reflect the evolution of knowledge that has occurred over the years as well as our staff's ongoing reflection, discussion, and appreciation of these issues.

Statement on Diversity

Application Process

The CMHC Social Work internship program is open only to students who are enrolled in the Masters program at the UT School of Social Work. The application deadline for the 2017-2018 training year is Friday, March 9, 2018 at 5pm.

A complete application must include the following 3 components:

  • Resume: Please include your current placement and work history.
  • Reference forms: Two reference forms are required: One from your field instructor and one from your Social Work Practice II faculty professor. The online forms are provided below:
  • Essay question: Create a Word document and answer the following questions in 3 pages or less.
    1. How did you decide to enter the field of Social Work?
    2. What are your personal strengths and growth areas? Please be specific in discussing these aspects of yourself. They will be a component of your training goals as an intern.
    3. Why have you chosen to apply to the UT Counseling Center as an internship site?
    4. Please share an experience related to diversity that has shaped your understanding of your own identity.

Field Instructor Reference Form

SW Practice II Faculty Reference Form

All 3 components above should be submitted to:

Alicia Garces, LCSW, BCD
100 West Dean Keeton St.
Austin, Texas 78712-1099

Important Dates:

  1. Information meeting with CMHC social work staff and interns during February.
  2. Application materials submitted for review in March.
  3. Interviews are conducted in March and final selections are made in April in time for Summer and Fall registration for the following academic year.
For More InformationIf you have any questions about our internship program or the application process, please feel free to contact the Social Work internship training director, Alicia Garces, at (512)475-6919 or via e-mail at:

By: Tina Landeen Panos, LCSW

I was so excited to get my first intern. My mind was busy ticking off the valuable bits of wisdom and knowledge I could impart to her. The years of schooling, the papers, the internships, the field experience, the naked clients (that’s a story for another article)—I could share them all. I had been through so much, learned so much, and knew so much. This was going to be my chance to give back. I wasn’t prepared for some of the lessons I would learn from her.

#1: Question authority.

    This sounds almost silly coming from me, as I tend to pride myself as being somewhat of a rebel, but after so many years in the field, it’s safe to say that some of the “shiny” has worn off. Why we do some of the things we do doesn’t always cross my mind. The paperwork, forms, and protocols seem to run into each other like a stream that tumbles from here to there. When presented with questions from my intern, I was forced to take notice of the processes I go through. I took some time to examine my work and either reaffirm its value or get rid of it. Mindful practice has always been a goal of mine, and until I was really questioned about it, I thought I was doing it. I learned that continued questioning keeps the fidelity to one’s practice.

#2: Keep learning.

    In finding some of the weaknesses in my intern’s knowledge, I dutifully sought opportunities for trainings she could attend. Tagging along to these trainings that I always seemed too busy for previously gave some fresh light on practices I was currently using, as well as opening my eyes to new possibilities. Again, sometimes we are on such automatic pilot dealing with our day-to-day operations that we lose sight of the power of learning from each other. Isolating ourselves in our practice doesn’t benefit us as clinicians or our clients. This leads me to my next lesson.

#3: Appreciate your knowledge.

    Have you ever had this moment? You’re talking, and all of a sudden, you are outside of yourself listening and thinking, “Damn, I really sound like I know what I’m talking about.” I really hope I’m not the only one that’s ever thought that, but seriously, until I had my intern eagerly looking to me for answers, I hadn’t realized just how much knowledge I had. Not to say that I know it all, but there is a lot that I do know. Another benefit—now I won’t be so bitter writing that student loan check. This brings me to my final lesson.

#4: Perspective.

    After all those classes, that interning, those lectures and clients, the way I see the world has really changed. How things look when you’re an “expert” is vastly different from how they looked before all the experience. This is helpful to remember when your client isn’t seeing things as they so obviously are to when I’m imparting nuggets of wisdom to clients. Now I’ll work harder to put it in a more palatable way for them.

    “So, what’s so hard about changing those negative thought patterns and distorted cognitions so that you can function with less maladaptive schemas?” Huh? Of course, this is a gross exaggeration for comedic effect. I would never talk like this to my clients. Besides, I work with teenagers, and they already know everything.

    I’ve learned so much with my first intern. It’s an experience I’ve enjoyed immensely and would recommend to other professionals interested in illuminating the minds of future social workers. This especially goes for other professionals who don’t mind learning a thing or two themselves.  

Tina Landeen Panos is a licensed clinical social worker with a certification in child welfare. Currently, she is the clinical director at the Center for Brain Training in Jupiter, FL, a center providing neurofeedback therapy to clients.

This article appeared in The New Social Worker, Summer 2012, Vol. 19, No. 3. All rights reserved. Please contact Linda Grobman for permission to reprint.

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