Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Austin Family Institute

Spring 2018

Position: Undergraduate Intern
Student: Psychology Junior

Austin Family Institute is a nonprofit marriage and family therapy center that also functions as a training institute for therapists working towards licensure. As an undergraduate intern, I had the ability to be able to not only gain first-person experience into cases of marriage and family therapy, but also get experience with working within a private practice setting. I mostly work in an administrative capacity in the day-to-day operations of Austin Family Institute. This includes duties such as answering the phones for the main AFI line (as well as lines for each of the directors’ private practices), scheduling returning clients, and pairing potential new clients with therapists and going through the intake process with them. My administrative duties also included various office jobs such as scanning client documents, getting paperwork together for new clients, making copies of various documents for the business, and serving as a point of communication between the fifteen different therapists (and our consulting psychiatrist) and the clients/patients.

These administrative duties taught me a lot about personally dealing with clients, the “business” parts of a private practice, and how to work in a fast-paced, high-anxiety environment where things can change rapidly over the course of the day. However, I also learned a lot about how the therapists view their cases and work with their clients, especially while in different stages of training. Since AFI also functions as a training institute, I got to sit in on group and individual supervision, where the associate therapists (either completing their practicum for graduate school or finishing their supervision hours to gain full licensure) would consult with the directors and each other to work through some of their tougher cases. I also got to watch videotapes of sessions with the associate therapists, which I learned a great deal from.

Summer 2015 

Student: Psychology Senior
Position: Collegiate Intern
A day in the life at Austin Family Institute is very busy, fun, and engaging. AFI is a non-profit organization that provides therapy to a diverse population of clients. All of the therapists at Austin Family Institute are pursuing their Licensed Marriage and Family Degree or they have already been practicing therapy for many years. Working alongside such experienced and helpful people has definitely given me a new perspective on this career path I have chosen.
There are three interns this summer, so we split up the days during the week. I am there for about twenty hours per week, and my shifts are 9-5 p.m. for two days and 2-4 p.m. on Mondays. When I arrive in the mornings, the work starts immediately. I begin preparing paperwork for the day, completing client intakes, checking voicemails, notifying the therapists about schedule changes (if there are any), etc. Office work in the morning is extremely important for smooth operating throughout the day. 
On Mondays, I get to sit in on Learning Group and Group Supervision. Learning Group is wonderful and it is basically a lecture on an important topic of therapy. I learn a good measure from the directors, who rotate each week and bring a different subject each group. Group supervision is also really intriguing, because I get to hear about specific cases that the therapists are working on and watch different models of supervision being enacted.  I also get to observe and participate in Individual Supervision, which is where a director will supervise a specific case that an associate therapist has questions about. It is my responsibility to contact each director and associate therapist to make sure it is acceptable with them if I sit in. AFI really makes myself and the other interns feel a part of the organization. They do what they can to make sure our needs are getting met and that we are expanding our knowledge.

Spring 2009 

Student: Psychology Junior
Position: Collegiate Intern

This semester, I was an undergraduate intern at the Austin Family Institute. My main role as an undergrad intern was to be a research assistant to the doctoral resident that was also working at AFI. The company is in the process of trying to receive grants for their foundation so the doctoral resident and I spent the semester doing all the necessary research for this project. Every Monday, we would have a meeting to discuss assignments for that week. Typically, that involved me visiting the Regional Foundations Library to search through their foundation database or to use their resources to find whatever I needed. I researched everything from finding companies that served the Austin area to contacting past grantees from companies that we were interested in.

However, I also had several other responsibilities. Every Monday, all the interns had to attend group supervision with one of the directors. At this time, a Master’s or doctoral intern would present one of their client cases from therapy and the group would discuss it. Everyone would give their insight on the issue and suggest different approaches the intern could take to help the client with their problems.As an undergrad intern, I wasn’t allowed to participate since I do not have any experience, so all I did was observe. I also had to sit on an individual supervision, which was two other interns and a director. One of the interns would present a case, just like in group, and the director and other intern would offer their advice. I also came in to the office for a few hours a week and did administrative work such as answering phones, completing intakes of new patients, and organizing the office. However, administrative duties were mainly left to the other undergraduate intern since my main role was the research assistant. The directors and therapists at AFI were all very kind and the work environment was very laid back and comfortable. It was a great place to intern.

Summer 2009 

Student: Psychology Senior
Position: College Intern

Working at Austin Family Institute has been an extremely rewarding experience. I am surrounded by extremely nice and welcoming people. Every one on the location is willing to answer any questions that I may have about the process of getting your master or even becoming a licensed family and marriage counseling therapist.

My day consisted of various activities. On Mondays we would have group supervision where the on call intern would explain one of their cases that they have at the moment that they need help with. The intern gives the background and the directors and other interns give them advice on where to go. Another thing that I was able to do was sit in individual supervision which is when a single intern sits with one of the directors and the director listens to one of the cases that the intern has. The director helps the intern on where to go with their case and also gives them positive feedback. A few of my other duties were getting the mail and watering the plants. A major important task of mine is answering phones and making appointments. Since Austin Family Institute is a non-profit, the more people we can get into the office the better. The first phone call is very crucial in determining whether the person wants to come to the institution or not.

The directors would also give me special projects. The projects consisted of researching different things from cost of special trainings to what curriculum would be better for certain things. Every once in a while there would be things to file and when you run out of things to do, they have an array of different books. AFI has a library of books and videos that bring you insight to the world of family and marriage counseling. You also get to learn about government contracts with juvenile children and how to treat patients when they walk into the office. My hours worked around my schedule, but still meeting the requirements of the university. A major important thing in AFI is confidentiality. You are not allowed to discuss the cases outside the office and every thing must be kept locked.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508