Gaining Experience in Psychology

As a psychology major, you are not required to do an internship to graduate, but it is strongly encouraged.

You will participate in a field study during your senior year as a transition from the classroom to the workplace. Your time spent in the field will provide you with valuable hands-on experience, such as working with abused children or adolescents.

There are many organizations and agencies near campus to choose from, including: 

Abbe Center for Community Mental Health – Adult Day Treatment Program - (PACT) - Cedar Rapids
The adult day treatment center works with chronically mentally ill people. They assist people in learning daily living skills and they offer psychotherapy. They offer some group therapy, as well as activities outside of the agency. A student who is interested in working with the chronically mentally ill would find this to be a very useful learning experience.

Aid to Women – Cedar Rapids
Aim to Women offers educational classes and counseling to women around pregnancyissues, including pregnancy testing and counseling about abortion. It is a Christian agency with a mission to support the choice to keep the baby. Students can be trained in being a counselor and can actually counsel young women.

Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) – Cedar Rapids
ASAC is one of three substance abuse treatment centers that serve the Cedar Rapids area. They have four or five program areas that would potentially be open to field study students. They have adult in-patient and adult out-patient counseling. They have a youth program, which is an in-patient program for teens with substance abuse problems.They have an assessment division and they have an education division. A student who is interested in learning about substance abuse or preparing for a possible career insubstance abuse counseling would find this a rich experience. Usually substance abuse agencies require that potential counselors have at least one year of their own sobriety before they can be staff persons in the agency.

Correctional Services
Correctional Services offers a number of opportunities to work with adults who are involved with the legal system. Students who are placed here might work with persons who are being released from prison, who are on probation or who are in a pre-trial diversion program. There may be opportunities to participate in various classes and to assist in assessment procedures.

Foundation 2 Youth Shelter – Cedar Rapids
The Foundation 2 Youth Shelter serves Linn County, and surrounding counties.A youth shelter is a temporary residence for teens while they are waiting to be reconciled with their parents or while they are waiting for Juvenile Court to place them in some other more permanent residence. Sometimes teens come to a youth shelter voluntarily, while other times the Juvenile Court has intervened to take the juvenile out of the parental home. Teens may stay at the shelter for just a day or two or for weeks ormonths. Students who do a field study at F-2 can do some one-on-one counseling with adolescents, as well as participate in group counseling and, possibly, sit in on family counseling. Another option at the Shelter is the Discoveries Program, a structured educational program that teaches anger management skills to adolescents.

Four Oaks Treatment Center for Children and Families – Cedar Rapids
Four Oaks is a residential treatment facility for children age five to twelve years. Children usually come to this agency by referral from a physician or from Juvenile Court. They are placed in a residential treatment unit where their problems are addressed through individual and group counseling. Four Oaks also has other programs, such as the adolescent sex offender treatment program. Mount Mercy students who go there usually will be placed in one of the residential treatment units, where they will function as one ofthe staff working with the kids on a very close basis.

Juvenile Detention Center – Cedar Rapids
This is a prison facility for adolescents. They usually stay for only a short time while they await a court appearance or await placement after sentencing. An internship here would give the student a real experience of disciplinary settings for juvenile offenders.

Mercy Medical Center – Psychiatric Ward – Cedar Rapids
The Mercy Medical Center psychiatric ward is an acute care, short-term treatment setting that serves the Cedar Rapids area. There are other treatment units at Mercy Medical Center also, including the Sedlacek substance abuse treatment center. A student might be able to work in one of the other units, as well as the psychiatric ward, if they did an internship at Mercy Medical Center. Students would be able to work closely with the nurses at the hospital and meet other professionals who deal with in-patient psychiatric patients. Students could be involved in some one-on-one counseling, as well as participating in educational programs for the patients.

Mercy Medical Center – Birthplace/Pediatrics - Social Work Department
Birthplace/Pediatrics is under the Social Work Dept. at Mercy. Students would be able to interview mothers after giving birth and learn about problematic issues with newborns. Psychology students could also experience the Psychiatric Ward and learn about psychological testing. If students want a general inpatient social work experience, it would be very helpful to already have had several social work courses.

Milestones – Marion 
Milestones is a division of Aging Services. The adult day care center offers an opportunity for clients to engage in recreational, educational and therapeutic activities for varying amounts of time during the day. The patients who attend this center sometimes have physical handicaps and sometimes have mental handicaps associated with aging. Students interested in the general area of gerontology would find this a very interesting place to learn. There is some opportunity for being involved in art therapy or other kinds of creative therapies with the elderly.

REM – IOWA Inc. – Cedar Rapids
REM is an agency that offers support services to handicapped individuals, including the mentally retarded and those with chronic mental disorders, such as Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Students would have a chance to work one-on-one with patients in their places of residence. Students would help clients with daily living skills, coping with their illness and dealing with the community.

St Luke’s Hospital – Medical Social Service – Cedar Rapids
Medical Social Service is staffed mostly by social workers and serves the needs of patients in many different wards at St. Luke’s Hospital. This includes the adult psychiatric ward (2 East) where students can take social histories and participate in treatment planning for patients. A student who chooses to do an internship in this setting would also be able to have contact with the other wards and treatment programs at St.Luke’s Hospital.

St. Luke’s Hospital – Child Protection Center – Cedar Rapids
The Child Protection Center is an agency that conducts interviews of children who have been physically or sexually abused and offers some treatment for those children. Students who do an internship at the Child Protection Center would be able to watch children being interviewed through a one-way mirror, as well as possibly sitting in on therapy that is done by medical, psychological, or social work professionals. Students would be able to spend whole days at this agency. A student placed at the Child Protection Center might also be able to work in another program, which is housed there, the “Behavioral Development Center”. This is a clinic run by a physician for the evaluation and treatment of ADHD.

St Luke’s Hospital – 3 East Child and Adolescent Ward – Cedar Rapids
The Child and Adolescent unit at St. Luke’s offers a student the chance to observe and participate in the treatment of psychiatrically disturbed children and adolescents. Residents have been judged to be a danger to themselves or others because of mood, cognitive or behavioral problems. Internship students function as staff members, leading therapeutic experiences and supervising clients’ activities.

Tanager Place – Cedar Rapids
Tanager Place offers several services to troubled teens: residential treatment, onsite school, short-term shelter and family counseling. The usual placement for a Mount Mercy psychology student is in the residential treatment program as an aid in one of the cottages. A student serves as a staff member, interacting with residents, participating in ongoing therapy programs and even taking some leadership in the treatment program.

Waypoint – Cedar Rapids
Waypoint offers several opportunities for Mount Mercy students, including working with people in the Domestic Abuse outpatient program, the Women’s Shelter,and the Rape Crisis line. Students learn about direct intervention methods, as well as administrative aspects of the agency.

SOME OTHER FIELD STUDY POSSIBILITIES
  • The VA Hospital in Iowa City or Knoxville, or UIHC in Iowa City
  • Erskine Elementary School - guidance office
  • Horizons (formerly Family ServiceAgency)
  • American College Testing (ACT) in Iowa City
  • McKinley Middle School – guidance office
  • Linn-Mar High School – guidance office
  • Metro High School – guidance office
  • Grant Wood Area Education Agency – school psychology
  • St. Luke’s Chemical Dependency Services
  • Sedlacek Treatment Center – Mercy Medical Center
  • Vernon Middle School - Marion – guidance office
  • Xavier High School – guidance office
Contact the Career Services office at 319-368-6463 or credd@mtmercy.edu for information about other internships.