Finding a counseling internship is an integral component for many graduate programs in counseling. The experience that you gain from your internship serves as an entry portal into the workforce and a culminating experience for your years of graduate training. Interviewing for a counseling internship gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and abilities, while also providing you with a venue to determine if you are a good match with a potential internship site. The types of questions that you will encounter on many counseling internship interviews will ask you to describe yourself, your theoretical orientation and what qualities you bring to your internship site.
Do Your Homework
It is common for internship sites to ask general questions of all of their applicants, such as asking you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses, outline your career goals and describe why you chose the counseling profession. Jared Clark, of the American Psychological Association, suggests preparing for internship interviews ahead of time can mean the difference between finding your perfect internship match or facing the consequence of not graduating. In addition to talking about yourself, you should also research the site, know who they treat patients and the theoretical orientation that the site practices from.
Make a Connection
Take every opportunity to make a connection with your internship site and interviewers during the interview. Even stock questions such as, "Tell me about your five-year plan," can give you the opportunity to discuss how this internship site works toward your career and educational goals. Use opportunities such as these to discuss how this internship site can make you a better counselor, and in turn what skills that you can bring to the table to use in the site's everyday operations. Always take the opportunity to discuss research that you have conducted that may be pertinent to your internship site or research conducted by their staff that meshes with your personal and career goals.
Many of your interview questions may be theoretical or ethical in nature. Questions can include, "Tell me how you would handle a client who pushes your buttons," or "What would you do if you suspected that your client may be involved in the abuse or neglect of a child?" While these questions do not have a right or wrong answer, they will give your interviewer an idea of how your personal counseling style and theoretical orientation fit with the site's specific population and mission.
Turning the Tables
One of the most integral components of a successful interview is being able to ask questions of your internship site. Some questions that you may want to ask may include, "Who will I be trained under while working here," "What type of client load do you realistically expect that I would see each week," and "Tell me about your site's mission statement and how your theoretical orientation works into the treatment of your clients." These types of questions that can make you seem engaged and demonstrate a strong work ethic.
- American Psychological Association: Answer These 5: Know the Answers to These Questions to Ace Your Internship Interviews
- American Psychological Association: How to Avoid Interview Missteps
- University of Minnesota: Sample Interview Questions for Practicum Applicants
- Pepperdine University: Interview Questions for Psychology Students
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.