Name: Sarah Lyndon
Title: Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, currently pursuing my Psy. D. in Clinical Psychology
School: American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Southern California
How did you hear about Outreach? I heard about Outreach Concern through my program at school. Our Training Director, Dr. Lopez, is very involved in the process of finding us placement at the top sites in our area, and Outreach Concern was one of the programs affiliated with Argosy. I was very interested in working with children and adolescents, and had minored in Education during undergrad, so Outreach Concern seemed like a perfect fit.
What are some other roles you play in life you would like to share? Outside of working with Outreach Concern, I am a full-time student. I am also a member of the Student Association at Argosy and work as a Teacher’s Assistant for Personality Assessment. Through the Student Association, I am able to become more involved in the community. Currently, the Student Association members are in the process of organizing volunteer opportunities and mentorship programs through Argosy.
What led to your decision to be a school counselor with us? Outreach Concern is very well known in the community for the amazing work they have done with children, adolescents, and their families. The amount of schools Outreach is involved with and the number of individuals that have the opportunity to succeed based upon this involvement, was really inspiring to me. I had always been interested in working in a school setting and wanted to expand my learning in this area. I was also very impressed at the process that went behind matching the counselors with the schools. The staff at Outreach seems to really think about who will be the best fit at which school, and I can attest to the fact that I could not imagine myself at any other school than I am currently placed.
What are some key elements needed while working with children and adolescents in this role? First and foremost, as a counselor, you need to be genuine. Children and adolescents can see right through you when you’re putting on a show. As a counselor, you also need to be able to read between the lines, and remain objective when hearing information. There are often two sides to a story, and before conclusions can be drawn, you need to make sure you have all the facts. You also need to have patience and empathy, and be aware of where your client is at developmentally. There also has to be an understanding that working with children and adolescents also means working with their families, teachers, and other various sources of support.
How do you identify change in clients? I identify change by observing results. The change is evident by the improvement in the area the client was initially struggling with, whether it is academic, social, emotional, or behavioral struggles.
How can this practicum/internship experience help you in your future working in the mental health field? I believe the experience I have gained in my time working with Outreach Concern is invaluable. I have had the opportunity to work with a large and diverse caseload, in addition to working very closely with a multi-disciplinary group of faculty and staff. The amount of students I have had the opportunity to work with has prepared me for future clients I will encounter. I have definitely come across my fair share of struggles, but have been fortunate to be able reach out for support from my Regional Field Supervisor when I feel stuck. I believe the benefit of a practicum/internship experience is to be able to deepen your understanding and grow in learning, and I have been able to do both while at Outreach Concern.
What words of wisdom can you share with future candidates of Outreach Concern? Working with Outreach Concern requires dedication on the part of the counselor, but with that dedication comes great reward. Knowing that you played a part in helping a child to have a successful future is a feeling that cannot adequately be described with words. As with other roles in this profession, the importance of self-care is essential, and you must be aware when you need a “mental health day” of your own. Luckily, Outreach Concern is a very supportive and understanding of this necessity.