Read about Erika's Practicum experience interning with Utah's State Prison.
What type of projects did you work on as part of your Experiential Learning course?
In order to prepare for future clinical work as a psychologist, I am currently interning at the Utah State Prison, working with the Sex Offender Treatment Program
What day to day tasks were part of this experience?
My work includes facilitating and administering preliminary therapy for groups of 10 convicted sex offenders through a 26-week program designed to prepare them for group therapy with a licensed therapist. This includes leading discussions, assigning, and reviewing daily tasks, and teaching concepts related to goal setting, victim impact, assertiveness training and many other skills they will use in later therapy. In addition, I teach life skills classes and provide tutoring to inmates who are in need of additional help and complete necessary paperwork as needed.
What did you learn unexpectedly?
I have developed a greater sense of empathy for those in the criminal justice system. Providing treatment to those that are often dehumanized by society, and even other convicts, has helped me remember the humanity of all people, regardless of their background.
How has this experience influenced your career goals?
My experience working with inmates has contributed to my passion for clinical child psychology. Understanding how prevalent an issue sexual violence towards children is has motivated me to seek to provide empirically supported treatments for children. Being able to observe real changes and progress in individuals often deemed incapable of doing so, has shaped the kind of researcher and clinician I hope to be one day.
What types of new opportunities are now available because of the experience?
I'm not sure yet but I'm hopeful that this will open many doors to meaningful clinical work in the future!