Jennifer Claire Noesen’s article “The Intern and the Challenging Client” discusses clinical treatment for sexually and physically abused kids. However, the author pays special attention to children who hail from families struggling the domestic violence and substance abuse. Noesen offers a closer look at the host of issues that interns have to contend with at centers with limited staff and inadequate funding. The writer offers her experience as a social work intern, including the systemic challenges she encountered while offering support and services to a client named Alison.
One of my reactions to the article was the astonishment with the circumstances that Noesen found herself in during her first internship. When Noesen met Alison, her first client, the supervisor was not around, thus she was unable to get any advice or consultation before session with Alison. It is unbelievable that Noesen only managed to meet he supervisor for the first time after the last appointment with Alison. The patient is an adolescent who has been sexually abused and witnessed trauma leading to her poor academic performance, low self-esteem, anger, weight problems as well as social difficulties. Treatment of adolescents requires close collaboration of several professionals, without which treatment often stops (Noesen, 1999). Similarly, Alison’s treatment needed the close direction of a skilled clinician. Noesen correctly notes that supervision is required when training an intern to use abstract theory during practice to aid one in understanding the distinctions of each case and pick the most appropriate interventions.
It is commendable that the writer admits that disclosures are often made at either sexual assault centers or domestic violence agencies which are often under-resourced and understaffed, thus interns are treated as staff rather than trainees. Noesen identified a critical gap, which is the lack of sufficient research into the level of supervision a typical social work intern is receiving. Additionally, the author highlights a critical need for examination of the quality of care that clients are getting from trainees. Further, the writer calls for research into the challenges that the learners are required to deal with during their initial clinical classes. I would strongly recommend “The Intern and the Challenging Client” to any person who cares about counselling and students looking for internship at care agencies.
Noesen, J. C. (1999). The intern and the challenging client. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 70(1), 27-45.