MSW Field Internship Spotlight: Mount Saint Vincent
AGENCY: Mount Saint Vincent in Denver, Colorado
WHAT THEY DO: Mount Saint Vincent (MSV) helps children and families to cope with the
impacts of trauma, providing behavioral health, foster care services, preschool and K–8 education, and trauma-informed training. MSV uses a developmentally sensitive approach that reflects the most up-to-date research about the impact of trauma on young children and what they need to cope and eventually thrive. Programs include outpatient therapy, individualized day treatment, in-home treatment and residential care; adjunct therapies such as art, animal-assisted, dance/movement and music are provided.
STUDENT’S ROLE: Lesinski interned in the residential program, providing individual and group therapy for children (ages 5–12) who have suffered from trauma and/or neglect and often have extreme behaviors. The therapeutic sessions incorporate a therapy dog named Bear and a pair of resident Guinea pigs, Timon and Pumba, who Lesinski cares for. Following graduation, Lesinski transitioned to a full-time position providing group therapy and individual support to students in the MSV day-treatment school.
THE IMPACT: “The most valuable things I will take away from my time at Mount Saint Vincent is the importance of self-regulation, especially when working with children. [You] can’t help children learn how to self-regulate without first taking care of your own nervous system; so much of this type of work is less about what you say and more about simply being a safe person when children are in an escalated state. In tandem with this is the importance of an incredible support system in order to be able to come back day after day. I feel so lucky to have been able to have the support of so many amazing clinicians over the course of the past year and have learned a lot from them. I truly appreciate working with people who now feel like family and can’t wait to continue my professional life at MSV.”