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  • Types of Providers at New Heights Counseling Services

    Why Do You Have Master Level Graduate Students And Master’s Level Counselors? Shouldn’t All Of Your Providers Be Licensed?

    At New Heights Counseling, we specialize in trauma therapy while also providing general counseling practices. We recognize these services can become expensive when paired with a licensed professional with multiple years of experience, which in turn could limit access to our services. This is one reason we believe in utilizing Master’s level graduate students and Master’s graduate interns.

    Additionally, trauma counseling is a specialized subtype of psychotherapy. Not all licensed therapists who say they work with trauma have the specialized training or experience they need to be effective.

    While many graduate school programs now offer a basic trauma-related course (usually optional), several programs don’t provide coursework in either. Most basic programs are not comprehensive enough to teach how to use the specific therapies. The courses generally cover the basic theoretical aspects of the practices and explore the different types of treatment. Still, the necessary training needed to practice these specific treatments must be sought outside of the required graduate coursework, usually at the cost of the therapist, through an accrediting body or organization. For example, many of our students and interns are trained in EMDR through EMDRIA (EMDR International Association-considered the “gold standard”) to ensure the highest standard for clinical use of EMDR for trauma work.

    Master’s Level Graduate Students and Master’s Level Counselors allow us to:

    Offer high-quality trauma therapy services at a sharply discounted rate.

    Offer trauma specific educational opportunities and experience by fostering the growth and development of the next generation of trauma therapists, which is greatly needed in our community! In fact, Okaloosa County is home to Eglin Air Force Base (the world’s largest Air Force Base) and Hurlburt Field, the home to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Trauma is everywhere. Sadly, there aren’t enough therapists to help everyone who needs them.

    What Is A Master’s Level Graduate Student Intern?

    Generally speaking, our interns are Master’s students earning hours towards their completed graduate degree. They have completed most of their required coursework and are now in the final stages of finishing their degree program.

    Graduate students must complete 700 hours of supervised clinical experience before they’re eligible for graduation. They’re not employed by our practice but work with us as affiliates. New Heights Counseling contracts with their University and offers students an experiential clinical site. We also provide clinical supervision at no charge to the student or the University. In exchange, New Heights Counseling is able to set a lower rate for those counseling sessions while still providing scheduled clinical supervision and after-hours or emergency supervision.

    To be a Student Intern and part of our team at New Heights Counseling, all applicants must complete a rigorous interview process. We do this to ensure our student interns are a good fit for the counseling position. If selected, they are required to spend the first initial hours in sessions with our seasoned therapists. This enables them to observe a wide range of clients and therapeutic approaches. It also helps them formulate their professional identity and allows our seasoned therapists to see them in action with clients. They are also required to have weekly on-site supervision for the duration of their placement. Because trauma treatment requires more supervision than most internships, our interns usually receive more supervision than most.

    Furthermore, our interns receive additional training in trauma specific treatment modalities such as EMDR, Trauma Informed, Harm Reduction, and Hypnotherapy at some point during their time with us to prepare before they launch into their role as a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern.

    Student Interns are essential to our team because they help us keep costs down without compromising patient care. It’s also a way to invest in counseling through education and mentoring.

    What Is A Master’s Level PRELICENSED Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern?

    To be a Registered Intern with our practice, therapists must have had prior experience working in the mental health field and succeed in our rigorous interview process. They also must have a comprehensive understanding of trauma and be on track to complete gold star-certified training, as mentioned above.

    1st Year Graduate

    Registered Interns are those who have graduated from their Master’s programs and are currently working on completing the state requirements to obtain full licensure. These therapists hold at least two degrees (a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree). They continue working under supervision while preparing for their national board exams. Therapists also continue to practice under supervision until they reach 1,500 practice hours, which can take up to  2 years.

    2nd Year Graduate

    Continuing their journey to licensure, 2nd-year Registered Interns cost slightly more due to the steps they have taken towards investing in their professional development through testing and training. They are considered the “seniors” of the new emerging professionals. They come with experience, grounding, and confidence in the practice. Often, the Master’s level students look to them for support as they grow.

    What Is A Licensed Therapist?

    “Licensed therapists” (i.e., Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists) have completed ALL of the state requirements to hold and maintain a professional license. They are no longer under supervision and have taken all the needed steps to complete the process for licensure. This includes state and national examinations, years of work experience, and recommendation letters.

    These therapists have the highest rates in the practice, given their experience and training. Licensed therapists have a firm grip on their population of choice and specialty areas. They are the experts in the building and are more equipped to work with more challenging cases.