Mental Health Programs Welcomes Back Interns

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Q&A with Clinical Supervisor Renee Davis

For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Whole Child is welcoming interns back to its mental health programs. Once an intern with The Whole Child herself, Renee Davis, LCSW, is now Clinical Supervisor of the Outpatient Program and supervises the intern program as well. The Whole Child has internship partnerships with USC; California State University, Fullerton; and California State University, Long Beach.
We sat down with Renee to speak about her excitement to resume The Whole Child’s tradition as a teaching agency.

How did you first get connected with The Whole Child?
After having been a second-year intern in 2013-14, The Whole Child offered me a position for the summer after graduation, which was great, and by the end of the summer a full-time position had opened up. Dr. Juan Martinez (now retired from The Whole Child) had trained me as an intern, then mentored me as a clinician, and eventually encouraged me to become a supervisor. He gave me that push and I was so glad he did.

I was so happy being a therapist and I still have some clients—now I also get the opportunity to supervise and guide our clinicians in their case work.

What inspired you to go in this direction for your career?
I’m a caretaker at heart. I’ve always been one to offer help and support whenever I can, so it was a natural career fit. In grad school, I originally thought I would work in DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) but as an intern with The Whole Child, I learned that I could work with a lot of different families, tap into our resources, and work collaboratively—and I love that. The agency matched my passion and even as an intern, I really saw how happy The Whole Child staff were to be part of the organization.

As a former intern yourself, what do you hope to bring to the experience for a new crop of students?
I want to bring some very rich training on what to do in sessions with clients: how to build rapport, how to problem-solve, how to consult, what different activities can look like. Those were the skills that I gained most during my own internship — being guided on what to do while a client is actually in the room, how to support them, and how to hold that space. I’m also now thinking a lot about what I wish I had learned back then. So I’m excited to guide our interns in the same way that I received that guidance from The Whole Child. I still have my old intern binder and it definitely comes in handy!