Introductions & Supervisors: An internship in addiction counseling

By Micah Russell — How do you start a first post?  I asked myself this question before sitting down to write.

However, after an unfruitful brainstorming session, I decided to cop out and start it with that exact question.  But honestly, with so much going on in my life lately, where do I begin?

I suppose I can give the setup.  My name is Micah Russell, and I am a graduate student studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Addictions.

I am currently attending summer session classes (only two, thank goodness) and working at the United Community Center (UCC), my internship site.  There, I deal primarily with clients who are addicted to or dependent on alcohol or drugs.  Clients come for a variety of reasons, including family, self-motivation, the legal system, etc.  However, each one comes seeking help.

The internship experience has been wonderful so far and my coworkers have graciously offered any help I need.  I can’t explain enough how rewarding it’s been to work in that community.  I’m still a novice in the field, but I definitely look forward to becoming more of an expert by the end of my internship experience.  Other than that, in my spare time I like to watch movies, collect comics, and do other creative things.  In fact, this last weekend I participated in the 48 Hour Film Project, which was exciting and tiring.

But enough about me, it’s time to get onto the real topic: my supervisor.

As part of my internship experience, I was given a supervisor who would meet with me weekly to review my cases and help facilitate my growth.  Now, it has been known to happen from time to time that the personalities of the intern and the supervisor do not exactly match, which causes some unsatisfying outcomes.  However, out of pure luck, I believe that I have received an excellent supervisor who not only meets my needs, but pushes me to become more.  My supervisor is named Dino.

Dino’s an interesting guy.  He’s moved across the country from California to New York, he’s worked on legislature for Wisconsin counseling, he’s an advocate for Hispanics with addictions, and he even has some time left over for music.  Dino seems to have this aura about him.  He is cool, calm, and collected.  He never seems to get bogged down.  And though he does not impose himself on others, each client seems to respect him.

Whenever I walk into Dino’s office to ask a quick question, I walk out with a new pearl of knowledge.  It’s no wonder he’s done so much in his career.  I know so little and can learn so much and I can’t wait to find out more!  I wish I could say more, but I feel like I’ve seen only the tip of the iceberg.

Alright, now it’s time for my first test of the summer!  Wish me luck!


Micah Russell is currently a Master’s level graduate student at Marquette University studying Clincial Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in addictions.  As part of his program, Micah works at the United Community Center in the Human Services department.  In his free time, Micah likes watching movies, recording music, and spending time with friends.

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