What I learned during my YV internship

internsBy: Sam Travers, 2012 YV summer intern

When I came to Memphis at the beginning of this summer, I expected to learn some leadership skills and professional skills. I expected to learn about documentation, behavior counseling, aggression and life in residential treatment. I will take away from this summer all of those things, but I have also learned practical skills that will help me back at school and when I enter the work force.

Once a week, the boys I worked with participated in anger replacement group therapy sessions. During these sessions, the youth role-play real life situations and rate how well they manage their anger in those situations. In learning how the boys use coping skills to manage their feelings, I have been able to learn how to best manage my own feelings.

One of the new things I learned about were cues. Cues are body signs that tell you when you might be getting angry. Many of the youth experience clenched fists, racing thoughts, or a red face when getting angry.  During my time at YV, I learned that one of my cues is a locked jaw. When I am beginning to get frustrated or angry, my jaw will clench or lock.

In addition to learning their cues, the youth learn how to cope with the feelings that accompany those cues. Coping skills are things that help a person relax; for example, counting backwards, deep breathing or taking a time out. I very quickly learned that coping with and managing my feelings is imperative to my success in this field. There are times when I need to step outside, remind myself of who I am and why I am here.

I wouldn’t trade anything for my experience as a YV summer intern.  There were days that were great and there were days that were challenging, but I never left campus at the end of my shift without having learned something constructive and useable in my everyday life.

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