Many internship placement sites prefer or require interns to have previous community mental health experience. Fieldwork/community-based learning is an educational strategy that incorporates meaningful service and is meant to be an opportunity to observe and participate in the mental health community, and in the community in general, as a non-therapist.
It allows the student time to become acquainted with different populations as well as become more comfortable with his or her community. Fieldwork/community-based learning provides basic exposure to listening to the communities that the students live and creates an opportunity to ask questions about what the needs of the various communities are and how students studying Somatic Counseling Psychology can help.
Students begin projects in the mental health community that enable them and the community to explore what it means to be a citizen, an effective change agent and a therapist. They also receive assignments throughout the curriculum that reinforce the symbiotic relationship between the classroom and the community.
This model supports our intentions to understand the work of the somatic psychotherapist, not only as a professional career, but as public work that can contribute and participate with many aspects of a community.