A Day in the Life of an Olive Branch Intern: First Impressions

Olive Branch First Impressions

This week marks one month since I began my internship journey at Olive Branch Counseling Associates Inc. as a graduate level intern. I am honored to have been awarded this opportunity and although I have only been here a short time, Olive Branch has already made a strong impression on me. One of the very first things I noticed upon walking through the doors was the peacefulness of the environment.  In the waiting room, beautiful tapestries line the walls accompanied by colorful pictures of faraway places. On the coffee table sits a puzzle waiting to be completed. Nearby, another small table houses books for perusing and a dove-shaped candy dish for indulging.  The waiting room alone creates an environment so different from the cold, clinical setting of many other waiting rooms I have sat in. I could sense the attention to detail, and before I had even been introduced to anyone, I felt as if someone truly cared. As I entered the practice, I saw that this attention to detail extends into all of the therapy rooms as well. Each room is equipped with soft lighting, comfortable seating, and often even scented candles. A noise machine plays sounds of rain falling completing this comforting sensory experience. Again, before I had even spoken to anyone, this space evoked a calmness and peace within me. I find this to be so valuable in the field of mental health due to the importance of creating a safe space for our clients. Coming to therapy is difficult. Staying in therapy can be even more difficult. If we as clinicians can create an environment designed to help ease the journey, we are doing our jobs right. That is the kind of environment found here at Olive Branch.

That being said, a calming space alone is not enough to supplement a therapeutic journey. From what experts know about mental health, the environment often only accounts for half of both problems and solutions. Many people may surround themselves with a beautiful and plentiful environment, and yet that individual may continue to struggle in the absence of proper support. This support is the other half of the puzzle piece and it is the piece that the wonderful counselors and staff offer here at Olive Branch. I have had the pleasure of working closely with some of the kindest, intelligent, and caring people that I have ever met. Within my first few days, it was clear to me how much each and every clinician cared about their clients. Not only that, but I witnessed the level of support the clinicians had for one another as well. I have perhaps learned more from this process of watching them support one another than anything else thus far. As an intern, almost everything seems overwhelming and intimidating. I make mistake after mistake, and yet I find my fellow counselors and supervisors to be as kind and supportive as ever. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I remember that I have a whole staff of counselors to confide in and to look up to.  This gives me hope that my abilities as a clinician will continue to grow to match theirs and that I will be able to provide my clients with the same hope and comfort they have given me.

-Hayley Nelson

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