Students discuss unmatched opportunities with Lewis University Social Work programs

Social Work Program Alumni

Gabby Daley, BSW, Class of 2019 Gabby Daley
“I completed my field placement in the Groundwork program at Guardian Angel Community Services in Joliet, Illinois. The Groundwork program provides completely free services for victims of domestic violence; some of our services include: 24-hour confidential hotline, emergency shelter, individual and group counseling for adults and children (offered in both English and Spanish), a Domestic Violence Education Program, as well as medical and legal advocacy.

As an intern, it was a very hands-on experience. Some of my tasks included: answering hotline calls, providing either emotional support or information about services, completing eligibility intakes, case management, and completing safety and service plans for both shelter and walk-in clients. From this experience, I have learned the value of listening to understand, not to respond. Victims of domestic violence often just need someone to listen and to know someone out there believes them. I have also learned how to integrate the use of empathy into practice and the importance of emotional support; our clients might be reaching out to us for the same reason, however no one’s trauma or experience is the same. I am so grateful to have been placed with Groundwork!”

Current Social Work Student Interns

Haley Robbins, MSW Candidate, 2020
“I completed my first year MSW field placement at Amita:Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital Anxiety & OCD Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Program(s).

I was in the role of Program Therapist Intern (MSW Intern). Some of the services I was able to provide included case management, referrals to outpatient resources & community resources, one-on-one & family therapy utilizing CBT & ERP, lead psycho-educational groups related to anxiety, depression, managing impulses & increasing positive coping, and attending weekly staff meetings to discuss treatment plans.

The top three things I learned from the experience are that working with both CBT and ERP every day leads you to leave your internship with a specialty in both. Every patient is different despite having the same diagnosis and they do not always respond positively to the treatment you are providing. Learning how to be okay with that was challenging but educational. Finally, working as part of a huge multidisciplinary medical team leads to several ideas, opinions and new things to learn. Working within the team helps you to develop your own social work/therapist style.”

Katie Arellano, MSW Candidate 2021
“I completed my first internship for the MSW program at Healthcare Alternative Systems, located in Wheaton, IL. Healthcare Alternative Systems (H.A.S.) is an outpatient treatment center for those with alcohol and substance use disorders. My role as an intern was to co-facilitate the evening intensive outpatient group (IOP).

Within a few months of co-facilitating, I was given the responsibility of leading the group on my own. This gave me an immense amount of learning experience. Most of the clients in my group were mandated to be there by the courts. This made it a challenge, as many were still in the precontemplation stage of change. Despite the challenges, however, I found it to be incredibly rewarding. As an intern, I was able to help clients understand that their addiction is a disease, and for many of those clients, a co-occurring disorder (addiction and an untreated mental illness). I had a supervisor that supported me and gave me the freedom to explore and incorporate different therapeutic techniques into my group. This helped me build confidence, which in turn, allowed the client to trust me in their treatment plan. As an MSW student, this was the perfect first internship for me as it prepared me for my advanced year of classes and showed me a passion I was unaware of.”

Rebecca Klaff, MSW Candidate, 2021 Rebecca Klaff
“My foundation year field placement as a counseling intern at Guardian Angel Community Services in the Groundwork Program was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. The organization’s mission is deeply rooted in social work values.

I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the barriers that so many in my community are faced with, and was fortunate to be mentored by some of the best on how to be an advocate for the population we served. I was able to build skills working with both children and adults in group and individual settings and was privileged to learn how empowering individuals to engage in a healing process can lead to better quality of life that pays dividends in the community. I remain involved with the program post-placement.”