JSSA Student Internship Program

As a field placement agency for undergraduate and graduate mental health and social work students, JSSA provides students the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to real people and communities. Students will gain an understanding of what it means to work in a non-profit agency that provides services to people across the life-span.

The JSSA Training Institute is the gateway for all students seeking internship opportunities. The Director coordinates with individual students, the University Placement Directors and others to ensure that all administrative components – such as necessary forms, MOU’s, etc. are completed. The vetting process for students includes the following and is completed by the Director of the Training Institute:

  • All students complete the JSSA Internship Application
  • Provide 2 references
  • Participate in an in-person or a virtual interview
  • Staff within other JSSA departments are invited to participate in the interview process

Once selected for the internship, the Training Institute ensures that students complete the JSSA orientation, all needed JSSA paperwork and compliance documents and connected with the task supervisor. Director of the Training Institute meets with the students once a week to ensure that the student is engaged and is supported. The Director also engages with the task supervisor regularly to provide any support, offer clarity, problem solve so that the student and JSSA are both benefiting from the experience.


Undergraduate Students

JSSA has placed undergraduate students in a variety of the programs offered at JSSA. Most students have come to JSSA because they know someone that has interned at JSSA before, or are recommended by partners such as rabbis in a synagogue that we partner with, etc. Students are usually at JSSA during portion of the regular business day under the guidance and supervision of licensed mental health practitioners or other trained professionals, and have engaged in the following tasks:

  • Critical analysis and evaluation skills: enter data and write reports.
  • Administration skills: provide support in coordinating & implementing continuing education training to licensed mental health professionals. Students also participate in these trainings that cover a variety of clinical topics
  • Develop curriculum and presentations with a licensed clinician for community groups. Topics include managing anxiety with teenagers, effective parenting skills, etc.
  • Participate in the orientation and training in Hospice care. Students are supported by the coordinator of volunteer education and can conduct visits with patients.

Students get an orientation to JSSA and develop a schedule with their assigned supervisor and are expected to transport themselves to the agency sites. Students receive one hour of supervision every week and have daily access to task instructors to answer any questions and engage in real-time problem solving should that be needed. Students complete all paperwork including HIPAA etc.

JSSA has been a placement site for the following universities:

  • James Madison University
  • Penn State University
  • Tulane University

Graduate-Level Students (Practicum and Internship)

Students work closely with the broader clinical team all across JSSA to support clients and families. Since JSSA provides support and care to the entire spectrum from early childhood to aging and end of life, the supervisor and other leadership works with the student to determine interest and availability in the multiple departments at JSSA. Once a particular department is determined, the student receives orientation and works with their assigned task instructor and supervisor to ensure all the requirements of the internship/practicum are met.

Responsibilities include supporting treatment of clients as assigned, contributing to treatment goals alongside multidisciplinary clinical team, and conducting assessments, and providing individual, group, and family therapy. Students also co-facilitate groups which could be clinical or psycho-educational in nature. Students also assist in doing presentations with JSSA clinicians in the community on a wide variety of topics from how to manage anxiety to effective parenting skills, identifying eating disorders etc. Tasks can include doing research pertaining to the topic and assist in putting a presentation together.

The following are details regarding skills that an intern can obtain while at JSSA:

  • Individual Clinical Skills Building: provide weekly individual therapy. Students will be trained on utilizing a person centered approach in providing care. They may conduct assessments, formulate a plan of care with the client and develop strategies and skills using a variety of therapeutic approaches. They will also be trained in developing effective crisis plans.
  • Case Management: intern will provide case management for each client seen individually. Case management will include but is not limited to collateral contact, resource-finding, intake, treatment and discharge planning.
  • Family Skills: per learning needs, hourly commitment and ability, intern to co-facilitate family therapy when applicable.
  • Group Skills: depending upon the program and need, interns will propose and work with direct clinical supervisor and staff to develop a time limited, issue-oriented group for clients or families of clients. Interns will co-facilitate this group with social work staff. Intern to record all group notes and ensure continuity of care through excellent communication with treatment teams.
  • Documentation: Intern to complete all documentation related to individual cases including assessments, treatment plans, treatment reviews and reports, discharge summaries, progress notes and other documentation. Interns will be trained on how to use an electronic health record and engage in the collaborative documentation process with the client.
  • Field work: Per learning needs intern will provide services to clients in the community (at school, home, or other locations).
  • Continuing Education and Training: Students will have the opportunity to participate in CE training events provided by JSSA Training Institute. They will assist with the registration process and participate in the training where they will learn a wide variety of therapeutic techniques and skills. They will also learn how to enter evaluation data and write reports to provide to trainers.
  • Supervision: Intern is expected to participate in one hour of weekly supervision with direct supervisor, to participate in weekly group supervisions, to participate in meetings as scheduled with other program staff, and to attend other scheduled trainings.
  • Project Management: With the guidance and supervision of JSSA staff, student can undertake a project. Examples of projects could be:
    • Writing an article pertaining to a mental health condition for the website – this will involve doing research, collecting relevant data yet.
    • Developing curriculum, including pre and post tests
    • Support various departments within JSSA to conduct outreach – this could include making phone calls, preparing presentations etc.

JSSA has been a placement site for graduate programs from the following universities:

  • Johns Hopkins University – Department of Clinical Counseling and the Public Health Program
  • University of Maryland
  • Catholic University
  • Hood College
  • Indiana University

Application Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Demonstrate initiative by following up with staff and leadership as directed by supervisor(s)
  • Seek input and feedback on a consistent basis from staff and supervisor/s and incorporate feedback into behavior
  • Demonstrate flexibility and have a can-do attitude
  • Strong ability to respond quickly and accurately to staff direction
  • Strong ability to utilize proper communication skills
  • Strong ability to maintain a professional relationship with placement, parents, family members, teens, and school staff
  • Ability to appropriately and professionally document and write reports in a timely manner
  • Strong ability to utilize time management skills, and effectively meet all timelines
  • Ability to communicate & work with a multi-faceted team of professionals.

Applicants must be able to:

  • Clear criminal background check
  • Obtain a Level One fingerprint clearance card prior to start date

Click here for the application.

Please email any questions and/or completed applications to Kiran Dixit at kdixit@jssa.org.

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