As a master’s student studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Darius shared a focus of wanting to help by using unconditional positive regard, and empathy, and working to help a client become the best version of themselves. Darius began his clinical internship at Children’s Home & Aid and was drawn to the internship because of the lack of knowledge of intimate partner violence in the counseling field. This internship was Darius’ first experience working with a mandated population and also working with children in the EPIC program. His internship at Children’s Home & Aid was the first time he was able to put the clinical skills he had learned in graduate school to use. The greatest strength that he learned throughout this process of interning at Children’s Home and Aid was the need for collaboration. His supervisor, Erin Bergren, not only asked for his voice to be heard but pushed him to use it and scream from the mountaintops. Darius was able to learn and get comfortable in his role as a clinician.

Darius’ internship was an eye-opening experience. It took a lot for him to learn that you did not just have to be in the right place at the right time but working with a difficult population you also had to maintain the right mindset. Darius was able to learn and gain a lot of knowledge and insight from the co-facilitators in the PAIP program. “The population that makes up the PAIP program oftentimes have never received any mental health treatment before joining the group,” Darius says. “There is a manual, but it can be challenging not having a step-by-step guide to follow. Working to develop and establish change with a client with varying backgrounds from the ground up has been a very exciting experience.”

Darius’ curiosity, excitement, and hope for creating lifelong change in his clients’ lives have filled him with passion. “I’m really glad that my relationship with Children’s Home and Aid is only beginning,” Darius says. “It feels like every single contribution I made as an intern had an impact and it’s great to know there’s even more to come.”