Internship – The Try Before You Buy

College students socializing in a circle

Marketers tout the concept of “Try Before You Buy.”  They educate consumers that trying something before you buy it gives you the opportunity to experience the product or service without making a financial commitment.

How wonderful would it be if you could apply the same concept to your professional career choice? According to Cheryl Thomas, PhD., Clinical Intern and Training Coordinator for OneEighty, that option is readily available through OneEighty’s Internship Program.

“Our internship program was created to provide one of the most balanced, well-rounded learning opportunities available to someone who wants to fine tune their career path,” Thomas explained. “When I interview someone for an intern position, I share with them the extensive continuum of care they will participate in including residential treatment, partial hospital treatment, intensive outpatient, outpatient, individual and group therapy, and a host of other highly specialized treatment/recovery options.”    

Enthusiastic about this internship model which she proposed to then Clinical Director Dr. Gina Patterson, Cheryl explains that her passion stems from the work being accomplished at OneEighty.

“I love what we do here. Our staff works to create a place where people can truly change the direction of their lives,” Thomas said. “Using a trauma-informed approach, we are able to help clients work through their setbacks as well as celebrate their successes.”

Apply on-line

Applicants can apply on-line to participate in this program. During the interview stage, they are able to tour the facilities of OneEighty, see the variety of programs in action, and meet staff members.

“Students enrolled in case management or counseling programs gain a broad knowledge base on the overall work they might do once they earn their degree,” Thomas explained. “During this internship, students will witness all protocols from detox to the lowest level of care including such recovery options as sober houses.

“They will have the opportunity to experience all programs offered at OneEighty or those held in conjunction with OneEighty, including but not limited to the partnership with treatment courts, OneEighty’s residential treatment centers, transitional and recovery houses, medication assisted treatment and a whole host of other services. Additionally, they will have opportunities to interact with Family Recovery Court and Felony Drug Court.”

The process is inclusive

Whether they shadow or get to meet with program professionals, interns experience the following:

  • Potential Interns must be affiliated with a college or university. Interns are onboarded just as if they were hired employees and have the same expectations of confidentiality.
  • Most interns shadow a staff member with a master level degree before being assigned to their own clients.
  • They will witness or gain understanding of all programs and services offered at OneEighty.
  • Interns are eased into and learn to manage their own case load within the parameters of their program.
  • They will learn how to use and to navigate an electronic health record.
  • They will be mentored and supported throughout their internship experience.

Learning curve accelerant

“We tell interns that it takes about one year to learn the job,” Thomas explained. “It’s in the second year that you learn to ‘do it well.’ This internship gives them a jump start on the learning curve of experiences that may not be as available if they work in a private practice setting.”

So why should students look to OneEighty for their internship opportunity? Along with the fact that the organization was recognized by The Plain Dealer as a Top Work Place in 2022, Thomas is quick to add:

“Our interns energize us in the work that we do together. Their passion along with new research positively impacts our clients and our staff in a way that benefits us all. When we work with an intern, their energy helps us avert the compassion fatigue we sometimes experience. At OneEighty, we operate using a team approach. I coordinate with other clinical supervisors like Kate Abruzzino, Victim Advocacy & Outreach Manager and Jennifer Peterson, Admissions Coordinator, who work with the interns to enhance the educational program each student is studying. A team effort that shares a culture of openness, understanding, and care helps provide our interns and clients with the best experience possible.”

The program is in its second year and many participants have decided to ‘Buy into OneEighty.’ Eight out of eleven were hired over the last year, and one intern is still working in the program.

As participant Shelly Tolewitz, Justice Center Counselor said, “I loved the ease of my internship and the fact that I was able to insert myself where I wanted to learn. I was able to shadow so many genuine and wonderful people throughout my internship, and I don’t just mean the counselors and professionals because I learned the most from the clients! The clients are what make the experience and getting to be a part in each of those journeys was so beneficial to my understanding and learning!’

Who wouldn’t want to ‘try this before they buy?”

We’re here to support you

We help people change direction with programs for addiction, domestic violence, rape crisis, mental health, housing, and prevention and education. At OneEighty, we actively support an evidence-based approach to sustainable recovery from trauma and addiction – restoring dignity and purpose, reimagining potential, and rebuilding lives. OneEighty offers counseling programs, intensive addiction treatment programs, group addiction treatment, residential services, recovery housing, and peer recovery.

OneEighty Resources

If you or someone you love has experienced sexual assault or is experiencing domestic violence, call us at 800-686-1122. For those encountering a substance use crisis, please call OneEighty’s Substance Use Treatment Navigator Hotline, available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year at 330-466-0678.

For more resources, click the links below:

Recovery Coaching

Addiction & Substance Use

Residential Treatment

Mental Health Counseling

Community Relations & Prevention

Substance Use Treatment Navigator Hotline

Safe at Home Program

Intimate Partner & Domestic Violence booklet (Wayne County)

Self-Help Legal Manual

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