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Amanda Crutchley

M.S.W. Class of 2010

I learned about Smith while researching what opportunities were available to further my clinical training. Feeling limited by my job as a psychiatry research assistant in Seattle, I found myself wanting to more actively provide direct therapeutic services for clients, and also recognized my need for further education. As I looked into Master's programs for social work, Smith College School for Social Work's excellent reputation for clinical training came up time and time again. Many professionals I spoke to who had worked with Smith interns praised their capabilities, and reported that Smith interns came to their placements with excellent training. I was also drawn to the block scheduling program, and the immersion in field placements for eight months. While I knew that moving back and forth from coast to coast each summer would be daunting, I also recognized that a more intensive field placement experience was a unique and valuable learning experience.

For both years, I returned to Seattle for my field placements. During my first year, I provided counseling and case management for chronically mentally ill adults at a community mental health clinic. For my second year placement, I worked at a trauma and sexual assault center located within a hospital setting, and primarily provided brief cognitive behavioral therapy for both adult and children survivors of trauma. Both internships provided me with unique challenges and learning opportunities. The on-the-job learning experience also helped me put into practice much of the academic theory I had learned at Smith, and I regularly received support from Smith advisors throughout the year.

Regular supervision within both agencies also provided a wonderful balance of support and integrated learning, and was instrumental in helping me further develop my skills as a clinician.

The summers spent at Smith, however, were the most transformative for me. The academic and social experience has further contributed to my intellectual, professional, and emotional development. I have appreciated the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with talented and passionate professors, many of whom I consider mentors. The courses challenged me to reconceptualize many of the notions and theoretical frameworks I had previously held prior to attending the program.

Finally, the connections I have made with so many of the talented peers I am surrounded by helped me further develop my interpersonal capacities. These relationships (in addition to the classes and internship experiences) have helped me understand the importance of not only having an extensive knowledge of theoretical frameworks, but also the importance of self-awareness and a willingness to continually examine myself so that I may best serve the populations I am honored to work with in the future.