Internship

with Building Intimate Marriages

“Train” is one of the core services of Building Intimate Marriages. Providing internships is an important part of that service as students learn to provide counseling in a real private practice setting. Interns also provide professional counseling to our clients at very low rates.

About our internships

Since 2005, Building Intimate Marriages has accepted interns to join the team for a year. We typically accept about 2 interns per year.  The internship program was designed to help counselors and therapists learn private practice. Details of the internship program are listed below. We also encourage potential candidates to contact previous interns for additional information about the uniquenesses of this position to ensure a good fit.
Intent
This internship is designed to give interns an introduction to counseling in a private practice setting. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their approach to counseling while learning from each member of the BIM team. To give sufficient time for experience and learning, internships are tyically one year. While they usually run May to May, we have accepted interns at different start points.
Requirements
  • This practicum/internship is established for those currently pursuing their masters degree, not for those who have graduated and are seeking hours toward licensure. We have accepted doctoral interns and one bachleors intern.
  • BIM has chosen students studying both LPC (MHCC or equavilent) and MFT (historically, evenly split between the programs).
  • BIM markets for the Christian marriage and sex therapy client. As such, the bulk of clients interns see will be couples seeking marriage and/or sex therapy from a Christian perspective though individual clients, and those seeking counseling for other issues will also be a percentage of the client load. As such, a priority is placed on internship applicants who are interested in marriage counseling and/or sex therapy.
  • Students must be registered with their respective school (i.e., Richmont Graduate University) for practicum/internship course during the entire time of their internship and follow the procedures required by their school for the course(s). While the bulk of interns are from Richmont Graduate University, we do accept interns pursuing degrees from other institutions.
Structure
  • This internship opportunity is being offered by Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. under the direction of Michael Sytsma, PhD.
  • This is a learning opportunity offered by Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. with the focus being the chance to learn therapy in a private practice setting that includes learning from each of the therapists at Building Intimate Marriages (Sytsma, Wells, Willard, Carlisle, Farnham, etc.). Students will interact with, and learn from all counselors in the practice while still having a primary supervisor.
  • Students are not charged for this position and the position is non-paid. Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. covers the cost of providing the intenship position (office rental, marketing materials, phone line/voicemail, office supplies, supervision, direction, etc.) which is in part covered by the counseling fees the interns collect. Interns receive the experience, training, and supervision (LPC/MFT) at no direct charge to them by Building Intimate Marriages, Inc.
Responsibilities

Interns understand they are responsible for:

  • Representing themselves as counseling or MFT interns of Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. and students of their respective school at all times and conducting themselves in a manner that reflects such.
  • Knowing and maintaining 1) all state and federal laws pertinent to performing their duties (including confidentiality and mandated reporting laws) and 2) all ethical codes applicable to their intended profession.
  • Developing paperwork required for working with clients (i.e., informed consent).
  • Marketing their counseling services and building a client load sufficient to meet the hour requirements of their respective courses. Building Intimate Marriages will refer clients to the interns, but these referrals may not be sufficient to meet the hours of client contact required. Interns must learn how to market themselves, and to develop, and maintain a client load. Building Intimate Marriages in no way assures students they will be able to obtain the client load necessary to meet their course requirements.
  • Maintaining all required paperwork including client files, financial records, contact hours, supervision hours, marketing contacts, and practice calendar as directed by their respective school’s policy and BIM directives.
  • Meeting with BIM appointed supervisor weekly and director monthly (minimums) and attending all scheduled staff meetings except when excused by the director.
  • Being available by phone for urgent care of clients.
  • Putting in a couple hours each week of office work at Building Intimate Marriages (i.e., data entry, mailing, etc.). Previous interns estimate 10-15 hours per week (clients, supervision, direction, office hours, etc.) for this position.
Application
Students wishing to apply for internship position should mail a formal request to the Building Intimate Marriages, Inc. Board of Directors. This request should come in the form of a letter stating what they are applying for and why they believe they should be considered by the Board of Directors for an internship position. Students should also include a resume or C.V.
The application packet should be mailed to:
Board of Directors
Building Intimate Marriages, Inc.
1325 Satellite Blvd NW, Suite 1002
Suwanee, GA 30024
Typically, the board plans to review applications during January and February. Interviews with selected students will be scheduled in February. The board will make a decision on who to offer the position to shortly after interviews are completed. Applications outside the typical time frame will be considered as they arrive.

If you have further questions, feel free to contact Dr. Sytsma by email ( michael [at] intimatemarriage [dot] org ). Remember that your professionalism is evaluated on every encounter. NOTE: While students are welcome to submit their letter and resume/C.V. electronically, it is advised they also mail a hard copy.

Since 2005, Building Intimate Marriages has helped train more than 25 interns.

Cool things previous interns say about their experience.

Previous Interns (click to see the list)

My internship at BIM provided me with a great balance of autonomy and support. I was given the opportunity and trusted with scheduling and managing my client load, while also being given ample and appropriate support as I was learning and growing. I received supervision from some of the top contributors in the field of Christian Sex Therapy and was offered a space to explore and learn more about my gifting and how I uniquely brought that into the therapy room. I was given opportunities to sit in on sessions with Dr. Sytsma and some of the other therapists and felt championed as I began my career as a therapist. Building Intimate Marriages was the perfect place for me to begin my journey as a counselor and I have taken so much of what I learned there into my career as a therapist.
Ashlyn Veal

Battlefield Ministries

As a Richmont Graduate University student living in Chattanooga, TN, I was honored and believed it was an investment to make the long trip to Atlanta and serve as an intern with Dr. Mike at Building Intimate Marriages (BIM).  It’s said that integration (the practice of integrating Christian spiritual beliefs into counseling sessions) is caught and not just taught, and there were many things I learned or “caught” while spending time with Dr. Mike whether it was in clinical supervision or day to day conversations.  I also enjoyed interacting with and being mentored by the other colleagues in the office who I hold in high regard both for their clinical skills as well as their Christian character.  The things I learned while I was a BIM intern have been invaluable in my development as a professional counselor, Christian sex therapist, and owner/operator of my own private practice.  I’m very thankful for my experience as a BIM intern for both the relationships and clinical skills that were developed.

Philips Hwang

Sojourners Rest Counseling

My experience interning with Dr. Mike allowed me the confidence to practice on my own once fully licensed. Being the only Christian Sex therapist in my State, the experience gave me to tools to market myself, think critically about setting up a practice and the framework for establishing my own practice style. Much of what I learned from Dr Mike and his wisdom guides me still today!

Kimberly Lee

My time as an intern with BIM taught me the clinical and administrative skills necessary to be successful in private practice. The internship experience is perfect for those want to develop their clinical skills and who wish to learn how to be successful as a private practice outpatient clinician. Tyler Wilkinson

Wilkinson Counseling and Consultation, LLC

My internship at BIM provided a safe environment to learn and grow as a counselor. I was challenged by the staff team to become more of who God created me to be. I was challenged by my clients to listen well and lead humbly. Working at BIM provided a clear path on my journey as a clinician, and I am forever grateful for my time there. Emily Guynn

Path to Change, LLC

Even though it’s been 9 years, I still reference my time as an intern at BIM as even more valuable than my Master’s degree. And that’s really saying something, since I learned a lot in my classes! There’s something about actually doing counseling among the best in the field. I was soaking in knowledge the entire time I was in the building at BIM, even in the lunchroom! I had the incredible opportunity to observe and co-lead sessions, and be mentored and supervised by the best, in addition to my own caseload. I became the counselor I am today in part through the guidance of Dr. Mike and the other master clinicians in the office. Their wise and patient guidance has served me well in my own private practice and is something I will always be grateful for.
Lauren Dack

Joyful Life Counseling & Coaching

My internship experience at BIM afforded me a unique opportunity to grow specifically as an MFT. I received supervision from a distinctly systemic perspective, observed seasoned therapists counseling couples and logged 400+ hours counseling couples, individuals and families face to face. Most importantly, I was given the support, encouragement, and supervision that is critical for interns to thrive and grow.  I cannot imagine better internship to prepare me for my work as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Emily Dressner

Building Intimate Marriages

Interning at Building Intimate Marriages provides aspiring counselors the opportunity to learn from the best in a safe and supportive environment. As an intern, building a practice, shadowing sessions with the experienced counselors, and receiving ample supervision laid a solid foundation that helped me jump-start my career and future work endeavors. Jackie Coleman