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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Cool things previous interns say about their experience.
Previous Interns (click to see the list)
- Hannah O’Dell Pollard (05)
- Kristen Smith-Vaniz (05/06)
- Phillips Hwang (06/07)
- Matthew Weathers (07/08)
- Jackie Feit Coleman (07/08)
- Tyler Wilkinson (08/09)
- Lauren Dack (08/09)
- Kelli Willard (09/10)
- Kimberly Genger Lee (09/10)
- Corey Carlisle (10/11)
- Sharon Diamond (10/11)
- Karissa Kaye (11/12)
- Ann Keller (12/13)
- Teddy Sanders (12)
- Kelly Cave (12/13)
- Daniel Peeks (13/14)
- Beth Leonard (13/14)
- Travis Hill (14/15)
- Hailey Whitley (14/15)
- Holly Labbe (BS) (14)
- Reuben Lawrence (15/16)
- Emily Dressner (15/16)
- Alyssa Kang (15/16)
- Emily Guynn (16)
- Ben Adamson (16/17)
- Ashlyn Veal (16/17)
- Andrea Farnham (PhD)
- Amanda Hindson (17/18)
- Micah Mabe (17/18)
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
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