Who Should Apply
The Relational Center’s Leadership Institute offers an entry-level clinical training program that is ideal for MSW students and MFT trainees who need to complete their pre-degree practicum. Registered MFT Interns and Associate Clinical Social Workers are also welcome, as are students of organization development, community organizing, leadership development and organizational management. Minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.
If you are seeking post-masters clinical practice hours to submit to the Board of Behavioral Sciences, your training and supervised experience at The Relational Center will also be eligible to be applied toward licensure.
When we don’t receive connection as often as we need, we lose hope. Eventually we can end up settling for unsatisfying relationships that make us feel disconnected. As much as 40% of our country reports feeling lonely most of the time. When that’s our daily reality, research shows that it shortens our lifespans. To live long and healthy lives, we need to improve the way we connect with each other. When we improve connections, we improve health. Yet the mental health field has not responded to the crisis of isolation with solutions that reconnect people to one another. The focus is increasingly on individual change, as if the acquisition of skill or the emergence of insight were a substitute for community.
To adequately respond to humans in distress, we have to ensure they have access to a thriving, healthy community, full of enduring and diverse relationships. That means we need to train mental health professionals to focus on supporting their clients to develop their relational capacities and take action to develop and maintain vital community. Human beings are equipped with inclinations that favor mutual understanding and collaboration. That means it is imperative that mental health clinicians be trained to use effective prevention and intervention tools that engage their clients in tapping into their inherent relational capacities and cultivating connections in the world.
How It Works
This is a three-year comprehensive alternative program of clinical training which has a dual focus: it is designed to build a hybrid workforce competent in both mental health and community organizing practices.
Trainees are assigned to our Community Project for their supervised practicum. The entry-level year builds a coherent relational foundation, offering the following structure:
- A comprehensive curriculum that builds the theoretical ground for a relational approach to counseling and psychotherapy
- An emphasis on collaboration, empathic skills, and community responsiveness and accountability
- Live-time, intensive, and focused supervision in the context of intimate small-group training cohorts
- Planned community activities specifically designed to provoke challenging and complex experience while simultaneously offering coaching and teaching to support expanded awareness and skills-building
- Deliberate exposure to the pressures of emotionally challenging work as well as to the demands associated with navigating a communal system
Graduates of the one-year foundation program may then pursue advanced training (e.g., Community Gestalt Therapy). Opportunities for part-time paid work are also extended to trainees who have demonstrated an exceptional investment in The Relational Center’s mission and vision.
What To Expect
All foundation-year trainees attend weekly group supervision meetings as well as monthly 3-hour clinical training modules with topics such as Foundations of Relational Theory and Practice, Somatics, Trauma, and Power, Privilege and Marginalization. Also, all foundation-year trainees will be expected to provide services in our Community Project (5 direct counseling hours per week and a minimum of 3 hours per week assisting in general community support). Finally, all trainees are also required to complete 2 weekend intensives getting cross-trained in our community building approach, Stories of Connection.
Admissions for the Foundation Year are on a rolling basis. Interested applicants may be asked to participate in a 2-hour workshop and an individual interview. Finalists who are offered a seat must respond within 2 weeks of the offer with a signed letter of agreement and a nonrefundable $200 deposit (required upon admission and is applied to the 12th month of training). Trainees then pay a Clinical Training Site Fee of $200 per month.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes The Relational Center's Health and Wellness Program unique as a practicum or field site?
The Relational Center is also very much a community, not just in terms of the attitude we have, but also in terms of the way we make important decisions, how responsibilities are allocated, how we share and divide labor, and how we understand and respond to human development. The training approach is not academic per se, though it involves ample teaching and theoretical discussion. But overall, we cultivate a learning community by creating a culture of support, accountability, transparency and adventure.
What theoretical orientation is taught in The Relational Center's clinical training?
Based on this approach, The Relational Center is committed to positions that are consistent with our mission, values and model of care. For example, our work with participants dealing with problems related to substance use follows a pragmatic, harm reduction approach. This is particularly effective when working with participants who are not able to abstain from using substances (at least 70% of everyone who is substance dependent) or who live with multiple challenges of poverty, physical disability, and emotional distress. Counseling to drug users in line with the harm reduction model is unusual in the current mental health field. This makes The Relational Center even more unique.
How do I know whether I am a good fit for your clinical training?
What does training at The Relational Center cost?
What kind of time commitment will I be required to give to The Relational Center?
How quickly will I accumulate my supervised hours at The Relational Center?