My name is Megan McCaul, I began interning at Montrose Manor after my honours degree in psychology, eager to gain the practical experience that is now, for the most part, necessary to be competitive amongst your peers. Within the first two weeks, I felt as though I had gained a lifetime’s experience. I had real responsibility in day-to-day interaction with counselors and clients. I arranged travelling trips, assisted with administrative tasks and was given the opportunity to attend support groups, lectures and various other programs like dialetics, body image and self esteem. These were presented by the counselors for the purpose of the clients’ process of recovery and self discovery. I found myself in awe of the counselors’ combined ability to manage the clients’ individual needs.

Ultimately I experienced the exhilaration of being allowed to help with lectures, art therapy, crafts, counseling sessions and exposure therapy. I have also been given the opportunity to develop a research project. On a lighter side, I found joy in making tea and being the Girl Friday when needed. I soon felt like a valued member of the team.

The counseling team recognize that each client arrives at Montrose with their own very individual need for treatment. The Montrose experience therefore provides a holistic support environment, incorporating individual counseling along with a variety of group sessions; including lectures helping clients recognize the limitations their illness imposes on them and how to overcome this. With the group interactions clients can discuss, share and relate common experiences in a non-threatening, supportive environment. The final phase of treatment is specifically designed to prepare clients to return to their family, friends and society. As this transition is a big and difficult step to take, Montrose provides the necessary support and guidance to make this as smooth as possible. This includes the all important sessions with family members.

The counseling team are often thrown in the thick of things, resulting in a sink or swim scenario, both daunting and exiting. But they make informed decisions; based on their combined in depth experience. They also provide each other with all the needed support. Not a day went by where I did not learn something, laugh at something or just lavished in the moment.

A different highlight was forming part of the big move to the new and improved premises. This resulted in a fun break from the daily routine. With excitement we were all engaged and included in the creation of the new marketing brochure.

Overall my time at Montrose was a refreshing, positive and insightful learning experience. And to date one of the best career decisions I have made. I will further my studies in the UK as an ambassador for Montrose Manor.