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Arkansas State Hospital Paves Way for Interns to Move Closer to Goals

Date: 07/25/2018

Portraits dating back to the 1980s are perched side-by-side in a front hallway of the Arkansas State Hospital (ASH). Each person featured completed a psychology internship at the hospital. Soon, Sara Juel-Larsen, Simone Gillon-Wright, and Ellen Gillander will join the crowd. They’re the current ASH psychology interns.     

Every year, ASH, a mental health facility, hosts a year-long, pre-doctoral internship in professional psychology. Through the program Juel-Larsen, Gillon-Wright, and Gillander have received training in adolescent psychology and adult psychology. They’ve also observed people who’ve been charged with a crime and ordered to the hospital’s forensic unit.  

“I’m properly prepared because of the well-rounded nature of the program,” Gillander said.  “The staff at ASH met us interns at our skill level. I’m now more independent in both my actions and my conceptualizations. I’m prepared for a future as a clinical psychologist.”

The program attracts people from across the country to Arkansas’s only state-run psychiatric hospital.

Gillander, a graduate of William James (Mass) College, is a native of Boston. Gillon-Wright, an alum of Loyola (MD) University, is from the Kansas City area. Juel-Larsen, from Storrs, Connecticut, is a grad of Antioch University (NH).        

None of the interns had any ties to Arkansas. But they applied for the ASH internship because of the opportunity to work with a variety of clients. Few hospitals nationally offer an internship of that kind.

"It’s the perfect combination of the things I wanted, all at one building,” Gillon-Wright said. “At most sites, you only have the option to work with adolescents or adults. It's hard to find a site like ASH that gives you a variety of options.”

The trio liked the education and the southern hospitality as well.   

“I’ve enjoyed Arkansas. The people are nice and you don’t have to worry about everything being crowded,” Gillon-Wright said.

“Everyone, both inside and outside the hospital, were much more open than what I’m accustomed to in Connecticut,” Juel-Larsen said. “Also, the psychologists functioned as a team. Every supervisor I worked with believed in properly training the interns.”  

Gillander will remain with ASH after the internship to do a forensic fellowship. One session in particular helped her realize the importance of her work at ASH.

“I appreciate interning at ASH,” Gillander said. “A moment I won’t forget is when I had a family session with a client to discuss the results of a test. I enjoyed listening to the dad talk about the difference he’s seeing in his son and then look at the son and seeing how happy he was as his dad talked about supporting him.” 



Caption: In the photo up top from left to right are: Ellen Gillander, Simone Gillon-Wright, and Sara Juel-Larsen.    




Arkansas Department of Human Services
Arkansas Department of Human Services

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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