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Kar wants to share his experience training at COH’s BH Graduate Training Program.

Meet Kar: Behavioral Health Trainee

Center on Halsted’s Behavior Health Graduate Training Program provides students with specialized clinical experiences in working with the LGBTQ community. In 2020, over 600+ therapists and caregivers received continuing training and education services at Center on Halsted.

Meet Kar (he/him/his) who recently completed his Center on Halsted Behavioral Health training placement and wants to share how the training helped them understand the challenges and stigmas facing our community and the effective treatments to address these issues. The Q+A is below:

1. How has the BH trainee program influenced you and your clinician work today?

Kar: The BH trainee program has encouraged me to bring my authentic self to the therapy space. I used to believe that there was a clear-cut way to operate and approach clients in a therapy space, which was very inorganic to me. The staff and supervisors helped me understand that it was okay to be “me” and not some emotionless, blank-slate, know-it-all who had to get it right the first time.

2. What did you like most about the trainee program?

Kar: There are many things that I liked. Firstly, the support of the clinicians was outstanding! Whether they were assigned to you as their supervisors or not, they were readily available with any questions or concerns that we had. Secondly, the educational trainings that we received, regarding how to work with different populations, was insightful.

A lot of the populations that we learned about were populations that we would never imagine coming in contact with, due to the negative stigmas surrounding them. These populations deserve our help and respect, regardless of the stigmas associated with them. Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed my fellow trainees, both at Center on Halsted and Howard Brown, through Consortium! We still keep in contact with each other to this very day, encouraging each other and consulting with one another about our work in the field.

3. Can you share how this experience has equipped you better to serve the LGBTQ+ community?

Kar: Individuals in the LGBTQ+ community deal with issues that other populations do not experience, like?. It is important that we, as clinicians, learn about the issues to better serve the community. The educational training was a huge component in combining theoretical approaches with the specific issues that LGBTQ+ individuals have. Also, the trainings helped us understand the stigmas surrounding the community and how to help reduce the stigma associated with the greater population within the community and sub-communities within them.

4. How did the BH staff support you during your training?

Kar: They supported me in EVERYTHING! Coming from a forensic background, I suffered from intense imposter syndrome. They were very understanding of this. Not only did they help me learn more from a clinical aspect, they offered me assistance from other past interns that were part of the BH programs as well. No question was too “dumb” and I was never made to feel ashamed about learning how to work with clients in a clinical setting. Their support encouraged me to pursue more of a clinical career!

To learn more about the Graduate Level Training Program please go here.

See below for 2020’s Year in Review Impact numbers from our Behavioral Health department. See all Center on Halsted 2020 Impact numbers here.

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Donate to get matched 1:1 up to $50,000 by the generosity of Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to advancing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Movement.

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