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Dr. Kimberly Haugen – Behavioral Health Clinic 25th Anniversary Inside Look

November 15th, 2019     By Boys Town Contributor

Behavior, Boys Town History, Bully, Harmful Behaviors, Healing Families, Mental Health, Quality Care, Understanding Behavior

From trainee to training director, this psychologist feels privileged and extremely grateful to be a mentor

"Education survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten."

These words of B.F. Skinner remind us that maintaining our curiosity and willingness to grow and stretch ourselves in any situation will serve us well long after leaving academia's classroom.

A similar philosophy is instilled every day at the Boys Town Center for Behavioral Health where doctoral interns and post-doctoral fellows take the theories and concepts acquired during years of graduate school and apply them to the real-life concerns affecting children and families.  

As these interns work toward earning their "psychologist" title, Dr. Kimberly Haugen and her colleagues at the Center are there to support them in every way they can.

"It's a big transition to go from graduate school to internship," explained Dr. Haugen. "Most interns are completely relocating and leaving behind their support system." 

Relating to and understanding the unique stresses and concerns of interns comes naturally to Dr. Haugen, who has served as the Center's director of clinical training for the past five years. It wasn't that long ago that she, too, lived the intern experience. From 2005 to 2007, she completed both her doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Center.

Dr. Haugen tries to supervise today's interns with the same mentoring and friendship that was so generously extended to her. She remembers how the constant (and abundant!) encouragement, objective feedback and tactful advice she received was necessary and welcomed because it pushed her to be a better therapist.  

"My supervisors really had confidence in me and always believed I was up to the challenge, even if I didn't always feel that way." 

That supportive, can-do message is one Dr. Haugen repeatedly shares with trainees because she wants their Boys Town experience to be a time where they push themselves professionally.     

"As a mentor, my goal is getting to know the interns, meeting them where they're at with their training and using a developmental approach to build their skills and confidence. We really want it to be a growth year where they stretch themselves clinically."  

Doctoral interns typically spend one year at the Center; a select few sometimes stay an additional year to complete their post-doctoral fellowships. Their work includes direct services, such as providing individual, family and group therapy, and indirect services, such as consulting with campus staff, school staff and medical staff.    

The Center offers several specialty services, including neurofeedback, sports psychology and trauma recovery, that appeal to interns who want to focus their future careers or research in a specialized field.    

Currently, Dr. Haugen and her colleagues supervise seven interns at the Center. Two others work at the Boys Town Central Nebraska Behavioral Health Clinic in Grand Island. That number is fairly typical. According to Dr. Haugen, providing training and supervision is a large time investment, therefore it's important to have a reasonably limited number of interns to ensure the "highest-quality training experience."      

From the start, the Center has developed a reputation for being a quality training site. Its competitive selection process draws candidates from every corner of the country as well as those from abroad. For those fortunate enough to become Boys Town interns, it's a launching pad for future success.  

"We've never had an intern who was looking for a post-doctoral position or job who hasn't gotten one," Dr. Haugen said. "Some will work in schools, clinic settings or universities, and we support them in whatever career direction they pursue. The relationship doesn't end when the internship ends."

This November, a new pool of applicants will be evaluated, and in January, new relationships will be forged when Dr. Haugen and her colleagues welcome potential interns during the Center's annual open house. Good luck to all!   

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