Well, this is a long-overdue post. I’ve been thinking about it all along, but summer fun, travel, and work, managed to get the best of my time! If you’re considering an NTP Internship, this is my experience.
I spent a week at an incredibly valuable Nutritional Therapy Association-approved internship! It was definitely one of the most powerful and important experiences in my life. Both in what I learned, and the friendships that were formed. The internship was facilitated by the incredibly gracious, Caroline Barringer, at Inner-Chi Wellness in Valley Stream, NY.
The first day and a half was devoted to the business side of practice. It was a whirlwind of information and resources about business structures, taxes, banking, accepting credit cards, creating a logo, building a website, trademarks, insurance, and tracking expenses.
In addition, each of us got a two hour session devoted to whatever we needed help with. We all talked over our answers to “The Big 15” questions about our vision and plans. Other interns needed business names, or to see if web domains were available. I had named my business Body Wisdom Nutrition back in the Spring, but had been struggling to come up with a slogan ever since. I wanted something that expressed helping people come to understand the connection between their body and how they feel. They are truly the expert on how food effects them. I gave a brief description of what I wanted to convey and everyone started brainstorming ideas. I was very pleased with the end result: Because Your Body Knows Best.
Mid-day on Tuesday through the end of Friday were devoted to seeing clients and gaining clinical skills. There were 10 clients total. Each of us interns accounted for five and Caroline was our NTP. The other five were outside clients and we each took turns being the practitioner. We all reviewed everybody’s paperwork together in advance and sat in on all the appointments.
Caroline walked us through how to review the client’s intake paperwork before an appointment in 15 minutes – rather than the usual 2 hours that it was taking me! She helped us learn to use a Clinical Presentation form to manage the whole appointment, instead of flipping through the intake form, food journal, and questionnaire separately. She also guided us in how to prioritize what we were going to focus on during the limited appointment time. In a professional practice I won’t be able to have appointments that last an hour over our allotted time because someone else will be waiting to meet with me next. I’ll need to keep an eye on the time and make choices as I go, in order to cover the most important parts. In some cases that might be 2 hours of listening and talking with the client with no time for the Functional Exam, and that’s ok.
I was a little anxious with all eyes on me when I saw my client. She was a practicing nutritionist with a Master’s degree and many years of experience. She volunteered to be one of our clients to see our process since she is thinking about becoming Certified as a Nutritional Therapist also. Even with all her training and experience, she still feels she has a lot to learn about looking at the body holistically and supporting the systems, rather than the symptoms. Once the appointment was underway I felt more relaxed. I didn’t do everything perfectly, and I received valuable feedback from Caroline and the other interns, and I think my client appointments since then have been better for it! I also learned a tremendous amount by watching the other appointments – how other people interact with their clients, the tools they have, and how they approach the Functional Exam.
Prior to my internship I had a real sense of urgency about starting my practice. While there, I realized that part of my rush was a feeling that I would forget what I had learned if I wasn’t doing it all the time. After reviewing 10 clients in a row and simplifying the process, I gained tremendous confidence, and whether I have 4 clients a day or 4 clients in a month I feel solid in my clinical processes.
So there was a whole other component to my week that is much more difficult to put in to words. It’s the relationships that were formed between us interns and Caroline. I shared a hotel room with 3 women I had never met. They had been in the Las Vegas class together and had gotten to know each other well. As I met each of them I found that we were instant friends! Having a passion for our profession and a dedication that took us across the country to learn more is a pretty big commonality! Even after a full day of education, we gabbed until late in the night. It’s always an affirming feeling to find more of “your people.”
Here we all are:
In the end, the internship was a really special experience that I highly recommend to other graduating NTP’s!
As a side note, I encourage everyone to check out the delicious cultured vegetables from Caroline’s company, Immunitrition. We had some every day for lunch and they are really some of the best!