All posts in Interns’ Blog

It’s new, exciting and always an adventure here at LICADD.

Working with clients, learning from peers, it’s new, exciting and always an adventure here at LICADD. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been here a few months. The amount of life experience and alcohol and drug knowledge I’ve absorbed by helping clients and being taught by my field instructor and clinical staff is invaluable and appreciated. The client may struggle from addiction, but the family follows along the sometimes painful journey and I’ve been able to clinically absorb both aspects. LICADD has taught me to always put the client first which requires teamwork and dedication. I’m very pleased with my choice to intern at LICADD and look forward to the remainder of my internship.

Thank You!

Have a HappyHoliday!

Meg Marinello


I found my own niche…

Well it’s almost time for the Holidays, and I must say, being at LICADD since September feels like just the right fit for me. I’m learning every day still. Every encounter and experience has been a unique learning experience on how I can better serve the clients and their families. Additionally I have also learned about myself. The LICADD Staff are all very kind, show patience, and always give their time whenever I need them. Initially I felt so inadequate, and questioned my path in becoming a Social Worker, when I saw and compared myself to how the clinicians as well as the other interns manage individual and group cases so uniquely and effectively. I didn’t think I stood a chance. But as I found my own niche, and became comfortable with the staff and other interns, this assurance came back in full force. I’m proud and grateful to be given the opportunity to work with the staff at LICADD and the clients and families they serve. Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Everyone!

Sincerely, Rosalia Lupo


“I’m already learning more than I ever could inside a classroom.”

The story of my journey to LICADD is a surprisingly short one: while discussing the first year internship with my advisor at Adelphi University I said that I’d like to work with drug dependent individuals, and despite telling me that “We try to give you the opposite of what you want for your first year,” here I am! It’s only been 3 weeks since I started and I’m already learning more than I ever could inside a classroom. The compassion of the entire staff is inspiring to me, and the clinical team works hard to educate the next generation of social workers while providing incredible service to clients. It didn’t take more than sitting in on one session with a client to know I was in the right place. I look forward to a year of great education and, most importantly, to a year of helping our clients.

- Adam Birkenstock, Adelphi University


“Dedicated, professional, yet completely down-to-earth…”

I’ve chosen to intern at LICADD because I plan to eventually specialize in substance abuse. I also chose to intern at LICADD, because I’ve heard so many great things about the programs and services that they provide. As far as my experience so far with LICADD, I’m incredibly impressed with how dedicated, professional, yet completely down-to-earth the entire LICADD staff is. I enjoy being a part of the LICADD team, because even though I’m just an intern, I feel very much a part of the agency itself. I’m positive my internship experience will be a positive one, because LICADD truly cares not only about their clients, but about each and every one of their interns. As I continue to work with LICADD, it’s evident how much they truly do care about their interns and their experiences. I think with any learning experience, it’s imperative to offer interns an environment where they can have plenty of opportunities to develop growth both personally and professionally. Through the help of Steve Chassman as my supervisor, I feel confident that through his guidance, support, enthusiasm, and patience, he will certainly pave the way for me to eventually specialize with the substance abuse population.

-Jennifer Clingo, Molloy College


Six weeks in….

I cannot express what these last six weeks have meant to me.  Let me start by saying, from the first day I started at LICADD, I really felt like part of a team.  The clinical supervision I’ve received has not only given me the confidence to put into practice thought in the classroom but has provided a greater depth of knowledge that no amount of classroom training can provide.  LICADD has provided such a variety of opportunities to provide services to our community.  It is truly an honor to say I am a part of this agency.  

 Donna L. Wiley, Molloy College CASAC Intern


“Thank God for this Place”

I began interning at LICADD about four months ago. When I first started I didn’t know much about LICADD or what the organization did. After working here, I began to adapt and learned what this agency is all about. LICADD’s alcohol and drug prevention and education services for children and families gave another chance at life to many. After being involved in various fundraisers, events and being surrounded with people that are in need, brought me to a full understanding of LICADD’s mission. This organization is fighting hard to save peoples’ lives and it gives hope to so many.

I will never forget the day when a woman came in looking to speak to one of the counselors. While waiting she began to talk to me. She was here because her daughter had a problem and LICADD was her only hope. After seeing one of the counselor, she walked out full of hope and at ease. She turned to me and with tears in her eyes said “thank God for this place.”

 - Lilliann Kravchuk, Communication Major, Hofstra University


LICADD’s Family Education Series Starts

On October 29,2009 I was very fortunate to be able to sit in on the educational piece of an intervention. Over all it was a fabulous learning experience. Once again the interventionist showed how knowledgeable he is within his career. Throughout the whole session you could see that he is very confident in what he is teaching, and is very passionate about what he does.

There were 4 people, all of different families. They all took to the interventionist very well. Every time the interventionist would discuss a particular topic you could see that it always touched someone. You could see each member absorbing the information and reflecting on their own personal experiences.

This particular session focused on the fact that family members “did not cause it, can not control it, and can not change it.” Family members usually come in feeling a lot of guilt and blame themselves for their family member’s addiction. It seems that the family members left this session with some sort of closure, and that is a great accomplishment for both the interventionist and the family members.

It seems that the interventionist answers the family member’s question, and questions that they have been wondering for a while. It seems that the interventionist gives them hope, and at that point means the world to them. Having hope is really important especially at a time like that in one’s life.

As an intern I am learning every single day that I am at LICAAD. Just sitting in on these sessions alone educates me a large amount. I look forward to all the future session, as well as anything I am part of at LICAAD.

– Jade Nelson, MSW student, Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare


Pre-Intervention Family Education Series

I sat in on the initial family education intervention series facilitated by Jerry.  The first family to arrive consisted of mother, daughter, and daughter’s friend.  They were present because they were being affected by the alcohol dependence of their husband and father respectively.  The second party to arrive consisted of a woman who was primarily concerned with her adult son’s dependence on heroin and her husband’s use of alcohol.  Both families were eager to learn.

The education presented by Jerry consisted of defining addiction, exploring why people use drugs, why some people become addicted and others do not, biological and environment factors that increase vulnerability to addiction, how the brain changes when substances are consumed, how drugs work in the brain to produce pleasure, long term effects of drug use on the brain, the consequences of drug addiction and we discussed an overview of common drugs used and abused in today’s society.

Upon completion of the presentation of the education material, a discussion ensued regarding the participant’s personal experiences and challenges on their family members.  We had a discussion on some of the elements in communities and societies that contribute to the current abuse of harmful substances.

We also had a discussion in regards to the effect that the substance user is having on the family.   Substance abuse and/or dependence effects everyone in the household in a multitude of negative ways including, but certainly not limited to, fear, embarrassment, helplessness, isolation of both the dependent and those in his/her immediate families, and confrontations.   

I found it very interesting, when at certain junctures, of the education and discussion, one of the family members, inadvertently, discussed their own substance use and talked of blacking out and talked of the effect of not being able to recall up to a week of her life after smoking marijuana in relatively large quantities.  This signified to me that the cycle of abuse may be trickling down to the next generation possibly due to the vulnerability of children of substance abusers.

The families had a positive response to the education and expressed that it was helpful and they will be returning next week for the chronological presentation of education and discussion on the disease of substance dependence.  The families were discussing how they were going to come up with excuses to come to the next session.  I found it interesting that Jerry educated the families that it is okay and productive for them to be honest with their loved ones that they are seeking help for their challenges in dealing with their loved ones chemical dependence and the effect it has on them.  I am looking forward to the next educational session.

– Steven R. Weinberg, MSW student, Stony Brook University, School of Social Welfare


Another Intervention Experience

I was very intrigued by the prospect of being involved in real time interventions with real people. I had heard about interventions through my time working in the field and on televison sitcoms in the eighties and nineties (i.e Different Strokes) and most recently on the television show on A & E that is dedicated strictly to interventions. I had never experienced them first hand. I was pleasantly surprised when the family and friends that came into LICAAD to begin the intervention process were welcoming to myself and fellow intern to sit in and observe the process. Jerry, the facilitator of the process, demonstrated a fine balance between a knowledgable authority and a compassionate, empathetic human being. This combination, seemed to allow the participants to feel safe and simulataneously guided and in good hands.

Jerry produced a visual family tree of the people involved, which I saw as a great way to visualize who is who and to help all involved see part of the component of how the subject, that all were present for, got to where she is. Namely, she is at a place where her life and her family’s life are being disrupted enough that about ten people who are close to her showed up on a Monday evening to put in time to try and assist her to get her help.

I observed that the family members really care for this person and I also observed that Jerry really cares and is passionate about what he does. He reported to me that he has been doing this for over fifteen years and it was evident in the way he worked. I found myself, as I often have, being in the field for nine years, feeling attached and hopeful, for the family and the woman who is having serious challenges with her substance of choice. While observing the process, I felt non-invasive and I absorbed a lot of useful techniques annd insights. The night culminated with a handshake from the woman’s husband which was unexpected and certainly welcome. I am looking foward to observing the evolution of the process of interventions.

 - Steven R. Weinberg, MSW student, Stony Brook University, School of Social Welfare


First Exposure to Planned Interventions

From the start, one of those most appealing things to me about an internship at LICADD was the family interventions that were going to be taking place.  I did not expect that on my first night there I would already be sitting in on the first step of an intervention.  When I found this out I knew that LICAAD was very serious about their clients.

I thought that it was very appropriate that the interventionist asked the family if they would mind us sitting in. The family did not mind in the least, which was good. I learned a lot from sitting in on those 2 hours. The interventionist is very educated and I was fascinated by how well he does his job. The way that he structures the interventions seems to promote a very high success rate. The interventionist was very helpful to the family in many different respects, but most of all, it was clear that they were leaving there with hope.

The interventionist gave the family a lay-out as to how they should write the letters that they will read to their family member during the actual intervention. The format of the letter was very structured as well, but the interventionist has the family members send him the letter for him to go over and revise if needed.

Overall, I was very fascinated by even just the first meeting with only the family members. The interventionist’s system and education on this program is amazing. I am really looking forward to sitting in on the actual intervention in the future, as well as other planned interventions.

 - Jade Nelson, MSW student, Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare