Family Service Agency of Burbank
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I did my practicum at Family Service Agency (FSA). There was no shortage of clients for me to get the hours I needed and they allowed me to work with populations I had a preference for. The best part about FSA was that I never felt alone when encountering new challenges. As a trainee you're met with situations you never faced before and it can be, at times, quite intimidating. But the management staff alongside the supervisors created a space of support and learning, it gave me a greater sense of confidence in working wth my clients. If you are looking for a place where you will get your hours plus an enriching learning experience then I highly recommend FSA.
I worked at Family Service Agency for a couple of years. I found the staff to be very client focused and dedicated, both volunteer clinicians and paid staff. Documentation is GIRP format and supervision varies in structure based on your supervisor. I found their desire to put families first to be inspiring unlike other places I have worked where everyone was running around trying to "cover their butts". Paid positions are available within certain programs but no benefits that I am aware of. There is a $100 program fee like many other sites, some of which are much more expensive. I was fortunate to work in multiple programs with a variety of populations and gained valuable experience in doing so. Oh, and completed my hours!!!! You can have one or more supervisions if you are a good clinician and have the time to devote to yourself and your clients. I definitely recommend this site!
Family Service Agency of Burbank had numerous problems when I was an MFT trainee there a few years ago. Long story short: I would not recommend working in this setting unless you are truly desperate to get hours. This setting is not therapeutic and will not give you quality experience working with clients. The ONLY thing I liked about FSAB was the documentation (short handwritten notes in GIRP format). The following is a list of some of the things I encountered and/or witnessed in my time there. 1) Directors yelling at each other, cussing people out, and threatening to let MFT trainees/interns go if they filed CPS reports without going through "the proper channels" (which involved a) getting permission from a clinical supervisor, b) getting permission from a director, and c) having proof (vs. suspicions) that child abuse/neglect was taking place... in almost every situation, MFT trainees/interns were told to not file CPS reports, which was in direct violation of mandated reporting laws). 2) MFT trainees/interns being required to pay $100/month for clinical supervision. 3) One clinical supervisor spending much of their time texting back and forth with their family members during group supervision, only focusing long enough to briefly review progress notes and sign off on them before mentally "checking out" of group supervision for the remainder of the two hours. 4) MFT trainees/interns being told they would not receive letters of recommendation, and being told the directors/supervisors would not serve as references of any kind for future employment opportunities. 5) MFT trainees/interns being assigned to sites based on whether or not they "looked the part" (or because, as one director said to a female MFT trainee/intern, "you'll be a distraction for the high school boys, we can't have you there"). 6) MFT trainees/interns being told they could only use "approved" interventions, which were kept in a large binder (so essentially, if the worksheet/activity wasn't in the binder, you couldn't use it, which severely limited the intervention options for MFT trainees/interns). 7) MFT trainees/interns being called into the office for last-minute meetings with directors (and being reprimanded when they couldn't get to the office due to being in school, at other sites, stuck in traffic, or on vacation).
This was the most horrible work experience of my entire life. Not only did I report this facility to my school administrators, but apparently many others had as well. While I have no doubt that the trainees and interns at this facility do great work in the community, it is within horrible conditions. The directors at FSAB are nothing short of abusive. There is yelling among the staff, verbal assaults, cursing, humiliation; in fact the person who hired me left within 2 weeks of my employment, just walked out. Fortunately, our supervisor was wonderful (though he left when I did) and my colleagues were great. Had I not desperately needed these hours to graduate I NEVER would have tolerated being spoken to and treated with such unfathomable disrespect and unkindness. From the top down, this place a toxic, hostile work environment. Additionally, they charge a $100 a month fee for supervision, which you are contracted to pay for a year - even if you do not work there for the entire year, as is the case for the most trainees who work the school based program. There are no paid positions for therapists, and the few paid employees are so poorly treated I cannot imagine why it is they stay. Interview process was standard. If you can tolerate being yelled at, hung up on, spoken to like a naughty toddler, listening to the directors yell at each other and receiving ONLY negative input, you can stay as long as you like and knock out a ton of hours. The paperwork is relatively easy, though very disorganized and constantly being changed. If you are looking for a nurturing and supportive environment in which to begin your career and learn to be an effective clinician, look elsewhere.