My name is Steven Sipes, and I’m a graduate student completing my M.A in Counseling at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. I have been lucky to have the experience to complete my internship at Beacon of Hope. Now, I get the pleasure to share some of that experience with you! I started my internship at Beacon in September of 2018, and I can truly say that it has been an insightful experience. It has been an experience that has encouraged me in my pursuit of becoming a counselor and also has challenged me in some personal areas as well. I could go on and on about my experience at Beacon, but I will try to contain it to two areas that Beacon has encouraged me in my journey and one area where Beacon has challenged me.
The first area where Beacon has encouraged me in my walk is providing an atmosphere where I can be amongst other interns and professionals in my field. My fellow coworkers at Beacon have already been such a blessing in the way that they have proactively invested into my well being and my professional journey to become a counselor. It’s very easy to tell that the people have gone above and beyond to make sure that I’ve felt comfortable and appreciated. I can’t stress enough how valuable this has been in this season of my life.
Beacon also has allowed me to counsel and minister to a variety of clients. This is hands-down the best reason to be a part of Beacon. It’s never a dull moment. One moment you could be counseling an 8 year old boy and a 65 year old woman the next moment. It’s really allowed me to find out more about the population that I’d like to work with in counseling. I came to Beacon knowing I’d get a diverse group of clients, and it hasn’t failed to deliver. I thank God all the time that Beacon provides an atmosphere to grow in my profession and offer counseling services to a diverse clientele free of charge!
Beacon is definitely a place where it’s easy to grow in your counseling profession as an intern. Although, it also challenges you in your own spiritual relationship with Christ as well. I think the most surprising way I’ve been challenged at Beacon is in the realm of my biblical/spiritual knowledge. I knew that I would be able to use my Christian fundamental principles in counseling at Beacon, but I didn’t factor how much my clients would be asking for deep biblical knowledge. There are plenty of people thirsty for the truth of Christ, and that’s exciting. On the flip side, that means I have to dive deeper into biblical context to search for the answers my clients are looking for. This has truly challenged my own personal journey in developing a biblical knowledge base in my own life, and also be able to articulate that truth to my clientele.
Overall, I wouldn’t change my experience for any other internship experience, and I’m glad to be a part of the overall mission of Beacon of Hope. I think that this place truly allows their interns to thrive in their counseling journey and their own spiritual journey as well. Pair that with the fact that there are coworkers that are willing to invest into your life, and you have a pretty amazing place to do an internship. I hope that you have gotten a small glimpse of the perks of being a part of the Beacon of Hope team, and I look forward to continuing to advance the ministry of Beacon of Hope!
Steven began interning at Beacon in September 2018 and enjoys working with teens and young adults. In his free time, he’s an avid board gamer.