Newsletter June 2023

“My time at the Center helped shape my identity as a manager and as a therapist and gave me the tools I needed to conceptualize it.” 

Dina Shalev, former student of the CCW training program

The student internship and training program at the Counseling Center for Women (CCW):
One of the CCW’s key objectives is to serve as a knowledge hub and professional training center for students in therapeutic professions.
The Counseling Center for Women is a recognized professional training framework for students in the final year of their Social Work Masters’ degree program. It focusses on women’s mental health care and gender-sensitive mental health care.

The practical training at CCW gives an extensive look into the world of feminist therapy; it deepens the theoretical knowledge and helps the students acquire skills in the fields of treating women in crisis and other challenges that arise during a woman’s life cycle. The students receive personal and professional supervision throughout the program guided by psychotherapist trainers from CCW’s staff. The students are an integral part of the staff and participate in staff meetings, annual clinical seminar and the training groups. The Center is an organization with a tradition of collaborative management, which allows the students to learn and experience in an empowering, inclusive environment.

We interviewed two former students about their experience at CCW and learned what they are up to now. Read their interviews below! 

Spotlight on Dina Shalev and Gil Eppstein – Former students of CCW’s practicum program

Dina Shalev
Executive Director and Head of Advocacy, Lada’at

  • Tell me about your experience at CCW and how it impacted you:
I really wanted to be accepted to the student training program and did everything in my power to make it happen. As luck would have it, I was accepted. It was the most meaningful experience I had during my degree. It was the year I learned the most, the year I gained the most practical tools and received hands-on therapy experience. It helped build my identity as a social worker and therapist. My supervision was extremely professional. Today I am the Executive Director of Lada’at, the leading organization in Jerusalem promoting healthy sexuality and sexual and reproductive health, working to ensure that all individuals have full access to information and are supported in making the right choices for themselves. I was working there as the Counseling Center Coordinator before I became the E.D. There are certain elements I learned based on the feminist theory that I put into action at work. I learned a great deal about organizational management through the staff, joint work and from communication: how to problem solve, how to bring up issues within the staff, and how to learn from each and every staff member. I never once felt that my opinion was not important. I felt I could contribute and receive support. On an organizational level, I learned a tremendous amount and that is what I took with me to my current position. 
  • Did you know you wanted to be a manager prior to the program?
No. At the time, I was head of the Counseling Center for Lada’at and felt the position was becoming too small for me. I thought I would finish my degree and become a social worker; I did not plan to manage an organization right away. Although I imagine my supervisor, Hila Zemer, a senior therapist at CCW, would say otherwise. As I finished my degree, the previous E.D. at Lada’at stepped down and I was offered the position. My supervision at CCW truly helped guide me through my decision process.  
  • Do you use the tools and knowledge you received at CCW?
Yes, maybe not one specific thing but there are certainly nuances. My time at the Center helped shape my identity as a manager and as a therapist and gave me the tools I needed to conceptualize it. It made me see what a feminist organization looks like, not just on a personal level. These are all things that helped shape my professional identity as a therapist as well as a director.
  • How did your time at CCW influence your current position?
I matured during my year at the Center, and it is less likely that I would have accepted my current role without it. It was an extremely intensive and meaningful year. I came to my current role with a whole new set of skills and knowledge. I truly love all the therapists at the Center. 
  • Any final thoughts?
I wish CCW all the best! I think it is an amazing place and I believe it is way more than just practicing therapy….there is a certain type of magic there. 

Gil Eppstein

Social Worker for Youth and Young Adults At-Risk in the Social Services Department for the Yehud-Monosson Municipality
  • Tell me about yourself-where you work now and how you got to the CCW student training program:
I have a Masters in social work and have been working in the welfare department for the last two years. I work with at-risk youth and am in contact with all the educational leaders, the police, everything that relates to the youth. I love my work and I am extremely happy with it. I enjoy being a social worker. I got to the Center by chance, at the last second. There happened to be an open slot and I was accepted to the program. I am extremely grateful for how things worked out. It was more or less my first time practicing traditional therapy. It was amazing! When I began at CCW, I instantly felt like a part of the team. I was not just a student, I felt like a colleague, and I was treated as such — the staff invited me to speak up, ask questions, and consulted with me. During supervision they encouraged me to speak up, I was seen as an equal. I was able to hear from the other therapists and about their caseloads. What I thought and what I felt mattered and was important to hear. It was an unforgettable experience! I consistently felt comfortable, I did not get a sense of hierarchy — the concept of feminist theory was ever-present.
  • Had you experienced a feminist framework prior to your time at CCW?
Yes, from my time at university and it was part of my agenda, so for me, it made sense. That being said, I learned a tremendous amount since it is one thing to learn and a whole other to see it in action. I experienced it in the therapy room, during supervision, within relationships in the Center, and the idea of a cooperative organization.  
  • What tools and knowledge did you take with you?
I learned about the need to continue learning, especially from Dr. Simi Mizrahi, a senior therapist at CCW, who was constantly learning, asking questions, training others, never believing she knows everything; that was so influential for me. I learned how important it is to be a part of the staff. I learned that there is a broad spectrum of feminism across generations and that that is okay. I learned that there is no one treatment system and there is space for all. I learned that I wanted to be a therapist and that I have the ability to do so. I know that I can still consult and confer with my supervisor, which is extremely special. The staff at CCW remain women that I love and miss. I still feel that I am part of CCW — every time I see an ad or post about the Center, it gives me a sense of home. I am proud to say that I was part of CCW! 
  • How did your time in the CCW student training program influence your current role?
I think a lot of unexpected things throughout my studies had a deep effect on me. I had a feeling that I was in the right place, I was where I was meant to be. I saw the path of other therapists at the Center which gave me validation for the path I was choosing, and it gave me hope for the future. 
  • Any final thoughts?
I highly recommend to students to join the program. But you must be ready and willing to commit to learning, to work, to go through a process, to ask questions, and know your inner courage. I really love the Center. 

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