ifeel useful

All right, Mom and other dear readers of my blog, I’m going to tell you about the highly enjoyable and considerably meaningful internship that I’m serving this semester, but you’ll have to pardon my inability to reveal the particulars of my assignments in vivid detail. I’ll tell you everything I can, but I’m going to have to choose my words with care. Due to the very official nature of the nondisclosure agreement that I signed with my host company, I am legally obligated to hold my tongue and responsibly safeguard certain sensitive information.
Because I value the work that I’m doing, and because I don’t necessarily want to spend any of my time abroad stewing in a Spanish courtroom, I’ll spare you the really juicy details, but I’ll feed you some tantalizing tidbits. Let me tell you, it’s difficult to hold my tongue and simultaneously type, but I’m doing the best I can. If anything, typing with one hand slows me down enough to ensure that I select my words deliberately.
Anyway, this semester, I am working for iFeel, a company founded in Madrid in 2016 that offers chat-based psychotherapy online. My major at Tufts is psychology, and I think I’d like to be a clinical psychologist when I grow up (whatever that means), so when I spotted this company on the list of potential internship locations with which the Tufts-Skidmore Spain program provided me, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. I indicated that iFeel was my first-choice internship site, and in short order, I became a temporary member of the ambitious, altruistic iFeel team. All it took was a few administrative emails, one relaxed Skype conversation with one of iFeel’s founders (Martín Villanueva, Tufts A’09), and an assurance from me that my Spanish would improve before I actually got to Spain and started work.
Actually, I don’t think my promise was strictly necessary, but I included it anyway. At the time, Martín smiled and told me that my Spanish would indeed get better, at least once I got to Spain. It has, and I think I’m right that I hit the jackpot. I work eight hours per week at iFeel, and Tufts is giving me two credits for my efforts. Twice a week, I walk into the clean, brightly-lit office and am greeted by the friendly computer programmers who endeavor to improve the technology that makes therapy with iFeel so attractive: the engaging website, the corresponding app, and the smooth channels of communication through which prospective and paying clients interact with their dedicated psychologists. Once I move past the technology gurus, I encounter the three founders of iFeel. They are men on a mission, a quest to provide affordable, quality psychotherapy to the largest customer base that iFeel can responsibly sustain. They are businessmen, yes, but they are gentlemen with morals, and their emphasis is undoubtedly on offering a vital, rehabilitating service.
After the visionaries welcome me, I finally unite with my people, the delightful group of on-staff psychologists who laugh to lighten the mood as they go about their solemn work. They exchange jokes; they take turns warming each other’s lunches and spirits, but they are entirely engaged when customers confide in them. These psychologists deal with everything. They hear from clients with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, partner problems, grief, stress, guilt, social struggles, and a whole host of other issues.
Initially, I was skeptical that online psychotherapy could possibly be a viable mode of treatment for mental illnesses; the creation of a solid therapeutic alliance between caregiver and patient seemed impossible without face-to-face contact, but now that I am sitting with and learning from the psychologists on a regular basis, I understand how it is plausible. The dynamic is different, but there really are living, breathing, sympathizing psychologists sitting behind their keyboards and striving to help their clients reach their goals and improve their lives.
And what do I do at iFeel? I live, I breathe, and I take lunch breaks. Moreover, I translate existing iFeel articles online from Spanish into English, write my own articles in English (I recently wrote one about motivational quotes strong enough to propel the laziest sloth into action), and even interact with some of the prospective clients. I feel appreciated; I feel like my work matters, and today, I even received a joking job offer to stay in Madrid forever and work at iFeel.
But don’t worry, Mom and other dear readers, I’m still intending to come home.

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