The primary purpose of our internship training program is to prepare broad-based generalist to function independently as psychologists in a university counseling center environment as well as in a variety of mental health service delivery and academic settings. The training is composed of learning experiences focused on building and refining skills in a wide range of psychological, psycho-educational, consultation and outreach programming, and intervention activities preparing them to work with a range of adult and young adult populations. The internship is an intensive, year long, 2000-hour, full time training program which integrates knowledge, applied skills, and competence in individual and group therapy, outreach programming, consultation to the University community, clinical assessment, and supervision of master's or doctoral-level practicum students.
We believe that interns learn best in a congenial, supportive and yet challenging atmosphere, where they receive continuous instruction, supervised hands-on experience, frequent feedback and encouragement to move steadily toward greater independence. We operate from a developmental framework, recognizing different challenges at each of the phases of the internship year. Training needs and goals are identified early in the year, and activities are chosen to help interns meet these goals. Early in the internship year the intern’s level of competence and experience will be determined and then training activities and areas of emphasis will be tailored to the individual intern’s specific training needs. Internship experiences are graded and sequential in nature, increasing in depth, breadth and intensity and giving interns an opportunity to develop skills and to increase in competencies over the course of the year.
All professional staff members share a strong commitment to the training program and all participate in the internship training program. Staff members serve as mentors and models for interns, available to provide instruction, supervision, mentoring, and feedback as needed. Interns grow in autonomy during the year, serving first as staff members-in-training and eventually as more independent team members. Over the course of the year, interns develop stronger identities as psychologists and greater clarity about their professional senses of self. Throughout all of these experiences, we work to help interns develop awareness and appreciation for the rich sources of diversity in themselves and their clients. As an agency we share a common value for sensitivity to and appreciation of diversity and apply this value to the internship training program through training activities that deepen self awareness, build multicultural skills and sensitivity to individual and cultural differences, and facilitate application of this awareness and skill set in psychological practice. We see this as one of the key learning experiences of internship, and we are committed to helping interns grow in their abilities to work with clients who present with diverse perspectives related to culture, race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, physical ability, and gender.
The internship training program at the Counseling Center is based on the practitioner-scholar model of training. This model emphasizes continuous instruction and integration of the interplay between practice and scholarship. We emphasize the application of science in professional practice through didactic instruction in training activities and seminars, through the encouragement of use of scientific methods of hypothesis testing in diagnosis and treatment planning and clinical intervention choices, and through the use of research data and clinical literature to inform clinical decisions. We define scholarship broadly to include theory, empirically-based research and analysis of current trends in the profession, and the use of scientific methods and critical thinking in the process of clinical decision making. Internship experiences are designed to integrate this base of scholarship with the practice of psychological intervention.
From this philosophy and model, we have developed three broad goals toward which we work during the internship year:
- to produce graduates who have the requisite knowledge and skills for entry into the practice of professional psychology;
- to produce graduates who are skilled in the interface between science and practice; and
- to produce graduates who are able to contribute to the profession of psychology.
From these goals come a broad array of objectives and competencies expected of interns by the end of the year, including those related to the attainment of specific clinical skills, to the development of multicultural competency, to the making of ethical and well-informed decisions and to the use of scholarship to inform all aspects of practice.
- Interns achieve proficiency in these competencies via our twelve-month, 2000-hour internship, consisting of three components:
- Service activities,
- Training activities, and
- Professional development.