Counseling & Psychological Services

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Training Program Overview

Program Aim

The intern training program in Health Service Psychology at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is committed to an internship that emphasizes the professional and personal development of its psychology interns in a university counseling center setting. Our goal is to prepare doctoral level interns in counseling or clinical psychology to function as entry-level health service psychologists in a variety of settings.

Program Competencies

We provide interns opportunities to demonstrate that they have met each of the nine profession-wide competencies defined by the APA:

Ethical and legal standards
Individual and cultural diversity
Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
Communication and interpersonal skills
Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills

Program Overview

Training at CAPS encompasses the following activities: individual psychotherapy, crisis intervention, group psychotherapy, supervision, consultation/outreach, and psychological assessment. The internship year is a time of professional growth in which interns' existing skills are strengthened and new skills developed. Personal growth also occurs as one's own style and sense of self-worth become integrated with one's professional identity. Interns are encouraged to demonstrate professional initiative while receiving support and consultation from staff. By the culmination of the internship experience, interns are expected to function as entry-level professionals with a sense of both ethical and professional responsibility. 

The underlying philosophical base of the internship program rests on developmental, multicultural, crisis intervention, and brief therapy principles. Brief therapy models are taught through training seminars. DSM-5 diagnoses and treatment planning are integrated with the intake process.

The psychology internship at CAPS trains doctoral-level interns in accordance with a practitioner-scholar model. As a scholar, the intern learns to apply and integrate knowledge of current clinical practices based on the scientific literature. As a practitioner, the intern then combines this knowledge with the systematic collection of information about clients/groups. This leads to conceptualization of the problems/issues and hypothesis formation. Both clinical interventions and supervisory discussion provide the means for hypothesis testing. 

The internship is viewed as the first opportunity for interns to integrate disparate areas of knowledge acquired through formal academic training and practice, then to apply this learning in an intensive clinical experience. Our model incorporates a developmental approach that is reflected not only in integrating, refining, and enhancing interns’ beginning clinical skills and ethical understanding throughout the year, but also in developing a maturing professional identity. A mentoring relationship is a key element of this model. Through the intimacy of a mentoring relationship, the training can be tailored to the intern’s individual strengths and needs that will foster optimal professional and personal growth. Mentoring includes both support and challenge in a training process that involves didactic, observational, and experiential learning. Developmentally, interns are expected to proceed from a beginning level student clinician to an entry level psychologist. The mentoring relationship progresses from that of a student-supervisor role to one of emerging colleagues. Along with this progression is an increasing responsibility for more clinically complex clients and more independent functioning with agency tasks.

As part of a maturing professional identity, interns are expected to incorporate the attitude of openness and collaboration to a multiplicity of clinical problems/issues as well as to professional interactions and relationships. Interdisciplinary consultation is valued, and interns are provided with opportunities to work and consult with other health care professionals, including psychiatrists, general MDs, and social workers. The developing professional identity incorporates a sense of courtesy and respect for all working relationships and recognition of the work of all members in a community. This professional mindset also includes the attitude of openness to life-long learning and the continual development of skills. The maturing professional is also expected to have an understanding of ethics that involves not only legal issues and professional boundaries, but also incorporates ethics as a “professional conscience” that considers the welfare of the client(s) as a primary consideration. An understanding of self in terms of one’s own history, background, and diversity is crucial in learning to understand, respect and honor the differences of others, whether clients or co-workers.

Given these goals, opportunities for personal exploration and reflection may occur throughout the year. When appropriate, interns are encouraged, but not required, to explore historical influences and personal data which may affect subsequent clinical practice. The Internship Training Program functions in a manner consistent with the American Psychological Association’s 2002 Ethical Standard 7.04 (Student Disclosure of Personal Information) as contained in the Revised Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002). 

Psychology interns at CAPS are trained in a university setting that provides the experience of working in an established community. This setting provides interns with opportunities that require the conceptualization of issues and development of interventions utilizing a systems and organizational perspective as part of a team. Learning to consider diversity from a multitude of perspectives, as well as using a holistic and developmental approach, is a fundamental value. Interns develop generic skills that provide the basis for sound consultation, evaluation, and intervention in any system.

Training Activities

Individual and Group Psychotherapy
The primary foci of psychology interns’ time at CAPS will be individual and group clinical work. Each intern schedules approximately 12-16 weekly client hours, co-leads one to two groups during any given quarter, and conducts two intakes per week. Beginning in Fall quarter, client caseloads gradually build up through intakes and referrals from other CAPS staff. After Fall or Winter quarter, interns may have the opportunity to develop and lead groups of their own. 

Clinical services are offered to all undergraduate and graduate students. Common presenting issues are relationship problems, depression, and anxiety, and range from general developmental concerns to more severe psychopathology. Short-term modalities are emphasized and clients are typically seen for 4 – 10 sessions per year for individual therapy. Interns may carry two clients over a longer period of time for professional or training purposes. There are also numerous opportunities for collaborating with the psychiatric and social work staff of the Student Health Service on clinical cases, as well as for collaborating with other campus organizations.

Brief Assessment/Crisis Intervention
Starting in Fall quarter and once trained and deemed ready by both the interns themselves and the training staff, interns participate on a half-day triage team. These brief 15-30 min. assessments range from relatively benign situations to full-blown psychological crises, possibly involving immediate psychiatric intervention or the initiation of hospitalization procedures. Whatever the situation, interns are fully supported by the staff and are never expected to manage any type of crisis situation on their own. The goal of the brief assessment model is to allow students to access our services easily and quickly in order to determine what their needs are and how they will be best served. The outcome of a brief assessment might be a referral to the community for long-term therapy, a full intake at CAPS, or immediate crisis intervention. 

Single Session Therapy (Optional, Starting Winter Quarter)
This is an optional training activity in which interns have the opportunity to practice in this innovative and increasingly popular modality. Often, students find that one therapy session is just what they need to address their concerns. Single session therapy is a highly structured, solution focused/goal-oriented therapy session intended to provide students with effective strategies to help improve a particular situation or reach a goal. Single session services at CAPS treat each session as a whole therapy experience, focusing on client-centered theory of change. 

A significant part of the training experience is to be the primary supervisor of a doctoral psychology practicum student for the academic year, October through June.  Weekly Supervision of Supervision seminar meetings provide opportunities to discuss supervision theory, view recorded counseling or supervision sessions, and discuss the supervision process.  Interns read the Integrated Developmental Model for Supervising Counselors and Therapists by Stoltenberg and McNeill, and and Jane Campbell’s Becoming an Effective Supervisor: A Workbook for Counselors and Psychotherapists.  Interns are provided with a wide range of supervision literature in addition to these books.  In conjunction with the IDM model, the work is primarily developmentally focused for the supervisee and supervisor.

Another area in which psychology interns receive formal training is consultation and outreach. In collaboration with the consultation supervisor, interns set goals for what they would like to accomplish. Interns can be involved with staff in response to outreach requests received from departments and residence halls, and they will also choose an area of focus for the year. The consultation supervisor supervises the interns’ overall consultation activities, but interns also work with other staff as needed. Interns participate in consultation seminar, which is for training and discussion of outreach and consultation activities. Consultation and outreach services typically involve workshops, presentations, and trainings for staff and students. Interns may also have the opportunity to participate in debriefings following crisis incidents on campus. Liaisons or informal contacts are maintained with a number of campus departments and organizations. Depending on their areas of interest, interns may choose to become involved in existing liaison relationships or develop their own. Existing liaisons/contacts include (but are not limited to): Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Residential Life, Women’s Center, Disabled Students Program (DSP), Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (RCSGD), Student Health Service, and Re-Entry Students.

Psychological Assessment
Interns also receive training in formal psychological assessment, with an emphasis on assessment as a therapeutic intervention. We encourage interns to utilize testing to clarify diagnoses, inform treatment planning, and further the psychotherapy process. Interns have the opportunity to administer and/or interpret a wide range of assessment instruments, including self-report measures, personality inventories, ADHD assessments, eating disorders evaluations, and career/interest inventories. Case-specific individual supervision, group supervision, and didactic seminar training are provided. 


Seminars and Other Training Experiences

Clinical/Professional Issues Seminar 
Weekly two hour seminar addressing relevant clinical and professional topics such as group process, multicultural competence/diversity issues, psychological assessment, and professional transitions (e.g., from student to intern and intern to postdoc). Interns also have the opportunity to present their clinical work via quarterly case presentations. 

Supervision of Supervision Seminar 
Weekly two hour seminar supporting the interns’ supervision work (from October through June, interns supervise doctoral-level practicum students from UCSB's graduate program in counseling and clinical psychology for one hour per week).

Two Brief Therapy Seminars 
Ninety minute seminars in Fall (Brief/Crisis Oriented Therapy) and Winter (Interpersonal and Psychodynamic Approaches to Brief Therapy) to facilitate training in these areas. In Fall quarter, the Brief/Crisis seminar, which is co-facilitated by the Training and Clinical Directors, also serves as group supervision for the interns' crisis and high-risk cases. 

Multicultural Seminar 
Nintey minute weekly seminar in spring designed to promote stimulating thought and discussion around the complex array of diversity issues that interns and staff are presented with in various aspects of our work here.

Consultation Seminar 
Semi-monthly meetings supporting the interns’ consultation/outreach work. Meetings are for discussions of ongoing consultation/outreach activities and for training in consultation. 

Clinical Consultation Team
Ninety minute weekly meeting in which interns and supervisors consult about challenging clients and clinical issues. 

Triage Team
Weekly one hour meeting with triage staff to coordinate and consult about the triage process.

Diversity & Social Justice Seminar (occasional or optional attendance)
Ninety minute weekly meeting in which staff consult about clients from underserved/marginalized populations and discuss issues related to diversity and social justice. 

Interpersonal Violence Seminar (occasional or optional attendance)
Weekly ninety minute meeting in which staff consult about cases involving some aspect of interpersonal violence (e.g., sexual assault, abuse/trauma). 

Staff Professional Development/Continuing Education
Occasional opportunities for continuing education. CAPS is an APA Approved continuing education provider, and staff members as well as outside speakers are invited to provide continuing education on a variety of clinical and professional issues. 

Evaluation Procedures and Requirement for Program Completion

Evaluation of psychology interns occurs quarterly. Staff members involved with the activities of each intern assess the intern’s performance along dimensions applicable to their area using such means as video recording review, discussion, and direct observation. Quarterly evaluation is conducted primarily for developmental purposes to guide the interns’ focus for their continuing growth and to provide them with extensive feedback on their work. Summary reports are sent to the interns’ departments in January/February; final evaluations are sent in August/September. In order to successfully pass the internship, interns must achieve the expected level of competency (‘3’ or higher) in all Profession-Wide Competencies across all training components (individual therapy, group, crisis intervention, psychological assessment, consultation/outreach, and supervision) on the final evaluations.  

Letters of Recommendation

CAPS staff members are frequently asked to provide letters of recommendation for interns seeking further training or professional positions following the completion internship. An intern’s request for professional recommendations or references from our staff will require an acceptance that these recommendations may include both areas of strength and areas for further growth. If an intern has any concerns about the information offered by any of our staff in the form of a recommendation or reference regarding performance, we encourage the intern to address these issues directly with that individual.  

Weekly Allocation of Hours

All psychology interns work approximately a 40-hour week. The chart below shows how time is typically distributed on a weekly basis among the various activities. 

Direct Service (19-26 Approximate Total) 
Individual counseling (12-16 hours)
Crisis/Intake (4 hours)
Groups, structured or therapy (2-3 hours)
Supervision of practicum (1 hour)
Outreach/consultation (0-2)

Training (10 - 12 Approximate Total) 
Training Seminars (5-6 hours)
Individual Supervision (2-3.5 hours including supervision of group work)
Consultation Seminar (1 hour every 2 weeks)
Case Assignment Team (2 hours)

Administrative Planning (8 - 12 Approximate Total) 
Staff Meeting (1.5 hours)
Administration (documentation, planning, etc) (6-10 hours)

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