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.
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.
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)
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)