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Psychology Internship Program – Objectives

Objectives

The primary training objective of the internship is to provide an intensive clinical experience in a multicultural institution. The diverse patient population served by the hospitals provides a unique opportunity for the intern to become attuned to the ethnic, cultural, psychological, biological and economic factors that shape people’s lives in often devastating ways. The emphasis of the learning experience is on helping the student integrate a growing theoretical and psychodynamic understanding with practical knowledge of specific assessment and treatment approaches. Interns are exposed to patients with a broad range of psychological issues and mental disorders at different levels of functioning.

The diversity of the clinical settings provides the opportunity to observe and work with patients at all phases of their involvement with the mental health system. Patients may be followed from their entry into the emergency service, through crisis intervention or hospitalization, to longer-term aftercare.

Diagnostic skills are sharpened through the supervised program in psychological testing as well as through practice in interviewing. Students learn to conduct formal mental status interviews and apply both structured and less structured clinical interviewing techniques appropriate to patient and service.

Over the course of the year, interns become practiced in the following therapeutic modalities:

  1. Individual Therapy – provide brief psychodynamic, supportive and short term crisis intervention with inpatients and longer term outpatients. While the primary orientation of the staff is psychodynamic, there is exposure to a wide range of evidence based theories and techniques, including family systems theory, relational theory, CBT, DBT, Gestalt and behavioral techniques.
  2. Group Therapy – co-lead inpatient and outpatient groups of adults, adolescents and/or children. Groups can include process groups as well as specialty/task oriented groups (e.g. DBT Skills Training Group, STAIR for trauma group, etc.).
  3. Family Therapy – provide family and couples work with inpatients and outpatients as available.
  4. Crisis Intervention – rotations on the Adult Psychiatric Emergency Room Service and the Pediatric/Adult Consultation/Liaison Service provide opportunities to learn diagnostic and crisis intervention skills with adults, children, adolescents and their families.

Interns are evaluated across the following competencies, with the steadfast goal to prepare our trainees for entry into independent practice once they complete their training year:

  • Competence in Ethical and Legal Standards
  • Competence in Individual and Cultural Diversity
  • Competence in Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
  • Competence in Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Competence in Assessment
  • Competencies in Theories and Methods of Effective Psychotherapeutic Intervention:
  • Competence in Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills
  • Competence in Supervision

Competence in Research /Scholarly Inquiry:

While on Internship, Interns are expected to demonstrate their independent ability to critically evaluate and disseminate research within our Behavioral Health department, and at the local, regional, or national level.  The focus is on the ability to integrate science and practice, to develop and share new knowledge.  Interns are expected to attend didactics and ongoing research meetings to identify areas that will benefit from scholarly research, organize meetings to discuss and develop plans for exploring these areas.  Interns will often meet with a mentor to discuss these projects ongoing.  Interns will also be able to share their findings within the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Health.  Interns are encouraged focus on an area of personal interest and share their findings.

Competence in Ethical and Legal Standards:

Interns are expected to demonstrate knowledge and application of the current APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.  They will demonstrate this knowledge and appreciation in their clinical work with patients, as staff members of the hospital, through relationships with other staff members.  They will be vigilant of ethical dilemmas and properly address them with support of their supervisors.

Competence in Individual and Cultural Diversity:

Interns should demonstrate an overall understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitude and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.  They should be knowledgeable about the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities.  Interns are encouraged to develop a strong awareness of how individual and cultural differences can affect their professional roles and how to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity.

Competence in Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors:

Interns must reflect the values and attitudes of psychology in a way that shows their efforts of balancing their professional and personal lives.  They must show an ability to engage in self-reflection when necessary and utilize supervision and the evaluation process as a vehicle to develop their professional selves.

Competence in Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

Interns will develop competency in working with colleagues in a professional manner that provides the highest standard of care to patients.  Interns must demonstrate awareness of situational demands with colleagues, and a readiness to communicate and adjust behavior and perspective.  In essence, interns must be able to communicate effectively with others and with team members in the effort to promote patient care.

Competence in Assessment:

Interns must demonstrate current knowledge of diagnostic classification systems, functional and dysfunctional behaviors, including consideration of client strengths and psychopathology.  Overall, Interns must demonstrate knowledge of a variety of assessment tools, diagnostic, cognitive and personality assessment tools.  They must demonstrate comfort with interviewing and administering assessment tools, scoring, compiling data for a report, and providing feedback. 

Competencies in Theories and Methods of Effective Psychotherapeutic Intervention:

Interns are expected to develop their competency in therapeutic interventions such as short-term and long-term psychotherapy, group therapy, couples/family therapy across a variety of settings.  Interns will work toward developing intervention plans independently, and individualizing these plans according to cases and context.  Interns shall display clinical skills with a wide variety of patients and use proper judgment should a crisis arise.  Interns should implement interventions with fidelity to models with flexibility to adapt where appropriate.  Interns will evaluate treatment progress and modify planning as indicated.

Competence in Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills:

Interns should be developing their ability to provide expert guidance and professional assistance in response to a client’s needs or goals.  This would require an intern to demonstrate knowledge and ability to select appropriate and contextually sensitive means of assessment/data gathering that answers consultation questions.  Interns can apply their knowledge to provide assessment feedback and to articulate appropriate recommendations.  You can apply literature to provide effective consultative services in most routine and sometimes complex cases.  With this knowledge, interns are expected to know more about the dynamics and key issues related to different disciplines on a team.  Interns will develop an awareness of multiple and differing worldviews, roles, and professional standards and contributions across contexts.  Interns will display skills in supporting effective interdisciplinary team functioning.

Competence in Supervision:

Interns will gain experience in supervision, and training in the professional knowledge base of enhancing and monitoring the professional functioning of others.  Interns, through a variety of supervisory experiences will learn to understand the ethical, legal, and contextual issues of the supervisor role.  They will demonstrate professional reflection in their clinical relationships with supervisees.  They will offer consultation and effective supervised supervision to less advanced students.