Internship Program - Training Model and Goals
Our training program is based on the practitioner-scholar training model, which emphasizes experiential learning and the use of critical thinking and current research in the provision of services. Supervisors frequently share with interns research and professional literature relevant to their clinical work and professional development. The integration of practice and scholarly inquiry is also promoted through the training seminars, reading assignments from scientific journals and books, support for the interns' completion of their dissertation or other research project, and support of intern attendance at conferences and other professional meetings. Our training program is also influenced by our value for collaboration, life-long learning, and respect for individual differences. We make considerable effort to attract well-qualified, diverse trainees who will bring with them their many and varied personalities, backgrounds, and knowledge and skill sets. This infusion of intellect and talent from other perspectives contributes in significant ways to the functioning and growth of CAPS. We take a developmental approach to supervision and training. At the beginning of the internship, we assess strengths, growth areas, and areas of interest of each intern and of the intern group as a whole. Then, training is adjusted based on this assessment. As interns develop, they take on greater responsibility and autonomy, commensurate with their progress. The overall goal of our internship is to provide a learning environment that is professional, respectful, and supportive and to provide interns with quality training focused on seven basic areas of psychological practice needed for careers in university counseling centers or similar settings:
1. The development and refinement of clinical/therapeutic skills and the ability to function as a competent and effective therapist.
To facilitate continued development and refinement of their clinical skills, interns at CAPS participate in a variety of training activities and supervised experiences. On a weekly basis, interns conduct initial consultations, write intake reports, and present cases during clinical case staffing meetings. These experiences help interns refine their case disposition and referral skills. Clients are referred to the treatment modality (e.g., individual, group, or couple therapy) based on judgments of the intern (and sometimes the staff as a whole.) The orientation process, staffing meetings, and supervision sessions provide avenues to help familiarize interns with options and resources available within the University and in the outside community. Interns are expected to carry an individual and couple therapy caseload of approximately twelve hours per week (depending on other activities and commitments). This includes opportunities to work with both short-term cases and a lesser number of longer term clients. Interns also typically spend 4 to 5 hours weekly in activities such as co-facilitating a therapy and/or psycho educational group, conducting intake interviews, and seeing crisis and/or clinical consultation clients. (Group therapy will become the eighth training area in 2013-14; see description #8.)
2. The development and refinement of psychoeducational and psychological assessment skills.
Psychoeducational and psychological testing services are provided by CAPS, with the bulk of testing being psychoeducational in nature. Testing is requested by the Disability Resource Center, Rehabilitation Services and the Student Health Center. Students are primarily assessed for learning disabilities, but periodic evaluations are requested due to head injuries, personality dysfunction, or relationship difficulties. Interns have the opportunity to sharpen testing skills including assessment of cognitive abilities, academic achievement, language abilities and memory. Personality inventories, mood inventories and projective devices are also used, though less frequently. Interns will be expected to complete approximately 2 evaluations (and their accompanying reports) per month. Interns will also be supervised in the art of assessment consultation, including the opportunity to meet with members of the Disability Resource Center staff. In addition, interns may at times consult with instructors and/or professors, as well as vocational rehabilitation counselors and academic advisors.
3. The ability to effectively provide outreach and consultation services.
To facilitate interns' development of outreach and consultation skills, interns are expected to participate in consultation projects and to polish their psychoeducational outreach presentation skills. The outreach consultation project(s) are expected to require a time commitment of 2-4 hours per week, and often involve work outside of CAPS.
A host of opportunities also exist to make psychoeducational presentations on stress management, dealing with depression, CAPS services, relationship issues, assertiveness, gender issues, appreciating diversity, coping with loss, etc. Interns are expected to make such presentations and actively participate in ongoing outreach efforts on campus and in the community.
4. The establishment of entry level clinical supervision capability.
To facilitate the development of entry level competence in providing clinical supervision, interns participate in a number of training activities and experiences. Interns will supervise an undergraduate REACH Peer during both the Fall and Spring Semesters. The intern may also have the opportunity to supervise a practicum student or graduate assistant. Interns receive individual supervision of supervision, including video review of their supervision sessions by their secondary supervisor. In the spring, interns also participate in biweekly supervision of supervision meeting. A series of training seminars focused on issues related to providing supervision are scheduled at several points during the training year.
The REACH Peer program was designed to provide support for the campus community through psychoeducational events and individual skills training. These students are undergraduates in Psychology, Social Work or Family, Consumer, and Human Development, are generally in their junior or senior year and are preparing to pursue graduate training. REACH Peers assist students in building skills such as relaxation training, communication or social skills, as well as event planning for depression, anxiety and eating issue screening projects and other preventive/educational activities.
Practicum students are completing an advanced practicum at CAPS after having successfully completed a practicum experience within their academic training program. Typically, a practicum student is in his/her third year of the APA accredited Combined Clinical/Counseling /School Psychology Ph.D. program. Interns may also have the opportunity to either co-teach the weekly three hour practicum class (along with a professional staff member) for one semester or share responsibility (with a professional staff member) for training the REACH Peers. Teaching the practicum class involves some didactic presentations, with the majority of class time being spent in group supervision of practicum students' cases. Training the REACH Peers will involve teaching basic counseling skills and providing group supervision of REACH Peers work with clients and their outreach activities. Generally, graduate assistants have already been a practicum student at CAPS and have returned for a more advanced and intensive training experience.
5. The ability to be aware of and responsive to issues of human diversity throughout the intern's professional work and activities.
CAPS is committed to providing services and training opportunities that encourage, embrace, and educate the university community on the importance and value of multiculturalism and diversity in mental health and psychological practice. Center staff have unanimously agreed to adopt the Counseling Psychology Model Training Values Statement Addressing Diversity, as we believe trainees and others should be made aware of our values and expectations in this area. As a training site for doctoral interns, we ascribe to a multicultural competency model that seeks to facilitate: 1) counselor awareness of multicultural values and 2) counselor awareness of clients’ world views. Imbedded in these two areas of awareness are three significant goals: 1) attitude and belief exploration, 2) knowledge, education, and understanding, and 3) skills acquisition and culturally appropriate intervention strategies. Although Utah State University's student body is not characterized by a tremendous amount of ethnic diversity, the training staff helps interns build a client caseload characterized by as much diversity (racial/ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age and disability) as possible. In addition, while CAPS understands the importance of focusing on the concerns that impact students of minority populations, we also value and give consideration to special need characteristics of students in the broader university environment. Therefore, diversity training in the area of religion is a unique training opportunity available at CAPS. Diversity seminar focuses specifically on diversity-related topics. Also, diversity issues are often discussed in individual supervision, during case staffing's, case conference, professional issues seminar, assessment training, and other staff clinical discussions. Interns are also encouraged to provide outreach and consultation to organizations on Campus that provide service to various groups of minority students.
6. Appropriate professional behavior and decision making based on the ethical principles pertinent to the practice of psychology.
Early in the internship year, a two-hour seminar on ethical issues and situations common to practice in university counseling centers is provided by the Center's Director. A follow-up seminar on child abuse reporting laws in Utah is also held during Fall Semester. Additional training seminars addressing ethical concerns are held during the year. Interns also observe senior staff members dealing with and discussing ethical and legal issues during individual supervision, case conferences and clinical staff meetings, and are encouraged to consult concerning their own cases in those settings. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of interns' individual supervisors to help them deal appropriately with ethical or legal issues which may arise in the cases of the interns they supervise. It is also expected that senior staff members will function as models of appropriate and responsible professional behavior, including providing instruction and feedback when necessary.
7. Continued professional identity development, self-awareness and self-knowledge.
Interns are given the opportunity to individualize their training experiences in a manner congruent with their interests and career goals. They are also encouraged to further their professional development by fully utilizing their various supervision experiences and other resources available at CAPS, as well as professional development resources and opportunities available at the local, state, and/or national levels. Interns are given leave time and financial support ($200) in order to facilitate their attendance at professional conferences or workshops outside of the CAPS. In addition, interns attend three conferences per year free of charge: the Annual USU CAPS Conference, which brings a nationally known presenter to USU each spring; the Utah Universities and Colleges Counseling Centers Conference; and the Annual Convention of American Indian Psychologists and Graduate Students. Interns are also given three hours per week to work on their dissertation and/or other personal development projects. They are also required to give a formal presentation during professional issues seminar, focused on an area of professional interest and/or expertise. Interns may also elect to participate in some administrative aspects of counseling center work, such as the intern selection process.
Self-reflection is encouraged and interns are free to disclose personal information that they feel is relevant in supervision, training seminars, and at other times during the internship year. Staff often model transparency in self-reflection and appropriate self-disclosure, and the general atmosphere at the Center is one of non-defensiveness. Many interns choose to volunteer personal information during training and explore how their experiences may be having an impact on their clinical work and professional development. However, consistent with code 7.04, interns are never required to divulge personal information, such as sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others, and the staff is careful to be respectful of such boundaries.
Center staff also believes appropriate self-care, personal growth and development are of critical importance to the practice of psychology, particularly in the case of therapists and supervisors. In addition to a yearly training seminar on avoiding burnout, senior staff are committed to advocating and modeling attitudes and behaviors congruent with this belief. Interns are also encouraged and expected to address, in a healthy and appropriate manner, issues and situations in their personal lives that are relevant to their psychosocial health and professional activities and roles.
8. The development and refinement of group therapy skills.
A new training emphasis is our group therapy program; it adheres to the practice and ethical standards described by the American Group Psychotherapy Association, Division 49 of the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW). Among many group modalities, process-oriented groups and psychoeducational/structured groups are the focus of our group training. For process-oriented groups, our approach is integrative with a strong emphasis on the interpersonal model. Our training generally allows interns to earn sufficient hours to meet requirements for core competencies in general group work and specialization in group counseling/group psychotherapy, as described by the ASGW. Based on the developmental model of training we have our interns initially co-lead with senior staff who supervise their group work, and most interns develop enough competencies to co-lead with another intern during their final semester. Interns also attend seminars on group therapy and participate in case conferences on group therapy throughout the year. Interns are expected to co-lead at least one process-oriented group (e.g., Understanding Self and Others, Women's, Men's) per semester and a minimum of three process-oriented groups during the year. Interns are also expected to lead a minimum of one psychoeducational groups (e.g., Skills Training, Stress Management) or workshop series (e.g. Effective Coping) during the year. Some interns choose to exceed these minimum requirements.