Psychology Internship: Core Clinical Training Experiences

The main goal of the psychology internship program is to prepare interns in the theories and techniques of assessment, intervention, and consultation necessary for an entry-level professional psychology position. The predominant approach to training is that of an apprenticeship in which the training faculty models clinical skills, professional attitudes, and ethical standards.

The program offers two clinical internship training tracks: Adult and Child. While all interns focus on either adult or child populations, they rotate through other areas, as they are expected to develop skills in assessment, consultation, and intervention along the developmental continuum.

Adult interns schedule regular intakes and psychological evaluations for bariatric weight loss surgery, kidney transplants, and adult ADHD screenings in the Adult Therapy Clinic, where they also follow patients for therapy. They complete brief psychological evaluations of adults as part of the Adult Assessment Clinic and provide psychological consultation to medical services one to two afternoons per week. In addition, they are expected to complete the Acute Psychiatric Services (APS), Partial Hospital Program/Day Treatment Program (PHP/DTP), and the Adult Inpatient rotations. The Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Service (CAPS) and Primary Care Behavioral Health (PCBH) rotations are optional.

The Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Service (CAPS) is the home base for the Child interns, who conduct intakes and assessments with children, adolescents, and families on an outpatient basis the entire year. They also follow therapy patients through CAPS and see patients in the Adult Therapy Clinic one half day per week. In addition, they provide consultation to pediatric inpatients on the pediatric and other medical services. They are expected to complete the APS rotation. The PHP/DTP, Adult Inpatient, PCBH, and Adult Assessment Clinic rotations are optional.

Adult Assessment Clinic

The Adult Assessment Clinic was established in 1998 to ensure timely provision of psychological services to requesting physicians and other providers in the Department of Psychiatry and throughout the medical center. The clinic also provides a vehicle for training psychology interns in psychological evaluation and health psychology consultation. Adult interns are assigned to the Adult Assessment Clinic one to two afternoons per week during the entire training year. This is an elective rotation for Child interns.

There are two main focuses of this clinic. First, staff psychiatrists from the inpatient service request psychological evaluations to aid in diagnostic formulation, treatment planning, and short-term therapy. Second, physicians from elsewhere in the medical center can request psychological consultations. These often focus on issues such as coping after trauma, behavior management, and pain management. Psychology interns routinely have opportunities to provide consultative services to patients on the Orthopedic, Surgery, Medicine, Neurosurgery, and Burn units.

Adult Therapy Clinic

All interns experience a year-long placement in the Adult Therapy Clinic. Child interns usually schedule four patients per week. Interns are expected to carry their adult therapy cases during their other rotations. A variety of psychotherapy orientations are practiced, including cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and psychodynamic therapies. Both long-term and short-term approaches are used. Interns are taught to implement specific interventions using a variety of evidence-based treatment modalities. The current patient population includes many individuals with severe and persistent psychopathology, and the challenge to develop effective strategies for change is ever present.

Adult Group Therapy

Several opportunities for group therapy experience are available. Adult Interns co-lead groups during their Partial Hospital Program/Day Treatment Program (PHP/DTP) rotation and take part in groups during their Inpatient rotation. Interns can also co-lead outpatient groups in the Adult Therapy Clinic depending on the interest and availability of staff and patients.

Child Adolescent Psychiatry Service (CAPS) — Assessment

Child interns are assigned to the CAPS for the full year and conduct intake and diagnostic interviews with children and families; administer, score, and interpret the appropriate intellectual, educational, and personality tests; write reports; give feedback; maintain chart records; and engage in various case management duties. They work with schools, community agencies, and the courts as necessary.

In addition, interns provide consultation to pediatric inpatients on the Pediatric and on other medical units. Typical requests range from behavior management issues on the units, to assessment of suicide risk, depression, or psychosis. Psychology staff and trainees are often asked to facilitate communication between a patient and family members when a significant injury or death has occurred. This is an elective rotation for Adult Interns.

Child Adolescent Psychiatry Services (CAPS) — Therapy

In addition to the activities described above, Child interns conduct individual and family therapy. They are expected to see their therapy patients during their off-unit rotations. Presenting therapy concerns include behavioral problems and parenting concerns, as well as a full range of serious psychiatric disorders. Various therapy orientations are taught including cognitive behavioral, family systems, and parenting skills training. Interns are taught to tailor their interventions to the specific needs of the child in the context of his or her particular life situation. This is an elective rotation for Adult interns.