Program Philosophy, Objectives and Training Plan
Our Training Program recognizes the importance of preparing interns to face a myriad of demands especially in Counseling Center settings. We support the institution's mission to serve the diverse needs of our campus community as well as collaborate as appropriate with off campus agencies. Our training model is patterned after a practitioner-scholar approach. Interns actively participate in all aspects of the Counseling Center's functioning, and assume an important role in the delivery of services. The internship is designed to refine and further develop the interns' clinical competencies, strengthen their identity as psychologists, and sharpen their knowledge and insight around ethical judgments and practices. Senior staff reinforce the importance and value in adhering to professional standards in the field and help to increase interns' self-awareness so that they grow increasingly self-sufficient as they progress through the training year.
Interns are exposed to a variety of theoretical conceptualizations which help to diversify their repertoire of skills as they interact in different training contexts. Counseling Center professional staff participate in the training program. Interns have contact with physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, nutritionists, and health educators at the Student Health Center. Counseling Center staff includelicensed psychologists, professional counselors, and licensed clinical social workers.
Our primary modality is brief treatment since we utilize an 8-session limit per year. However, there is also opportunity to work with two longer-term cases for up to 20 sessions. Interns are expected to undertake a variety of clinical activities such as initial intakes, individual therapy, couples therapy, group therapy, crisis intervention, and outreach services. Initially they are paired with senior staff for more complex tasks but as they become increasingly more proficient they are allowed to function more independently with an appropriate level of supervision. Interns are prepared ahead of time to initiate tasks within given parameters so that their creativity and spontaneity are not stifled. This also prepares them to be self-motivated so that they can compete and succeed in almost any professional environment.
In keeping with the practitioner-scholar approach, supervisors select professional theoretical readings for interns especially as those readings relate to clinical issues and the therapeutic process. Interns are encouraged to apply these readings as appropriate in refining techniques or in deeper case conceptualizations. There is additional opportunity to discuss theoretical formulizations at case conferences or in group supervision.
Training is sequential and cumulative. For instance, initially interns have opportunity to sit in with senior staff during intakes and crises to observe a variety of approaches and styles. Supervisors require interns to videotape their own sessions in order to provide detailed feedback and close monitoring. This requirement is relaxed as supervisors become more comfortable with the interns' assessment, diagnostic, and clinical skills. Similarly, with respect to conducting groups, interns are paired with senior staff for closer observation and supervision of group therapy skills. They may subsequently choose to conduct a group with each other in the Spring or Summer under supervision by senior staff. Their performance is evaluated formally at quarterly intervals and informally throughout the year. Interns are also encouraged to be open about areas of challenge or discomfort so that supervision is customized to fit individualized needs.