Internship Philosophy and Model

Philosophy of Training

The training program at the WMCC embraces the responsibility of providing a supportive comprehensive doctoral-level internship training in a counseling center setting. Our training program is consistent with the overall mission of the WMCC, i.e., provide quality and culturally sensitive professional service to students facing developmental and clinical issues that could interfere with the fulfillment of their educational and personal goals.

Developmental-Experiential-Mentorship based Training

The WMCC internship program is based on a Developmental-Experiential-and mentorship philosophy of training.  The internship builds on the foundation of knowledge and skills acquired through the diverse experiences of graduate coursework, research, practica and other applied activities.  The center considers the internship a capstone to a doctoral training in health service psychology.  We strive to facilitate the integration of research, knowledge, and skills and the consolidation of a professional identity as a psychologist.  As such, our mission is to provide a training environment that facilitate the transition from graduate student to culturally sensitive, clinically skilled and ethically sound psychologist.  

Integration of Research/Scholarly work and practice

An important component of the WMCC philosophy of training is the belief in the need to integrate scholarly knowledge, research findings, and critical thinking into clinical practice and clinical decision making.  We encourage the consumption of scholarly research.

Mentoring, Modeling, and Supervision

Trainees are supervised by senior staff members who model the highest ethical, legal and professional standards of the profession and provide a safe and supportive environment that would foster interns’ learning and development. It is in this type of environment that interns could effectively develop conceptual, methodological, therapeutic, and case management skills while engaging in a self-exploration process that would be conducive to personal and professional growth. 

 In addition to the intense clinical supervision interns receive, they also participate in formal training activities that are structured to promote a theoretical and clinical foundation in health service psychology.  The structured training activities include an orientation program, training seminars, case conferences, and group supervision. 

 Mentoring and an “open door policy” are highly valued at the center. Interns are encouraged to utilize and consult with all professional staff regardless of supervision assignments.

No distance education technologies are utalized for training and/or supervision.

AIMS OF THE INTERNSHIP

The program’s aim is to prepare entry level providers in health service psychology, skilled in profession-wide competencies, to serve a diverse public.

The field of health service psychology demands a flexible and integrated repertoire of skills and competencies. In congruence with the Standards of Accreditation in Health Service Psychology, interns are expected to develop the following Profession-Wide Competencies:


PROFESSION-WIDE COMPETENCIES

I. RESEARCH

II. ETHICAL AND LEGAL STANDARDS

III. INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY 

IV. PROFESSIONAL VALUES, ATTITUDES, AND BEHAVIORS

V. COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

VI. ASSESSMENT

VII. INTERVENTION

           A. Individual Therapy

           B. Crisis Intervention

           C. Group Therapy

            D. Outreach Programming

VIII. SUPERVISION

IX. CONSULTATION AND INTERPROFESSIONAL / INTERDISCIPLINARY SKILLS

I. RESEARCH

During the year, interns will be regularly asked to read research articles for the different seminars and will be presented with multiple opportunities to consume research to inform their clinical practice.  In addition, interns are expected to present their dissertation to their peers and the staff at the Counseling Center.  Interns will be expected to demonstrate knowledge, skill, and competence to critically evaluate research and apply research findings in the different professional roles assumed during the internship year.

II.            ETHICAL BEHAVIOR AND LEGAL STANDARDS

An overarching goal of the WMCC is to instill a commitment to ethical practice. Interns will have opportunity to discuss ethical issues in the different didactic seminars offered during the year as well as in case conference and in supervision. Interns will be expected to behave according to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association (2002) and demonstrate knowledge regarding the rules, regulations and standards governing health service psychology.  In addition, interns are to familiarize themselves with the Virginia Law regarding the ethical practice of psychology.  Interns will be expected to recognize ethical dilemmas and apply ethical decision making processes competently.  In addition, interns are expected to follow the Counseling Center policies and procedures, maintain an appropriate professional role with clients, develop appropriate interaction with staff and trainees, and maintain accurate documentation records.  

 III.         INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY

Interns participate in didactic and experiential training regarding multicultural competence.  Sensitivity to issues of power and privilege as well as social justice issues are central to the mission of the Counseling Center and the Training program.  As such,  interns are to demonstrate ability to engage in self-reflection about the way in which their own personal/cultural history affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves, including peers, colleagues, supervisees, supervisors, other staff/professionals, and those seeking services. Interns are expected to demonstrate cultural sensitivity and competence in service delivery with clients, groups, and organizations from diverse cultural backgrounds and other forms of individual difference. Multicultural competence is defined according to APA Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change of the American Psychological Association (2003).  Interns are to practice also according to the Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services to Ethnic, Linguistic, and Culturally Diverse Populations (2002), the Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients (2011), the Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention with Persons with Disabilities (2011), and the Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women (2007).

 IV.          PROFESSIONAL VALUES, ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS

A significant goal of the internship is to instill a commitment to professionalism, integrity, self-reflection, and lifelong learning. The internship attempts to foster the development of interns' reflective practice and self-assessment so that they can recognize the boundaries of their competencies, demonstrate ability to monitor their own professional behavior, and recognize strengths and areas of growth. Similarly, the internship offers opportunities for interns to consolidate their professional identity.  It is anticipated that interns will gain a sense of competence, confidence, and autonomy in the practice of health service psychology; as the year progresses, it is expected that interns will respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence. Ability to effectively use supervision is key in the development of professional values, attitudes, and behaviors.    As such, interns are to demonstrate ability to effectively use supervision, being receptive feedback and new ideas as well as open to looking at own issues that may impact professional behavior.

 V.             COMMUNICATION AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

Appropriate communication and interpersonal skills are essential for positive interactions and effective work with others.  Communication and interpersonal skills are the foundations for many of the other vital competencies in the field of health service psychology.  As such, interns are expected to utilize and develop appropriate interpersonal skills.  Interns are to demonstrate the ability to maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals including clients, peers, colleagues, supervisees, supervisors, and other staff/professionals, being sensitive to individual and cultural differences as well as to issues of power and privilege.

 VI.          ASSESSMENT

Interns participate in didactic and experiential assessment training as well as in weekly supervision to assure competent assessment practices. They will have ample opportunity to engage in initial assessments for clients seeking services.   Interns are expected to accurately assess clients' psychological needs, make accurate determination of CAF (College Assessment of Functioning), write comprehensive conceptualizations, and recommend a disposition, addressing the need for individual or group therapy, psychiatric referral, or other interventions including referrals to other professionals or community services. Interns are also expected to be able to make clinical decisions about the selection and utilization of psychological tests in their clinical practice; they are to demonstrate ability to accurately interpret data from assessment instruments. Interns will demonstrate sensitivity to the context of the client's culture when selecting, implementing and interpreting test results.  Interns will be able to demonstrate ability to use assessment data to inform their clinical interventions.

 VII.       INTERVENTION

 A.    Individual Psychotherapy:

Interns will be able to offer individual psychotherapy to college students with a variety of presenting concerns and clinical issues during the internship year. Interns will receive didactic and experiential training as well as weekly supervision to assure competent service delivery.  Interns are expected to appropriately apply their knowledge about therapy gained in graduate school as well as what they learn in supervision in their interventions with clients.  It is expected that interns will be able to competently utilize their clinical formulation and conceptualization of cases and their approaches to therapy considering clients' needs and diversity variables.  Interns are expected to timely and accurately document their clinical interventions with clients

 B.    Crisis Intervention:

Interns receive didactic and experiential training as well as supervision and consultation regarding crisis intervention skills. During working hours or through after-hours on-call duties (with a back-up supervisor), interns will be able to provide crisis intervention for clients experiencing acute personal distress or symptomatology. Interns are expected to be appropriately assess clients' needs and help reduce their immediate distress. Interns are to demonstrate ability to evaluate clients' safety regarding risk of danger to self and/or others and mobilize resources accordingly.

 C.    Group Psychotherapy:

Interns receive didactic and experiential training in group therapy intervention.  They work with a group co-leader from the earlier stages of group referral, pre-group screenings and group formation, to the working and termination stages of group.  Interns are expected to demonstrate ability to facilitate process-oriented therapy groups and/or theme/population-oriented groups.  They are to be able to collaborate with co-leaders and document the clinical interventions with groups.

 D.    Outreach Programming:

Interns are presented with multiple opportunities to engage in outreach programming and are encouraged to consult with staff and supervisors about specific programs and presentation skills.  Interns are expected to be able to design and implement psycho-educational presentations and workshops for audiences within the campus community.  Interns receive didactic and experiential training in crisis management; it is expected that interns will be able to respond to critical incident or crisis debriefing outreach events if there are situations of this caliber during their internship year. 

 VIII.    SUPERVISION

Interns provide supervision for doctoral level practicum students. Interns receive didactic and experiential training in supervision. Interns are expected to provide a safe environment for practicum students to discuss their cases and demonstrate ability to assist them with conceptualization and suggestions for treatment. As supervisors, interns provide feedback and help supervisees develop self-reflective skills, encouraging identification of strengths as well as areas of growth.  Interns are to apply the criteria for evaluation in a fair and developmentally appropriate manner.

 IX.            CONSULTATION AND INTERPROFESSIONAL/INTERDISCIPLINARY SKILLS

Interns are expected to gain knowledge and skills regarding consultation.  Interns receive didactic and experiential training as well as supervision regarding consultation with faculty, staff, parents, student affairs professionals, residence life and other members of the College.  Interns will be expected to exhibit ability to use their assessment and clinical judgment as they consult with others. Similarly, interns are expected to demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions and apply this knowledge in interprofessional/interdisciplinary consultation with individuals, groups and/or systems.