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Training Program Information

The Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology serves as a capstone experience in the training of professional psychologists. The internship provides an opportunity to integrate professional experience with academic knowledge of the field. Interns build on previous training to further develop their knowledge and skills in an applied setting under supervision to achieve the level of functioning of an entry level psychologist.

Program Overview

Our program provides excellent training and experience in activities typically provided by psychologists in any mental health setting. In addition, extensive training is provided for activities specific to university populations. The structure of the internship provides for the ongoing professional development of the interns but also allows for considerable input on the part of the intern to create an internship experience which meets his or her own professional needs.

Several features of our internship program which we feel are particularly emphasized and / or which may distinguish this internship program from others are:

  • The amount and quality of supervision
  • The emphasis on professional identity/socialization
  • The diversity of role models
  • The stability and support provided to the program
  • The commitment to assist interns in developing broad professional skills which are applicable to a variety of mental health settings

Additionally, we provide an attractive setting with state-of-the-profession training capabilities specifically designed to enhance the training experience. Finally, we feel it is important to communicate to prospective interns that the internship is an intense experience which combines both challenge and support. Successful completion of the internship requires a full commitment of the intern’s energies for the year.

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 Compensation and Benefits

Intern compensation in 2018-2019 will be $29,556 for twelve months.  Each intern has his/her own office, equipped with a personal computer with LAN and Internet access. The center has built in audio/visual capability for video recording individual and group therapy sessions.  Intern offices have been recently updated with new furniture.

Interns are accorded full benefits associated with faculty-staff status. These include access to university facilities and services (e.g., recreational facilities, library resources), as well as other benefits (medical/dental/vision insurance), and generous time away from work (university holidays, vacation breaks). In addition, interns are provided the opportunity to attend professional conferences and workshops, and they are provided some monetary support for both travel and registration costs.

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Training Model

The model of training for the Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology is a Developmental-Mentoring Model with the overall goal of training competent entry level professional psychologists. Both concepts capture the nature of the training process at Illinois State University’s Student Counseling Services. Interns build on prior knowledge and skills to develop competencies for delivering psychological services through graduated learning opportunities with increased responsibility as the year progresses.

We focus on the developmental transitions of interns as they move from student/learner in the classroom, to learner/practitioner in the field, to entry level professional psychologist. Of particular emphasis in our program is the amount and quality of supervision the intern receives from experienced clinicians as the intern engages in professional activities.

Learning by doing under supervision, characterizes many of the activities in which the intern is involved. Because of the nature of these supervisory relationships, interns learn not only how to provide service but also how to integrate the underlying theory, research, and scientific content that leads to professional practice.

The concept of mentoring, or relationships that enhance the development of emerging professionals, characterizes our training program. Through mentoring interns acquire knowledge, receive socialization into the profession, and obtain emotional support as they achieve competence, identity, and effectiveness in professional role functioning.

Staff provide both career related and psychosocial mentoring functions. Career related mentoring fosters professional and career advancement through socialization experiences, coaching and exposure to professional organizations and activities. Psychosocial mentoring enhances effectiveness in role functioning through the provision of role models for learning new skills and through relationships that offer acceptance, provide validation and offer emotional support.

Exposure to diverse role models, relationships with multiple supervisors, combined with a variety of opportunities to work conjointly with staff, provide interns with many opportunities for mentoring.

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 Aims of the Training Program

The doctoral internship in Health Service Psychology provides supervised experiences in a wide range of activities including individual and group counseling and psychotherapy, crisis intervention, psychological assessment, and providing supervision. The program also provides the opportunity for interns to have involvement and training in preventive and developmental activities such as outreach programming, research/evaluation, and consultation.

The three major aims of the internship training program are:

Our first aim:  

To provide training in the planning, delivery, and evaluation of high quality, professional, comprehensive psychological services to clients in a counseling center setting.

The intern is expected to develop profession-wide competencies including intervention, assessment, consultation and interdisciplinary skills and the use of research, associated with the practice of psychology.  The intern will deliver services including individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, basic crisis intervention, and assessment.

our second aim:

To provide training in the general practice of professional psychology. The intent of this aim is to provide assistance to interns in the process of professional identification, integration and socialization as well as in the development of multicultural competence.

The intern is expected to develop profession-wide competencies associated with the practice of psychology including: professional ethics and behavior, appreciation of individual and cultural diversity, professional socialization (professional identity of a psychologist, use of scientific knowledge, appreciation of interdisciplinary systems in treatment, and development of appropriate professional relationships) and professional development (professional communication and interpersonal skills, and reflective practice).

our third aim:

To provide training in a variety of activities associated with university counseling centers. Our training program offers a broad scope of training opportunities designed for a university population, some of which may vary depending on the current focus of the center.

All interns will obtain training and experience to achieve our Program Specific Competency of Preventative Programming.  This competency entails involvement in a variety of activities commonly associated with counseling centers including liaison work with an area of housing or an academic support unit and engaging in various forms of outreach services and sponsored programs such as the Voices of Discovery cultural dialogue program.

In addition, interns will gain further experience in activities commonly associated with counseling center work by involvement in a setting specific option each semester.  The focal area will allow interns to address profession-wide competencies of intervention at a group or organization level.  Interns are expected to develop skills in one of the setting specific options each semester including supervision, research and program evaluation, eating disorder prevention, multicultural outreach, administrative skill development, sport psychology consultation, or crisis intervention.

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Consistent with the above stated goals, the structure of the internship is divided into two major components: core areas and setting specific training opportunities.

Core Areas

Within the core component of the internship, interns are provided supervised experiences in individual counseling and psychotherapy, crisis intervention and conducting intake and group leadership skill development. In addition, they receive training in the general professional practice of psychology through the Intern Training Seminars, the diagnostic and treatment case conference, the Diversity Seminars, and agency professional development activities. All interns are involved in the core areas although the actual time commitment in each of the activities may vary according to agency needs and/or the specific background, experience and interests of the individual intern.

Setting Specific Training

The setting specific training opportunities are those activities that capitalize on the specific characteristics of the university setting.  Interns select one setting specific focal area each semester. While all interns will engage in some liaison, consultative, career and outreach activities, more in-depth experience will be obtained through a setting specific involvement.

Interns are expected to develop basic competency in one of the setting specific focal areas each semester including supervision, research and program evaluation, eating disorder prevention, outreach and preventative programming, administrative skill development, multicultural skill development, or consultation (for those with appropriate background).  All interns will get some instruction in provision of supervision even if this is not a setting specific focal area.

The focal areas selected and specific activities are determined by a review of the intern’s prior experience and current training goals in conjunction with input from the intern’s supervisors and the training director. The availability of each setting specific focal area will also be determined, in part, upon needs of the center.

All training activities are intended to provide flexibility to the interns so they may have an active role in identifying experiences which will meet their own, more individualized professional needs, as well as being consistent with agency needs and programs.

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Supervision Model

One of the clear strengths of the internship program is the amount and quality of supervision. Each intern receives three hours of individual supervision from two clinical supervisors each week. In addition, interns receive one hour of group supervision in the form of a one-hour case conference with the training director. Interns also receive a half-hour of supervision for their group therapy from their group co-leader who is a senior staff person. In addition, interns have the opportunity to have interaction with and to be mentored or supervised by other professionals in activities such as delivering presentations, supervising externs, and crisis intervention.

While specific supervision techniques may vary, supervision typically occurs in three ways:

  1. Direct one-to-one supervision of individual and group counseling and psychotherapy
  2. Group supervision
  3. Apprentice supervision which may involve co-delivering services in areas such as consultation, or psycho-educational programming.

Interns receive supervision in all professional areas and the high ratio of supervision to service delivery reflects our commitment to the training aspect of the internship program. Moreover, exposure to a variety of supervisors and mentors provides rich opportunities for professional role modeling.

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Training Seminars and Case Conferences

A major component of the internship is the Intern Training Seminar. During this seminar, interns meet weekly with the Training Director and other staff and receive both didactic and experiential training on a variety of topics. Seminar modules are provided on topics related to the competency areas interns are working on such as individual psychotherapy (including brief therapy and empirically supported treatments), group psychotherapy, assessment, crisis intervention, legal and ethical issues, outreach and consultation, and supervision of pre-professionals.

In addition to the Intern Training Seminar, interns meet for one hour each week for a Diversity Seminar. This seminar includes didactics, discussion and experiential activity through work on a diversity project. The interns also meet weekly for a working lunch with the Training Director for an opportunity to discuss and process the internship experience.

Case conferences are held weekly with the Training Director. Interns present cases from their caseload to the Training Director and other interns. This provides opportunities for interns to reflect on issues involved in the case, to discuss diagnosis and treatment strategies, and to examine ethical issues that may be involved. At mid-year, each intern’s two supervisors are invited to join the case conference to hear the intern present a case with a focus on assessment and treatment planning. 

At the end of the year each intern presents a case that has prompted the intern’s professional growth to the Training Committee and professional staff in a Final Case Conference. In addition, interns are involved in a biweekly small group case conference involving senior staff. The small group case conference is a form of professional development for the senior staff which provides opportunities for mentoring and role modeling for the interns.

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Sample Time Allocation

The interns spend, on average, between 40-43 hours per week in activities related to internship. All of our interns are full-time. While most of the activities are required from each intern, there are opportunities for choice in some of the setting specific areas. The time commitment will vary depending on the precise mix of activities, the interest of the intern, and the needs of the agency.

The general time commitment per week would be described as the following.

Service Delivery/Experiential Learning Hours per week
Individual counseling 10
IAT (intake)/Daytime emergency 3
Group Counseling 1.5
Voices of Discovery/Structured Groups 2
Daytime Emergency  2
Setting Specific Activity/Preventative Programming 3
Setting Specific Options: Supervision, Research and Program Evaluation, Eating Disorder Prevention, Outreach, Athletic Consultation, Crisis Intervention  
Supervision and Training Time  
Supervision of Group .5 - 1
Individual Supervision 3
Diagnostic and Treatment Case Conference (Bi-weekly in spring) 1
Professional Development with Staff .5
Consultation with Psychiatrist .5
Training Seminar 2
Diversity Seminar  1
Lunch meeting with Training Director  0-1
Administrative Area
Clinical paperwork, weekly logs, prep for Supervision, and case conferences 10
Time for Scholarly Inquiry 2
Staff meeting 1
TOTAL: 40-43 Hr

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Internship History

The SCS established its doctoral internship program in 1973 and since that time 149 individuals have completed the program. In November 1980 the SCS received initial accreditation as an APA internship training site, and in 2010 the internship was again awarded the full seven-year re-accreditation.  We are currently preparing for a re-accreditation site visit in 2017.

In its report, the APA Commission on Accreditation wrote: "The program espouses a developmental mentoring model of training which is consistent with the mission and goals of the Student Counseling Center and the broader university. The SCS supervisors are clearly invested and committed to the internship supervision process. The program has provided a thoughtful and coherent plan to provide interns with relevant knowledge and experiences about the role of individual and cultural diversity in psychological phenomena and professional practice. Individual and cultural issues are a fundamental component of the training process and the administration and staff have created an environment for ethnically and culturally diverse interns and staff. Overall, past interns have rated the training program and their experiences very strongly over the past seven years."

A recent survey of interns over the past seven years, indicated that our interns are employed in a variety of settings (60% are in counseling centers) and that doing an internship at our site did not restrict their employment opportunities (e.g., counseling centers, hospitals, university mental health centers, academia). Our current interns are available and would be glad to talk with you about their perceptions of the internship program.

Currently the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association through 2017. Our program is preparing for a re-accreditation site visit in 2017.

*Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

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2017-11-22T10:32:30.269-06:00 2017