Intern Evaluation, Retention, and Termination Policy

Solutions Behavioral Healthcare Professionals, in compliance with the APA’s Standards of Accreditation, requires that Interns demonstrate minimum levels of achievement across all nine (9) profession-wide competencies.  These competencies include the following:

  1. Intervention
  2. Assessment
  3. Ethical and Legal Standards
  4. Cultural and Individual Diversity
  5. Research
  6. Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
  7. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills
  8. Supervision
  9. Communication and Interpersonal Skills

General Evaluation Process

Informal evaluation is ongoing throughout the training year.  Supervisors are expected to provide Interns with feedback on strengths, as well as communicate early and often in regards to areas of growth.  Interns are formally evaluated by their primary supervisor twice per year, at the mid- and endpoints of their training experience.  Evaluations are conducted using the Intern Evaluation form which includes a five-point Likert Scale and comment spaces where supervisors include specific written feedback regarding the Intern’s performance and progress over the specified time period.  The evaluation form includes information about the Intern’s performance regarding all of Solutions’ expected training competencies and the related learning elements.  Supervisors review these evaluations with Interns during supervision and encourage an in-depth discussion with opportunity for Interns to raise questions or concerns as needed.  Upon completion of this review, the Intern and supervisor sign the evaluation and the Intern receives a copy.  The evaluation is submitted to the Training Director, who also reviews and co-signs before scanning into a secure electronic file.

The rating scale for each evaluation is a 5-point Likert scale with the following rating values:

1= Remedial Competence Level:  Intern shows significant deficiencies in this area, with skills below that expected of a beginning Intern. The Intern is dependent upon direct observation and detailed preparatory instruction. Intensive supervision is required to attain a basic level of competence, OR the Intern has not attained expected level of competence despite coaching and supervision.

2= Beginning Competence Level:  Intern requires intensive supervision for unfamiliar clinical activities and/or novel circumstances. Intern has a knowledge level of the skill area and can recall key points or steps. The Intern may be able to perform skills in this area at a minimal level with supervision. This is the level of competency expected for a beginning Intern working with a new clinical population, and might be an appropriate rating for beginning acquisition of a novel skill set within a new rotation.

3= Intermediate Competence Level:  Intern needs minimal structure for routine activities, but may need closer supervision for more complex situations. Generalizes knowledge, skills, and abilities across clinical activities and settings. While the Intern can perform the skills, these may require conscious awareness, i.e., thinking through the steps. This is the level expected for most skills mid-way through the internship year

4= Advanced Competence Level:  Intern is considered competent for entry-level practice in this area. Intern consistently integrates well-developed knowledge, skills and abilities into all aspects of professional practice. This skill area is fluent and can be performed without having to think through the steps. Intern functions proactively and independently in most contexts. Supervision is accessed independently when needed for complex/novel situations.

5= Full Performance Level:  Skill exceeds that expected for doctoral interns at the completion of the training year. Intern shows maturity in the ability to conceptualize and has sound thinking and judgment. The Intern has fully mastered this skill area such that it is habit, and can perform the skill automatically. Intern can manage complex situations independently. Training needs are consultative in nature.

 These ratings are made in relation to where one would expect the Intern to be at in terms of skill level. For example, it would be expected that an Intern would be at a “2” at the start of the internship, and at a “4” by the end of the training year, i.e., considered competent for entry-level practice. Therefore, if an Intern receives a “2” at the mid-year evaluation on any competency (“Beginning Competency Level”), this would be below what is expected at that point in time. Receiving a “2” on the mid-year evaluation would initiate the program’s Due Process procedures. Likewise, if supervisors have reason to be concerned about the Intern’s performance or progress at any point, Due Process procedures may be initiated. The Due Process guidelines are found in the Psychology Internship Handbook, which is reviewed in depth during Interns’ orientation.  Interns must receive a rating of “4” or above on all learning elements and profession-wide competencies to demonstrate that they are prepared for entry level independent practice and licensure, and to successfully complete the internship program.

Rotation Evaluations

The rotation supervisor provides feedback to the Intern at the mid-point of the rotation and again at the end of the rotation using the Rotation Feedback form.  Each rotation has identified skill areas specific to the rotation (see below). These skills are rated using the above described 5-point scale. The rotation supervisor reviews the feedback with the Intern, and both sign off on it. The Rotation Feedback form is turned in to the Training Director and shared with the primary supervisors. Information on the Rotation Feedback form contributes to the overall mid-year and end of the year evaluations.

Rotation 1:  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Requirements

  1. Shows an understanding of the paradigms of DBT, including:  a) Acceptance paradigm and strategies;     b)  Dialectics paradigm and strategies; c) Change paradigm and strategies; and d) Can discuss DBT using “House of Hell” metaphor
  2. Can understand and identify the hierarchy of target behaviors and secondary behaviors
  3. Can identify and conduct steps in a chain analysis
  4. Shows an understanding of the four group skills training modules and the core skills within each area (Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation)
  5. Identifies core skills within each module
  6. Demonstrates an understanding of the diary card and its purpose in the individual therapy session
  7. Effective in teaching DBT skills in a group setting
  8. Uses DBT protocols, including the suicide protocol
  9. Provides effective supervision to the Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services staff
  10. Provides effective consultation to the residential treatment team

Rotation 2: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Requirements

  1. Demonstration of ABA interventions, including: a) Discrete trial training; b) Prompting/reinforcement and proper timing; and c) Shaping and chaining procedures
  2. Demonstration of knowledge of ABA assessment, including: a) Preference assessment; b) Functional Behavior Assessment
  3. Demonstration of collateral assessment procedures, including: a) Vineland Adaptive Behavior Assessment interview; and b) Verbal Behavior-Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP)
  4. Demonstrates knowledge of the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge (PEAK) Relational Training System assessment and curriculum
  5. Develops and uses data systems in making treatment decisions
  6. Develops comprehensive assessment review summaries
  7. Develops treatment plans in collaboration with the child’s family
  8. Demonstrates the ability to provide parent training
  9. Provides effective supervision and direction to direct care staff in their implementation of ABA
  10. Provides effective consultation to the autism services treatment team

Other Intern Requirements
In addition, all Solutions interns are expected to complete 2000 hours of training during the internship year.  Interns are expected to have at least 25% direct client contact and to receive at least four hours of supervision by a licensed psychologist per week.  They are required to give a 2-hour agency presentation and a 2-hour didactic presentation. They are required to meet monthly and participate in a research review seminar. Meeting the hours-requirement and obtaining sufficient ratings on all evaluations demonstrates that the intern has progressed satisfactorily through and completed the internship program. 

Feedback by Interns
In addition to the evaluations described above, Interns complete a self-evaluation form at the mid- and end-points of the internship, using the Intern Evaluation form completed by supervisors.  Interns also complete an evaluation of their supervisors and a program evaluation at the mid- and endpoints of the internship.  These evaluations are designed to facilitate feedback that informs any changes or improvements needed in the internship program.  All evaluation forms are available in the Psychology Internship Manual.

Communication with Graduate Program
Solutions believes that a close, working relationship with the Intern’s graduate programs is necessary to support Interns in successful completion of the internship training year.  As such, Solutions’ Interns sign a release of information for their graduate programs for the Training Director and/or Training Faculty to communicate pertinent information throughout the year.  Formal communication with the graduate program begins after an Intern successfully matches with Solutions.  At this time, the Director of Clinical Training of the graduate program is included in the match letter.  Written communication with feedback regarding Intern progress is also provided to the Intern’s doctoral program at the mid- and endpoints of the internship year.  The final contact with the graduate program notes whether the Intern has successfully completed the program.  If successful completion comes into question at any point during the internship year, or if an Intern enters into the formal review step of the Due Process procedures, the graduate program will be contacted within two weeks.  This contact is intended to ensure that the graduate program, which also has a vested interest in the Intern’s progress, remains informed and engaged in order to support an Intern having difficulties.  The graduate program is also notified of any further action that may be taken by Solutions as a result of the Due Process procedures, up to and including termination from the program.