Model of Training
The internship at Solutions offers multiple opportunities for professional development as a clinical psychologist within an interdisciplinary context. This doctoral internship is a generalist training program which is designed to prepare Interns to be competent psychologists. Interns work with a wide range of ages and clinical conditions. The goal over the course of the year is for Interns to develop the many competencies needed to practice independently as an ethical professional psychologist.
Interns at Solutions are valued as individuals, bringing unique academic, professional, and personal attributes to the clinics in which they work. There is a vibrant process of learning and synergy that occurs when psychology staff of a variety of backgrounds and levels of training work together. The skills, talents, abilities, and interests that Interns bring benefit the Psychology Department and the organization as a whole.
The internship year is largely the last chance for Interns to practice new clinical skills with a safety net of supervision and support; Interns’ schedules, therefore, reflect a focus on clinical activity. The emphasis of the internship is on the practice of professional psychology, guided by Interns’ academic experiences, the supervision process, relevant research, and mentoring by others with varied theoretical orientations.
Over the course of the training year Interns are expected to develop an intermediate to advanced level of competency with diagnostic interviewing, psychological assessment, crisis intervention / on-call services, psychotherapy, and behavioral intervention / consultation.
Three primary elements underlie Solutions' Internship program. These are:
Solutions clinical staff value and model the use of empirically validated treatment practices and evaluation methods. It is expected that Interns meld their clinical and theoretical training with current research findings and scholarly inquiry as they choose assessment strategies, interpret results, and develop interventions. The training program supports the practitioner-scholar model by utilizing training which combines experiential and didactic learning, informed by science. This learning includes the regular review of evidence-based practices during case consultation and supervision processes, as well as having Interns discerningly review and share relevant clinical research articles throughout the year.
The Psychology Internship program is sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity. It builds on the knowledge and skills already possessed by Interns and provides varied opportunities for the development and refining of additional skills. The internship year is structured in a developmental fashion, such that Interns assume increasing responsibility and autonomy as the year progresses. Assigned cases are initially straightforward in terms of diagnosis, such as “simple” cases of depression or anxiety, and move to being more complex, (i.e., with co-morbid disorders or personality disorders). Initially, considerable direction and structure is provided, and this is reduced as Interns' competency and self-assuredness develop. Improved competencies and increased confidence on the part of Interns parallels this process. Didactic trainings are also arranged in a manner to support Interns’ maturation process. Early topics are more concrete and basic, such as how to conduct a diagnostic assessment. Topics later in the training year target more complex interventions and professional development.
The formal performance evaluation process provides information about Interns’ strengths and development areas. Feedback is both formal and informal, to support the development of skills. Supervisors provide support to Interns as they negotiate the challenges of more difficult cases, as well as prioritizing their time and energy for various professional responsibilities and opportunities. With training and supervision, professional autonomy increases over the Internship year.
Transition in Identity
The internship year provides an important link for the Interns, who are transitioning from being a graduate student to a professional psychologist. The Psychology Internship program understands that early career professionals need to develop a solid professional identity within a peer group of psychologists. They also need to develop the ability to work with other professionals on the multi-disciplinary team, understanding others’ roles and contributions to the process. Exposure to other disciplines broadens and sometimes challenges one’s theoretical perspective. Developing a respect for the multi-disciplinary team process is important in the goal of working collaboratively with other professionals who bring other skills, theoretical understandings, and treatment techniques to the table. Solutions works to create an atmosphere which that fosters professional development for all staff, and one in which staff feel safe to “dream,” and explore what it means to be a professional.
Solutions is committed to supporting Interns’ transition into the role of a professional psychologist by engaging in discussions about future plans, assisting the intern in developing professional relationships and contacts within the agency and in the community. Supervisors advise Interns in how to network with others, writing letters of recommendation and communicating knowledge about psychology positions available.