Doctoral Internship Training Competency Areas

Interns are expected to develop proficiency in the nine profession-wide competencies (the following descriptions are adapted from the APA Commission on Accreditation’s Implementing Regulations for internship programs):

Research

Interns are expected to demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate and disseminate research, and to integrate science and theory into clinical practice. Interns will demonstrate their research proficiencies by providing a training seminar that incorporates their own research or on a different topic of interest that requires them to demonstrate their knowledge of research. They will also present two formal case presentations during the internship and participate in various discussions that require awareness of research and how research findings impact service delivery. Interns may also participate on the center’s Research Committee.

Ethical and Legal Standards

Interns are expected to respond ethically and legally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence throughout the internship year. As the ethical code guides our professional practice, it is essential that interns are aware of and integrate ethical and legal guidelines into their repertoire of professional skills. Ethical guidelines, legal issues, and the policies and procedures of our counseling center will be reviewed during orientations, seminars, and through supervision.

Individual and Cultural Diversity

Effectiveness in health service psychology requires that interns develop the ability to conduct all professional activities with sensitivity to human diversity, including the ability to deliver high quality services to an increasingly diverse population. Therefore, interns must demonstrate knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and skills when working with diverse individuals and communities who embody a variety of cultural and personal background and characteristics.

The Counseling Center is committed to the appreciation, support, and celebration of diversity. We offer a series of training seminars that invite interns and staff to share cultural backgrounds, address diversity considerations in counseling, and become better acquainted with the diverse cultural groups and programs that exist on our campus. In addition to acting as a consultant with the offices on campus that represent diversity, interns are encouraged to attend celebrations and programs sponsored through the University's Multicultural Center . Interns are intentionally assigned clients representing various backgrounds in order to gain experience working with diverse clients.

Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors

Interns are expected to respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence across levels of training, and should demonstrate competence in conducting evidence-based assessment consistent with the scope of Health Service Psychology. Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors will be discussed in supervision meetings, seminars, and weekly meetings with the training director.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Communication and interpersonal skills are foundational to education, training, and practice in health service psychology. These skills are essential for any service delivery/activity/interaction, and are evident across the program’s expected competencies.

Assessment

Interns will demonstrate increasing competence in conducting evidence-based assessment consistent with the scope of Health Service Psychology.

Students are initially assessed through our Initial Consultation (ICON) Clinic. Interns provide ICON services, assessing the student's presenting problem and severity, developing a treatment plan, and making referrals to appropriate care (individual, group, services on campus or in the community, etc.). A number of assessment tools are made available to help clarify a presenting problem, diagnosis, and/or plan treatment. Interns are required to complete formal assessment reports and participate in a weekly bi-weekly assessment seminar during the fall and spring semesters to receive didactic training and supervision.

Intervention

Interns demonstrate competence in evidence-based interventions consistent with the scope of Health Service Psychology. Intervention is being defined broadly to include but not be limited to psychotherapy. Interventions may be derived from a variety of theoretical orientations or approaches.

Individual Therapy

Interns will receive training and experiences in providing individual therapy throughout the internship year. They will typically see 8-15 individual therapy clients/week, depending on the number of other direct clinical services (group therapy, ICON shifts) they are providing. While most clients of the counseling center are seen for an average of 4-6 sessions, there are opportunities to see some clients longer-term. Thus, interns should graduate the program familiar with conducting brief therapy as well as longer-term treatment.

Crisis Work

Interns will gain exposure working with clients who present to the Counseling Center experiencing mental health emergencies during hours of operation. Interns also participate in the after-hours rotation (backing up ProToCall) approximately 15 shifts (shifts are either weekends or weekdays) during the year. When interns are on call, they are paired with a supervisor who provides guidance and support as needed. Cell phones are made available to assist with this service. In addition to hands-on experience, training in crisis intervention is received through didactic seminars, role plays, and peer review meetings.

Group Therapy

Interns are expected to co-lead at least one therapy group with a senior staff member each semester. The co-leader will provide supervision for the group therapy experience, and training seminars will offer didactic training in group therapy. The Counseling Center offers a number of therapy groups and invites interns to initiate the formation of groups that might address an intern's area of interest.

Outreach

The Counseling Center staff participate in the delivery of educational programs to various campus groups. Because such programs are geared toward student life, we are often asked to present at times that fit student schedules, requiring staff to be available some evenings and weekends to provide such presentations. Interns are expected to organize and lead four outreach programs in the fall and spring semesters, as well as to assist with Parent Orientation in the summer. Training seminars are offered to provide guidance and familiarize interns with the literature and research related to outreach programming. Interns are also invited to participate in various university task forces and committees. They may have the opportunity to assist CC staff in coordinating the Mental Health Ambassadors program, which is housed in the Counseling Center.

Supervision

Supervision is grounded in science and integral to the activities of health service psychology. Supervision involves the mentoring and monitoring of trainees and others in the development of competence and skill in professional practice and the effective evaluation of those skills. Supervisors act as role models and maintain responsibility for the activities they oversee.

Interns provide supervision to pre-practicum students, practicum students and externs that participate in our master’s-level training program and Appalachian State’s new clinical psychology PsyD program. Interns also attend a supervision seminar weekly that provides "supervision of supervision" as well as discussion of issues and topics that are relevant to this area.

Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills are reflected in the intentional collaboration of professionals in health service psychology with other individuals or groups to address a problem, seek or share knowledge, or promote effectiveness in professional activities.

The Counseling Center is often called upon to consult with parents, friends, professors, advisors, and others who are concerned about a student. The interns provide this service and also participate in more formal consultation relationships with various departments on campus. Consultation primarily consists of training/providing psychoeducation in regard to mental health issues and participating in consultation relationships with groups and departments such as Athletics , International Programs , Multicultural Center , Sororities/Fraternities , Student Government Association , Office of Disability Services , the Women’s Center , the LGBT Center , campus ministers, non-traditional students, and various other student groups.

Emergency Services

The Counseling Center offers after-hours emergency coverage for urgent mental health concerns such as suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, and other trauma.  Call the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on-call.

For additional resources see our Emergency Services page.

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