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Counseling and Psychological Services Internship Program

Direct Services & Rotations

Direct Services

CAPS serves as the primary mental health agency for WSU students. Given our relatively rural and small town setting, local referral resources are limited, and we offer a fairly comprehensive range of services in order to best meet student needs. Our clinicians ground their work in psychological theory and research, integrating consideration of individual and cultural differences and diversity factors.

Direct clinical services include assessment; brief, focused individual therapy, including biofeedback; groups and workshops; crisis intervention; alcohol and other drug interventions; and outreaches. All of these activities, as well as the provision of supervision, are considered direct services and count toward completion of interns’ required 500 direct service hours.


Assessment is an integral part of interns’ training and service delivery. In order to develop and refine skills in assessment, problem formulation, and diagnosis, interns regularly conduct triage assessments and perform crisis evaluations.

Our clinicians use the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS-62) as intake data, to inform treatment, and to track client progress and treatment outcomes.

Interns additionally receive training in providing alcohol/substance use assessments and interventions. Training in case presentation, formulation, and diagnosis of cases includes weekly individual and group supervision, with discussion on theoretical and diagnostic issues and guidance in the use of the DSM-5.

Our comprehensive testing services offer interns the opportunity to gain selected experiences in the administration and interpretation of ADHD and learning disability (LD) test batteries, as well as exposure to personality and some neuropsychological testing.

In addition to receiving testing supervision, interns participate in an assessment seminar that addresses questions of test interpretation, diagnostic formulation, and report-writing. Interns complete at least four full ADHD/LD batteries over the year and may choose a minor rotation in assessment in order to gain further testing experience.

Individual Therapy

Interns share fully in our provision of therapy services designed to help WSU students improve their mental health and wellness. Our treatment model assumes that the majority of students who seek services at CAPS can benefit from brief, focused counseling in either a group or individual therapy format.

The number of individual therapy sessions is determined by clinical need, as defined by the clinician. For students referred to individual counseling, most meet their treatment goals in 1-6 sessions, and are allowed up to 12 sessions per academic year (with a limit of 25 sessions during their tenure at WSU).


Our clientele present with a full spectrum of concerns, from the more frequent relationship, identity, or developmental issues to more complex affective, anxiety, psychotic, or personality presentations. Clients also seek services to address body image and eating disorder concerns, PTSD, substance use problems, and abuse/assault survivor issues, among others. Interested interns may also have the opportunity work with some couples.

Treatment starts with a brief triage assessment, after which a client is referred to appropriate services, including possible individual counseling. Individual therapy interventions are evidence-based, rooted in theory, and intentional. Biofeedback is one brief therapy option in which interns are trained.

Interns learn to be intentional with their therapy work, facilitating effective treatment and clinical service delivery. At times, best treatment requires consultation and coordination with local medical providers, community mental health counselors, and substance dependence treatment center staff. For those students who need or want longer-term or more intense individual therapy, CAPS clinicians help provide referrals to outside resources.

Theoretical approaches of staff include CBT, CPT, interpersonal, psychodynamic, constructivist, ACT, DBT, emotion-focused, systems and integrative, often with a multicultural or feminist lens.

Groups and Workshops

Our clinicians highly value groups and workshops as primary treatment modalities, and we offer unlimited group and workshop attendance to WSU students.

At the start of each semester, CAPS faculty and interns discuss possible skills-based, support, and interpersonal process groups to offer. These are determined by clinical needs, requests from specific client populations, providers’ interests, and faculty and intern expertise.

Groups frequently offered include Understanding Self and Others (various interpersonal process groups), Mindfulness, Body Acceptance, GLB Student Support, Trans Student Support, and Recovering Together from Family Distress. Workshop series on Navigating Distress (ACT-based), Mood Management Skills (DBT-inspired), Anxiety Management (CBT-based), and Increasing Motivation (CBT-based) are regularly offered as a primary interventions for low risk clients.

As group co-facilitators, interns work with senior staff members or postdoctoral residents in preparing and implementing groups. These activities may involve developing the group, helping with its advertisement, holding group orientation/screening meetings, co-facilitating, and evaluating outcomes.

Interns are also involved in groups and workshops by training and supervising practicum trainees as they co-facilitate the Navigating Distress and Mood Management Workshops with them. Interns participate in bi-weekly group supervision of groups, and may also receive supervision for their group and workshop work from the faculty co-facilitator or a designated CAPS faculty member.

Crisis Intervention

Interns regularly conduct risk assessments and manage client crises through our walk-in services and individual therapy. They also share after hours on-call responsibilities with CAPS faculty members, postdoctoral residents, and graduate-level counseling assistants, which includes providing consultation to parents or university personnel regarding students of concern.

Interns can expect to be on call a few weeknights each month and a couple of weekends each semester. Crisis coverage training occurs during intern orientation, and interns have faculty support and backup throughout the year.

Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Interventions

Interns participate in AOD interventions in several ways. During summer orientation, they are trained to provide educational outreaches on alcohol use and sexual decision making for incoming first-year and transfer students during WSU’s Week of Welcome.

Over the course of the year, they also receive training to provide one-on-one motivational interviewing-based interventions for sanctioned students who have received AOD violations through WSU’s Office of Student Conduct. These interventions may lead to follow-up AOD counseling appointments.

Finally, as part of the CAPS on-call services, interns may conduct AOD assessments (“detox evals”)  at Pullman Regional Hospital for WSU students who have been admitted to the hospital due to AOD-related medical distress. Interns interested in additional AOD experience may choose to complete an AOD minor rotation.

Outreach and Consultation

Interns provide outreach services to the WSU community throughout the year, facilitating at least four outreaches per semester. Specific experiences reflect a combination of the interns’ training needs and interests as well as the needs of the student population.

Structured outreaches in such areas as test anxiety or anger management may be provided to campus agencies or requesting groups. Some outreaches may be held in the evening (or occasionally on a weekend), outside of open office hours. Support for outreach development and implementation is provided by CAPS faculty and, or the CAPS Outreach Coordinator.

Interns have opportunities to develop consultation and interprofessional communication skills with individuals and groups in both formal and informal contexts. Interns provide consultation to Residence Life staff, Health & Wellness Services providers, academic departments, and other campus partners on issues relating to service coordination and student welfare.

Among our clinicians, there is also an open-door consultation policy, which encourages interns to consult with peers and faculty regarding clinical questions, and facilitates their serving as consultants to practicum trainees.  Interns are additionally encouraged to develop areas of interest that lend to programmatic implementation. Thus, some consultations involve a brief phone call or conversation, while others may entail a series of meetings, planning or research sessions, and interventions of various sorts.

Provision of Supervision

During the academic year, interns receive hands-on experience supervising practicum students from WSU’s APA-approved doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. More specifically, they are involved in training and supervising these students in conducting triage assessments and in co-facilitating the ACT-based Navigating Distress workshop series, and the DBT-inspired Mood Management workshop series. Interns receive weekly group supervision of their supervision and regularly consult with their individual supervisor about supervision provision.

Specialized Rotations

Minor Rotations

While the CAPS internship provides all interns with a common core of experiences, each intern will also develop minor specific training emphases. Through these emphases, interns have the opportunity to devote approximately three hours a week to services for a specific student population or on a clinical area of particular interest.

We refer to these as “minor rotations” because they are not a primary focus for the intern and do not detract from the intern’s participation in the core of generalist training and service activities in which all interns engage. Exploring and choosing a minor rotation occurs under the direction and support of the Training Director.

One type of minor rotation involves developing a liaison relationship with another university office over the course of the academic year. This relationship may include establishing a presence within that office, consulting with leadership to assess needs, creating and implementing trainings, and attending related office and university events.

Interns have developed minor rotations with various WSU offices, such as Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, Student Support Services, Multicultural Student Services, International Programs, and Residence Life.

A second type of minor rotation involves training and service delivery at CAPS within a specific clinical area of interest. Recent clinically-focused minor rotations interns have completed include AOD assessment and intervention, additional group therapy, biofeedback, couples counseling, and additional testing and assessment responsibilities.

Optional Major Rotation at Inpatient Psychiatric Hospital

Following the second semester of the internship year, each intern may also choose to complete a three-week rotation at Eastern State Hospital, a psychiatric inpatient facility located 75 miles from Pullman..

During the rotation, interns work from approximately 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Monday through Friday and have evenings and weekends free. Transportation and housing must be provided by the intern. Interns will be involved primarily with observation and possible testing, assessment, evaluation, psychotherapy, group work, and/or disposition planning.

Specific responsibilities are arranged on an individual basis with the staff psychologists supervising the intern’s rotation. The hospital offers intern experiences in forensic services and acute adult care, both of which emphasize an integrated team treatment approach.

Administrative and Research Opportunities

Interns will have opportunities to develop administrative skills as part of other responsibilities. Working with campus consultation or in implementing a group, the intern might make decisions regarding program development, resource planning, staffing, and follow-up.

Interns will also be involved in the general administrative decision-making process in our department. This includes participation in planning workshops, participation in weekly faculty meetings, and serving on the intern selection committee.

We regard research and ongoing program evaluation as integral to service provision. We periodically conduct a survey review of client satisfaction and other forms of program evaluation regarding both service delivery and training.

Each intern cohort receives brief training in program evaluation and is responsible for conducting a program evaluation project. In addition, interns regularly track and review their clients’ treatment progress and outcomes through the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS-62).

Interns are encouraged to remain active in their own research during the internship year, and are asked to present to the faculty and their peers on their dissertation research, or contribute current research endeavors to CAPS in some other manner. Computer access, library privileges, and consultation are available to support research and dissertation projects.