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Counseling and Psychological Services Internship Program

The Washington State University Counseling and Psychological Services Doctoral Internship Training Program in Health Service Psychology is based upon a Practitioner Scholar Model. As such, the purpose of our program is to train interns whose work is informed by practice, theory, and research, and who take into account individual, cultural, and societal considerations in their clinical work and service delivery. Our goal is to provide the professional training and experience necessary for independent entry level work as a health service psychologist in a wide variety of settings, including university counseling centers. We are invested in helping interns develop a range of competencies through which they may implement a broad set of skills, theoretical and clinical knowledge, and methods of inquiry in the practice of psychology. Common to all of these competencies is the further refinement of ethical decision-making and the proficiency to professionally engage in multicultural and diverse settings.

Interns begin their internship program with a foundation of didactic and clinical experiences from their academic training. We believe that the internship year is a time to utilize these skills and knowledge in a more intensive manner, to develop new skills, and to transition from graduate training to status as a professional psychologist prepared for entry-level practice. In preparation to become psychologists, we believe that interns should systematically increase their assurance and skills in providing a range of interventions to various client types and systems. This objective is pursued through collaborative work with faculty members and closely supervised clinical practice. The latter involves a number of intervention modalities and theoretical systems, with supervisors generally representing an integrative orientation. We support interns’ growth and development through sequential and cumulative didactic training, mentoring, modeling, support, and feedback. Interns are able to gain specific exposure to the many roles and responsibilities of a generalist health service psychologist, including intake interviews; individual, couples, and group counseling; crisis response and management; substance assessments and interventions; supervision and training provision; outreach and consultation; testing; and program evaluation.

In accordance with the APA Standards of Accreditation, we have identified nine competency areas in which interns are trained and evaluated. Within each of these, specific competencies are delineated and operationalized so that interns can understand the goals toward which they are working as well as the criteria by which they will be evaluated. These areas may overlap one another or share common threads throughout, such as ethical decision-making and behaviors, and multicultural competencies.

  1. Research
  2. Ethical and legal standards
  3. Individual and cultural diversity
  4. Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
  5. Communication and interpersonal skills
  6. Assessment
  7. Intervention
  8. Supervision
  9. Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills

Early on in the training year interns are provided with more didactic training, modeling, and close oversight of their activities. As the year and the interns’ skills progress, the interns gain more independence. By the end of their training year, the expectation is that interns are ready to enter practice in a variety of professional psychology settings.

The internship training year starts six weeks before the academic year begins. This allows for an orientation period that is structured with predetermined training seminars and meetings. Interns may start to see one or two clients during their first two weeks of orientation. As the six weeks progress, there are fewer training seminars and meetings and more scheduled direct service activities. During orientation, summer clinical supervisors are assigned (rather than chosen by the intern) and outreach activities are assigned, often with two interns working together. These outreach activities tend to be more structured with an outline and presentation material provided to the intern.

Training seminars during the orientation include learning about the procedures and overall activities of CAPS, clinical service delivery (including conducting and writing triage assessments and other documentation), suicide assessment, detox assessments, crisis management, alcohol and substance use assessment, stress reduction and biofeedback training, supervision provision, ethics, and LD/ADHD testing and assessment. During this time, interns are scheduled to meet informally with individual faculty members, often during breakfast or lunch. Interns also meet with various offices within the Office of Student Affairs, including Residence Life, Multicultural Student Services, Gender Expression/Identity and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, Academic Success and Career Center, Access Center, International Center, and the Intensive American Language Center. They also are scheduled to meet with the Dean of Students, the Health and Wellness Services Clinical Director, and with emergency department personnel of Pullman Regional Hospital.

We select interns in accordance with policies regarding internship offers and acceptances of the Association of Postdoctoral and Psychology Internship Centers (APPIC). After matches are finalized, the Training Director contacts the intern’s academic program to invite them to offer guidance in identifying and working with the intern’s individual needs. While the internship provides all interns with a common core of experiences, each intern may also develop minor specific training emphases. To assist in this, and in preparation for the start of the fall semester, the summer orientation will acquaint the intern with agency policies and procedures, applicable state laws, university regulations, ethical considerations and referral sources. The intern therefore begins the academic year with knowledge of the work environment, an outline of their training year, and collegial contact and support. We follow the orientation with a contracting process, repeated each semester.

We use the online AAPI for our application. You can access the online AAPI at http://www.appic.org.

This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC Policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant prior to Uniform Notification Day.