Philosophy of the Training Program
The CAPS philosophy of training is grounded in the practitioner-scholar model. The CAPS predoctoral internship program in professional psychology emphasizes the practitioner side of that perspective while instilling a scientific attitude in the approach to practice. The training staff is dedicated to creating an environment in which science and practice inform each other and to mentoring upcoming professionals in such an environment. Staff members demonstrate a scientific attitude applicable to the practitioner side of psychology through critical thinking and inquiry regarding clinical issues. The staff approaches the assessment of clinical problems by generating hypotheses, selecting interventions with awareness of their empirical and professional credibility, and evaluating the efficacy of those interventions in a practice setting. The internal and external programming of CAPS is guided by a process of identifying needs in the university community and through evaluating responses to efforts made to address those needs. Interns also participate in a research seminar where research is discussed, critiqued and applied to clinical work.
The CAPS staff believes that the competencies of a practicing psychologist are best acquired and enhanced by substantial hands-on experience under close supervision, modeling by supervisors and professional colleagues, and consultation with established professionals. Equally important is the experience of being included on a professional team as a respected and contributing member. Interns are entrusted to carry clinical case loads and other professional duties comparable to those expected of senior staff. Accessible, adequate supervision and support make this a valuable learning experience.
Staff members of CAPS take the training of new mental health professionals very seriously. They allocate and guard the time required for selection, orientation, training and careful supervision of student staff members. The staff of CAPS is a multidisciplinary team of professionals who contribute a number of theoretical orientations to the clinical work of CAPS and to the training of new professionals. Over the more than 20 year history of the agency, staff members have developed an attitude of appreciation for the uniqueness of each member of the team. They are committed to promoting a supportive learning environment which values and utilizes differences in the perspectives and strengths of individuals. Trainees have the distinct advantage of working on a multidisciplinary team that includes counseling and clinical psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists who represent a variety of theoretical perspectives.
Reciprocal and timely communication are strongly encouraged. Problem areas, questions, or uncertainties are dealt with directly and promptly. Senior staff members are expected to share their work as are interns and practicum students in an effort to foster continued growth as a staff and as individuals. Areas of interest, strength and concern in trainees are accommodated with opportunities for growth whenever possible. Ethical codes for psychologists, social workers and physicians are applied routinely in staff consultations and treatment planning. In addition, CAPS emphasizes the opportunity and obligation of trainees to serve diverse populations with knowledge, respect, and sensitivity. Diversity issues are addressed through didactic seminars, case discussions, participation in campus multicultural events and in ongoing examination of differences among clients and staff.