Components of Intern Training



The first two to three weeks of August are largely devoted to orientation. During this time interns settle into their offices, meet staff and familiarize themselves with the campus, with the community, and with particulars of their training program. A procedural orientation for psychology interns and counseling psychology practicum students is held prior to the start of fall classes. The goal is for trainees to become familiar with the manual that outlines what is expected of them. It also provides instruction in policies and procedures, courses of action for grievance or due process concerns, and performance evaluation procedures. Continuing orientation is conducted by individual clinical supervisors or by the Training Director as the new trainee staff settles in to the work of the center. The supervisor(s) of each training component spend time in the early fall orienting new trainees to the specific tasks and skills required for their area of the program.

Supervision of Individual Therapy (individual format with primary supervisor)

Close, regular supervision is regarded as central to the internship experience. Interns are assigned a primary supervisor for the entire year. Interns receive supervision from this supervisor at least two hours per week. The functions of the primary supervisor include monitoring client welfare, enhancing intern clinical skills, promoting the interns' professional growth, and evaluating intern progress in these areas. A document entitled "Rights and Responsibilities in Clinical Supervision" is included in the training manual and outlines expectations for the supervisee and the supervisor in all supervisory relationships at CAPS.

Supervision of Individual Therapy (individual format with secondary supervisor)

Interns select a secondary clinical supervisor each semester from whom they receive one hour of supervision per week. The focus is on one client; the secondary supervisor has legal and ethical responsibility for that client.

Supervision of Group Therapy (individual format)

Interns co-lead a group with a senior staff member who provides supervision for the interns' group work. Supervision of this work is scheduled for 30 to 60 minutes during which group theory, group dynamics, the intern's role, the relationship of the co-leaders, and the progress of group members are reviewed. While interns usually stay with the group and leader for the entire year, in the second semester interns may lead a group on their own or with another intern while continuing to receive supervision from a senior staff member. The supervisor reviews and co-signs all group notes.

Case Consultation Seminar

The interns meet for one hour each week with a psychology and social work staff member to discuss theory, case conceptualization, diagnoses, treatment and disposition using ongoing clinical case material. The group may also consult about other issues of clinical importance. The pair of senior staff rotates over the course of the year so interns have experience with a number of different perspectives and approaches.

Supervision-of-Supervision (group format)

Interns spend one hour per week supervising a doctoral level counseling psychology practicum student on one of his/her cases, and are required to video record (via webcam) the supervision sessions. Interns meet with the Training Director for 2 ½ hours each week for group supervision-of-supervision. Initially, a context of models of supervision and possible supervisor roles may be provided through discussions and readings.  However, the emphasis is on experiential learning and on group discussion generated by viewing interns' video-recordings of their supervision sessions.  It is expected that general issues and/or topics will emerge from the specifics of each session viewed including the developmental nature of supervision, the various tasks of supervision, the concept of parallel process, boundaries, countertransference, and ethical and legal considerations.  Interns are expected to preview their recordings and to come prepared with questions, problems or issues to discuss with the group.  Both the intern and the senior staff supervisor review the practicum students’ case notes and they are signed by the Training Director. The group format allows interns an opportunity to give feedback to others about their work and is an important aspect of the learning process.  Supervision of a practicum student and the supervision-of-supervision sessions are conducted for one academic year, August through May. Interns participate with senior staff in performance evaluation meetings of practicum students at the end of each semester.

This is the one time each week when the interns are scheduled to meet with the Training Director. Up to thirty minutes of this meeting is used to conduct other business as needed (e.g., questions about policies or procedures, or discussion of professional development or ethical issues).

Outreach and Consultation Seminar/Supervision (combined individual and group format)

The Outreach Coordinator, Eric Lowery, LSCSW, organizes the didactics for this component of the program, and provides supervision of outreach, consultation and liaison activities and supervision of the supervision of the HOPE@CAPS Mental Health Peer Educators. The two hour meetings are scheduled weekly for the first two months and then on a biweekly or monthly basis. She meets with the interns as a group and also may meet with trainees individually as needed to discuss specific outreach activities. 

Assessment and Evaluation Seminar/Supervision (combined individual and group format)

Interns meet weekly for two hours throughout the year with the Assessment Coordinator. Initially the seminar focuses on diagnostic assessment and how treatment planning follows this assessment.  Underlying areas of disturbance and inference mapping are the focus of the seminar.  The seminar is used to discuss assessment techniques and the selection of appropriate assessment instruments. The idea of using testing data to serve as information for other clinicians is explored and the interns serve as consultants to other clinicians at CAPS. The idea of therapeutic assessment is introduced and explored. As the year progresses, the content of the seminar is driven largely by the needs of interns’ clinical cases that are selected for exploration in the seminar.  Assessment of personality functioning, intellectual functioning, attention problems as well as development and diversity issues are explored. Dr. Wechselblatt meets with the interns as a group and may also meet with interns individually as needed to discuss assessment cases.

Clinical, Multicultural, Professional Issues Seminar

This seminar meets weekly for two hours throughout the year. The seminar is taught by senior staff members and by professionals from the campus and community who have expertise in particular areas.  General categories addressed include clinical, multicultural and professional issues. Specific topics within these categories may vary from year to year as chosen by the Training Director and guided by feedback from interns and other staff members.

Clinical: Past topics have included Clinical Interviewing; Personality Disorders; Bipolar Disorder; Psychotropic Medication; Mindfulness; and Sexual Disorders.

Multicultural: Past topics have included: Spirituality/Religion; Disability Issues; Race; Working with Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Clients; Transgender Clients; and SES/Class.

Professional: Past topics have included: Boundary Issues in Therapy; Ethical Issues in Supervision; Tips and Strategies for the Job Search; Transition to Professional Role/Entering a New System; and Licensure.

Additional Opportunities

The CAPS training staff tries to accommodate special areas of interns' interest with opportunities to receive additional experience in those areas. Clinically, if an intern wants additional experience with certain presenting issues, such as eating disorders or ADHD, that request is communicated to the primary supervisor and arrangements can be made to provide the intern with more exposure and supervision in that area. Opportunities to co-teach a course, to sit in on the administrative meetings of the agency, or to make special arrangements for training from resource persons such as the substance abuse specialist or health center physicians have been developed in the past.