Internship Goals and Expected Competencies

Internship represents the capstone of a new psychologist's formal academic training and his/her induction into the profession.  In keeping with the general mission and philosophy of the training program, it is designed to assist interns in developing scientific and practice skills appropriate to those of a generalist working with adults at the competency of an entry-level psychologist.

Interns are expected to demonstrate the competency of an entry-level psychologist in the following areas:

  • Research
  • Ethical and legal standards
  • Individual and cultural diversity
  • Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills

More specifically, our program has three overarching goals that guide the training we provide.

  1. To train generalist practitioners in the profession of psychology.

To achieve this goal interns are trained to provide direct service in a variety of clinical domains including individual and group therapy, assessment/evaluation, and crisis intervention.

  1. To train psychologists to broaden the scope of their services beyond those provided to clients.

To achieve this goal interns are trained to provide supervision, outreach, psycho-education, and consultation.

  1. To train psychologists to develop and to be guided by their professional identity.

To achieve this goal ethics and professionalism are topics that are introduced during orientation and discussed in many venues throughout the year. Also, staff serve as models and mentors to interns. Professionalism encompasses values, attitudes and behaviors as well as communication and interpersonal skills.


Interns are expected to leave the internship with general skills in both assessment/evaluation and psychotherapy.  Assessment is viewed as a broad and ongoing process. It requires the integration of observation and interview data and may include psychological testing.  Developmental and medical data also are considered.  The ongoing assessment process continues to guide decisions throughout the treatment process. 

Interns participate in an assessment/evaluation seminar.  This seminar is used to discuss general skills in the evaluation of clients and delivery of psychotherapy. In addition, evaluation and inference making are emphasized. A session on screening and crisis intervention is taught early in the year. 

Throughout the year, interns are expected to spend half of their total time (20 hours per week) in direct service activities. Individual, couple and group modalities are all utilized.  In support of this work, interns are expected to prepare for and participate in 3.5 hours of individual supervision per week (three hours for individual therapy cases and .5 hours for group therapy).  Video recording (via web cam) of some clinical sessions is required.  Supervision emphasizes the theoretical and/or empirical bases for selection of interventions with continuing evaluation of the efficacy of treatment.  Supervisors also emphasize that ethical and effective treatment planning must consider individual or cultural differences which may influence the client's response to treatment.  Weekly case consultation seminar also supports growth in this area.  Interns typically co-lead a group with a senior staff member for at least the first semester. After that, interns may conduct groups on their own or with another trainee.

Interns' clinical assessment and intervention skills are periodically formally evaluated in individual and group supervision and in co-therapy experiences with senior staff members. In addition staff members regularly observe interns' work through their presentations (including two formal case presentations) and/or participation in the following seminars: case consultation, assessment and evaluation, and clinical, multicultural, professional issues. Feedback is provided to interns in each of these settings in an ongoing, informal way. 

Didactic support to enhance clinical skills is provided in the clinical, multicultural, professional issues seminar where topics are devoted to areas of clinical concern including increasing multicultural competence, as well as professional development issues.

Interns are expected to demonstrate critical thinking and awareness of relevant literature and consider whether or not it generalizes to the specific case or situation at hand. Generation and evaluation of clinical hypotheses and discussion of professional literature are integrated into many activities in the training program.

Interns are expected to develop the clinical supervision skills required of practicing professional psychologists.  Interns supervise a doctoral level counseling psychology practicum student for two semesters.  One hour per week is spent supervising the student on one of his/her cases.  Interns are required to video-record these sessions. A senior-staff psychologist then supervises this work in a weekly 2.5 hour group supervision-of-supervision session.  These sessions may involve discussion of developmental supervision theory, presentation and discussion of interns' supervision recordings, as well as viewing and discussing supervisees’ sessions with clients.

Interns are expected to develop competence in basic skills of outreach, psycho-education, and consultation. Interns are expected to develop a working relationship with at least one campus organization or department.  Interns are supported and trained to develop and present outreach presentations throughout the year, and are expected to participate in other outreach activities of the center such as information fairs and awareness events.  Interns will also contribute to social media (Facebook, etc.) and will conduct media interviews with campus newspaper or radio reporters as assigned. The senior staff supervisor for this component of the program meets regularly with the interns as a group and also provides individual consultation with the interns prior to the delivery of presentations or media interviews. Interns request written feedback from participants to assist in evaluating the presentations or programs they provide.


Interns are expected to demonstrate an increasing ability to function as autonomous professionals as they integrate academic learning with the applied experiences of the internship.  This includes the ability to function within the standards of the profession and to make decisions consistent with the ethical guidelines of APA.  It also requires self-awareness, growing confidence in one's ability to make sound clinical and professional judgments, knowledge and skill when dealing with issues of diversity, and an attitude open to learning.  Professional relationships within and outside of CAPS are also seen as an important element of this growth area.

Interns participate in the following weekly seminars: assessment and evaluation; clinical, multicultural, professional issues; and case consultation. Interns also schedule a weekly time to meet with each other. There is no set agenda for this meeting. The time could be used to consult about clinical material or issues, or to process their internship experience.