The Doctoral Internship in Psychology is a 2,000 hour program. Interns commit at least 40 hours per week for 12 consecutive months. These figures are what most state licensing boards require.
Interns are expected to fully commit to the training experience with us at CHWS. We'll be excited to have you with us, and hope for that feeling to be mutual. Interns are expected to anticipate and plan for any conflicting responsibilities like commute time, conference attendance, child/elder care, job start-date and long-distance move time. Due to the nature and pace of our clinical work and the need to be in constant communication with one another, flex time and condensed work weeks are not possible, nor are part-time internships over a two-year period.
The internship runs from August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2017, over 12 consecutive months. We ask interns to take a week of vacation at the end of July, to allow the staff time between internship classes.
The traditional business day for Psychology Staff at Counseling, Health, & Wellness Services is 8:00am - 5:00pm with an hour for lunch from noon to 1 pm. Psychology Staff (which includes interns) arrange the flow of our own calendar, so you may schedule your clients, supervision, project time, paperwork time, etc. around your meetings and seminars as you see fit.
Limit-setting and maintaining personal balance are valued here. We believe interns can challenge themselves without being stretched too thin, so there is no expectation that trainees take on every project opportunity that presents itself. Ironically, past interns have found that they're most likely to get stressed when they take on more therapy clients than we require of them. It's probably fair to attribute this in part to how busy we are clinically during the academic year and in part to how satisfying our therapy population is to work with. In any case, designing your lives (or our own) to be unnecessarily intense is not part of the plan. In general, being able to set limits with clients about frequency and duration of treatment is a big determinant of how manageable your week will feel.
On the other hand, the work week often demands more than 40 hours of us at times. Crisis response, case documentation, presenting outreach programs, advising student organizations and co-leading therapy groups are examples of activities that may call for work beyond traditional business hours. As professionals, we naturally dedicate as much time to projects as doing them well calls for. You might think of the work culture here as quality-driven and humane. We leave at 5:00 pm when we can and we stay later when we need to. Taking advantage of special training opportunities (e.g., facilitating a group until 6:00 pm, doing an evening outreach at a Greek house) may mean working beyond the traditional business day.
One of the benefits, from our perspective, of working at a small university is the natural ebb and flow of the academic calendar. We are incredibly busy during the academic year and it is not uncommon for both interns and psychologists to work over 40 hours/week during Fall and Spring semesters. However, during break periods (such as winter break and summer), the pace of life slows considerably and we are able to catch up on projects and savor a laid-back work environment (e.g., several staff attend yoga during the noon hour in the summer). Being able to see the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel" tends to help interns cope with the intensity the academic semesters bring.
The Training Activity Plan outlines the estimated time we expect interns will devote to the various training activities. In general, interns devote about half their time to direct service activities like seeing clients, facilitating groups, covering walk-in hours and doing intake assessments. The remaining half is with seminars, meetings, consultations, outreach, documentation, supervision, discretionary activities and so forth.
Trainees are responsible for maintaining the quality and quantity of their individual caseloads and their client files. Interns are expected to be prepared for supervision and meetings. While this is the majority of the work week, interns also have four to six hours of discretionary activities. Interns each choose activities from a varied menu of projects. These activities are intended to individualize the training experience and to expose interns to the breadth of roles a university-based psychologist may play. Discretionary activities are often fun, since there are interesting roles to undertake on a small campus, where your leadership and creativity are really felt. Involvement with diverse training activities is encouraged, and interns are expected to exercise balance.
CHWS espouses a training sequence that is developmental in nature, such that interns experience increasing challenge and autonomy as the year progresses. The earlier phases of training involve more goal-setting, didactic content and co-facilitated experiences. As the year progresses, interns are expected to assume increasing responsibility and clinical complexity. We transition together into their more advanced professional roles as discussant, leader and supervisor from their earlier ones as student, co-leader and supervisee.
Key to accomplishing the goal of a developmental sequence is the ability to match training opportunities and challenges to intern interests and current skills. We work hard to integrate multiple sources of information, including the intern's assessment of his or her own training needs, in creating opportunities that will be on-target developmentally.
The thoughtful use of evaluation measures is an important part of this process. Evaluations are intended to provide interns and home departments with feedback about the trainee's progress, of course, and thus they communicate our expectations. But evaluations are also important for eliciting interns' analysis of their growth. Evals enable interns to observe the feedback process modeled by CHWS supervisors and to develop their own feedback style with their practicum supervisees. Finally, evaluation of our training program by current interns helps us further refine our program. Evaluation is a two-way process, and is intended to be an illuminating experience rather than a critical one for all involved.
Interns are provided copies of the forms we use for written evaluations when they first arrive. We walk through these together, orienting trainees to the areas in which they may expect to learn and be evaluated. The expected competencies are detailed in our goals section. Examples of these skill areas appear below. Each supervisor an intern works with (individual therapy, group therapy, substance abuse prevention, and sup-of-supervision) will provide two evaluations per semester: An informal one at the halfway point, to assess progress and facilitate discussion of the supervision process, and a formal one at semester's end. These formal, end-of-semester evaluations will be forwarded to the intern's graduate program. If an intern were to struggle to meet minimal levels of competency, the training director and the training team would create a remediation plan. A copy of the Due Process and Grievance Procedures is available here.