Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology

“Psychologists are recognized as Health Service Providers if they are duly trained and experienced in the delivery of preventive, assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic intervention services relative to the psychological and physical health of consumers based on: 1) having completed scientific and professional training resulting in a doctoral degree in psychology; 2) having completed an internship and supervised experience in health care settings; and 3) having been licensed as psychologists at the independent practice level” (APA,1996; APA, 2011).  The Student Counseling Service at Texas A&M University adheres to the principles of the Health Service Psychology Education Collaborative (APA 2013, August 5). For more information please see:  http://www.apa.org/ed/resources/preparing-competent-practitioners.pdf

  MISSION AND PHILOSOPHY

The mission of training at the SCS is to develop knowledgeable, compassionate, and authentic practitioners in the art and science of counseling and psychotherapy. We believe becoming a skilled professional is a life long process that requires continuous personal exploration, enthusiasm for learning, openness to change, and growing self-awareness. Fostering honor and respect for diversity is an essential part of this mission.

We strive to provide a safe environment that promotes understanding of one's self, passion for the work, development of therapeutic skills, growing autonomy, commitment to the craft and an investment in one's personal and professional journey. Furthermore, we value an affirming attitude towards all forms of diversity including, but not limited to: racial,ethnic,cultural and/or gender identity, sexual orientation, abledness, age, spirituality and social class.


  MODEL

The foundation of our approach to training is a practitioner model. The emphasis is upon learning through the practical application of evidence-based practice in psychology. "Evidence-based practice in psychology is the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences." (American Psychologist, May-June 2006) More information about evidence-based practice in psychology can be found here. The intern is expected to increase his or her knowledge and skills by providing service to clients and engaging in related professional behavior while under close supervision. It is the intern's relationships with clients, supervisors, other practitioners (including other interns), and the professional literature which provide the information for learning. The intern intervenes with clients based upon the information obtained, reflects upon the process and outcome of the interventions, and then plans future interventions based upon an integration of the experience. Through this pragmatic approach, the intern becomes both more effective in applying general knowledge to specific cases and better able to generate useful theories for future testing through application. Didactic, skill building seminars, individual and small group tutorials, role-modeling and consultative guidance are used as supplementary learning methods.

We take a developmental view of our training mission, aiming to help the intern transition from the student- trainee role to professional colleague. This begins with the selection of well-prepared intern applicants who value a life-long learning process. During the early phases of the internship year the intern is oriented and immersed in the life of the agency. Throughout the entire year, interns are respected and valued as important and contributing members of the staff. As the intern makes progress through the year, he or she is encouraged to act with increasing independence and autonomy.

We believe exiting interns should exhibit a high degree of professionalism. This includes:

  • adherence to appropriate ethical and legal standards,
  • a scholarly approach to their work,
  • an awareness of significant challenges and trends within the field,
  • the development and implementation of life-long professional development activities,
  • awareness and skill with individual and cultural diversity,
  • a continual examination of personal world views and their impact on professional functioning,
  • effective organizational behavior,
  • a healthy relationship between personal and professional life,
  • and a sense of responsibility to contribute to the welfare of the profession and society.

  THE INTERNSHIP POSITION, SALARY, AND BENEFITS

Each internship position, formally entitled "Psychology Intern," is a full-time (40 hours per week) university employee position. Consequently, interns are provided with certain employee benefits and are given opportunities to take advantage of others. These benefits are listed below.

  1. Sick Leave accrued at the rate of eight hours per month.
  2. Annual leave accrued at the rate of eight hours per month, which may be used after three consecutive months of employment have been completed.
  3. Staff holidays (approximately 13 days, most of which occur between fall and spring semesters).
  4. Release time for professional development activities (e.g., conventions, workshops).
  5. Basic Life Insurance coverage, if enrolled in an A&M System Health Plan ($7,500 employee, $5,000 per dependent child).
  6. Required participation in TRS.
  7. After the first 60 days of employment, eligibility for the following optional insurance programs:
    1. Health Insurance
    2. Additional Life Insurance
    3. Dependent Life Insurance
    4. Long-term Disability Insurance
    5. Accidental Death and Dismemberment Benefit.
  8. Workers' Compensation coverage provided at no cost to the employee.

During the current 2016-2017 academic year, the State of Texas is providing for each employee the sum of $598.00 per month for employees without dependents and a variable amount up to $993.47 per month for employees with dependents, to be applied to health insurance and basic life insurance.

Intern salaries for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year are projected to be $30,212. The following internship training year will begin on August 1, 2017 and will end on July 31, 2018. Salary will be received in monthly installments beginning September 1, 2017, and ending on August 1, 2018.


  ESTIMATED WEEKLY INTERNSHIP ACTIVITY
 

  Hours Per Week
  Fall Spring Summer
Total Hours 40 40 40
 
Direct Service 21.5 21.5 21.5
Individual/Couples Personal Counseling 8 8 8
*Group Counseling 2 2 Optional
Daytime Crisis Counseling 2 2 2
Screenings 3 3 2
Supervision of Practicum Student 0 2 Optional
Consultation and Outreach 0.5 0.5 0.5
Training Option 2 2 6
 
Training 16.5 15.5 10
Primary Supervision 2 2 2
Career/Assessment Consultation 1 0 Optional
Supervision of Supervision 0 2 Optional
Supervision of Group Work 1 1 Optional
Supervision Preparation 2 4 2
Intern Support Meeting 1 1 1
Professional Seminar 2 2 2
Topic Multicultural Seminar 2 2 2
Case Conference 1 1 1
 
Training Option 1 1 Optional
Staff Meeting 1 1 1
Committee Meeting 1 1 1
 
Administration/Case Management/Consultation 2 2 2

Notes:

  1. * 1 group = 2 hours (1.5 hrs of counseling and .5 hrs of supervision by the co-leader.)

  INTERNSHIP ACTIVITIES

Most of the activities required of interns mirror the normal direct service and administrative schedules of the full-time psychologists employed at the SCS. Additionally, interns participate in a standard set of supervision, educational, and support meetings. The activities, which constitute the internship experience, are described below.

Direct Service

Individual/Couples Personal Counseling

The Student Counseling Service strives to provide the greatest benefit to the most students in the shortest amount of time. Throughout our history at the SCS we have wrestled with what it means both philosophically and practically to be a short-term agency. This struggle is born out of our belief that flexibility, creativity and a respect for the therapist's clinical judgment are key elements in creating a healthy therapeutic alliance and helping clients move forward. In our desire to foster growth and respect in clinical judgment and to encourage clinicians to think "outside of the box," we developed the case review process. The Case Review Committee is a seven person team composed of psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed professional counselors, an intern, and the case referral coordinator. After a client has been seen for 15 sessions and the clinician believes that more than 20 sessions would be of benefit, this case is brought before The Case Review Committee. As a therapist presents a case he/she is asked to include the treatment plan and goals, progress made by the client and the current psychological needs of the client. Therapists work with the committee to determine whether or not the client's needs can still be best conceptualized with short-term principles or whether the client would be better served with more consistent long-term psychotherapy. We believe this process encourages us to value clinical judgment and the needs of our clients while keeping in the forefront of our minds our short-term mission.

Group Counseling

Each intern is required to co-lead with a senior staff member at least one group during the fall semester. During the spring interns are required to co-lead 1 academic or career group plus one other group of their choice. It is expected that one of the groups will be processed oriented. Although individual counseling at the SCS is offered through a brief therapy model, group counseling can be longer term in nature.

Expressed needs of SCS clients determine the number and content of groups. Sometimes, in order to meet a newly defined need or to deal with client press, new groups are formed during the course of the semester. Types of groups that are offered include general process groups, structured groups, and groups with a particular theme.

Daytime Crisis Counseling

Training in crisis intervention occurs in the initial orientation of interns and throughout the year as each intern works closely with several staff psychologists in the delivery of crisis services.

Screenings

In an initial session an intern is responsible for clarifying the presenting problem(s), assessing the need for immediate intervention, creating an initial treatment plan, and evaluating the appropriateness of the SCS to meet the client's needs. It is incumbent on the intern to make an appropriate disposition.

Career Counseling

The SCS is strongly committed to assisting students with academic performance and career development issues. Additionally, career counseling services at the SCS are designed to support retention of first generation college students. Training in career counseling uses a holistic approach.

Supervision of Practicum Students

Interns provide supervision to practicum students during the fall with the option of continuing in the spring. Practicum students most often come from the doctoral counseling psychology program at Texas A&M, although relationships with the Texas A&M clinical psychology program and counseling-related programs at other nearby universities have also been established.

Consultation and Outreach

Interns provide consultation with faculty, staff, and family members of students. Outreach consists of topical presentations to various campus groups. Interns are required to conduct at least ten outreach programs during the internship year.

Supervision/Training

Primary Supervision

Quality supervision is seen as the cornerstone of our training program and is highly valued by the entire staff. The intern is assigned two primary supervisors, both licensed psychologists, during the year, one for the Fall semester and one for the Spring and Summer terms. Intern preferences are strongly considered in the selection of supervisors. Primary supervisors meet weekly with the training director to consult with each other regarding training issues and work on enhancing the supervisory process.

Most professional staff members will, at some time during the year, interact with each intern in supervision and/or consultation roles. This unscheduled supervision/consultation occurs regularly in crisis intervention situations, co-facilitation of groups, co-therapy and case conference.

Career/Assessment Consultation

During the fall semester, interns receive scheduled consultation from a staff counselor or psychologist who is especially skilled in career and assessment counseling. Interns have the option of additional consultation or assessment in the spring.

Supervision of Practicum Counselors

Interns meet as a group for two hours each week for supervision of supervision of practicum counselors. The interns are supervised by two psychologists who co-coordinate the SCS practicum program.

Supervision of Group Work

Throughout the year, interns meet as a group for supervision regarding group issues with the Group Coordinator. Additional supervision is provided by the SCS staff member who is facilitating a group with the intern.

Professional Seminar

Professional seminars are designed to provide theoretical and applied information related to SCS service delivery. Additionally, these seminars are created based on intern needs. Some of the topics typically presented are listed below:

  • Change Process Conceptualization
  • Substance Abuse
  • Psychiatric Issues in College Students
  • Job Search Strategies
  • Clinical Issues (e.g., grief and loss, eating disorders, personality disorders, abuse survivors).
  • Psychological Evaluation
  • Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Empirically Based Treatment Practices
  • Mind & Body/Health

Intern Support Meeting

Interns meet weekly as a group with the training director. Interns openly discuss all aspects of the internship such as quality of intern seminars, case management concerns, staff/intern relationships and professional development issues. The training director serves as an advocate for intern growth and development.

Supervision Preparation

Interns are expected to spend at least two hours per week preparing for supervision. Activities during this time include reviewing tapes, reading, and consulting with other staff.

Case Conference

The weekly case conference meeting provides an open forum for interns and professional staff members to share and consult regarding current counseling cases. Through case conference, interns gain insight into how other professional staff members conceptualize client issues and deliver direct service. The composition of the case conference groups is changed at the beginning of each semester, which allows interns to interact with most of the professional staff in a small group format during their training year.

Training Options

Training options are developed in order to provide interns greater flexibility in tailoring their internship experience to meet their unique interests and needs. Interns may negotiate and contract with a SCS psychologist/counselor to receive specialized training in an area of mutual interest. Content and focus of the training option can be adapted to meet the needs and expectations of the intern, and may include supervision for specialized cases, didactic instruction, readings and literature review, watching of instructional videos, and opportunities to develop and/ or participate in workshops, groups, and outreach programming.

The following list is provided as a sample of possible training options, and these may or may not be available every semester. This list is not exhaustive, and an intern can create his/her own training option by negotiating with a staff member who has interest in that topic.

Supervision in an area of interest

Alcohol & Drug Abuse 
Biofeedback
Brief Therapy
Crisis Intervention
Integrated Healthcare
Interpersonal Process
Psychiatric Consultation 
Psychological Assessment

Specialized Cases

Anger Issues
Anxiety Disorders
Eating Disorders
First Generation College Students
International Students
Returning Veterans
Sexual Assault
Sexual Orientation
Student Athletes
Trauma Work

Administrative Topics

Administrative Issues Related to Clinical Services
Case Management
General Administrative Issues
HelpLine

Training options completed by our interns over the past five years:

Anger Management Issues
Biofeedback
Dissertation Focus
Eating Disorders
GLBT Issues/ Sexual Orientation
Leading an extra group
Psychiatric Consultations
Trauma Work
Sexual Assault
Spirituality
Student Athletes
Supervision of Practicum Supervision
Mind/Body in Psychotherapy
Alcohol & Substance Abuse Issues

Committee Work

From the outset of the training year, interns are viewed as administratively responsible individuals whose opinions and skills are highly valued. Consequently, interns can participate in one of the following committee meetings throughout the year

Clinical Services Committee.

The purpose of the Clinical Services Committee is to ensure that Texas A&M students receive the most prompt, effective, ethical and appropriate clinical services possible at any given time. This is accomplished through on-going evaluation of the service delivery process and the drafting of recommended service delivery policies and procedures. The committee is chaired by the associate director who coordinates clinical services.

Training Committee.

The Training Committee has several purposes: to provide for the continuity of the training program (including the internship and practicum programs), to assess the training program regularly as it relates to departmental needs, and to facilitate improvements in various aspects of the training program. The committee is chaired by the training director.

Case Review Committee

Interns also have an opportunity to service as a member of the Case Review Committee (described in more detail above under Direct Service, Individual/Couples Personal Counseling). This committee meets weekly to consult with fellow staff members who are requesting to see a client beyond our typical number of sessions and/or who are requesting assistance in making a decision on whether or not a client would get the best treatment at the SCS or through an outside provider.

Diversity Initiatives Committee

This committee focuses on professional development, clinical services, resources, outreach programming, liaison relationships, and campus community involvement that further awareness of and respect for diversity. The Diversity Committee supports the mission of the Student Counseling Service in supporting and fostering an environment in which everyone is respected, welcomed, and appreciated.

Outcomes and Assessment Committee

The Outcomes and Assessment Committee focuses on ways to measure and evaluate the services provided at the Student Counseling Service.  We are currently working to identify practical and beneficial ways to identify the impact of our services.  That information will assist in describing the relevance/importance of our services to the university community and informing ways to enhance those services.  Potential members may have interests in research (results of SCS data collection and comparisons to national data), the use of technology in evaluation, and identifying implications of the assessment outcomes.  Current efforts will focus on researching and creating protocols for using information stored in Titanium related to client concerns and conducting periodic evaluation of changes in client-reported concerns.
 


  MULTICULTURAL TRAINING MODEL

Topic Multicultural Seminar

The topic multicultural seminar will meet during orientation, early fall and early spring semesters. These seminars will provide interns with information regarding specific topics related to the APPIC Guidelines regarding multicultural competencies.

Topics may include, but are not limited to: Racial Identity, Ethnic or Cultural Identity, Gender, Level of Acculturation, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Abledness, Age, Spirituality/Religion, Social Class, Language, and Aggie Culture/Corps of Cadets.

Use of Self within Personal Multicultural Landscape Group

During the course of the year the interns will participate in three to four all day "mini" marathon groups where the focus is self awareness and the use of self related to multicultural issues. Two professional staff members will lead the group where interns are encouraged, but not required, to explore historical influences of self that may affect subsequent clinical practice related to culture. The internship training program functions in a manner consistent with the American Psychological Association's 2002 Ethical Standard 7.04 (Student Disclosure of Personal Information) as contained in the Revised Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002).


  ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND TRAINING EXPERIENCES

Orientation

Interns take part in a comprehensive orientation during their first month at Texas A&M. The primary goals of the orientation program are to give interns a substantial amount of basic information about the SCS and acquaint interns with the individuals with whom they will be working in a variety of professional relationships.

The SCS and the larger university community present the interns with many possibilities for learning beyond those specified as core activities and training options. Interns are exposed to all of the resources and opportunities listed below and sometimes utilize them to develop specialized training options.

Case Presentations

Each intern is required to give two formal case presentations, with assessment instruments, to the SCS professional staff.  Presenting a client case provides an opportunity for interns to articulate to the SCS staff their theoretical orientation and demonstrate their case conceptualization skills. This type of experience should also help prepare the intern to discuss his or her therapeutic style and give effective case presentations in future job interviews.

Ethnic Diversity and Professional Development

The Texas A&M University Student body is composed of students with diverse ethnic backgrounds. Students from all over the world are enrolled in graduate or undergraduate programs. This cultural diversity gives interns the opportunity to gain experience in multicultural counseling with international students as well as with Hispanic and African-American students. Interns are encouraged to co-lead the International Cultural Group and deliver other programs to international students. Also, the more than 2,000 international students create and attract a wide variety of cultural events throughout the year. Opportunities with Hispanic and African-American students include co-leading support groups, drop-in counseling, and outreach programming, To enhance their own personal growth, interns can find opportunities for networking and socializing with cultural groups similar to and different from their own.

Technology Resources

Webcams
Each workstation is connected to a Logitech USB QuickCam 5000, which is mapped to a centrally located storage space housing each counselor's video folder allowing supervisors to view their recordings.

Electronic client notes and scheduling
Praxis is an accessible, web-based intranet application that services core counseling center functions. Many of these functions work in conjunction with our installation of Titanium Schedule software, and provide access to client information, case notes, supervisory and administrative functions, etc.

Biofeedback Training (http://www.scs.tamu.edu/biofeedback)

A biofeedback training program is available to students upon the recommendation of SCS professional staff members or Health Center Staff members. Interns are trained in the use of biofeedback and can receive adjunct supervision in this modality.

Psychiatric Consultation

The SCS employs one full-time, board certified psychiatrists and one full-time, psychiatric nurse practitioner whose primary functions are providing services for SCS clients and consultation with SCS staff. Interns have opportunities to be involved with the psychiatrist in a number of training program activities including observation and occasional participation in client evaluations, consultation regarding treatment strategies, and information exchange regarding professional development and special areas of expertise. In addition, the psychiatrist provides didactic presentations regarding psychopharmacology, assessment procedures and treatment interventions.

Student Counseling HelpLine (optional) (http://www.scs.tamu.edu/?q=node/122)

The HelpLine provides a "listening ear," information, support, referrals, and crisis intervention for Texas A &M students. Interns have many training options available through the HelpLine. During initial HelpLine training, interns have often provided content sessions, demonstrations, and supervision of the small-group role play training that occurs daily during the six days of the training week. Interns have occasionally provided continuing education sessions for the HelpLine workers. Interns can co-lead, for one or more semesters, one of the on-going weekly small group supervision sessions required for all HelpLine workers. Interns may also elect to provide direct coverage of the HelpLine or assistance with the administrative side of running a crisis hot line.

Interns have the chance to serve as informal role-models and mentors to HelpLine students, many of whom are planning to enter the mental health or medical field. Interns report hat this is quite enjoyable and fulfilling, and it provides a nice balance and contrast to the more typical interactions they have with students through the counseling relationship.

First Job Placement Information

Our interns typically secure employment prior to the end of their internship, with 47% finding first placement at a counseling center, 21% in private practice, 15% in school districts, 5% in academia, and 10% choosing to delay post graduate employment.

Multicultural Conference

The Student Counseling Service at Texas A&M University has hosted an annual "College Counseling in a Multicultural World" Multicultural Conference since 2004 at which nationally known speakers have been invited to address multicultural concerns faced by today's college students.

Past Conference Foci and Presenters:

Hispanic Students - Melba Vasquez, Ph.D. Emil Rodolfa, Ph.D. & Patricia Arredondo, Ph.D.
African American Students - Thomas Parham, Ph.D. & Joe Feagin, Ph.D.
Asian Students - Alvin Alvarez, Ph.D. Karen Suyemoto, Ph.D. & Stanley Sue, Ph.D.
GLBT Students - Ruperto M. (Toti) Perez, Ph.D. & Laura S. Brown, Ph.D.
International Students - Paul B. Pedersen, Ph.D. & Nancy Arthur, Ph.D.
Spirituality - Mary A. Fukuyama, Ph.D.
Asperger’s Syndrome - Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D. & Lorraine Wolf, Ph.D.
Multiracial College Students - Kelley Kenney, PhD., & Mr. Mark Kenney
Returning Veteran Students - John Mundt, Ph.D.
Undocumented College Students - Joseph M. Cervantes, Ph.D.
South Asian Students - Farah A. Ibrahim, Ph.D.
Women's Issues in College Counseling - Dr. Carmen Cruz, Psy.D. & Dr. Ellen Greenwald, Ph.D.


  EVALUATION OF INTERNS, SUPERVISORS, AND THE TRAINING PROGRAM

During each supervisory rotation, supervisors and interns are involved in both formal and informal evaluations of each other. In accordance with the SCS view that the supervisory experience should be mutually rewarding, supervisors and interns are encouraged to discuss openly with each other areas needing attention. At the end of each rotation, supervisors and interns complete formal written evaluations of their experiences. The completed evaluation forms are kept by the training director who uses the information in assessing the progress of interns and in assessing needs in the supervisory aspect of the program.

At the end of each rotation (twice per year), the training director corresponds with each intern's home academic institution regarding the intern's progress in the internship program. These letters are based on the supervisor evaluations, training coordinator and other administrator observations and information from the weekly meetings of the supervisors and training director.

Interns also are encouraged to give feedback to the training director regarding the training program. This information is solicited in individual meetings during each rotation, and all during the year in the weekly training director meeting/intern support group. At the end of the internship year, interns are asked to give written evaluations of the training program. Additionally, former interns are surveyed regarding the effectiveness of the internship several months after the completion of the internship. The training director uses this information to modify the internship program.