The Center’s model of training emphasizes the following: (1) the importance of teaching interns how to integrate theory and scientific knowledge into practice (the practitioner/scholar model), (2) the importance of attending to the intern’s developmental needs, (3) the importance of teaching interns about professionalism and being a part of a team in addition to learning basic clinical skills.
The training site is viewed as a place to integrate theory and practice. An emphasis is placed on helping interns learn how to apply the knowledge they have gained from their classrooms, research and readings into what they do in their work. Opportunities to increase their knowledge base are incorporated into the program. Interns attend seminars that provide a list of readings. The seminars are planned so that trainees are introduced in didactic form to topics that coincide with where they are in their developmental process. In planning the internship training, the staff felt it was important to fully integrate this didactic experience with the practical. Interns have Intern Training which incorporates both of these components in several content areas: Intake and Assessment, Supervision, Consultation and Outreach, Group Therapy, Psychodynamic Theory, Diversity Training, and Professional Issues.
Additionally, we strive to teach through modeling that professional development and scholarly inquest is an ongoing process, one that reaches well beyond the internship year. Our aim is to help our interns see that one cannot and should not practice within a vacuum, that we need theory and science to inform our work, and that there are tremendous benefits in learning from others’ experience.
Consistent with the overall mission of the Counseling Center, which focuses on the developmental needs of the student population and the diverse ways that such needs can be met, the staff further believe that the training experience needs to follow a developmental progression, meeting each intern at his/her entering skill level and pressing them to expand beyond that. In doing so, our training incorporates the following:
• Didactic experiences to enhance awareness of the current literature, theoretical models, diagnostic issues, and ways to integrate these into practice
• Opportunities to learn through direct observation and other vicarious experience (i.e., hearing about others work through case discussion in seminars and peer supervision)
• Opportunities to learn through experience
• Opportunities to share work, discuss experiences, and teach others.
Our training program seeks to provide these opportunities within a sequential fashion in which interns assume increasing levels of autonomy. This model is incorporated into much of what we do. For example, interns first are provided didactic training on conducting intakes, then conduct intakes with staff observation, then conduct intakes independently with weekly supervision that is incorporated into their weekly meetings with their primary supervisors.
Lastly, as mentioned earlier, the staff believes that for interns to be prepared for careers in psychology that some attention needs to be paid to issues around professionalism and working as a team player. By involving our interns in staff meetings and meetings with other offices in the Office of Campus Life, we provide them opportunities to truly witness the workings of a counseling center, and the importance of working together. Ethical issues are addressed in seminars as well as within Peer Supervision meetings with staff, where dilemmas that occur are often addressed. Interns also attend a Professional Development Group (run by an outside consultant) to help them explore their issues around developing as a professional, meeting the personal and professional demands, and examine their own work together as interns. Biweekly meetings with the Assistant Director for Training also address professional issues.