University Counseling Center
Components of the Doctoral Internship Training Program
To assist in the transition from the role of student to professional, UCC offers gradually increasing responsibility and participation in all aspects of the following services:
UCC specializes in the provision and training of psychotherapy, particularly time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy. UCC’s unique approach to therapy combines the ability to be both deep and brief without sacrificing one for the other. There is a limit on the number of sessions, although the internship allows for several cases to be seen on a longer term basis. Training also emphasizes implementing empirically validated treatments, such as CBT, when appropriate. We believe that delivering high quality and in-depth treatment to various patient populations in a time-effective manner is an essential activity for the professional psychologist. Quick and accurate assessments are built into treatment from the first meeting. The highly motivated and verbal population we serve affords interns a clearer view of an individual’s dynamics and the opportunity to see change within a brief period of time. Interns gradually work up to a full caseload. The ratio of supervision hours to clinical hours starts out high and gradually decreases with time.
Assessment and Diagnostic Skills
Interns develop their assessment and diagnostic skills through a variety of means. Quick and accurate assessments must be made during initial interviews. Interns will learn to assess clients’ suitability for short-term work or group therapy, develop a working focus for brief treatment, and manage individuals in acute distress or crisis. Interns learn to assess symptoms and functioning using clinical interviews, a symptom checklist (OQ-45), a personality inventory (PAI). Interns become skilled in diagnosis and conceptualizations that inform treatment planning within our brief model.
In addition, UCC provides opportunities for interns to become familiar and competent with psychopharmacologic issues. This includes evaluating a client’s need for psychopharmacological interventions, making a proper referral, and assessing the effectiveness of a regimen. Interns become familiar with the range of psychotropic medications available, what diagnoses and symptoms can be effectively treated with medications, specific side-effects, and treatment implications.
Intensive Group Therapy Work
UCC is committed to the provision of high-quality group psychotherapy. A variety of interpersonal process groups are offered each year and may include (but are not limited to): Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault, Eating Disorders, Stress and Meditation, and GLBT. A Men’s Group, Women’s Group, and mixed gender groups are also usually conducted. Interns also conduct psychoeducational groups, including: DBT skills groups, Anxiety Management, and Depression Management. Interns work in co-therapy teams and attend a weekly group supervision of group seminar.
Supervision of Graduate Practicum Students
An integral part of professional development is learning to be a competent clinical supervisor. Training to be a supervisor is a major strength of the program at UCC. Interns supervise at least one, sometimes more, clinical psychology doctoral student who is beginning his/her training as a psychologist in a required psychotherapy practicum. These very bright and capable student therapists maximize the opportunity for interns to develop, define and deepen their supervision skills. Interns receive training and support regarding their supervision in a weekly seminar.
Consultation and Outreach
As part of the larger university environment, UCC maintains a variety of connections with other university systems. Interns are responsible for developing consultation relationships with assigned university agencies and providing programming opportunities. All interns are assigned to one residence hall and two to three university agencies. These agencies may include the Eastman School of Music, the Office of Minority Student Affairs, International Students Office, University Health Service, Athletics and Recreation, PRIDE Network (the student GLBT group) among many others. The possibilities for consultation and program development are numerous, primarily limited only by interns’ imaginations. Interns receive ongoing support in a monthly outreach meeting.
On-Call and Crisis Management
Interns are on 24-hour call for a one-week period roughly every eight weeks. Interns develop crisis intervention and management skills, and learn to coordinate their efforts with those of other university agencies and health care systems. Supervising staff are always available to support interns handling on-call responsibilities. Additionally, interns develop skills in triaging walk-in clients who are in distress – identifying the core problem and making disposition decisions are key components of these skills.
As health service psychologists, it is essential to develop skills working as part of a treatment team. Interns are provided a unique opportunity to see patients who have scheduled medical appointments along with the primary care provider. As part of the treatment team, interns add another perspective to help best meet the patient/client’s needs. Interns will complete several two hour blocks of appointments, learning the ways that mental health concerns can present in the primary care setting, develop their voice as part of a team, develop awareness of the cultural differences and similarities between medical and mental health and the skills to navigate those differences.
Interns receive weekly individual supervision from three supervisors and one-hour supervision for each psychotherapy group with their co-leader. The supervisory staff consists of psychologists and social workers, all of whom have extensive experience in college mental health. Many of the supervisors have psychodynamic and/or interpersonal orientations. Several supervisors are also guided by systems and developmental theories, and have backgrounds in DBT and CBT approaches. Interns routinely record sessions with clients. This provides trainees and supervisors with an opportunity to review sessions in depth. Additional unscheduled supervision is available when needed.