APA Clinical Internship in Psychology

The psychology training internship prepares professionals to successfully address the complexities associated with children and families who are psychologically vulnerable, to work within traditional and nontraditional settings, and to embrace diverse roles and responsibilities. Just as we view the competencies and needs of our patients and clients from ecological and developmental perspectives, so too do we base our curriculum on a developmental model of education, with a sequence of applied, didactic, and mentoring experiences that increase in complexity as the year progresses, aimed at preparing Fellows for eventual independent practice in a range of settings. An over-riding goal is to demonstrate to Fellows that provision of mental health services to children requires intervention at multiple and interacting levels of influence. 

The program also takes a scientist-practitioner approach to clinical training, using didactic, clinical, and research experiences to teach about and explore the relationship between the practice and science of psychology.

The first stage of development is a six week, intensive summer training course to provide a theoretical and practical foundation, and to address gaps in training. Each summer is tailored to meet the needs of both the individual intern and the group as a whole. In addition to grounding in several theoretical disciplines, special emphasis is given to psychological assessment and particularly to the assessment of social-emotional and adaptive development.

The summer training program coincides with the beginning of the placement in the areas of focus. Each area of focus provides a comprehensive orientation to the role of the intern. 

Across all didactics, clinical placements, and focus area activities, interns typically begin by learning through observation and modeling of appropriate practices by a faculty mentor. As their knowledge base and clinical skills increase, interns assume more responsibility and are provided with more complex experiences. 

Regular meetings of core faculty and triennial review meetings by all supervisors in October, February, and May, provide a forum to discuss and monitor this progress, and when necessary, to suggest modifications in the training trajectory of an individual intern.

History

While psychologists have been training at the Child Study Center since its inception, the formal pre-doctoral internship program began in 1977. The American Psychological Association (APA) granted approval in 1981, and in 1989 the psychology faculty developed a two-year, coordinated pre-doctoral internship and postgraduate fellowship.