The internship year is first and foremost a supervised, intensive, experiential learning opportunity focused on the delivery of psychological services. The program embraces a scientist-practitioner model in which theory and evidence routinely inform health service psychology (HSP) practice. As science is at the core of HSP, each fellow has protected time to pursue a scholarly activity that can center on research, program evaluation, clinical care, or education.
Training is competency-based and relies on evidence-based teaching approaches. The internship is part of a nurturing professional community of psychologists that values and promotes diversity among the faculty, fellows, populations served, and the theoretical perspectives and interventions utilized.
All fellows in the internship program receive training in clinical psychology. Those fellows who elect a primary or secondary placement at The Consultation Center also receive training in community psychology.
A priority is placed on professional development, including assistance to doctoral fellows in securing opportunities after internship such as post-doctoral fellowships and employment. Each year, many graduating fellows remain at Yale to pursue post-doctoral training and research.
There are six explicit core elements to the philosophy that guides the Yale Department of Psychiatry Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Community Psychology. Each of these is described in detail below
(1) Scientist-Practitioner Model
- The internship year is first and foremost an intensive, experiential learning opportunity focused on the delivery of psychological services.
- The experience centers on a combination of activities that include clinical care, assessment, diagnosis, prevention, clinical intervention, consultation, and evaluation.
- Throughout the internship, both theory and empirical evidence inform doctoral fellows’ practice.
- Learning to search for and apply the best available evidence in the provision of psychological services is an inherent part of the learning experience.
- Protected time is afforded to further develop skills as a scholar, through a project that centers on research, evaluation, clinical care, and/or education.
(2) Evidenced-Based Teaching Approaches
- Learning is planned, sequenced, and graded in complexity over the course of the year.
- Learning is competency-based with explicit articulation of the competencies to be developed and demonstration that those competencies are achieved during the training year.
- An apprenticeship model is used in which fellows observe faculty psychologists modeling the competencies and faculty members observe fellows mastering the competencies.
- The internship experience is learner-driven with psychology fellows playing an active role in identifying, through self-assessment, their strengths, learning needs, and progress in mastering the competencies.
- In keeping with adult learning principles, learning is problem oriented, focused on the challenges experienced by the fellows in the course of their internship responsibilities.
- Classroom learning is directly linked, to the extent possible, to site-based and community-based experiential learning opportunities.
- Diversity is integral to the training experience and valued among faculty, fellows, and the individuals and families served with respect to gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, culture, geography, country of origin, and disability status.
- Diversity is valued among faculty and fellows with respect to professional interests, activities, and work setting.
- Diversity is valued with respect to theoretical perspectives and interventions used in caring for individuals and their families, and incorporated into the work of service systems.
- Diversity is valued with respect to the use of cultural and linguistic adaptations of evidence-based practices.
(4) A Nurturing Professional Community
- Through professional and social group meetings and gatherings a community is formed that serves as the fellows’ psychological and social home for the training year.
- A premium is placed on creating supportive relationships that help fellows excel professionally while maintaining a balance between the professional and the personal, and developing skills in self-care.
(5) Professional Development
- The broad range of experiences that comprise the internship foster the development of each fellow's sense of professional identity.
- Ethical issues in psychological practice are examined and discussed throughout the internship.
- Intensive interactions with other disciplines and professions help fellows define the essential characteristics of psychology as a discipline and recognize those attributes that are shared with other healthcare professions. A competency in interdisciplinary and team-based practice is mastered.
- The unique life histories, diversity of professional and personal interests, and expertise among the fellows create a community of peers who learn from each other.
- Fellows receive many things during the internship year, but are simultaneously challenged to give back, making a constructive mark on their peer group and the clinical and consultation settings in which they work.
- A planned sequence of educational opportunities combined with individual mentoring helps each fellow explore and pursue their professional development and post-internship career opportunities.
(6) Continuous Quality Improvement
- Comprehensive and periodic self-evaluation promotes constant improvements in the quality of the internship program and the fellows’ experience.