Doctoral psychology internship goals and philosophy

The primary aim of the doctoral internship in clinical psychology at Sharp HealthCare is to support the transformation of interns from graduate students to professional health service psychologists capable of entry-level general clinical practice that is solidly grounded in the empirical science and scholarly practices of psychology.

Building upon the fund of knowledge and skill our interns acquire in graduate school, our program utilizes practitioner-scholar and junior colleague models to help accomplish aims and goals. Embedded in these models is the belief that professional identity and knowledge are not static phenomena that end once a graduate degree or clinical license is obtained. Rather, professional identity and knowledge is informed through lifelong learning and evolves as the field of psychology evolves. Furthermore, we recognize and value the knowledge, skill, wisdom and lived experience of interns, from the moment they arrive. Over the years, interns have contributed immeasurably to the quality of clinical programs and to the training program itself. Many of our psychology staff will say that working with interns is near the top of their reasons for working at Sharp. Supervisors and other members of the interdisciplinary team take seriously their responsibility to learn from, learn with and advocate for doctoral interns.

Interns are encouraged (and faculty are committed) to continuous development — utilizing empiricism and critical thinking, and integrating scientific literature as a basis for diagnostic assessment, case-conceptualization, intervention, consultation, supervision, program development and outcome evaluation. These ideals are fostered and strongly encouraged at Sharp HealthCare through ongoing supervision, modeling, teaching and mentoring, seeking to integrate the scientific, scholarly and practice functions of the profession.

We endorse the recommendations of the National Conference on Scientist-Practitioner Education and Training for the Professional Practice of Psychology (Belar & Perry, 1992) as follows: the process of critical thinking, hypothesis testing and other elements of the scientific method should be engendered and integrated into all experiential activities throughout the training process, the experiential component of practice should be broad and general rather than narrow and specific and that the experiential component should include several different levels of experiences across a broad variety of settings and populations.