For Interns and Fellows
Doctoral Psychology Internship Goals and Philosophy
The doctoral internship in clinical psychology at Sharp HealthCare is designed to support the transformation of interns from graduate students to professional 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 a practitioner-scholar model to help accomplish training goals. Embedded in this model 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.
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.
Our training approach.
We apply developmental and competency-based models of supervision (Falender et al., 2004) — recognizing where interns are when they join us and building incrementally from there to enhance competence on prescribed, targeted goals and objectives.
In addition to weekly didactic training and required formal case presentations, we provide weekly individual and group supervision and encourage ad-hoc meetings or "curbside consultations." Supervisors are on-site and widely available. Interns often begin a rotation observing supervisors in their work and receive in-vivo supervision and feedback, which allows for increasingly independent practice that is appropriate to the developmental stage of the intern.
In most settings, rotation supervisors are actively involved in providing clinical service, and are able to directly model and frequently observe interns in practice. In a minority of settings, clinical supervisors are in clinical leadership/administrative positions and less involved in direct patient care. In these settings, although direct modeling of patient care by the supervisor is less likely, close supervision and consultation remains core.
In addition, there are valuable opportunities in many settings for interns to be exposed to (and collaborate in) the role of a professional psychologist in program development, quality management and leadership.
Another philosophical pillar upon which the program rests is that internship training should be individually tailored within each of the three rotations and that training in the second and third rotations should build upon competencies gained in the previous rotation(s).
Although the range of clinical experiences on a given rotation is determined by the nature of the clinical program on that unit, supervisors are committed to striking a balance between the interns' extant knowledge and interests and the hospital's clinical service requirements.
This balance affords interns the opportunity to receive individually tailored internship activities based upon their prior experience, training and skill level, that are sequential, cumulative and graded in complexity.
Goals and objectives.
At the beginning of each rotation, interns self-rate their competence on prescribed, broad goals and objectives. These same competency goals and objectives are used by trainees/supervisors in mid rotation and end-of-rotation competency evaluations. Competency goals and objectives fall into the following categories:
- Professional conduct, ethics and legal matters
- Individual and cultural diversity
- Theories and methods of psychological diagnosis and assessment
- Theories and methods of effective psychotherapeutic intervention
- Scholarly inquiry and application of current scientific knowledge to practice
- Professional consultation
- Theories and methods of evaluation (program and patient)
- Theories and/or methods of clinical supervision
Through careful review and discussion of self-assessments and end-of-rotation competency evaluations, knowledge and skill developed in one rotation are built upon in each subsequent rotation. Training is sequential and characterized by increasing complexity, based on developing knowledge and skills.
Sharp HealthCare affords a broad spectrum of clinical experience and the development of solid, general assessment and intervention skills that can be applied across a range of special populations. As such, interns are exposed to patients with a variety of psychological disorders and who vary in age from young children and adults to seniors. Additionally, interns research and apply current literature to their clinical work, participate in didactic seminars and are expected to become contributing members of the treatment team as well as a representative of the field and future of psychology.
Our program prides itself on helping interns with future placements that include clinical and research postdoctoral fellowships, psychological assistantships and job opportunities. The internship program has a strong reputation in the professional community.
Former interns have successfully utilized the training experience at Sharp HealthCare to create exceptional opportunities that significantly advance their professional careers. Our alumni enjoy careers in academia, private and university affiliated medical centers and psychiatric hospitals, VA and other government agencies, counseling centers and independent practice.
Belar, C.D. & Perry, N.W. (1992). The National Conference on Scientist-Practitioner Education and Training for the Professional Practice of Psychology. American Psychologist, 47, 71-75.
Falender, C. A., Cornish, J. A. E., Goodyear, R., Hatcher, R., Kaslow, N. J., Leventhal, G., Shafranske, E., Sigmon, S. T., Stoltenberg, C. and Grus, C. (2004), Defining competencies in psychology supervision: A consensus statement. J. Clin. Psychol., 60: 771-785. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20013.
Falender, C. A., & Shafranske, E. P. (2004). Clinical supervision: A competency-based approach (pp. 37-58). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Falender, C. A., & Shafranske, E. P. (2008). Casebook for clinical supervision: A competency-based approach. American Psychological Association.
Rodolfa, E., Bent, R., Eisman, E., Nelson, P., Rehm, L., & Ritchie, P. (2005). A Cube Model for Competency Development: Implications for Psychology Educators and Regulators. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36(4), 347-354.