Psychology doctoral internship rotations and stipend

Sharp HealthCare's APA-accredited doctoral internship in clinical psychology provides soon-to-be psychologists with a yearlong, in-depth training experience.

Each intern rotates through three of eight settings/programs. The training program on each rotation was designed by psychologists who either manage the specific program or provide service within that program. At Sharp, we have two child/adolescent rotations (inpatient or intensive outpatient), two acute adult inpatient rotations, two adult specialty outpatient rotations (substance use disorders or trauma) and two gero rotations (inpatient or intensive outpatient).

At the beginning of each of the three rotations (R1, R2, R3), interns complete a self-assessment of competency in clinical psychology and review it with their primary rotation supervisors. This (and all) intern assessments are built around the nine profession-wide competency domains identified by the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation. A rotation-specific training plan (RTSP) is discussed at the outset of R1, R2 and R3, and modifications are made to reflect the intern's special interests and developmental needs. This personalized approach allows each intern the maximum benefit of training on any given rotation. Each intern receives a minimum of one hour per week of scheduled, face-to-face, individual supervision with their rotation supervisor. Daily contact and feedback is also the norm.

Psychodiagnostic and assessment supervision occurs both within the rotations and in weekly group supervision with the assessment supervisors. APA Competency Domains include:

  • Research

  • Ethical and legal standards

  • Individual and cultural diversity

  • Professional values, attitudes and behaviors

  • Communication and interpersonal skills

  • Assessment

  • Intervention

  • Supervision

  • Consultations and inter-professional/interdisciplinary skills

Rotations and supervisors*

  • Child and adolescent (inpatient): Child and Adolescent Program (locked inpatient unit), supervised by Kelsey Bradshaw, PhD

  • Adolescent (outpatient): Adolescent-IOP, supervised by Erynn Macciomei, PhD

  • Adult (inpatient): Intensive Care Unit and general psych (locked adult inpatient units), supervised by Garrett Work, PhD

  • Adult (inpatient): EW1 and EW2 (unlocked unit and detox program), supervised by Andrés Ruiz, PsyD

  • Adult (outpatient): Trauma IOP supervised by Katie Spaventa-Vancil, PhD

  • Adult/SUD (outpatient): Sharp McDonald Center Intensive Outpatient Program, supervised by Travis Hyke, PhD

  • Gero (inpatient): Senior Behavioral Unit, supervised by Kimberly Mathis, PhD

  • Gero (outpatient): Senior Intensive Outpatient Program, supervised by Dara Schwartz, PhD

  • Psychological assessment: all interns perform assessment throughout the year across rotations; adult and geriatric assessments are supervised by Mary Beth Bryan, PsyD and Kimberly Mathis, PhD; child and adolescent assessment is supervised by Kelsey Bradshaw, PhD and Andrés Ruiz, PhD

*Sharp is fortunate to employ highly qualified psychologists, many of whom are active contributors to our psychology training program. The supervisors listed here are current as of Aug. 24, 2023, but may or may not be those assigned to a given rotation at all times.

On all rotations, interns are in regular contact with their rotation supervisors and are mentored by these psychologists and other clinicians on the team. Several of our programs utilize a group co-therapy model. Interns work alongside staff psychologists and other professionals creating a rich and rewarding training experience. On each rotation, interns are part of a team of professionals working together to meet the needs of each patient. On the inpatient units, these teams are highly diverse, in terms of professional discipline. Interns have the opportunity to learn about/from/with colleagues in medicine, nutrition, social work, recreation therapy, music therapy, spiritual care, nursing and more.

Rotations span the developmental age range and involve four main populations: child/adolescent, adult serious mental illness, substance abuse disorders and geropsychology. Each population has both inpatient and outpatient rotations.

Child and adolescent rotations

Adult serious mental illness rotations

Substance use disorder and adult inpatient rotations

Geropsychology rotations

Sharp is proud to be one of only a few non-VA, APA-accredited doctoral psychology internships in the U.S. that offers multiple geropsychology rotations. Our clinical practice and training programs are in line with the philosophy and recommendations set forth in the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Older Adults and the Pikes Peak Model.

Psychological assessment (all interns, all year; not a separate rotation)

All interns participate in psychological assessment throughout the year. Depending on clinical rotation schedules, interns are assigned either one full day or two half days every week in “Assessment Clinic” to focus on assessment/assessment training. Depending on the mix of training goals in an intern class, individual interns could spend all year doing adult-gero assessment, all year doing child-adolescent assessment or have a combination of both.

Assessment supervisors provides a weekly group supervision that meets throughout the year and alternates between focus on adult-gero and child-adolescent assessment. This group supervision also focuses on the development of assessment techniques through didactics and supervision for all doctoral interns as well as some advanced practicum students. Interns have the opportunity to mentor and supervise graduate students in assessment as well.

Psychodiagnostic and assessment skills are developed by responding to referrals for psychological assessment from all of the hospital's inpatient, outpatient and partial hospital programs. In addition to full psychodiagnostic assessments, brief assessments using self-report measures - Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-RF (MMPI-2-RF), Million Scales, etc. - round out psychodiagnostic activities. The range of assessments also includes detailed neuropsychological screening examinations (e.g., three-to-four hour batteries, not full-day batteries). This testing typically involves assessment of a premorbid IQ, intellectual assessment and broad evaluation of memory (e.g., CVLT-2, and selected Wechsler Memory Scales), language, frontal/executive (Trails, Stroop), motor and some form of personality assessment such as the PAI, Rorschach or MMPI-2-RF. Neuropsych screenings and brief neuropsych assessments are performed with patients of all ages throughout the hospital. This is not a specialty neuropsych rotation and interns seeking specialty training in neuropsychology should understand that our training program does not adhere to the Houston Guidelines.

Multiple levels of training in psychology and other disciplines

In addition to the Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology, Sharp provides developmentally appropriate practicum training for graduate student who attend(ed) APA-accredited doctoral programs. Interns are involved in the training, supervision and mentorship of doctoral students. Sharp also provides supervised professional experience and training for individuals who have obtained their doctoral degree from an APA-accredited graduate program in psychology. These individuals are employed as behavioral health therapists (BHT) and are registered with the California Board of Psychology as psychological assistants. Interns may have the opportunity to work with and/or be supervised by fellows or BHTs.

Sharp Mesa Vista and Sharp McDonald Center are also training grounds for people working toward degrees and/or licensing in marriage and family therapy, social work, recreation therapy, pharmacy, chaplaincy, dietary, nursing and psychiatry. This commitment to training is in line with the value of Sharp and results in a rich environment for improving interdisciplinary team functioning. All of these disciplines are recognized as essential members of the interdisciplinary team.

Training in supervision

Multiple levels of psychology training creates the opportunity for our interns to clinically supervise and mentor one or more junior colleagues throughout the year.

Training and supervision-in-supervision is a formal and integral part of doctoral intern training at Sharp. This is a rich and meaningful aspect of the training year for both interns and practicum students. And faculty report that training interns to supervise results in faculty members' growth as supervisors as well.

Intern stipend, benefits, cohesion, work-life balance and hours

Interns are full-time, benefitted, temporary employees of Sharp HealthCare. The rate of pay is $22 per hour, with overtime awarded for hours over 8 in a day or over 80 in a two-week pay period. A shift differential is provided for if interns are scheduled to work evening shifts (e.g., CAP Outpatient). Assuming no overtime or shift differential, the annual pay is approximately $45,760.

Interns have paid time off (vacations and holidays), as well as sick leave. Paid time off amounts to 25 days per year, including 18 vacation days and seven paid holidays. In addition, interns accrue 2.15 hours of sick leave every two weeks. Interns are welcome to eat one meal per day in the hospital cafeteria, free of charge.

As psychologists, we understand the importance of social support and recreation in well-being. Interns are encouraged to form a cohesive unit during the training year. Some groups have formed book clubs and happy hours. In addition to spending time in clinical settings together, interns share office space. Department potlucks (also known as PIGS, or "psychologists in international gustatory studies") happen several times per year, and help to build cohesion among trainees and faculty. The department pays for an intern-only outing every year, such as a champagne brunch cruise on the bay, a day at Universal Studios or a day or picnicking and kayaking. A formal luncheon acknowledges the year's accomplishments and a "Hail and Farewell" picnic marks the transition from the old class to the new.

Interns work full time at the hospital, and the work is often intense. Outside employment is very strongly discouraged. The faculty places strong value on work-life balance and self-care, and every effort is made to keep average work hours in a comfortable range. However, interns should anticipate that assigned and elective reading, preparation for case presentations, spikes in assessment referrals and special or elective projects sometimes require interns (and faculty) to work more than a 40-hour week. Typical range is between 40 and 45 hours, including reading and other duties. Inpatient weekend shifts are required for every intern, regardless of rotation — typically not more than one per month. When working a weekend shift, interns take a weekday off to compensate. In addition to other staff working weekends, intern weekend shifts enable us to extend essential services to inpatients seven days per week. Weekend shifts also provide useful experience and training. For example an intern who opts for all outpatient rotations would have some inpatient exposure. And inpatient interns will get exposure to units they might not otherwise have seen.