Clinical Training Activities

Individual Clinical Supervision

Doctoral Interns work with three individual supervisors.  Interns meet with each of these supervisors one hour per week.   Each intern works with the Primary Supervisor for the duration of the internship year, with each Secondary Supervisor for six months, and with the Crisis, Assessment, and Consultation (CAC) Supervisor for three quarters. The supervision of the intern’s individual therapy caseload is divided equally by the Primary and Secondary Supervisors who focus on the intern’s developing competencies in case conceptualization (including diagnosis), treatment planning, and intervention.  The Crisis, Assessment, and Consultation (CAC) Supervisor (formerly "Case Management Supervision") focuses on the following: clinical assessment and diagnosis; crisis assessment and intervention; intakes and triages and initial treatment planning; daytime and afterhours clinical consults with departments, professionals, and other third-parties; and case management and advocacy.  Issues related to interns’ professional development are covered by all three individual supervisors.

Individual Supervision of Group Psychotherapy

Interns receive individual supervision of their group therapy for 30 minutes per week.  All interns are involved in co-facilitating at least one therapy group during the academic year (nine months).  Interns meet with their senior staff co-therapist following the provision of the therapy group to debrief the session, discuss group process and conceptualization, and plan for future interventions.

Group Supervision of Group Psychotherapy

In addition to the individual supervision of group psychotherapy by the group co-therapist, interns also receive group supervision of group psychotherapy by two licensed senior staff members credentialed as Certified Group Psychotherapists by the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA).  The supervision is one hour per week during the academic year (September to June).  This avenue of learning is built on both the consultative model and the peer supervision model. The group supervisors facilitates the interns' learning  about group therapy by providing comments, challenges, recommendations, and modeling in a supportive environment.  The group supervision format contributes to interns’ experiential and observational learning through didactic instructions, supplemental readings of the literature on group therapy, viewing of group therapy video-recordings, and discussion of group-related topics.  Interns are also expected to contribute to each other's learning through supportive and challenging discussions, reflecting the model of professional development in which clinicians continue to grow through lifelong learning and consultation.

Supervision of Outreach

Interns meet with the Outreach Supervisor through the course of the academic year in a group format.  The Outreach Supervisor oversees interns' various psychoeducational and preventive outreach programs.  In addition, the Outreach Supervisor may advise interns on consultative responsibilities involved in liaison relationships with various campus departments and partners.  The Outreach Supervisor may introduce interns to liaison partners on campus to foster the development of the consultative relationship and may collaborate with interns on outreach programs.

Each intern participates in at least three academic quarters of outreach rotations.  Interns will begin with participate in CAPS's outreach activities during the early days of the academic year, including True Northwestern Dialogue and Behind Closed Doors.  For Let's Talk, the intern provides three quarters of informal drop-in consultation for students at a designated Let's Talk location on campus.  The intern receives supervision and mentoring for the Let's Talk services from the CAPS's senior staff member who has ongoing partnership with that campus office.  Interns may opt to have one quarter of the Stress Management Clinic Rotation, where the intern conducts 2 series of 4-week weekly Stress Management Clinic workshops (including including meditation and mindfulness, biofeedback, cognitive strategies of stress reduction, and relaxation exercises) under supervision by the Coordinator of the Stress Management Clinic. 

Interns staff one or more tabling events in which students are introduced to services at CAPS.  Interns may present additional outreach programs which can be innovative programs, requests from campus partners or liaisons, or frequently-offered existing programs.  Some outreach programs are provided by the senior staff with whom the intern collaborates on the project. Interns also participate in the planning and delivery of at least one large-scale outreach events (e.g., Movember. Body Acceptance Week, Stress Less, etc.) under the leadership of senior staff members for those events.  For one month, each intern collaborates with the marketing department and the Assistant Director for Outreach and Education in outreach campaigns through social media. 

The Interns' Specialty Presentation offers an opportunity for interns to work on crafting a didactic presentation that is a culmination of the intern's clinical, professional, and research interests, thereby forming a foundation for the intern's future contributions and professional identity.  This presentation is given to the CAPS staff in the spirit that honors the interns' emerging wisdom and expertise.  Interns are evaluated for the quality of the presentation based on the ability to integrate science with clinical practice into a didactic that benefits mental-health clinicians.

Summer Group Supervision on Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology

Interns have 2 hours of weekly group supervision during the summer quarter.  They take turns presenting a case from their caseload using a case conference format for presentation.  In keeping with the training philosophy that integrates science with clinical practice, interns address case diagnosis, conceptualization, and treatment planning in the framework of Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology (EBPP).  Client-reported data, progress monitoring, and video recordings are crucial of parts of the case presentation.

Group Supervision of Supervision

Doctoral Interns supervise paraprofessional undergraduate students (referred to as Listeners) who volunteer for NU Listens, Northwestern’s peer-operated helpline.  Doctoral Interns are assigned to supervise and mentor 3-4 Listeners.  In a 15-week training program for Listeners, Doctoral Interns provide weekly supervision of Listeners' role plays and formally evaluated their readiness to work on the helpline.  Doctoral Interns receive every-other-week supervision by the Coordinator of Peer Initiatives for their supervision of Listeners.  The supervision activities follow didactic presentations on supervision at the beginning of the training year, and conclude in late March when Listeners complete their training.

Intern Seminar

This weekly seminar is designed to span a broad range of interns’ learning needs during the internship year.  Utilizing a format of case presentations, session recordings, discussion of readings, brief didactic presentations, and utilization of agency data, the seminar exposes interns to in-depth and intensive training in core competencies and related areas over the course of the year: (a) Psychotherapy and Crisis Intervention, (b) Clinical Assessment, (c) Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Psychotherapy, (d) Legal and Ethical Issues in Psychotherapy, (e) Psychiatric Consultation, (f) Outreach and Preventive Interventions, (g) Professional Development, and (h) Clinical Supervision and Training.

The fall quarter’s Intern Seminar begins with the Brief Psychotherapy Module in weekly one-hour meetings led by a licensed psychologist.  The module is aimed to broaden and deepen interns’ theoretical knowledge and enhance their skills in brief psychotherapeutic interventions and conceptualization.  Discussion topics include the motivation for change in therapy, intern beliefs about the effectiveness of short-term treatment, differences in the value systems of brief and longer term treatment, developing a focus for treatment, and principles of crisis intervention, transference and countertransference issues, and termination issues.  The format includes discussion of various readings, case presentations, use of training videos, and guest presenters.

Another module in the fall Intern Seminar is the Psychiatric Consultation competency area.  A CAPS psychiatrist presents several psychiatric topics such as the Mental Status Examination, DSM diagnostic system, collaboration between psychologists and psychiatrists, bipolar disorders, assessment and treatment of sleep disorders, and psychopharmacology.

Addressing other core areas of clinical competencies, the Intern Seminar continues in a weekly two-hour meeting format for the rest of the training year.  The Multicultural and Diversity Issues Module in the winter quarter and after is a combination of formats:  a senior staff member facilitates a series of a safe and nonjudgmental exercises and discussions aimed at deepening the therapists' self-awareness as a cultural being in context.  A series of presenters also address a variety of topics related to multicultural competency in clinical work.  Issues of multicultural competency are also addressed outside of this series in other presentations later in the year.

In the module for the competencies in Psychotherapy, Crisis Intervention, and Clinical Assessment, topics of presentations may include the assessment and/or treatment of substance and alcohol, eating disorders, trauma, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, working with emotions, and empirically validated biopsychological approaches for stress and anxiety reduction, including mindfulness techniques, cognitive-behavioral techniques, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and biofeedback. In the Clinical Supervision and Training Module, discussions follow readings and didactic presentations about the various models of supervision and "best practice" in clinical supervision, and the application of these models to the Interns' supervision of undergraduate paraprofessional peer counselors at Northwestern (see above).

The Intern Seminar continues through July.  A seminar dedicated to the Legal/Ethical Module aims to provide interns with a basis for legal and ethical practice in professional psychology. The attention to interns’ career and professional development is represented in the Professional Development Module which is integrated into the seminar throughout the year, with topics such as professionalism, post-internship job application, developing a presentation (“job talk”) for the intern’s job interviews, preparing a curriculum vita, or establishing a private practice.