Direct Service Activities

Clinical Service

Each intern carries 13-14 individual cases and one therapy group per week, with case management and system linkage, client advocacy, and clinical documentation as required. Interns spend one day per week (Thursday) at the Chicago CAPS office at Northwestern University’s Chicago Campus which serves graduate and professional programs, including law school, medical school, and graduate programs in health and biological sciences. Clients at the Evanston CAPS constitute about three-quarters of an intern’s caseload, and they are both undergraduate and graduate students. The other quarter of an intern’s caseload are graduate or professional students from the Chicago Campus, thereby enhancing the diversity of developmental stages among interns’ clients.

Each intern co-leads a process-oriented psychotherapy group with a Senior Staff co-therapist for 1.5 hours per week, three academic quarters. The intern is involved in the pre-group screening interviews and shares the responsibility with the senior co-therapist for the clinical documentation.

At the Evanston CAPS, each intern serves as a crisis and triage counselor for 4 afternoon hours per week. Each intern is responsible for two hours per week of regular intake, and another hour of urgent intake. Three daytime hours per week are devoted to triage and crisis appointments which may include consultation from third-parties such as peers, parents, faculty, staff, and providers in the community.  Interns rotate with staff to provide after-hours on-call crisis coverage; on average, each intern is responsible for covering about 7 days of after-hours on-call per quarter. Case management related to intake, urgent, and crisis contacts will vary over the year, but will average 2 to 3 cases per week.

Intake Assessments

Interns provide intake assessments during three time slots each week. The intern integrates available data with clinical information gathered from the intake interview to develop a diagnostic formulation and treatment plans for the client, and collaborates with the client to initiate appropriate services. The intern is responsible for the follow-up case management for each client seen at intake. The intern completes a written intake report with input from the Case Management Supervisor.

Outreach and Education

In the spirits of community-based prevention and strength-based positive psychology, Outreach and Education workshops are structured or semi-structured interventions in group formats that help Northwestern University students learn healthy and effective coping to foster mental health. Incorporating both psychoeducation and experiential formats, the interventions are based on empirically validated biopsychological approaches. Some of the workshops are under the rubric of CAPS’s Stress Management Clinic, and they employ various evidence-based approaches to stress and anxiety reduction, including meditation and mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral, biofeedback, and relaxation techniques.

Interns also serve as liaisons to assigned NU departments, offices, and residence halls to provide consultative services and programming as requested.  Outreach programs may vary in topic and format, and might include presentations on developmental or mental-health issues for students (e.g. relationship and communication skills, body image and eating disorders, depression, test anxiety), paraprofessional skill training sessions, debriefing sessions for critical events, or presentations about CAPS services. 

CAPS has chosen the Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training Program, a community-focused, nationally-recognized, empirically-based suicide prevention program, to educate the Northwestern community about suicide and the resources available for those needing professional help.  Each intern will become a Certified QPR Gatekeeper Instructor, a certification that will belong to the intern for three years.  Interns complete QPR self-study materials and, consistent with the CAPS apprenticeship model, first observe senior CAPS clinicians providing QPR training to the NU community, then subsequently assume responsibility for conducting the training with another facilitator.

The minimum requirements for interns' participation in Outreach & Education are the following: Each intern provides (a) one academic quarter of the Stress Management Clinic workshops (2 series of 4-week programs) in one of the three academic quarters, (b) two academic quarters of staffing Let's Talk, a drop-in informal consultation program, (c) at least three additional outreach programs (these may be innovative, an adaptation of the previously designed, or in response to requests from campus partners), (d) at least two additional presentations on Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training, and (e) a Media Intervention project that involves the designing of informational material on mental-health issues targeted for dissemination to the broader campus community.