Other Training Activities
Each intern participates in one of three weekly, one-hour staffing meetings attended by all CAPS service providers (psychologists, psychiatrists, postdoctoral fellows, interns, and practicum externs) in Evanston. Intake cases are presented by each participant and the staffing team discusses treatment options (modality; psychological and psychiatric) and interventions. Disposition of cases are made through assignment for treatment, case management, and/or referral to community resources as a result of team discussion. Interns also attend another hour of staffing meeting in Chicago. In this meeting, interns participate in discussions with Chicago senior psychologists and a psychiatrist the treatment options and case management strategies that are appropriate for graduate and professional students.
Training Staff Meetings
The Training Director convenes periodic training staff meetings to review and discuss training program issues, components and activities, and policies and procedures. In keeping with the collaborative philosophy of the agency and its developmental-mentoring model of training, interns participate in these meetings as junior members of the training staff. As participant-observers, interns gain the opportunity to contribute as staff; they examine philosophical, theoretical, technical, administrative and systemic aspects related to the professional training and development of psychologists. Intern contributions to discussion, from the vantage point of trainee as well as that of trainer (i.e., supervisor of an extern), provide valuable input and help shape both the structure and implementation of the training program.
Interns meet weekly for one hour three times a month in a confidential, unfacilitated support group. The meetings are intended to provide the opportunity for interns to get to know each other better and develop mutual support and cohesiveness, as well as to discuss, process, or react to the internship experience and other emerging concerns. The agenda and direction of the meetings are determined by the group. Level of personal self-disclosure is determine by interns.
Monthly Meeting with the Training Director
The Training Director meets with interns to discuss general issues related to their experiences in the internship for one hour once a month, or more if appropriate. Issues such as professional development, identity as a psychologist, working collaboratively within a larger system, and managing multiple responsibilities and roles are also appropriate for this meeting. The format is open discussion with no set sequence of topics; the focus of discussion is often related to interns’ perceptions and experience of current events occurring within the agency or the training program. Concerns and feedback about the internship program may be discussed as well.
This interns’ group activity is determined by intern interest and agency needs, and will vary over the course of the year. One hour per week (typically during the summer quarter) is allotted for work on an intern project, but actual level of activity will vary depending on the nature of the project and the time of year. Interns are involved in such projects as selection of practicum externs, comprehensive consultative projects with an academic department or professional program, or development of the CAPS annual report. A primary training goal for this activity is for interns to negotiate working as a team together.
- The 2006-2007 class made use of the Big 10 Counseling Center Conference hosted by CAPS at Northwestern in March 2007; they participated in subcommittees that planned and organized events and reviewed submitted proposals for programs.
- The 2007-2008 class created a handbook that provides clinicians with guidance and specific ideas when assessing a vast array of psychological disorders and clinical presentations.
- The 2008-2009 class hosted the summer Midwest Intern Retreat in Monticello, Illinois, where attendees were interns and training directors from seven predoctoral internship programs at university counseling centers from three states.
- The 2009-2010 class compiled information useful for the orientation of future interns who relocate to Chicago, addressing the work-life balance issues.
- The 2010-2011 class created electronic forms on the center’s scheduling and records software to increase the efficiency and convenience of everyday clinical work.
- The 2011-2012 class compiled the self-help section for students on the CAPS webpage, covering a range of psychological topics and conditions.
- The 2012-2013 class collaborated with Northwestern University Advanced Media Production Studio to create a short video that provides information about the Doctoral Internship to prospective applicants.
- The 2013-2014 class, in consultation with the International Office at NU, created an information brochure about CAPS in a number of languages.
Annual Big Ten Counseling Centers Conference
Each February, one of the 14 counseling centers in the Big Ten institutions hosts a conference to share state-of-the-art knowledge and experience about providing mental-health services in major research university settings. The three-day conference is an opportunity for staff and interns to exchange ideas with other counseling centers that are facing similar issues in college mental health. Doctoral Interns at CAPS attend the conference along with some staff members, and the interns' registration, transportation, and accommodation are provided by CAPS. Interns are encouraged to seek an opportunity to present at the conference. The event is typically stimulating, informative, and rewarding. It is a major opportunity for interns to further develop professional identity and networking.
Optional Training in Specialty Areas
The Doctoral Internship at CAPS is a generalist college mental-health site. Areas of specialty mentioned below are optional opportunities for additional experience that can enrich interns’ career foundation as psychologists. The specialty areas are not the focus of the internship, nor do they qualify the intern’s status as a specialist upon the completion of the internship. All interns have the same core training experience and pursue the same training goals regardless of their participation in specialty areas.
Eating Concerns Assessment and Treatment Team (ECATT)
To cultivate competencies in working with eating and body image concerns in the context of college mental health, interns can participate in ECATT, an interdisciplinary team of health professionals that meets twice per month. Composed of staff from CAPS and Northwestern University Health Service (NUHS), the team focuses on weight issues, body image concerns, and eating disorders among Northwestern students. The team offers consultations and psychoeducational outreach to various Northwestern staff, faculty, parents, peers, student organizations, and other campus partners. Interns who participate in the ECATT team will conduct intakes with students with eating and body image concerns, collaborate with other health professionals on the team in the assessment and diagnosis, use the team’s input to develop individualized treatment recommendations, and assist students in accessing appropriate services. Interns will also contribute to the Body Acceptance Week each February to raise awareness on campus about eating concerns and body image issues.
Interns can opt for experiences that would help them develop an awareness of the nuances in the culture of student-athletes, and increase their competency in clinical assessment and treatment with this population. To gain knowledge about the field of sport psychology and develop skills in the delivery of performance enhancement services, the intern may engage in some of the following activities with Northwestern varsity student-athletes: (1) assessment – intake evaluations with student-athletes; (2) individual counseling to student-athletes (up to 4 individuals on the intern’s therapy caseload); (3) identify needs, develop, and deliver outreach presentations to student-athletes on issues related to mental health (e.g., stress management, body image, communication and healthy relationships); (4) sport psychology interventions, for both teams and individual student-athletes; and (5) consultation with Sports Medicine, coaches, and Athletics Administration. Interns seeking this emphasis area will be supervised by a psychologist on the CAPS Sport Psychology team, and will attend monthly Student-Athlete Care (SAC) team meetings with members of Sports Medicine. The level and variety of involvement with student-athletes will depend on the intern’s experience prior internship, his/her interest in the field, and what he/she can manage given their other responsibilities as an intern.