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APA-Accredited Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology

(Following the recommendation by the American Psychological Association Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, the title of the internship program was changed from "Predoctoral Internship" to "Doctoral Internship" in October 2013.)

The goal of the Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology at CAPS is to prepare doctoral students in the final stages of their graduate training for broad, competent, and responsible functioning as professional psychologists in the mental health care system. The program provides interns with the opportunity to develop and refine general skills that are fundamental to the independent practice of health service psychology, and applicable to a wide variety of mental healthcare settings.

The internship training program places particular emphasis on consolidation of a theoretical body of knowledge; competencies in individual and group psychotherapy, clinical assessment, risk assessment and crisis intervention, consultation and advocacy, preventive and educational community-based intervention/outreach programming, and supervision skills. Interns are also expected to deepen their sense of professional identity by functioning effectively as members of a multifaceted mental health/student development system for the campus community. The internship facilitates the interns' productive relationships with fellow trainees and with clinical staff. Objectives of the internship are to gain proficiency in providing varied psychological services and to honing the professional and personal qualities essential for working effectively as a member of a mental healthcare setting.

The internship program is based on a 40-45 hour week, for 12 months, with university holidays, vacation and sick leave, and staff benefits. The program begins on July 29, 2024, and is completed one year later. The total training comprises more than 1,800 hours of supervised experience. As needed, time is spent outside of regular daytime business hours for planning and preparation, research, documentation, and occasional delivery of community-based intervention programming.

Approximately three evenings and one weekend per academic quarter, interns serve as after-hours on-call consultants for a third-party agency that receives crisis calls for the Northwestern community. When on-call outside of daytime business hours, interns are paired with staff. These additional hours bring the total internship hours to 2,000 for the year; individuals are advised to check with their state Boards of Psychology to determine if these additional hours may be declared in their applications for licensure.

For transparency, we offer a look at the current year's Training Policies Procedures Handbook This Handbook is given to our interns when they arrive at the internship, but prospective applicants are encouraged to review it as well. The Handbook provides comprehensive information that pertains to Doctoral Interns at CAPS, including the internship structure, requirements for successful completion, weekly training and service activities, timeline for evaluations, and policies for absences and leave time. It also provides information about our policies for due process, non-discrimination, harassment, grievance, and resources for equal opportunity and access.

Competencies in working with a culturally-diverse clientele comprise one of the three training goals for our interns as outlined in the hyperlinked document in the previous paragraph. For information about our internship's commitment to diversity and preparing interns to serve a diverse public, please review our position on Multicultural and Diversity Competencies and CAPS Diversity Value Statement. 

The doctoral internship program at CAPS is accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (CoA). The CoA can be contacted at the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation 750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242 Phone: 202-336-5979 TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123.