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, crisis assessment and intervention, consultation and advocacy, preventive and developmental outreach programs, 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. The objectives are both to become proficient in the provision of psychological services and to enhance the personal and professional qualities necessary to participate cooperatively and creatively in health service settings.
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 the first week of August and is completed one year later. The total training comprises more than 1,800 hours of supervised experience. In addition, time is spent outside the regular Center hours as may be needed for program planning, research, and preparation for services, writing of reports and other documents, and delivery of special activities.
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 from the Northwestern community. When on-call outside of daytime business hours, interns are paired with backup supervisory staff at CAPS. 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 (there will be updates by the time next year's internship begins). This Handbook is given to our interns when they arrive at the internship, but it may be worthwhile for prospective applicants to review it. The Handbook provides comprehensive information that pertains to Doctoral Interns at CAPS, including our internship structure, weekly training and service activities, the 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. In addition, prospective interns may benefit from learning about the expectations on the activities and performance of interns, which can be found in the Handbook as well as in the requirements for successful completion of the internship program.
Competencies in working with culturally diverse clients 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.
Please keep in mind that the details about the internship program are our best effort to describe the internship program for the 2022-2023 academic year. Throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have adjusted our services to the needs of students who attended the university remotely and in-person, while adhering to public health guidelines and the university's plan for students, staff, and faculty. These guidelines continue to evolve. We take into consideration legal restrictions on mental-health practice across states. We are mindful of our own resources and limitations to facilitate staff’s and interns’ ability to manage the workload and optimize their well-being.
Therefore, interns' clinical activities and supervision described here are only an approximation of interns’ training experience based on what we know at the time of this update. The implementation of changes for all clinicians has necessitated the entire center’s adjustments of service and training activities while continuing to (a) uphold the quality and integrity of interns’ training, (b) adhere to public health guidelines for the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, and (c) adhere to APA’s internship accreditation standards. When necessary, the internship program is in consultation with APA's Commission on Accreditation about substantive changes in the training program.
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.