Direct Service Activities

Clinical Service

Interns work full-time at the Evanston CAPS which serves approximately 8,000 undergraduate students and 6,000 graduate students.  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. 

Each intern co-leads a process-oriented psychotherapy group with a senior staff co-therapist for 1.5 hours per week over the course of three academic quarters.  The intern may be involved in the pre-group screening interviews and shares the responsibility with the senior co-therapist for the clinical documentation.

Each intern serves as a crisis and triage counselor for 3 hours per week:  (a) 1 hour of triage appointments which are brief phone assessments, and (b) 2 hours of crisis appointments which may include assisting students in urgent distress or consultation with third-parties such as peers, parents, faculty, staff, and providers in the community regarding the mental-health concerns of students.  Interns rotate with senior staff and Postdoctoral Fellows to provide afterhours on-call crisis coverage; on average, each intern covers about 4 evenings and one weekend per quarter.  In afterhours and weekend coverage, on-call staff (including interns and Postdocs) serve as consultants to a third-party agency that receives crisis calls from NU students.  Advocacy, case management, and consultation related to intake, urgent, and crisis contacts will vary over the year, but will average 2 to 3 cases per week.

Intake Assessments

Each intern is responsible for 2 hours per week of regular intake, and another hour of urgent intake.  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 at CAPS, on campus, or in the community.  The intern is responsible for the follow-up case management, advocacy, and consultation for each client seen at intake.  The intern completes a written intake report with input from the Crisis, Assessment, and Consultation (CAC) Supervisor.

Supervision of Paraprofessional Undergraduates

To build competence in the provision of clinical supervision, Doctoral Interns supervise paraprofessional students (referred to as Listeners) who volunteer for NU Listens, Northwestern’s peer-operated helpline.  In their training to work at the helpline, new Listeners participate in a 15-week training led by the Coordinator of Peer Initiatives at CAPS.  Doctoral Interns are assigned 3-4 Listeners and over the course of the NU Listens training, provide regular supervision of their role plays.  Interns' supervision of Listeners includes ongoing feedback in the moment and the formal evaluation at the end of the training to determine the Listener’s readiness to work on the helpline. 

Outreach and Education

In the spirit 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.  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, sleep health, mindfulness), paraprofessional skill training sessions, debriefing sessions for critical events, or presentations about CAPS services.  Incorporating both psychoeducation and experiential formats, the interventions are based on evidence-based biopsychological approaches.  Some 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.  Some presentations are components of small- and large-scale outreach events at various times of the year, including Movember, Body Acceptance Week, Discovering USA, and others.

CAPS has chosen the Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training Program, a nationally-recognized, empirically-based community-focused 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 Northwestern 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 (a) participates in two outreach events at the beginning of the academic year aimed at first-year undergraduates (True Northwestern Dialogue) and the training of Residence Assistants (Behind Closed Doors), (b) attends at least one outreach presentation by senior staff early on in the internship year, (c) provides three academic quarters of Let's Talk, a drop-in informal consultation program on campus, (d) participates in at least one tabling event to promote students' awareness of services at CAPS, (e) participates in the planning and delivery of at least one campus-wide outreach event,  (f) co-presents at least two presentations on Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training, and (g) provides outreach through social media for one calendar month.