The University of Tennessee Student Counseling Center has been a training site in counseling and clinical psychology since the early 1960’s, and the doctoral internship program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1980. Each year, four doctoral interns are selected from APA accredited graduate programs in counseling and clinical psychology through the National Matching Service.
The Internship Training Program has become a highly visible component of the Student Counseling Center, as well as the university at large, due in part to the university’s supportive and encouraging stand. Interns are defined by the university as regular full-time university staff members with all the benefits which come with that designation. Within the Center, staff members are available, accessible, supportive, and timely in meeting their responsibilities. In addition to regularly scheduled supervision, training seminars, case conferences and staff meetings, interns have informal access to all staff members and are encouraged to consult with senior staff members any time they are available.
The Doctoral Internship Program contributes in key ways to the mission of the University of Tennessee, the Division of Student Life, and the Student Counseling Center. The mission of the training program is to prepare interns as generalists with the knowledge and skills needed for entry-level positions in psychology. The center supports interns in their professional and personal development, including commitments to the profession and its ethics. This mission is accomplished by professional training, teaching, supervising, modeling and mentoring.
The Developmental Apprenticeship Model and Philosophy
The doctoral internship year is the culmination of a formal education process through which interns will learn to apply the breadth of psychological knowledge to their professional roles. The Doctoral Psychology Internship Program at the University of Tennessee Student Counseling Center focuses on the training of generalist practitioners for entry level positions in psychology using a developmental apprenticeship model. This model has as its overarching goal the professional growth of the psychology intern.
An apprenticeship is a developmental model of movement into a field. It implies a formal contractual relationship between an individual and a trainee in which both entities have certain responsibilities and rights. The apprentice serves under the direction and training of a qualified individual(s) who is responsible for the training, inculcation of values, and the quality of work produced by the apprentice.
The focus is on the developmental process as interns are provided with the knowledge and skills needed for doctoral level positions in psychology. The internship year at the Student Counseling Center is designed to promote a developmental process in which interns move from the role of student to colleague. Interns are encouraged to take an active role in designing their training to include their professional interests and needs.
This process begins by evaluating the knowledge and skills interns bring to the center. These skills and competencies are explored during orientation as interns reflect on their own experiences. Interns are asked in a variety of settings, including conferences with the training director, supervision, training seminars, and case conferences, to consider their own level of skill and professional development. Initially, interns are expected to demonstrate many skills at an intermediate level as described in the Intern Evaluation Form Rating Scale. Interns will be asked to set goals, to build on the skills they bring, and to acquire advanced skills that are essential in the profession. These goals are reviewed periodically and are revised as they progresses through the internship year.
Goals are addressed primarily through experiential and didactic learning processes. Theory and techniques, based on current research and scholarly works, are presented in didactic settings and through readings. Interns will be provided ample opportunity to observe the professional staff in various settings before actually participating in areas that are new to them. As expertise forms and competence develops, interns are encouraged to take on more responsibility and leadership. It has been our experience that most interns quickly move toward independent practice under supervision, with the goal of leaving the internship year as a professional psychologist and colleague.
Along with professional growth, personal growth also is encouraged. The training staff believes that personal development and maturity are cornerstones of professional competence and identity. Every effort is made to provide a supportive environment which models and attends to personal growth. Interns attend staff meetings beginning the first week of internship. During orientation, there will be many opportunities to begin thinking about areas of special emphasis that are available throughout the year. This model allows interns to work closely with staff and learn through modeling and collaboration. In a system that provides both support and challenge, interns are encouraged and supported in the process of becoming mature practitioners.
Training Goals and Objectives
Goal #1: To develop interns’ clinical skills in preparation for entry-level positions as professional psychologists.
- 1.1 To develop and show competence in initial assessment and intervention using clinical interview.
- 1.2 To develop and show competence in crisis assessment and intervention.
- 1.3 To develop and show competence in the provision of individual therapy.
- 1.4 To develop and show competence in the provision of couples counseling.
- 1.5 To develop and show competence in the provision of group therapy.
- 1.6 To develop and show competence in receiving supervision.
- 1.7 To develop and show competence in the use of assessment measures and methods used in a university counseling center.
- 1.8 To develop and demonstrate competence in providing clinical supervision.
- 1.9 To develop and demonstrate competence in community intervention (Consultation and Liaison, Outreach, teaching and Program Evaluation).
- 1.10 To develop and demonstrate competence in the provision of stress and wellness services.
Goal #2: To cultivate the self-knowledge, attitudes, and professional knowledge and skills needed for effective and ethical practice as a psychologist.
- 2.1 To demonstrate knowledge and application of ethical principles and legal and professional standards.
- 2.2 To demonstrate knowledge and skill in working with diverse populations and to demonstrate a commitment towards growth in multicultural competence.
- 2.3 To develop a self-awareness of personal and professional qualities that influence professional functioning.
- 2.4 To develop collegial, professional relationships within the CC and the larger university.