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The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

Psychology Internship Program

Business Hours:
Monday thru Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm
Appointment-Scheduling hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 12:00pm and 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Phone: (512) 471-3515 - Student Services Building 5th Floor
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Overall training goal
The overall objective of the doctoral internship at the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) is to prepare interns to successfully transition from graduate students to early-career professionals in psychology. We do this by providing supervised training in competencies that are consistent with the role of delivering outpatient services, particularly in university and college counseling centers.

APA Accreditation
CMHC has a long and distinguished history of providing doctoral internship training in health service psychology. As the first university counseling center-based internship program to be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), we have enjoyed continuous accreditation for more than 50 years. This reflects CMHC's commitment to training as part of our overall mission.

Educating and training psychology graduate students has always had high importance, because we believe in contributing to the advancement of our profession. Additionally, we believe that the internship program aids in the continuing education and workplace morale of our professional staff by involving them in challenging and stimulating training activities.

In 2016, our internship program successfully completed the standard re-accreditation process required of all programs by the APA Commission on Accreditation. We were subsequently awarded re-accreditation through 2023.

Profession-Wide Competencies
CMHC’s psychology internship program provides experiences to expand interns’ proficiency in the nine competency areas identified by APA, which are;

  • Research
  • Ethical and Legal Standards
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity
  • Professional Values, Attitudes and Behaviors
  • Communications and Interpersonal Skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

Training Model
Training programs are built on the premise that successful preparation of mental health professionals is dependent on the on-going development of professional competencies. Interns bring many strengths, expand their skill sets and clinical knowledge base and learn to respond to the evolving mental health needs of today’s university students. Our training model focuses on profession-specific skills developed through providing direct services and participating in targeted training activities, an emphasis on diversity in its broadest sense and our “self-and-systems” approach, which stresses professional self-reflection and growth.

Interns provide individual counseling, group interventions, crisis counseling, supervision of practicum students and prevention and outreach activities. Training activities consist of weekly individual and group supervision, membership on clinical teams, weekly seminars and preceptorships/apprenticeships.

The elements of the self-and-system model include the following:

  • The importance and mutuality of individual and systemic perspectives
  • Self-awareness and the integration of personal and professional growth
  • Pluralism. Quoting the American Heritage Dictionaries, pluralism has multiple, interrelated meanings including "a conviction that various religious, ethnic, racial and political groups should be allowed to thrive in a single society," and "the belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life."
  • Ethical standards and practices
  • Professionalism and the development of professional functioning
  • The change process, including developing a working relationship, assessment, problem definition and formulation, interventions, termination and evaluation

The model also articulates the values we hold as a training program.

  • Training should be experiential and supervised.
  • Learning is a developmental process.
  • Respect for diversity
  • The agency climate provides a balance of support and challenge and allows trainees to be learners - to own their strengths and acknowledge their areas of growth.
  • Active trainee involvement and risk-taking, in that trainees take initiative and responsibility in the training process
  • Training experiences promote personal growth and responsibility.
  • The importance of balancing responsibility to the trainee, consumer and agency
  • Training experiences must go beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skill to include integration, awareness and complex reasoning.
  • The relationship is a key element in the change process.
  • Apprenticeship experiences, with staff serving as role models for trainees
  • Peer learning
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Socialization to the values of the profession
  • Social and ethical responsibility
  • Trainees should develop an awareness of issues of power and its impact on those with whom they work.
  • The importance of developing professional support networks
  • The promotion of leadership qualities and professionalism

Training Experiences
Emphasis is placed on experiential learning under close supervision, along with peer group and trainer role modeling as learning tools. Interactive, skill-building seminars and individual and small group tutorials are used as supplementary learning methods. Interns receive on-the-job training in the full range of university psychological services including individual counseling, group interventions, crisis intervention, clinical supervision of practicum-level trainees and prevention and outreach services. Opportunities to initiate or continue the development of one or more practice specialties are also provided.

Professional Role
Since the internship is typically the capstone training experience, we believe it is particularly important for interns to possess an appreciation of the professional role they will undertake when the year is completed. This includes an understanding of ethical principles and practices, an awareness of significant challenges and trends within the field, the development and implementation of life-long professional development and learning activities, a continual examination of personal world views and their impact on professional functioning and a sense of responsibility to contribute to the welfare of the profession and society. Training staff and interns are expected to approach their work in a scholarly manner by keeping informed about latest theory, research and practice, especially as they apply to psychological training and services in a university setting.

Intersection with Social Work Interns
Psychology interns work and train with people from various health and mental health training backgrounds. Learning through cross-disciplinary interactions is a highly valued aspect of our training approach. In accordance with this model, psychology interns have a number of training experiences with CMHC's social work interns throughout the year. Social work interns are completing their master’s program at UT-Austin and are entering their second year of training.

CMHC psychology and social work interns begin training at the same time and complete much of the August Orientation together, though separate activities address the unique developmental needs of each group. Some seminars are attended jointly (e.g., Diversity Seminar, Specialty Area Seminar), while some are divided by discipline as needed to account for specific needs of the interns (e.g., Individual Seminar/Group Supervision, Professional Issues Seminar, Supervision Seminar).

CMHC is strongly committed to addressing the needs of a diverse student population, and our internship program strives to incorporate and highlight issues of difference as a fundamental part of the training experience. Ethnic minority and international students represent nearly 50% of our student body. We believe that our clients are a microcosm of cultural differences found in the university community.

CMHC Statement on Diversity

Engaging in discussions about diversity-related topics is a rewarding and often challenging experience. The complex intersection of perspectives, personal and professional identities and the unique values and life experiences that individuals bring to such discussions adds to the richness of the process and can, at times, evoke discomfort. We endeavor to approach these interactions with respect and openness. APA’s statement on "Preparing Professional Psychologists to Serve a Diverse Public" provides guidance in this area. We strive to follow the principles set forth in this document so we can engage these topics in a thoughtful and respectful manner to enhance personal and professional development.

Use of Self
A primary thread that runs through all training activities is "use of self" and its variants. This means helping the intern explore and understand the qualities and dynamics they bring to each interpersonal encounter and how these facilitate or hinder effective interactions. We encourage the intern to become more attuned to their own thoughts and feelings in working with clients and recognize how this self-awareness can be used to better understand client dynamics and develop effective treatment strategies. Because we believe in the working alliance as an indispensable ingredient in any helping relationship, we encourage interns to recognize, improve and employ those personal qualities that will assist in forming effective working relationships with clients, peers, staff and others in the university community.

Our internship program is based largely on a relational, use-of-self training model. We believe that optimal professional development occurs within the context of self-reflection and personal exploration. Therefore, our training activities will, at times, ask interns to disclose personal information. Training staff takes very seriously its responsibility to foster and maintain a safe, trusting and supportive environment to allow such disclosures to occur in accordance with the goals and objectives of our training model.

(This section is intended to satisfy Section 7.04 of the APA Ethics Code regarding our responsibility to notify applicants of the requirement for self-disclosure of personal information.)

APA Ethics Code

APA accreditattion 1966

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