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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. CMHC staff who lead or provide seminars within the CMHC training programs have joint faculty appointments within the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and College of Education.

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 at CMHC because we believe in contributing to the advancement of our profession and the development of competent and impactful psychologists. Additionally, we believe that the internship program contributes to the continuing education and workplace morale of our clinical 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 and we continue to be fully accredited.

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

Training Model
Training programs at CMHC are based on the premise that successful preparation of mental health professionals is dependent on the on-going development of professional competencies. Interns bring many strengths to the internship program, 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 understanding the connections between personal and cultural factors on mental health outcomes, 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
  • An understanding that no single perspective can adequately explain or account for the experiences that individuals have in 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 expresses the values we hold as a training program.

  • Training should be experiential and supervised
  • Learning is a developmental process
  • Respect for the vast range of experiences and perspectives individuals bring to their interactions in the CMHC.
  • A climate that 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, students receiving services and the 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 and respect
  • Socialization to the values of the profession
  • Social and ethical responsibility
  • Awareness of issues of power and the impact on those with whom they work
  • The importance of developing professional support networks
  • The promotion of leadership qualities

Training Experiences
Emphasis is placed on experiential learning under close supervision, along with peer group and trainer role modeling. Interactive, skill-building seminars and individual and small group tutorials are used as supplementary learning methods. Interns receive on-the-job training in a 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 (e.g., substance use treatment, interpersonal violence and trauma-informed care, disordered eating treatment) are also provided.

Professional Role
Since the internship is 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 the latest theories, 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 professionals and trainees 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 weekly seminars are attended jointly (e.g., Diversity Seminar, Specialty Area Seminar), while some are separated by discipline as needed to account for the specific needs of the interns (e.g., Individual Seminar/Group Supervision, Professional Issues Seminar, Supervision Seminar).

Understanding the Intersection of Identity and Mental Health
Our internship program strives to incorporate and highlight issues of difference as a fundamental part of the clinical training experience. Given the various life experiences and backgrounds of our student population, and the empirical support linking the importance of recognizing identity when delivering mental health services, we aim to engage in those discussions that increase interns’ clinical competence and effectiveness.

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 interns explore and understand the qualities and dynamics they bring to each interpersonal encounter and how these facilitate or hinder effective interactions, including clinical interactions. We encourage interns 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 evidence indicates that the working alliance is 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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