Doctoral Internship Training Model

The doctoral internship training program at ASU Counseling Services trains interns in accordance with a Developmental- Practitioner training model. The overarching philosophy supporting that model is that learning is a developmental process, and that at the internship level, learning is achieved through the practice of professional activities while receiving support, training, feedback, and the opportunity to observe professional role models. Professional socialization and the ability to observe and interact with peers and other professionals is a key element of the learning process. The internship year represents the capstone of training since it involves the application, development, and integration of knowledge and experience in an intensive learning environment. Interns become adept at balancing multiple professional roles and demands while experiencing more challenging responsibilities. Training is designed to guide and support interns, but also challenge them as they transition from a student role to that of an entry level professional. This process results in a professional identity that is unique to the individual and incorporates competencies in required professional attitudes, knowledge, skills and flexibility.

Interns are selected who have a solid foundation of professional knowledge and experience. Training and professional practice experiences are provided to help interns engage effectively in their professional roles and responsibilities. Trainees are encouraged to function as professionals within an agency where consultation, collaboration and feedback are valued components of the professional culture. By the end of the internship year, interns are expected to be ready to function as autonomous, entry-level practitioners with an intermediate to advanced level of competency in all 9 Prodesson-Wide Competency areas.

The training philosophy is informed by the following values and principles, which are fully integrated into the doctoral psychology internship program.

Challenge – It is important that internship offer the opportunity to be challenged to stretch and move out of one’s comfort zone into areas of professional functioning that are less familiar. The level of challenge needs to be commensurate with the intern’s previous training and experience as well as the intern’s personal attributes. Interns are challenged through their clinical responsibilities, multicultural exposure, multiple role functions, appropriate consultation within a multi-disciplinary team, and awareness of their personal process. It is expected that interns will be able to accept increasing levels of challenge throughout the internship year.

Diversity– Ethical and effective psychologists must consider all aspects of their own cultural contexts and the population they serve. This includes understanding the interaction of worldviews and the experiences of oppression and privilege. The program fosters appreciation for the richness of human diversity in all its aspects, including but not limited to race, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, spirituality, gender, physical ability, age, and SES. This is accomplished through didactic, supervisory, and experiential activities that help develop effective approaches of working with diverse clientele and the broader university community.

Exposure to role models– Interaction with professionals of differing theoretical orientations, professional training, professional interests, and personal characteristics is infused throughout the training program. Such exposure provides a rich environment in which interns continue to develop their own professional identities, while learning to value the multiple perspectives of professional practice.

Feedback– Receiving specific feedback helps interns understand their strengths and competencies as well as their areas needing additional focus and development. Formal evaluation represents the culmination and integration of informal feedback offered throughout a variety of training experiences.

Integration of scholarly knowledge and practice – The program models the use of theoretically and empirically sound professional practices. Interns are exposed to a variety of didactic, supervisory, and experiential activities that value the integration of scholarly knowledge and practice. This exposes interns to new perspectives and allows them to engage in professional dialogue in which both intern and supervisors are challenged to examine and articulate the application of scholarly knowledge to professional practice.

Lifelong learning and growth – Training staff teach and model the belief that developing as a psychologist is a lifelong process, thus normalizing the belief that all practitioners have relative strengths and weaknesses, make mistakes, and have the opportunity to grow from reflection upon those experiences.

Self-awareness – We believe that self-awareness and the ability to continually reflect on one’s own personal dynamics are critical to the development of effective professional skills. Towards this aim, interns may be asked to engage in a process of personal exploration with their supervisors and trainers. In this process, supervisors will encourage interns to discuss and reflect upon how their experiences, personal qualities, and interpersonal dynamics related to their professional functioning. Supervisors take care to create a training relationship characterized by trust, safety, and respect. Supervisors also take care to differentiate between therapy and supervision. As such, the focus of the discussion is always directly related to the interns’ professional functioning and development.

Self-reflection - Self-awareness and the ability to continually reflect upon one’s own personal dynamics are critical to the development of effective professional skills. Personal qualities, experiences, and interpersonal dynamics affect every aspect of professional practice, and thus an ethical and competent psychologist must be willing and able to engage in self-reflection.

Support – Maximum growth and learning requires taking risks, assuming new roles, and tolerating developmentally appropriate feelings of uncertainty. While trainees are expected to be challenged by their supervisors, training experiences, and the nature of the work, we also provide an environment in which the challenge is balanced by support and encouragement through the growth process.