The purpose of the internship is to provide a comprehensive training experience. A practitioner model focused upon clinical practice and service delivery guides the internship training program (Rodolfa, Kaslow, Stewart, Keilin, & Baker, 2005), with the goal of providing the professional skills necessary for independent functioning as a psychologist in a university or college counseling setting. In this context, the program centers upon development of clinical competence, and training activities consistently explore research and theory as essential complements to all aspects of clinical practice. Both theory and research are incorporated in seminars, professional development activities, case presentations, and supervision of clinical work. The practitioner model allows attention to two primary, interrelated tasks, both of which CCSD staff understand as central to the internship.
The program views development, refinement, and integration of clinical skills in a variety of areas as one central task of internship. Interns start internship with a foundation of didactic information and clinical skills from their academic training. Internship provides an intensive opportunity to develop new skills (e.g., career counseling, providing supervision) and to apply familiar skills in increasingly sophisticated ways. Staff value openness to learning, curiosity, flexibility in thinking, and a willingness to self-reflect as qualities that contribute to the growth associated with internship. At the end of internship, CCSD expects interns to demonstrate competencies in individual and group therapy, outreach, consultation, multicultural issues, supervision, and ethical issues.
A second, closely related task is the development of a more mature, integrated professional identity. Internship represents an important transition from the role of graduate student to that of a professional psychologist, prepared for entry-level practice following internship. CCSD supports interns’ growth via mentoring, discussion of professional identity development, and practical support (e.g, research time for dissertation-related work; funding and time for professional development activities.) Interns gain specific exposure to the many roles and responsibilities of a psychologist in a counseling center setting, which provides a strong foundation for future work in a university setting. This exposure occurs as interns serve with staff on internal administrative committees and participate in ongoing discussions about psychologists’ roles within the larger university community during staff meetings, seminars, and staff retreats.
The CCSD staff is highly committed to the internship program and to the achievement of excellence in the experience. Staff provide regular, intensive supervision and training seminars to support and guide interns’ growth. Some opportunities exist to individualize the program so that special needs or skills of the interns can be addressed or developed. At the completion of the internship,
individuals will hopefully view the experience as a valuable capstone to their formal training in
counseling and will be capable of assuming positions of responsibility within the field.
Rodolfa, E. R., Kaslow, N. J., Stewart, A. E., Keilin, W. G., & Baker, J. (2005). Internship
training: Do models really matter? Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36, 25 – 31.
Preparing Psychologists to Serve a Diverse Public
As articulated in our program policy statement, we are committed to a training process that ensures that graduate students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. CCSD is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community.
Consistent with this principle, CCSD policy requires that trainers and trainees do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status in the services provided at the training clinic or practicum site.
In some cases, tensions may arise for a trainee due to differences in beliefs or values with clients. Because the trainees will have to navigate these sorts of clinical situations in their future practice careers, CCSD has a responsibility to prepare students to do so in a safe and ethical manner. CCSD will respectfully work with students as they learn how to effectively practice with a broad range of clients. Thus, trainees should expect to be assigned clients that may present challenges for them at some point in training.
If trainees do not feel comfortable or capable of providing competent services to a client because it conflicts with the trainee’s beliefs or values, it is the trainee’s responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of his/her supervisor. Because client welfare and safety are always the first priority, decisions about client assignment and reassignment are the responsibilities of the faculty/supervisors.
Center for Counseling & Student Development
261 Perkins Student Center, Newark, DE 19716