Philosophy & Training Model
© UHM CSDC
The principle goal of the Psychology Internship at the Counseling and Student, Development Center (CSDC) at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa (UHM) is to train and educate psychology interns for the general practice of professional psychology, with particular emphasis on competencies that pertain to college mental health. Exposure to diverse individuals and perspectives along with opportunities for increasing multicultural competence is infused throughout the training experience. The internship embraces an experiential learning philosophy and is designed to enact the practitioner-scholar model of training and clinical practice.
While the emphasis of our program is clearly on practice, we understand good professional practice to be possible only when science and practice are integrated (Belar and Perry, 1992) and when the practitioner “reflects-in-action” (Peterson 1995 p. 980). To be responsible and effective practitioners, we must also be scholars. We draw upon our knowledge of research, scholarly work and theory as well as our intuition, creativity and experience of relationship to respond to a particular need.
The training site is viewed as a place to integrate theory and practice. An emphasis is placed on helping interns learn how to apply the knowledge they have gained from their classrooms, research and readings into what they do in their work. The training experience follows a developmental progression, meeting each intern at his/her entering skill level and challenging him/her to expand beyond that. In doing so, our training incorporates the following:
Our mission is to train interns as skilled generalists equipped to work in a variety of post-internship employment settings, with particular emphasis on competencies that pertain to college mental health. The areas of functioning within the substantive areas of counseling and clinical psychology emphasized at our center include: clinical intake interview, individual psychotherapy, assessment, group counseling, crisis intervention, career counseling, outreach/ consultation/evaluation, and supervision.
The practice of psychology is the primary focus of the UHM training program. However, this practice is informed by scholarly inquiry. The internship training program builds on professional knowledge acquired during doctoral training. While interns may or may not conduct empirical research beyond their dissertations during their internship year, science and scholarship are important foundations of practice. Training activities include:
By year’s end, as a result of the constant infusion of these principles into their practice, interns are expected to be true practitioner-scholars in the sense of using science to inform practice.
There is attention to developmentally appropriate training experiences for optimal growth. Interns’ experiences are sequential, cumulative, and graded, with increasing level of responsibility and expectations for independent functioning throughout the internship year. The approach facilitates the intern’s continued growth from a “trainee” identity toward a “professional” identity. The internship year begins with a period of orientation during which interns participate in numerous seminars providing instruction on the core tasks that interns will engage in throughout the year.
Previous training, experience, and a, initial self-review of competency benchmarks are assessed during the first month of internship. Initial goals for training are identified and agreed upon. These training goals are revised throughout the year based on periodic intern evaluation, intern’s needs, and changing or emerging interests. Throughout the internship year, support, training, and supervision activities are geared toward assisting interns to increase their clinical sophistication, knowledge and skill base, gradually take on more responsibility, and develop greater confidence and capacity for autonomous functioning.
All training activities are structured according to a developmental model, with interns initially being provided close and detailed supervision as appropriate, with opportunities to master fundamentals in foundational and functional areas. As the year progresses, more time is allocated to focused skills and techniques/approaches and advanced professional conduct. Additionally, interns are given more opportunities to provide each other with feedback and guidance, and hence gain experience in consultative roles.