The aim of the University of Missouri Counseling Center internship in health service psychology is to train generalist psychologists for practice with an adult population emphasizing intervention within a university setting. We operate from a broadly defined evidence based approach and integrate contextual variables into intentional practice. Our program is designed to help interns transition from trainees to competent, ethical professionals in a pluralistic society.
Experiential activities, seminars, and in-depth supervision facilitate interns achieving this aim and developing competencies that enable them to move on to careers in a variety of settings (e.g., university counseling centers, community mental health centers, hospitals, private practice, as well as numerous academic settings).
The American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation requires demonstration of nine profession-wide competencies for all interns who complete accredited internships. These competencies are: Research; Ethical and legal standards; Individual and cultural diversity; professional values, attitudes, and behaviors; Communication and interpersonal skills; Assessment; Intervention; Supervision; and Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills. Additionally, the MUCC has one program-specific competency, Outreach and prevention which is relevant to work within the local context of a campus community. The competencies correspond to items in the Intern Performance Evaluation designed to measure attainment of each competency.
Evaluation & Exit Criteria
Feedback from the training staff to each intern regarding performance is as holistic as possible. As such, we devote a great deal of time and thought to this process. Interns review our evaluation instruments with their supervisors at the beginning of the year in order to identify areas of strength as well as areas for growth. Based on this, interns and supervisors also establish clinically relevant goals for the intern for the semester. Interns receive ongoing verbal feedback about their performance throughout the year in supervision. This feedback is based primarily on review of digitally recorded sessions and discussion. Interns are given formal, written evaluations twice a year (January and July) in a meeting conducted with all of the relevant supervisors.
For the final evaluation in July, interns must receive a rating of “3” or above on 95% of the total evaluation items. No more than two ratings of “2” (skill performance below expected developmental level) can be noted in any evaluation (i.e., individual, group, outreach, provision of supervision, focus area) and no items may be rated at “1” (unable to perform this skill at an acceptable level).
In addition to formative verbal evaluation and summative written evaluation, interns’ competency with regard to their clinical abilities, including assessment, diagnosis, evidence-based intervention, integration of theory and practice, and cultural diversity, is assessed via 80-90 minute Capstone presentations they make to the training faculty near the end of internship. The Capstone is the culmination of interns’ clinical work and the format is loosely based on the American Board of Professional Psychology’s Board Certification in Counseling Psychology. This format parallels our training philosophy and prepares interns to enter into their roles as psychologists. In order to prepare interns for the final Capstone presentation, several incremental requirements are scheduled throughout the year.
The Training Director tracks interns’ direct and indirect hours over the course of the internship. In order to assist interns in obtaining licensure post-internship, completion of internship is contingent on completing 2000 overall hours and 500 direct service hours.