Doctoral Internship Program
Dear Prospective Applicant,
Thank you for your interest in our doctoral professional psychology internship program at USC Engemann Student Health Center Student Counseling Services (SCS). Congratulations on reaching this important milestone in your academic career. Our internship program has been APA-Accredited since 1989. Our goal is to prepare interns with the skills needed for a career in a university counseling center including multicultural competencies in initial consultations and intakes, short-term individual therapy, group therapy, crisis intervention, provision of supervision and campus-based outreach and consultation with a highly diverse population and range of presenting concerns. I would like to highlight key components of our program including: group training, ability to supervise, outreach training, and a core commitment to diversity.
Group therapy with live supervision: A unique aspect of our training program is the intensive training in group psychotherapy. USC is proud to be the first program to use a one-way mirror for live group supervision. The group members consent to having their group therapy observed along with “live” interventions that are phoned into the session from the supervising team members. Interns routinely rate this experience as one of the highpoints of their training. Interns typically co-lead one of our process or skills-based groups in addition to the “live group.”
Supervision of a practicum student: Interns have the opportunity to provide supervision to a graduate student for the academic year. Interns receive on-going training and supervision via the weekly Supervision of Supervision Meeting. This activity also supports the professional identity development of the intern, helping them recognize their own growth and learning as well as being in the trusted position to train others.
Outreach and consultation: Our extensive Outreach and Consultation training involves much more than facilitating workshops. Interns will have a Liaison Project for which they serve in a liaison role to a department of their choice. This year-long relationship allows interns to engage in various activities such as consultation, non-clinical supervision of Peer Mentor programs, and program development. In addition, interns will develop a social advocacy project which is intended to address the mental health disparities or barriers to treatment that exist in society and at USC.
Diversity: The appreciation of human diversity is a core value of SCS and of USC’s commitment to its diverse community. Our student body is extremely diverse and boasts one of the largest international student populations in the country. We offer a Diversity Dialogues weekly seminar, a diversity theme for center-wide programming, and we incorporate multicultural awareness throughout all trainings. Above all, the staff is dedicated to creating a culture of openness, grace, co-existence with difference and respect necessary to engage in self-awareness and lifelong learning.
In closing, I would like to mention perhaps the finest characteristic of our program: our talented, personable, good-humored, and diverse staff. When recruiting staff, a top priority is placed on hiring professionals who will enhance our training program. We view training and mentorship as vital to our culture here at SCS.
I hope the information about our program provides you the information you need in order to make an informed decision about your internship application. Feel free to contact me with any questions, (213) 740-7711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Broderick Leaks, PhD
Interim Assistant Director, Training
Please be advised – email is not a secure medium for transmitting confidential information.
Predoctoral Internship Program Frameworks
The Predoctoral Internship Program is intended to develop ethically informed judgment, professional identity development, multicultural competencies, and competence working in a university counseling center. Prospective applicants should be aware of the following underlying values as well:
Accreditation by the American Psychological Association
The Predoctoral Internship Program has been accredited program by APA since 1989. The staff is committed to adhering to the standards therein, in addition to all legal and ethic codes of the professions represented among the staff. Verification of our status and more information can be found at:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: (202) 336-5979
TDD/TTY: (202) 336-6123
Fax: (202) 336-5978
You may also view information about our program on the APPIC website: http://www.appic.org
Commitment to Diversity
APA/BEA Statement: Preparing Professional Psychologists to Serve a Diverse Public
Counseling Psychology Model Training Values Statement Addressing Diversity
USC Non-Discrimination Policy
The Non-Discrimination policy, in part, reads, “The University of Southern California is an equal opportunity employer and educator. Proudly pluralistic and firmly committed to providing equal opportunity for outstanding men and women of every race, creed and background, the University of Southern California strives to build a community in which each person respects the rights of other people to be proud of who and what they are, to live, work and learn in peace and dignity, and to have an equal opportunity to realize their full potential as individuals and members of society.”
Student Disclosure of Personal Information
The internship is committed to provide opportunities to support the personal and professional development of the interns. Seminars, trainings, and supervision offer numerous opportunities for self-reflection on current and prior learning and life experiences. Students will be invited, but not required, to reflect on the development of their own world view, including personal data or experiences, in order to understand their impact on case conceptualizations, interventions, multicultural awareness, therapeutic relationships, and functioning within their roles at Student Counseling Services. Staff are professional and respectful of the intern’s privacy, and in addressing clinical performance and client welfare.
The Internship Training Program functions in a manner consistent with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2002, including 2010 amendments), Standard 7.04: Student Disclosure of Personal Information.
Communication with Home Departments
We follow the Council of Chairs of Training Councils’ “Voluntary Guidelines for Communication between Graduate Programs and Internship Programs.” To this end, the Training Director (TD) will be in contact with the faculty of the graduate program throughout the year, and copies of the formal evaluation will be sent to the graduate program at the end of each semester. Interns will be consulted about communications in the spirit of openness and support for professional development.
Practitioner-Scholar Training Model
The Model used views training as an interactive, dynamic process that involves: self-reflection, integrating past experiences with new learning, meaningful engagement with professional role models, embracing challenges, and solidifying a professional identity.
The Model integrates research and theory with practical, experiential learning. Interns are provided opportunities to practice skills associated with counseling center psychology work including clinical, liaison, supervision, training, outreach and consultation. Interns are encouraged to apply scholarly inquiry and critical thinking to all facts of their work: clinical, outreach, consultation, supervision, training, and administrative; to stay abreast of current trends; and applying pertinent findings to their therapeutic work.
To promote cultural competence, interns participate in a variety of activities and are encouraged to assess the impact of individual and cultural differences and worldview on human experiences. SCS strives to establish a non-judging, safe place to explore the impact of worldview on clinical work and embrace difficult dialogues with respect and grace. As interns view their work through a culturally-educated lens, the staff helps them to thoughtfully apply these understandings to professional practice.
Recognizing that every intern brings unique talents, experiences, and interests, the program will adjust to meet their unique development needs throughout the internship. Expectations for intern performance change according to their progression through the internship: more stringent standards are demanded of final-stage interns than beginning-stage interns. Further, over the course of the year, interns advance towards greater levels of autonomy, readying them for professional practice.
By the completion of the internship, interns should be well-prepared to assume an entry-level psychology position.
Training Goals and Objectives
Goal 1 – Develop professional identity and values and attitude of psychology.
- Interns will be expected to demonstrate integrity in department and verbal interactions with clients, peers, staff and campus community.
- Interns will demonstrate awareness of the welfare of others, not limited to clients.
- Interns demonstrate commitment to identity as student of psychology including awareness of issues related to the field.
- Interns demonstrate an understanding of effective implication of ethical codes of conduct and legal and regulatory issues.
- Interns demonstrate an ability to maintain effective relationships with clients and staff.
- Interns demonstrate good self-care as demonstrated by management of affect and maturity.
- Interns demonstrate effective communication oral and written skills.
- Interns demonstrate strong collaborative skills including conflict management skills that prioritize commitment to the center mission and a positive work environment.
- Interns will demonstrate awareness of and accountability for their actions.
Goal 2 – Demonstrate a respect and awareness of individual and cultural identity.
- Interns will incorporate and be sensitive to role of context and cultural factors influencing the client.
- Interns demonstrate self-awareness of own identity and how that influences their perception of the client.
- Interns will develop advocacy project aimed at underserved population or concern.
Goal 3 – Development of clinical skills associated with the University Counseling Center including individual therapy, case management, referral, intake/phone assessment, psychoeducational outreach workshops and trainings, group psychotherapy, and supervision of a practicum.
- Interns demonstrate active curiosity and incorporation of recent and relevant research into practice.
- Interns demonstrate clinical effectiveness with a wide variety of clients and demonstrate good judgment in routine and crisis situations.
- Interns demonstrate ability to reflect on countertransference and managing affect.
- Interns demonstrate critical thinking skills and awareness of psychological theories.
- Interns demonstrate effective collaboration skills among an interdisciplinary staff.
- Interns demonstrate diagnosis, intervention and treatment planning with understanding of range of normal and abnormal behavior in the context of human development and diversity concerns.
Clinical Service Activities
Interns cover a two-hour crisis shift each week, during which they respond to “walk-ins” and emergency appointments. Additionally, they may provide phone consultations to faculty, staff, parents or peers who are concerned about the welfare of a student. They are supervised by members of our crisis team. During the summer, when the demand of services is slower, this increases to two full day shifts. Interns will also meet regularly for crisis supervision.
The Counseling Center offers process, support, and psycho-educational groups. Interns have the opportunity to co-facilitate with a senior staff member. Additionally, as part of our Live Group Program, they will conduct a group with team observation. Interns typically shift roles between co-facilitator and observer at the beginning of Spring semester.
Group offerings vary with student demand. Below are offerings:
- Interpersonal Relationships
- Graduate Students Therapy
- Peace With Food and Body Image
- Trailblazers: First Generation to College
- Chronic Health and Disabilities Concerns
- Grief and Loss
- International Tea Time
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Support
- Women of Color
- Self-Discovery Through Creativity
- Effective Living Skills for Mood Management
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
- Social Confidence
- Toolkit for Anxiety
Interns provide short-term treatment based on a 12 session model. It is expected that each intern will also work with two long-term clients. Although interns will receive training for couple’s therapy, please note that this service has a modest request rate from students. Interns have the option for 2 long-term clients. Interns will incorporate use of behavioral measures to inform their clinical work and assessment.
Interns are expected to conduct intakes for cases assigned to them. Intake sessions serve as a means of collecting initial assessment information and determining probable case disposition (short-term, long-term, psychiatric referral or outside referral).
The center currently relies on triaging all requests for services with a phone assessment system to determine students need for crisis services, short-term services at SCS, or a community referral. Interns will provide phone assessments throughout the training year, with a slight increase during slow or summer months.
Supervision of Practicum Counselor
Interns provide weekly supervision to doctoral level practicum counselors from local doctoral programs. The intern will collaborate with the senior staff co-supervisor, who will also meet weekly with the practicum counselor.
Consultation & Outreach
A wide variety of consultation and outreach opportunities are available to interns. Interns may make presentations on topics of interest such as stress management, intercultural dialogues, eating disorders, couples communication, overcoming writing problems, and etc. They may collaborate with other departments in planning and implementing outreach programming. Interns may also participate in campus interventions in response to campus tragedies.
Social Advocacy Project
In an effort to understand the role of advocacy within psychology, interns are encouraged to identify and address mental health disparities in public health. They may choose to identify a clinical or cultural population, and use their creativity to address disparities or reduce barriers to treatment with students and/or staff. Interns participate in a Social Advocacy Project of their choosing, with the approval of the TD. They may opt to take part in a university-sponsored event such as National Black History Month, Take Back the Night, Equal Marriage Rights Initiative, and etc. In such cases, interns will take an active role in collaborating with the university department, program, or committee responsible for putting on that project or event (e.g. attend planning meetings or help with a specific part of the program).
Interns have the opportunity to provide training for counselors-in-training at our Center (Practicum Counselors and Social Work Interns). This training covers both a topic of clinical interest and a presentation about their advocacy work, the Social Advocacy Project. They also have the opportunity to provide training for Peer Educator/Mentor programs offered by various departments on campus.
Supervision matches are yearlong, and are made with input from interns. Each intern receives two hours of weekly supervision with a primary supervisor, a licensed psychologist, and with a delegated supervisor. According to the California Board of Psychology, delegated supervisors may include licensed mental health providers, such as psychiatrists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists. As an interdisciplinary staff, we value the benefit of interns being trained by licensed as delegated supervisors.
Important Reminder: Our internship requirement complies with standards for the state of California. Some states may require supervision to be provided licensed psychologists only, while other states consider APA accredited sites exempt from this requirement. It is suggested that applicants research state requirements via the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Please feel free to share any concerns you have with the TD about your training requests.
Intern Seminar Series
These weekly two hour seminars provide interactive training on treating clients with specific problems or disorders (e.g. disordered eating, social anxiety, depression), therapy skills and techniques (case conceptualization, mindfulness and affect regulation, therapeutic communications) applied theories (e.g. CBT, ACT, DBT, Interpersonal), and ethical and professional issues (i.e. therapist/client attractions, job search).
Interns co-facilitate process, skills-based, or support groups with senior staff members. Afterwards, they debrief and plan with their co-facilitator. Some groups also have a process observer who provides the group a summary of the group process and participates in group supervision as well.
Live Group Training
Using a treatment team approach, two interns facilitate a group, while the other two interns along with the group supervisor observe. “Real time” feedback is provided to the leaders by the observers who phone in their observations and suggestions. After sessions are finished, all team members convene to discuss group dynamics and plan future strategies. All interns have an opportunity to both observe and co-lead a Live Group. The intention is to provide a supportive, lively learning environment.
Supervision of Supervision
Interns meet weekly as a team to discuss the supervision they are providing to the practicum counselors. Models of supervision, multicultural supervision, and ethics are part of the team discussions. Supervision will address identifying the developmental needs of the supervisee, fostering the supervisory relationship, providing feedback, and monitoring client welfare. Interns will also meet regularly with their senior staff co-supervisor.
Diversity Colloquia provide didactic coverage of salient facets of working with specific populations such as, but not limited to, ethnic/racial minorities, LGBTQ or differently-abled students. Once broad cultural groups have been covered in our Diversity Colloquia, this meeting converts into weekly, one-hour Diversity Dialogues which include experiential exercises, guided discussions, culture-sharing, self-reflection and exploration, and case discussions.
Video Case Conference
Interns attend a weekly one hour video case conference meeting, during which each will present video excerpts of her or his work with individuals and couples. Interns help their peers explore case conceptualization, transference and counter-transference, treatment options, and clinical challenges.
The month of August is dedicated to orientation, clinical training, team building and facilitating the interns’ transition to USC and the Los Angeles area. Typical orientation activities include an all staff retreat; orientation to SCS clinical operations and procedures; diversity training; an introduction to therapeutic issues relevant to college mental health; introduction to outreach and consultation; visits to key campus departments; and the establishment of campus liaison projects.
Interns are formally evaluated and given feedback twice a year regarding their overall performance and their progress as clinicians. Likewise, twice a year interns formally evaluate their supervisors and they provide feedback about the training program. In addition, informal quarterly meetings with the intern are held to assess progress and for interns to share their satisfaction with their learning goals.
Time reserved for clinical paperwork, phone calls, tape review and administrative tasks.
All Staff Meeting
This weekly meeting is attended by the senior staff and the trainees from all of our training programs. Since the primary purpose of these meetings is to address the administrative business of Student Counseling Services, interns learn about the internal workings and systems issues of a university counseling center.
Interns do a rotation in which they assist the Center Director in making case disposition assignments of clients on our waitlist. They help determine the level of staff (practicum, intern, senior staff, etc.) suitable for treating a particular case. This activity is under review, as case assignment procedures may change.
Interns have the opportunity to join an on-going or ad hoc administrative committee such as: Intern Selection, Practicum Selection or campus committees, such as the Eating Disorders Treatment Team. Interns will also be asked to contribute to the Fall orientation planning committee for the next cohort.
There are occasional speakers or training that may occur in addition to the above activities.
Intern Business Meeting
Interns meet weekly with the Director of Training to discuss office protocol, procedural questions, professional issues, and the myriad of internship-related issues or questions that arise.
Intern Process Meeting
Many intern cohorts opt to meet for weekly peer supervision and support.
Intern Selection Committee
Interns serve on intern selection committee, with the option of later participating with the Practicum selection process. This entails providing feedback on applications, participating in interviews and assisting with the Open Houses.
Staff Meeting Facilitation
Interns have the opportunity to facilitate one of our All Staff Meetings. Interns prepare for their facilitation under the guidance of the Center Director.
The internship expects the intern to complete 1950 hours total including 500 Clinical Activity Hours. The sample below is only an approximation. Interns are expected to co-facilitate one live group and a second group.
500 “Face-to-Face” Client Contact Hours
Individual Clients (Intakes, Individual Therapy, Case Management, Phone Assessment, Couple’s Therapy) – 13.5 hours
Group with Co-leader – 1.5 hours
Live Group (intern facilitating) – 1.5 hours
Crisis – 2.0 hours
Supervision of Prac – 1.0 hour
Outreach/Liaison (varies) – 0.5 hours
Primary – 1.0 hour
Delegated – 1.0 hour
Live Group Team Supervision – 1.5 hours
Supervision with Staff Group Co-leader – 0.5 hours
Supervision of Supervision – 1.5 hours
Video Case Conference – 1.0 hour
Intern Seminars – 2 hours
Diversity Colloquies/Dialogues – 1 hour
Intern Support – 1.0 hour (optional over lunch)
Intern Business – 0.5 hours
All Staff Meetings – 1.0 hour
Health Center Staff Meeting – 1.0 hour (once per month)
Paperwork, tape review, prep, committee – 5.5 hours
- $25,350 stipend
- Choice of major medical, dental, and vision insurance at a minimal cost
- $500 continuing education monies
- 12 days vacation per year*
- 12 days sick time per year*
- 9 scheduled university holidays
- 8 days professional development*
- 4-day work week in the summer, optional
- Transportation discount with the Metro pass use
- Discount Movie and Event tickets, including theme parks
- Eligible for an account at the USC Credit Union
- Bookstore and pharmacy (non-prescriptions) discount
- On-site continuing education
- Library privileges
* Interns will be required to use at least 40 hours of their accrued leave time during the last week of internship. Interns need to be mindful of how use of their days may affect total hours accrued.