Components of the Internship Program

For the 2021-2022 training year and in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the counseling center will continue to provide a hybrid model of clinical services, including both telemental health services, and in-person services.  Interns will receive training in the use of telemental health services and role play these services to endure they are prepared prior to meeting with students Full-time clinicians, including interns, will have a hybrid schedule of working from campus and telework unless an intern has a medical accommodation trough Human Resources.  Determinations about telesupervision and virtual didacts will be made based on updated guidance from the Commission on Accreditation as well as public health best practices. Interns will be provided with the required technology and are asked to have a confidential location in Virginia from which they can provide services if teleworking. The center and training program will continue to follow guidelines from the APA Commission on Accreditation and the Virginia Board of Psychology regarding the use of telesupervision. It is possible this set of procedures will shift during the training year in response to ongoing emergency preparedness procedures.

*Please note: specific designation of hours/week for each clinical activity will be determined based on clinical need, time of the semester, and intern interests.

Clinical Activities

Initial Consultation: Initial Consultation (IC) is the primary entry point into the clinical system. The appointment is scheduled for 30 minutes. The purpose of this appointment is to complete a brief screening and determine the next appropriate clinical intervention.

Routine Appointment: Routine Appointments serve as a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment with students with whom the intern will work with as part of their caseload.

Urgent Appointment: Urgent Appointments are available for students presenting with some risk factors who do not require a same-day Crisis Consultation appointment but should be seen sooner than the next available Routine Appointment. Urgent appointments are scheduled during a daytime on-call shift.

Crisis Consultation: Same day appointment for students who are in distress or experiencing a mental health emergency.

Case Management: Case management appointments support clients with getting connected to off-campus support. Appointments are typically 30 minutes but can be longer depending on assessment and treatment planning required to support the student.

Individual Therapy: Individual therapy begins at the time of the Routine Appointment during which the clinician gathers more complete information on the student, clarifies goals of short-term therapy, and begins therapy work with use of therapeutic interventions in session. Individual therapy appointments typically last 45-50 minutes.

Group Screening Appointment: Group Screening appointments are completed for students who will be referred to group therapy. May be done individually or with a co-facilitator.

Group Therapy: CAPS offers structured and process groups each semester.

Workshops: CAPS offers regular workshops focused on coping skills for students.

Community Education/Outreach and Consultation Activities: Interns participate in at least six outreach/community education events during their internship year and as clinical schedules allow. Outreach/community education opportunities may include: speaking to university classes about mental health topics; providing training to University Housing staff; assisting with orientation programs; staffing informational kiosks; providing programming for other university events; or leading a workshop at CAPS. Interns plan and present an Advocacy Project during internship as well. See Administration, Research, Presentations section for more information about the project.

Provision of Supervision: Interns have the opportunity to supervise externs from the Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia-area doctoral Clinical and Counseling Psychology programs. Supervision occurs weekly for one hour. Interns may also have the opportunity to supervise a different supervisee each semester depending on the number of externs working at CAPS that year.

Training and Supervision

Individual Supervision: Interns receive two hours of individual supervision per week with a Licensed Clinical Psychologist throughout their training year. The individual supervision focuses on intervention, case management, case conceptualization, and the professional growth of the intern. Supervision also includes discussion of direct observations of services provided. Supervisory assignments are made in July and January; thus, interns will typically have a different supervisor each six-month period. Assignments of supervisors are made by the Associate Director, Training Services with the input of the individual interns. Every effort is made to match personal and professional interests, styles, and needs to maximize the effectiveness of the supervisory dyad.

Group Supervision: Interns receive at least one hour of group supervision per week with a licensed staff member. Group supervision will focus on the clinical service and intern professional growth and adjustment.

Supervision of Group Therapy: Interns receive supervision of group therapy from their group co-facilitator. It is typically scheduled for 30 minutes, immediately after group and focused on intern group therapy skill development.

Seminars: Interns participate in biweekly training seminars, organized as “mini-courses” that are structured based on the Profession-Wide Competencies. Topics include, but are not limited to ethical and legal principles, multicultural considerations, assessment techniques, interventions for university populations, and working with specific populations. All seminars integrate cultural considerations, ethical considerations, and current research and scheduled in a sequential and developmentally informed manner.

Multicultural Lab: Interns participate in a biweekly Multicultural Lab during which they can explore their own cultural awareness and integration of cultural considerations into their clinical work and professional development. In addition to the intern-focused seminar, interns participate in staff-wide discussions about diversity.

Group Case Conference and Peer Supervision: These case conference/peer supervision meetings provide an opportunity for interns to participate in multidisciplinary discussions with clinical staff about clinical cases, group therapy cases, ethical dilemmas, and case management.

Supervision of Supervision: Interns receive weekly supervision of the supervision they provide to psychology externs with a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Time in this supervision will be spent processing the experience of providing supervision, reviewing extern performance, reviewing relevant literature related to supervisions and clinical cases, and discussing direct observations of both supervision meetings and extern clinical work.

Evaluation: Interns receive ongoing, informal evaluation regularly throughout their training year. Individual supervisors oversee a comprehensive and formal evaluation process twice per year based on the Profession-Wide Competencies, at approximately six months into the training year and at the end of the training year. All staff involved in the training program and supervision are invited to provide feedback. Interns are also regularly invited to share feedback with supervisors, other training staff, and the Associate Director, Training Services to ensure they are participating in a training environment that aligns with their goals for the year.

At each formal evaluation period, the Associate Director, Training Services sends the Academic Director of Clinical Training a letter summarizing the intern’s performance along with a copy of the evaluation of the intern. Given the comprehensive nature of the evaluation process, supervisors do not complete additional training contracts and/or evaluations that may be specific to a doctoral program. If interns are enrolled in a doctoral program that requires additional contracts or evaluations beyond those used at our site, please contact the Associate Director, Training Services for further consultation.

Administration, Research, Presentations

Intern Orientation: A structured orientation to the internship begins the first day of the internship. Additional orientation programs are scheduled throughout July and August. Intern orientation is focused on foundational skills for the internship year as well as procedures of the counseling center. Topics such as policies and procedures, overviews of all service and training activities, overviews of possible areas of focus for interns, and introductions to George Mason University and Virginia are covered. Visits to common referral sources occur to facilitate the building of consultative relationships. Introductory training is also provided on services interns will be expected to provide early in their internship (e.g., Initial Consultations, Routine Appointments, case management, outreach programming, and group therapy). Intern orientation is led by the Associate Director, Training Services with the participation of all the clinical staff.

Advocacy Project: The advocacy project is an opportunity for interns to collaborate with a campus partner to either support their work or enhance the working relationships between our offices. The goal of the advocacy project is to make research-informed, as well as culturally and contextually relevant recommendations to campus partners based on a careful assessment of current needs. The project provides an opportunity for interns to develop additional expertise and experience in an area of interest to them while also developing skills as a culturally-informed professional consultant. Interns will identify a campus partner serving a population of interest and work with that campus partner, with their affirmative consent and collaboratively, to support their work. Through the project, interns can provide consultation about programming needs for campus partners, receive feedback from the campus partner about ideas for enhancing services at the counseling center for a certain student population, or support the campus partner with either developing a new program or conducting an evaluation of a current program. The advocacy project topic must be relevant to the needs of our campus partners and their collaboration with CAPS. Interns will present on their advocacy project to CAPS staff.

Clinical Case Presentation: Interns present two formal clinical case presentations during internship (one during the fall semester and one during the summer semester). Interns will discuss this requirement with their individual supervisors. Case presentations are attended by CAPS clinical staff. Both case presentations will include a DSM 5 diagnosis and a discussion of the diagnostic process.

Supervision Case Presentation: Interns also present a supervision presentation during the training year (during the spring semester). Supervision presentations are attended by CAPS clinical staff.

Staff  Meetings: As members of the team, interns attend relevant staff meetings that includes all CAPS staff.