Doctoral Internship Overview

The MSU CAPS doctoral internship in Health Service Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association and offers a broad range of training and service opportunities utilizing a Scientist-Practitioner model. Training is designed to be graduated and experiential.

The overarching goal of the internship is to prepare entry-level professionals who are generalist ready to serve a diverse public. This requires developing competency at a level that satisfies professional benchmarks, solidifying professional identity and respecting diverse world views. Our internship adheres to the document, “Professional Psychologist Competencies to Serve a Diverse Public” which was developed by the Education Directorate of the American Psychologist Association.

The program’s aims are in line with meeting the mental health needs of a large, Big 10 University college campus with a population of students in excess of 50,000 enrollees. The population demographic is highly diverse and includes U.S. students across the socioeconomic strata as well as one of the highest enrollments of international students in the country. As a land-grant university, MSU serves a high number of in-state students who come from the rural regions of the Upper Peninsula, from the western (more conservative) side of the state to the urban areas of Flint and Detroit. About seventy percent of MSU students are between 18 and 22 years old. This is a particularly vulnerable group for the onset of early adult mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, and Bipolar.  Additionally, a significant number of students arrive at MSU with previous psychiatric diagnoses and treatment (Attention Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Eating Disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  

The American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (2014) data suggests an increase in “garden variety” mental health issues such as anxiety (22% compared to 17% in 2010 survey) and depression (15% compared to 10% in 2010 survey). These statistics are alarming and contribute to the decision to co-locate mental and medical health services. Out of necessity, a public mental health model has evolved at MSU and continues to develop to meet the increasing needs of a growing, diverse campus population.

The MSU Doctoral Health Service Psychology Internship training program’s guidelines competency areas, objectives, supervision, seminars, and feedback represent a valuing of and a commitment to proficiency in different ways of knowing and intervening (culturally, empirically, experientially, and intellectually).

We are a training program that emphasizes interns trained as generalists in Health Service Psychology. At the same time, we are unique in that we offer an Integrated Mental Health concentration and a Psychological Assessment concentration, all within a multicultural context to all interns who train at our site. These concentrations are not formal rotations, although they are rotated between trainees during the training year. These areas of concentration represent a subsection of the clinical work that is completed both within and alongside the traditional university-based mental health clinical services.

The MSU CAPS Integrated Mental Health Concentration is a multi-tiered and graduated training experience designed to facilitate the development of well-rounded Health Service Psychologists. During three to four months of Intensive Clinical Services Unit (ICSU), doctoral interns:

  • Co-facilitate at least one DBT Skills Training Group module, and participate in DBT Consultation Team,
  • Participate in multidisciplinary ICSU team meetings, 
  • Provide individual psychotherapy for ICSU patients,
  • Shadow an ICSU psychiatric provider,
  • Employ formal treatment plans and outcome assessment,
  • Collect and analyze treatment data, and 
  • Deliver an integrated treatment/ICSU case presentation during Evidence-Based Practice in Health Service Psychology Seminar.

The Integrated Mental Health concentration represents a collection of competencies that are increasingly important in Health Service Psychology and emphasize integrated health care skills that are valuable in job acquisition and professional promotion.

The MSU CAPS Psychological Assessment concentration focuses on training interns in providing both comprehensive and targeted assessments utilizing evidence-based best practices and Multicultural Assessment Validity. During the training year, doctoral interns are expected to complete no less than two integrated psychological assessment reports with at least one being a comprehensive (e.g., ADHD/LD) comprehensive psychological assessment related to the Intensive Clinical Services Unit.

Training Program Goals:

1. Develop proficiency in individual and group counseling within an integrated mental health system.
  • Assess client concerns and develop a diagnosis based on DSM criteria, including cultural formulations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to create integrative evidence-based treatment plans based on psychological measures, clinical impressions, and available resources.
  • Understand and apply a time-limited therapy model.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work within an inter-professional team.
  • Demonstrate efficacy as a group leader.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and adherence to ethical principles and legal mandates.
2. Develop proficiency in providing assessment services within a multicultural context.
  • Demonstrate the ability to elicit and integrate relevant cultural information in assessment reports and mood disorder evaluations.
  • Demonstrate cultural sensitivity and awareness in the choice of appropriate assessment tools for culturally distinct groups.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of relevant APA treatment guidelines, APA code of conduct and other legal mandates related to testing and assessment.
  • Demonstrate awareness of your own worldview and how it impacts the assessment process. 
3. Develop proficiency in providing clinical supervision.
  • Demonstrate awareness of your own values, beliefs, and biases; including how those variables impact the supervisory relationship.
  • Gain knowledge of relevant literature regarding methods used to provide clinical supervision within a time-limited/brief therapy framework.
  • Demonstrate awareness of your own supervisory preferences, theoretical orientation and power needs within the supervisory dyad and articulate how these factors impact the supervisory process.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to provide ethically grounded, developmentally appropriate supervision to a junior trainee.
4. Develop proficiency in outreach and program evaluation (e.g., consultation with Residence Education staff - liaison, crisis debriefing psycho-educational programming within MSU neighborhoods).
  • Actively seek out multicultural experiences while providing community interventions or engagements.
  • Gain knowledge and community resources.
  • Demonstrate skills in designing interventions, developing and delivering services within a community setting and writing program evaluation.

Core training seminars are:

  • Professional Practice
    • Emphasis on diagnosis, treatment planning, and ethics
    • Group Sup– developing identity as a health service psychologist 
  • Supervision of Supervision Seminar 
    • Supervision of Supervision
      • Theory and Practice
      • Supervisor Development
        • Case Management
        • Group Sup– developing identity as a supervisor
    • Professional Practice
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology
    • Evidence-Based Practice
      • Emphasis on application of psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral models of treatment while integrating interpersonal, feminist and experiential techniques within a multicultural framework.
    • Integrated Mental Health
      • Valuing multidisciplinary teamwork
      • Group Sup– developing identity as a health service psychologist in a health setting 
  • MECCA: Cultural Competence and Racial Responsiveness Seminar
    • Emphasis on multiple ways of knowing, reflective practice and community engagement, as well as exploring the intersections of factors that affect treatment access, process and outcome.
    • Group Sup – developing identity as a health service psychologist serving diverse populations.
  • Psychological Assessment Seminar
    • Learn best practices in psychological testing and assessment informed by both ethical decision making and multicultural awareness.
    • Focus on learning various formats (e.g., comprehensive, targeted, therapeutic assessment) to provide a diverse array of testing and assessment experiences.
    • This seminar involves a group supervision component, where interns are encouraged to talk about and present their cases, discuss test selection, results, conceptualization, and recommendations. 
  • Intensive Clinical Services Unit Seminar
    • Learn best practices in crisis intervention, including risk assessment, means restriction and hospitalization.
    • Learn an overview of DBT informed practice, both individual and group treatment.
    • Learn collaborative treatment working on interdisciplinary teams.
    • Group supervision to receive feedback from peers and ICSU team.
  • Advanced Psychotherapy Seminar
    • Participate actively in discussions and training regarding psychotherapy theory, research, and technique.
    • Focus in on trans-theoretical processes to improve therapy relationship and/or psychotherapy outcomes.
    • Group supervision to receive feedback from peers.

Topic-focused presentations during orientation to the internship and staff development training during the academic year offer a foundation and/or exposure to additional clinical and professional issues.

Major areas of evaluation include science, professionalism, relationships skills, clinical knowledge, clinical interventions, education, and systems

Training related to ethical and legal issues is woven throughout each core seminar. While the focus is on time-limited treatment, each doctoral intern has the opportunity to work with two longer-term cases. Opportunities exist to work in the areas of disordered eating, emotional regulation, complex trauma, triage/crisis intervention, disability concerns, sexual orientation, couples, and group treatment.

Learn more about Supervision and Mentorship Here.