Training Competencies and Evaluation - Competencies
Our Center has recently begun using a system in which an intern is paired with a senior staff and they provide walk-in consultation (iConsult) one afternoon per week. Consultations typically last from twenty to thirty minutes and are then referred to self or others. A complete assessment is done during the next meeting which is called an iConsult Intake. The assessment of incoming clients is made during the initial intake. All staff members do iConsults and intakes. The intake clinician is responsible for clarifying the presenting problem, assessing the severity and need for immediate intervention, providing appropriate diagnosis when necessary, developing a treatment program, which may or may not include Center involvement, and presenting these impressions at regularly scheduled dispositional meetings or team supervision meetings, Depending on student demand for service, interns would be expected to be involved in about one to four intakes per week.
A prerequisite to success in any type of psychotherapy or counseling is a fundamental knowledge of personality functioning and psychopathology. With help through supervision, seminars, case conferences and presentations the intern is expected to demonstrate a growing ability to provide sound theoretical explanations and rationale for human behavior and problems.
Direct one-to-one treatment of clients is considered an essential and basic part of our program. All staff members do individual counseling. The philosophy of treatment has always been to provide the best possible care to the student. Although we are a short term facility, the intern will likely have experience with a number of treatment modalities as well as a number of short-, medium- or long-term cases. Possible treatment alternatives to individual therapy include group therapy, couples or partner counseling, co-counseling, or occasionally family therapy. Length of treatment may vary from one session to an entire year or longer. Each intern will generally schedule 16-18 clinical hours each week.
The ability to acquire the skills and competence necessary to respond to a crisis is considered an important aspect of any professional’s training. All clinical staff have the opportunity to respond to urgent care situations during their walk-in consultation hours. For evening and weekend emergencies of clients, an on-call emergency telephone consultation system has been in effect for the past ten years. All staff, including interns, participate in this system. Interns do not begin carrying the on-call emergency telephone until mid-October. When they are on evening or weekend emergency coverage, they always have the options of calling their supervisors for backup consultation. Through this opportunity to participate directly in crisis work along with our ongoing didactic seminars, interns will have ample exposure to crisis intervention skills.
Knowledge of ethical and professional codes of behavior, and the necessity to practice in an ethical and professional way, is essential to any person who plans to continue in the field of psychology. Furthermore, with such rapid changes occurring in the interpretation of areas such as confidentiality, legal rights, insurance, managed care, etc., all staff need to remain up to date. These issues will be regularly addressed through supervision, training seminars and case conferences
In the practice of psychology, the ability to recognize and deal appropriately with personal issues as they affect professional functioning is a necessary skill. It is important for any practicing psychotherapist to appropriately manage personal stress, remain emotionally stable and be open to feedback and suggestions. Through individual intern supervision this area will be monitored and explored.
One of the most important values of our Center is the commitment to diversity and the recognition and support of cultural and individual differences. A Diversity Seminar offers interns an opportunity to learn experientially and share their own unique heritage and background, as well as to be exposed to mentors who are members of cultural groups on campus. Consultation with a diversity site such as the Multicultural or ALANA Center, the Office of International Programs or the LGBT Center also allows interns to learn about new areas or to expand their prior knowledge. Additional optional summer rotations are occasionally available at multicultural sites, such as a nearby Native American community and are still another way to broaden cultural and diversity experience and knowledge.
We consider knowledge of career and vocational counseling and testing to be valuable for any psychologist planning to work at a counseling center. A weekly one-semester seminar, co-facilitated by the Director of the Career Center and our Assistant Training Director is required. Additional experience at the Career Center facility is a possibility for those interns who are especially interested in this area.
We are strongly committed to group therapy as a treatment of choice. For many clients, group therapy is considered as appropriate or even more appropriate than individual approaches. Each year we offer general therapy groups as well as other groups, both structured and unstructured. In recent years some examples of the groups we have offered include personal growth groups, men’s and women’s groups, groups for anxiety and trauma, general skills groups, and a variety of other support groups. As a center we are committed to high quality training in group therapy. Interns learn about groups through serving as observers in groups, co-leading groups, and through discussions during case conference and group seminar. Interns also meet following each group session with their group co-leaders to receive ongoing supervision. Additionally, opportunities for learning group dynamics and facilitating groups may occur in prevention workshops and in consultation activities. We have recently updated our group room by installing advanced AV equipment to promote even better training and supervision. We are extremely fortunate to have on our staff, two very experienced group specialists who have trained in the theory and practice developed by the internationally recognized group expert, Yvonne Agazarian.
The Counseling Center offers a wide variety of prevention and education programming, and training as part of our mission to positively influence the greater campus community. We seek to promote an integrated learning environment that is conducive to growth and optimal student development. All members of our staff participate in the delivery of programs and workshops each year. Much of this program delivery is part of our formal consultation activities or other on-going relationships. Each year, however, we are challenged and eager to be both proactive and reactive in the development and implementation of innovative prevention and education programming. Because of this evolving commitment, interns are encouraged to develop at least one new program or workshop, as well as to participate in prevention education and training activities on some evenings and weekends. Examples of previous program topics include: stress management, leadership skills, communication and effective listening skills, improving body image and recognizing depression. Since the addition of the Touchstone Project to the Center, we have been able to offer interns more opportunities for both teaching and training. The Counseling Center Prevention and Education Coordinator oversees the programming efforts of the Counseling Center. Consultation is an other aspect of our prevention efforts. In order to help encourage the development of consultation skills, all interns are encouraged to provide consultation to at least one diversity site. These sites include the International Students Office, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the LGBT Center, and the Women’s Resource Center. Additional sites include Residential Life, Academics, the Department of Athletics and Recreation, and Campus Ministry. Interns are paired with senior staff early in the fall semester for each consultation. The sites we consult with may vary, so involvement from year to year is based on need and interest.
We will attempt to provide an opportunity to supervise practicum students in the spring semester. These students may be from the Clinical Psychology, Counselor Education or the Social Work Graduate Programs of the University. Depending on the structure of the practicum, supervision will probably average one or two hours per week. Senior staff provide supervision of this experience, and a Supervision of Supervision Seminar is offered to interns in the spring.
The professional staff encourages interns to be involved in any ongoing research activity. Interns are especially encouraged in working toward completion of their dissertations, but such work must not interfere with the responsibilities and commitment to the internship. A research screening committee reviews all proposed research. Interns are expected to balance their schedules so that excessive time is not spent on the dissertation or other activity at the expense of clinical activities. A staff psychologist from the Center conducts a research seminar on an as needed basis, in which interns have the opportunity to discuss their dissertation and to help structure their dissertation time. Summer months and student vacation periods provide considerable time for research. Interns may also work with the Director of the Center on specific research projects throughout the year.
Interns are involved as fully participating staff members in weekly administrative meetings. Interns are involved in working on committees, such as a planning committee to organize a major conference, the intern training committee, or a selection committee to choose next year’s interns. Interns may also choose to work with the Director on specific administrative tasks or projects.