1. Intern Supervision
Supervision is considered the most important aspect of the internship program. The quality of supervision contributes strongly to a positive internship experience. Extensive supervision is provided by senior staff in various formats throughout the year. Each intern will have a primary supervisor assigned each semester to provide in-depth individual supervision for 2 hours each week. Interns provide input on their preferences for supervisors before those are assigned. Another hours of supervision occurs in our Case Consultation Meeting in which all staff seek consultation about specific clinical situations they are involved in. The fourth hour of supervision is accomplished in the weekly All-Purpose Seminar led by the Training Director, which covers a range of topics including clinical, professional, cohort dynamics, and personal issues. Interns may also consult with other staff members whose expertise can help in understanding a specific client or psychological issue. We have an established open-door culture and interns can seek consultation / supervision whenever they have a concern. In addition to the individual and group supervision, our staff will provide supervision of groups, consultation, and any other major activity in which the intern engages. Our supervision is designed so that interns will have direct exposure to most or all of the Senior Staff by the end of the year.
In order to develop supervision skills, interns engage in an innovative model of peer supervision weekly during the summer months. This activity is supervised by a member of senior staff.
2. Didactic Programs
In addition to the clinical staff meetings, a major didactic component of our program occurs through the intern training seminars. Seminars in clinical issues, ethical / professional issues, and diversity are currently being offered by our Counseling Center staff. An example of a yearly schedule of Topical Seminars can be downloaded here. These two-hour seminars are held most weeks and are led by senior staff, local clinicians, or other professionals in the university community. Two or three times a year all staff participate in the Ethics Seminars. A major objective of all didactic training is to provide a deeper understanding of the individuals and issues we work with and a chance for thoughtful examination of core clinical skills and theoretical perspectives as practiced by skilled practitioners. Recently we have added we have added an emphasis on trauma-informed practice as a number of our clinicians have this as an area of particular professional interest.
3. Professional Growth
One of the primary goals of internship training is to enhance professional growth and development. Interns participate in a range of activities designed to support such development. They attend clinical meetings and case conferences in which they are able to observe more senior clinicians interact and interact with them. Each intern is assigned to a center committee such as Training or Outreach in which they get to contribute to and learn about those functions. They have the opportunity to attend the University’s Student Behavioral Review Team with the Center Director to develop an understanding of the role mental health professionals play as they interact with different professions in meeting the needs of students and the university community. Each intern is assigned, along with a senior staff member, to collaborate with an office or organization on campus that supports the needs of students representing different forms of diversity such as the Multicultural Office, LGBT Services, the Office of International Students, and Student Accessibility Services. Interns also may have the opportunity to consult to organizations, such as Athletics or Campus Recreation. who seek our expertise in group dynamics or wellness. We have recently partnered with the Athletics Department and their staff to better support the mental health and functioning of student athletes.
Professional growth cannot always be fostered through structured activities. Interns are encouraged to participate in professional societies and associations. They may attend various workshops and professional meetings of their choice. They are also offered opportunities for staff development via a variety of seminars, staff development sessions, and presentations.
4. Personal Growth
Personal growth is a precious component which does not lend itself to a cookbook format. A major emphasis in the formal supervisory and mentoring process is in helping intern develop a greater understanding of themselves. In addition, informal relationships with various staff members offer opportunities for interns to discuss areas of personal development. For trainees interested in personal psychotherapy, suggestions can be provided various community resources. Moreover, we have found that one of the most useful sources of support and personal growth lies within each unique intern cohort. Through all of these activities, we hope the intern will gain a greater sense of independence and a feeling of personal and professional identity throughout the internship year.
5. Diversity, Intercultural Effectiveness, and Social Justice
We believe in the inherent worth of each individual and in appreciating the various forms of intersecting difference each person embodies. We do not believe we can be effective in this work unless we endeavor to understand our own forms of difference and how those influence our interactions with others, with particular attention to our privilege, power, and biases. Because it is impossible to be expert in all forms of diversity, we seek to develop in ourselves and our interns competence in intercultural effectiveness, that is, the ability to respond with respect and sensitivity to each person’s differences, with an openness to exploring how our differences affect those with whom we interact.
We value social justice. We challenge ourselves to be aware individually and as an organization how our behaviors, services, systems, and structures affect all those we interact with in relation to issues power and privilege. We seek to develop and implement services and programs that reflect that awareness.
We attempt to weave training and learning around these issues throughout our internship program in a number of different ways. Events in the summer of 2020 have led us to recommit to deepening our understanding of issues of social justice, diversity and the role we play creating inequities and how we as clinicians / professionals / peoples can addresses these so all our clients and students may fully realize their potential. This year all staff will meet once a month specifically to discuss issues of diversity in our work and to reflect and discuss issues of diversity and social justice, especially those that that arise because of current events. In supervision, supervisors and interns use the ADDRESSING Model to prompt discussion about their own personal and professional relationship to different forms of difference and to help raise awareness as we discuss clients’ situations. All staff are asked to discuss issues of diversity as they present in our case consultation meeting. Interns are required to write two formal case conceptualization papers and reflect on aspects of diversity that are salient for the client and the clinician in that therapy. About a third of our Topical Seminars are devoted to to developing skills in intercultural effectiveness or raising awareness about forms of diversity we encounter in our work in Maine or that represent important difference for all clinicians to have greater awareness of. As part of interns’ outreach responsibilities, they are required to choose as a Collaboration site one of the university organizations that supports a particular form of diversity (e.g., LGBTQ, Accessibility Services, International Students Office, or the Office Multicultural Student Life). In committee meetings and other center-wide meetings, we raise and welcome feedback from interns on how our programs, systems, and structures can better reflect and promote our values around social justice.
Competence in intercultural effectiveness is an ongoing process, something none of us fully master but is something we are committed to developing together.