WCPIP provides experiences consistent with a Local Clinical Scientist Model (Stricker and Trierweiler, 1995) and with ongoing attention to diversity. The basic philosophy maintains that effective training is accomplished by providing comprehensive experiential opportunities in diverse settings through application of scientific inquiry to clinical problems, and attention to specific, unique qualities of individuals, cultures, and locations. Adhering to this philosophy requires ongoing respect for what science contributes to practice, and an appreciation of how practice influences science. Being informed and current with respect to the scientific literature results in the application of common practices when appropriate and the development of unique strategies when required by individual needs or circumstances.
The WCPIP training faculty is committed to assisting interns in identifying, testing, and refining "best practices" in psychology with respect to empirically supported approaches. Weighing the interpersonal, familial, cultural, regional, economic, and social influences that impact a person's life promotes the "localized" perspective. This process facilitates a match between "best practices" and the specific needs of the individual.
In keeping with this model, our approach to training is designed to encourage both depth and breadth of knowledge. This is accomplished by providing our interns with ample opportunities to engage in a variety of activities across different settings. Interns spend four days a week at their primary agency and one day at a secondary agency (often referred to as the intern's "switch site"). The primary agency is determined through the APPIC Match, while the secondary agency is chosen by the intern during their first week of internship. This structure ensures that each intern has a unique training experience tailored to their needs and interests, while also benefiting from the collegiality and support of the internship cohort.
In addition, this structure yields itself to providing a unique opportunity to treat individuals from diverse populations and backgrounds. Our interns frequently experience rich diversity in their clinical work in regards to race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age. Indeed, a frequent remark made by WCPIP interns is how surprised they were with the diversity they were exposed to during their training with WCPIP.
It is the intent of WCPIP that we produce generalists practitioners who have entry-level skills by the end of the year. This means that as the year ends, primary interns are expected to provide the same range of services as our permanent staff members at their primary site. As faculty, we are aware of the developmental nature of the intern experience, and strive to provide necessary supervision and support. Early in the year, more time might be spent on modeling, observation, taping, reviewing work samples, and/or co-therapy. As the year progresses, however, interns are expected to operate with increasing autonomy. This is evidenced by interns handling greater caseloads and demonstrating expansion of their skills and thinking about cases, self, and professional issues.