The CAVHS Psychology Internship Program provides a generalist training experience. All interns, regardless of specialty interests, are expected to learn and demonstrate the basic skills required of a beginning psychologist, primarily in the areas of assessment, intervention, consultation, and professional development. Our program focuses on supervised clinical training and features tracks with emphasis areas in general psychology and health psychology. Both tracks provide rigorous training in evidence-based practices and promote recovery-oriented, veteran-centered care.
Our program is built on a practitioner-scholar model of training. The program emphasizes, in all aspects of its training, that the best practice must be solidly based in science. The important hands-on experiential aspects of internship training are grounded in the scientific literature, and our interns are challenged to systematically measure their assessment and intervention practices against an established knowledge base. All rotation supervisors emphasize the importance of consulting the scientific literature when working with a new patient population, intervention, or assessment tool.
The overall aim of our program is to ensure that interns acquire a broad range of the professional skills necessary to function effectively as psychologists in a variety of multidisciplinary healthcare settings, specifically the Veterans Healthcare Administration as well as other complex medical centers. Furthermore, those interns who choose careers in other areas of practice such as academia, research, and administration can be confident that this internship will have significantly contributed to their professional goals. In addition to its overall aim, the Psychology Internship Program has two specific aims:
- To train psychologists in the delivery of quality, recovery-oriented healthcare
- To train psychologists to appreciate the unique needs of the veteran population and in the provision of veteran-centered care
Our training program is a generalist internship ensuring that each intern develops the basic skills necessary for the practice of psychology. All interns will be expected to demonstrate minimum competency in multiple modalities of treatment, including therapy with individuals and groups; evidence-based protocols (EBPs); and psychometrics. However, while these basic skills are expected of all interns, the program also supports early development of specialty interest in addition to the generalist philosophy. For this reason, our program offers training in a specialty Health Psychology track. Please note that, because we are a generalist psychology internship program, interns can spend no more than 50% of their time on rotations within the specialty track. Specific learning opportunities will vary depending on the track (General Psychology or Health Psychology) for which the intern is chosen as well as the individual’s interests, training needs, and program requirements. During the first week of orientation, the Director of Training and Assistant Director of Training will work collaboratively with each intern to develop a course of internship training, which will meet the intern's training needs and interests.
The CAVHS Psychology Internship Program is committed to promoting awareness of, and respect for, cultural and individual diversity with the goal of preparing interns to become culturally-competent providers of mental health care. To achieve this goal, we integrate training on diversity and related factors throughout the internship year and work to create an inclusive environment where individuals of diverse backgrounds are welcomed and valued. We consider diversity as including various cultures, values, and experiences of trainees and faculty as well as different theoretical models, research paradigms, and ways of professional practice. Our training program incorporates multiculturalism, recovery-oriented approaches, and a biopsychosocial emphasis to ensure that diversity is fully integrated in the training experience. Intern applicants from diverse groups who are underrepresented in psychology are highly encouraged to apply.
Regarding the current COVID-19 global pandemic, the Central Arkansas VA Psychology Internship has taken special steps to protect the health and welfare of our interns, staff, and the veterans for which we care. Interns and staff have been more engaged in providing telehealth activities, which has allowed for social distancing. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is required in certain areas or clinics, and interns are provided necessary PPE. Intern didactics and meetings may be delivered virtually to allow for appropriate social distancing; however, when safe, we prefer to meet in person with appropriate social distancing and use of PPE.