Program Information: Psychology Internship Program - Medical Staff Office

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Member Site Information
APPIC Member Number: 1113
Program Type: Internship
Membership Type: Full Membership
Site: Atascadero State Hospital (California Department of State Hospitals- Atascadero)
Department: Psychology Internship Program - Medical Staff Office
Address: Medical Staff Office
10333 El Camino Real
Atascadero, California 93423
Country: United States
Metro Area: Not Applicable
Distance from Major City: 225 miles south of San Francisco & north of Los Angeles
Phone: 805-468-3663x
Web Address:
Brochure Website's Address:
Primary Agency Type: State/County/Other Public Hospital
Additional Agency Types:
  • Prison or Other Correctional Facility
Member of APPIC since:
APA Accreditation Accredited
CPA Accreditation Not Accredited
Internship Staff/Faculty Information
Training Director & Lead / Director: Phylissa Kwartner Ph.D.
Chief Psychologist: Matthew Hennessy Psy.D.
Number of Full-Time Licensed Doctoral Psychologists on Staff/Faculty 60
Number of Part-Time Licensed Doctoral Psychologists on Staff/Faculty 0
Position Information
Start Date: 08/01/2022
Number of Full Time Slots Expected Next Class: 4
Number of Part Time Slots Expected Next Class: 0
Full Time Annual Stipend for Next Class: 49392
Part Time Annual Stipend for Next Class: 0
Fringe Benefits: Dental Insurance, Health Insurance, Professional Development Time, Sick Leave, Vacation
Other Fringe Benefits (not indicated above):
Brief description of the typical work day for an intern at this training site
Does this site have practicum psychology students on site? No
Is this program fully affiliated with one or more doctoral programs? No
Is this program partially affiliated with one or more doctoral programs? No
Internship Application Process
Accepting Applicants: Yes
Application Due Date: 11/19/2021 11:59 PM EST
Application Due Date Time Zone:
This program uses the AAPI: Yes, with additions
An onsite interview is:
  • Virtual
Interview notification date: 12/01/2021
Tentative interview date:
Interview process description:

In the context of COVID-19-related disruptions to practica experience, the selection committee will adopt a more flexible approach to reviewing applications this year.  Applicants are encouraged to apply to our site even if they do not meet the previously listed minimum requirements of 150 assessment hours and 500 intervention hours.  

DSH-Atascadero is retaining a virtual interview process.  The most competitive candidates will be invited to participate in a video-conference interview conducted via WebEx on January 4, 11, 18, and 25  Applicants will be emailed a link prior to their interview date to allow them to log in to the interview.  Please expect to complete a brief writing sample.  Plan to have your photograph taken during the interview as we utilize candidate photos as a memory aid.  Two virtual open houses will be offered on January 7 and 21 in which the internship director will provide an overview of the training program, and applicants will have an opportunity to meet several supervisors as well as the current interns.  A virtual tour of DSH-Atascadero is available on the DSH-Atascadero Psychology Internship's website.


How to obtain application info: Visit Website
Preferred method of contacting the program: Email the Program
We have matched with interns from these programs:
Internship Applicant Requirements
US Citizenship Required: No
If NOT a U.S. Citizen, Authorization to Work or to Engage in Practical Training (CPT or OPT) in the US is Required: Yes
Canadian Citizenship Required: No
If NOT a Canadian Citizen, Authorization to Work in Canada or to Engage in Practical Training (CPT or OPT) in Canada is Required: No
Masters Degree Required: Yes, by application deadline
Comprehensive Exams Passed: Yes, by application deadline
Dissertation Proposal Approved: Yes, by application deadline
Dissertation Defended: No
Minimum Number of AAPI Intervention Hours:
Minimum Number of AAPI Assessment Hours:
Minimum Number of Years of Grad Training Required: 3
Accepted / Not-Accepted Program Types
Clinical Psychology Accepted
Counseling Psychology Accepted
School Psychology Not Accepted
APA-Accredited Accepted
CPA-Accredited Accepted
PCSAS-Accredited Accepted
Non-Accredited Not Accepted
Ph.D Degree Accepted
Psy.D. Degree Accepted
Ed.D. Degree Not Accepted
This institution, department, internship, or postdoctoral program requires trainees to sign a statement about personal behavior and/or religious beliefs as a condition of admission and/or retention in the program: No
How to obtain text of statement:
Other Requirements: Internships are offered for fourth and fifth year students enrolled in accredited doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology who have completed course work and doctoral level clinical practica in intervention and assessment. Specifically, the program requires that applicants have received a minimum of 500 direct contact intervention hours and 150 direct contact assessment hours at the time of application. Intern applicants are required to have their qualifying examinations complete and dissertation proposals approved prior to application. Preference is given for candidates who will have their dissertations completed prior to the start of internship. Enrollment in an APA accredited program is strongly preferred. The internship is designed for the student seeking forensic training within a program that provides a broad-based clinical training experience. Some experience in forensic psychology is necessary. Applications must include: 1) The APPI online application which can be found on the APPIC website 2) Three letters of recommendation 3) Supplemental materials including: • A sample de-identified integrated evaluation report including psychological testing and interpretation. • Per rules set by the California State Personnel Board, all applicants must submit a standard State of California application (Std 678) This application should be completed online and sent to by the November 1st application deadline. Std 678 is not to be uploaded with the APPI. APPIC has approved the use of the Std 678 as an additional document for California Department of State Hospital internships. Please remember to sign this document before scanning and sending it to the internship director. Apple Computer users should note that you may need to complete, print and then scan the form to submit. Some Apple users have found that even though the form appears complete on their computer, when e-mailed the completed form is sent blank. Don’t forget to sign the document before sending it. • Applicants from doctoral programs in Counseling psychology must also submit a letter from the Director of Clinical Training delineating how the coursework is equivalent to that of a Clinical psychology graduate program. This letter should be emailed to by the November 1st deadline.
Program Description

Atascadero State Hospital is a state forensic psychiatric hospital serving an all adult male population. The program includes the following components:

1) A three week orientation

2) A three and a half month, full time rotation on an admissions unit, focusing on psychological assessment of mentally ill forensic patients. Two, four month, three day a week rotations on treatment units that run concurrently with an eight month, 12 hour a week rotation on the Forensic Services Team.

3) Completion of 15 psychological evaluations including 6 psychological testing batteries, 7 forensic evaluations, 1 behavior modification plan, and 1 PCL-R evaluation 

4) Participation in seminars including: Forensics, Individual Differences and Diversity, Scientific and Ethical Practice, Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised/Risk Assessment, and Professional Issues.

5) Completion of 2 "tutorials" (structured learning experiences chosen by the intern and the intern's supervisors).

6) Minimum of four hours per week dedicated to supervision.

7) Interns are  encouraged to attend training and professional development activities.

Interns play an integral role in establishing training goals and activities for the year. With approximately 60 psychologists on staff, interns have opportunities to gain training/experience in many specialty areas. Within the program structure, each intern's program is tailored to meeting their individual training needs and interests while meeting some basic requirements of the overall program.


Due to the COVID19 pandemic, modifications have been put into place to ensure the safety of staff and patients while also continuing to meet the training needs of interns and the goals of the internship.  DSH-Atascadero takes infection control very seriously.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, the hospital has instituted mandatory daily screening, use of masks, and vaccination, regular COVID testing, unit quarantines as needed, and limiting patient treatment activities to those offered on the unit.  So far, these measures have been successful at limiting the spread of COVID.  As cases wax and wane across the nation, in California, and even in our small county, we have remained vigilant about ways to manage the pandemic to protect staff and patients, alike.  As of 7/23/21, there are no modifications to the training program.  Previous changes (e.g., attending seminars and supervision via video conference) may be reinstituted if deemed warranted based on COVID-19 prevalence in the hospital.

Internship Training Opportunities


Adults: Yes
Older Adults: Yes
Inpatients: Yes
Gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender: Yes
Ethnic minorities: Yes
Spanish-speaking: Yes
International Students:
Low income: Yes
Homelessness: Yes

Treatment Modalities

Assessment: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Individual Therapy: EXPERIENCE (21% to 30%)
Couples Therapy:
Family Therapy:
Group Therapy: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Community Intervention:
Consultation/Liaison: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Crisis Intervention: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Brief Psychotherapy: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Long-term Psychotherapy: EXPOSURE (1% to 20%)
Cognitive Rehabilitation: EXPOSURE (1% to 20%)
Primary Care:
Evidenced Based Practice: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Evidence Based Research:
Supervision of Practicum students :


Health Psychology:
Women's Health:
Eating Disorders:
Sexual Disorders:
Sports Psychology:
Rehabilitation Psychology:
Physical Disabilities:
Learning Disabilities: EXPOSURE (1% to 20%)
Developmental Disabilities:
Assessment: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Neuropsychology-Adult: EXPOSURE (1% to 20%)
Serious Mental Illness: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Anxiety Disorders: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Trauma/PTSD: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Sexual Abuse: EXPOSURE (1% to 20%)
Substance Use Disorders: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Forensics/Corrections: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Sexual Offenders: EXPOSURE (1% to 20%)
Vocational/Career Development:
Multicultural Therapy:
Feminist Therapy:
Empirically-Supported Treatments: Major Area of Study (50% or Greater)
Public Policy/Advocacy:
Program Development/Evaluation:
Integrated health care - primary:
Integrated health care - specialty:

Additional information about training opportunities: Not all rotations or training experiences may be available as described in the APPIC Directory. Please consult the program's application materials or their website at:  for a complete description of the training opportunities available at this training site. IF the site has not updated their information by August 1, feel free to contact the Training Director for additional information.

Summary of the Characteristics of the Specified Internship Class
2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Number of Completed Applications: 113 70 99 76 128
Number of applicants invited for interviews: 25 18 21 21 24
Total number of interns: 4 4 3 4 2
Total number of interns from APA/CPA accredited programs: 4 4 3 4 2
Total number of interns from Ph.D. programs: 2 1 2 4 2
Total number of interns from Psy.D. programs: 2 3 1 0 0
Total number of interns from Ed.D. programs: 0 0 0 0 0
Number of interns that come from a Clinical Psychology program 4 4 3 4 2
Number of interns that come from a Counseling Psychology program 0 0 0 0 0
Number of interns that come from a School Psychology program 0 0 0 0 0
Range of integrated assessment reports: lowest number of reports written 36 19 13 12
Range of integrated assessment reports: highest number of reports written 87 43 28 29
Summary of Post Internship Employment Settings of Each Internship Class
2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
Working on dissertation/Student: 0 1 1 0 2
Postdoctoral Fellow: 0 3 0 1 1
Community Mental Health Center: 0 0 0 0 0
Health Maintenance Organization: 0 0 0 0 0
Veteran's Affairs Medical Center: 0 0 0 0 0
Military Medical Center: 0 0 0 0 0
Private General Hospital: 0 0 0 0 0
General Hospital: 0 0 0 0 0
Other Medical Center: 0 0 0 0 0
Private Psychiatric Hospital: 0 0 0 0 1
State/County/Other Public Hospital: 4 0 3 3 0
Correctional Facility: 0 0 0 0 0
School District/System: 0 0 0 0 0
University Counseling Center: 0 0 0 0 0
University Teaching Faculty: 0 0 0 0 0
2 or 4 year Undergraduate Teaching Position: 0 0 0 0 0
Medical School: 0 0 0 0 0
Academic Non-Teaching Position: 0 1 0 0 0
Research Position: 0 0 0 0 0
Independent Practice: 0 1 0 0 1
Other (e.g. consulting): 0 1 0 0 0
Not Currently Employed: 0 0 0 0 0
Changed to Other Career Field: 0 0 0 0 0
Unknown: 0 0 0 0 0