Program Philosophy and Objectives
The Allendale Association internship program is dedicated to the thorough training of interns in the areas of diagnosis, intervention, consultation, psychological testing, and supervision opportunities. It offers intensive training and experience with diverse treatment populations and exposes the interns to a variety of treatment modalities, including individual, group, and family therapy, as well as clinical consultation (a core component of the REStArT model). The internship is predicated on the belief that a competent psychologist must have a knowledge and understanding of clinical psychology that is grounded in theory and research and the ability to apply that knowledge and understanding to a variety of clinical situations.
The program has a strong psychodynamic influence. The emphasis of the training program is to provide training in core therapeutic skills essential to the practice of clinical psychology; to teach intervention strategies/skills grounded in theory and research; to promote self-examination as a way to understand one’s impact on the therapeutic process and the alliance; and to foster the ability to critically examine the efficacy of interventions. The program encourages interns to continually reflect upon the complex relationship among psychological theory, practice, and individual differences, while paying close attention to their own reactions to the client in order to be a self-reflective clinician.
Our theorist-practitioner model involves a balance between understanding (conceptualization and theoretical approach) and change (managing the therapeutic alliance and intervening purposely). Theory that is supported by current research is used to generate and test hypotheses about the meaning of a client’s behavior based on tracking moment-to-moment session material. Tracking of the process allows the theorist-practitioner to assess the status of the alliance by actively using client feedback to promote a therapeutic relationship. The theorist-practitioner then uses this theory-based understanding within the context of a good working therapeutic alliance to develop interventions designed to effect changes within the client. The effectiveness of these interventions is determined by the degree to which these predicted changes occur following the interventions. An essential component of this model is the ability of the theorist- practitioner to use the “person of the therapist;” that is, to be aware of and to manage his/her own reactions in the therapeutic process in order to maintain this balance between understanding and change.
Interns are trained in the Relational Re-Enactment Systems Approach to Treatment (REStArT) model. Throughout the training, interns receive didactic training regarding the REStArT model, starting in orientation and continuing through seminars, supervisions, trainings, staffings, meetings, and consultations. This model of treatment was developed as an evidence-based treatment practice built on the four factors for effective residential treatment (having a coherent conceptual therapeutic approach, family involvement during treatment, stability of post-discharge placement, and availability of aftercare support from Wampold and Malterer, 2007). Although the REStArT model was originally developed for use in our residential program, its components are well-suited for use across our multiple levels of treatment environments including outpatient, therapeutic day school and foster care. The REStArT model integrates psychodynamic/object relations, systems, neurobiology, trauma and attachment theories (McConnell & Taglione, 2012 and 2016). For further information, please visit the training pages of our website (www.allendale4kids.org). Throughout their assignments in Allendale programs, interns are trained in and begin to work within the model of the agency while developing their own approach to treatment.