GPPH offers an APA-accredited full-time, year-long internship in a state-of-the-art 500-bed state psychiatric hospital for adults. Patients vary widely in their diagnoses and symptom severity, offering training experiences across the continuum of psychopathology. GPPH celebrates rich cultural diversity among both staff and patients, adding to the depth of the training experience. In fact, the Psychology Department chairs the hospital's Diversity Council which aims to celebrate diversity in all forms and create a welcoming environment for both patients and staff, and interns play an active role on this committee. Examining the ways in which we are all alike and different is a common thread throughout the internship training year.
Faculty believe that learning takes place best in an environment that provides support and encouragement, and interns are never viewed or treated as auxiliary staff. Following the Local Clinical Scientist model, training focus is on individual and group psychotherapy and psychological testing, with an emphasis on the education of the intern to meet his/her individualized training goals. Supervision and training in dynamic, CBT, integrative, DBT, schema therapy, and trauma-informed care perspectives among others is provided, and interns will be challenged to learn a theory that is outside of their comfort zone.
The training year is structured into three 4-month clinical rotations with the following populations, depending on supervisor availability: admissions, forensic, extended care/treatment refractory, personality disordered, geriatric, dementia, and DD-MI. We also have the only state-funded unit for the treatment of deaf mentally ill patients in New Jersey as an available training rotation. Interns have a testing supervisor and therapy supervisor for each of the three rotations. In addition, interns will spend one day per week receiving training at nearby Summit Oaks Hospital. Training opportunities at Summit Oaks can include, based on supervisor availability: adult inpatient mental health unit, adult inpatient co-occurring unit, adult inpatient detoxification unit, adult inpatient drug and alcohol unit, child and adolescent inpatient unit, adult outpatient psychiatric program, adult outpatient co-occurring program, adult outpatient drug and alcohol program, or the partial hospitalization program. These experiences differ greatly from GPPH’s patient population and are intended to provide interns with a balanced, well-rounded training experience. The varied clinical and supervisory experinces are designed to shape the intern's professional development as they prepare for competent independent practice.
In order to fully prepare interns for independent practice, interns will also gain experience in providing supervision to externs while at GPPH, and will receive supervision of their supervision by the Director of Psychology. Interns are exposed to a multidisciplinary team approach and actively encouraged to integrate theory into practice, with particular focus on evidence-based interventions. The training faculty at GPPH are committed to providing a safe environment that fosters growth and independence. The faculty believe this is best achieved by collaborating with interns on identifying training goals that both expose interns to new learning experiences and sharpen skills in familiar areas. Growth is also reinforced by supplementing clinical work and individual supervision with scholarly readings, participation in formal case conceptualizations, and didactic trainings.
Interns also participate in an "end of the year" project, in which they assume the role of a consultant and identify an area within the organization that could use improving. Prior projects have focused on modifying the physical space and schedule of units for our special treatment populations, instituting functional assessments to provide data to the courts that supports discharge to independent apartments, improving staff morale and HR resources during the closure of nearby state facilities and reduction in force, and designing clinical training for direct care staff who provide 1:1 nursing observation. Interns work collaboratively on creating a plan for an improvement project, and many of these plans end up being implemented by the hospital's executive leadership. The Psychology Department is especially proud that our interns oftentimes leave the hospital better than how they found us.
Regarding application requirements, prospective interns should have 500 intervention practicum hours at time they submit an application, and 1000 hours by the internship start date. Similarly, applicants should have at least 50 assessment hours when applying, with a preferred minimum of 5 integrated reports by the internship start date. GPPH uses the APPI online and 3 letters of recommendation.