Penn State's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a full-time 12-month doctoral internship in Health Service Psychology designed to provide high quality training in the multiple functions carried out at a major university counseling center. The overarching goal of our internship program is the training of “generalists”, highly competent and versatile professionals, who keep abreast of changes in the field and who use this information to inform their clinical practice. The objective of the internship program is to train psychologists whose expertise extends to a variety of clinical domains, including individual and group counseling/psychotherapy, intake, urgent evaluation and follow-up, alcohol and other drug counseling, assessment and diagnosis, multicultural counseling, research in an applied setting, consultation/outreach, supervision, and other activities appropriate to the setting (e.g. collaboration with other disciplines). Training also facilitates the development of profession-wide competencies as outlined in the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology through APA. These areas include research, ethical and legal standards, individual and cultural diversity, professional values and attitudes, communication and interpersonal skills, assessment, intervention, supervision, and consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills. Professional development is fostered within a service-delivery system that has a long tradition of dedication to excellence in training. The Program has been APA-accredited for over 30 years. Our last site visit was in May 2022. All programs currently accredited maintain accreditation as they await feedback on their site visit.
CAPS is the primary mental health and personal counseling resource for the over 47,000 students at Penn State's University Park Campus. During the 2021-2022 Academic Year our staff had contact with over 4,100 Penn State students for a total of approximately 18,500 contacts. These numbers are commensurate with the change in number of students receiving mental health services at college and university counseling centers nationwide since the beginning of COVID-19 according to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (2021). In a typical year, nearly 10% of all students at Penn State use our services for a wide variety of developmental and mental health concerns.
Common presenting problems include, but are not limited to, typical development issues, interpersonal concerns, depression, anxiety, lack of motivation or concentration, poor academic performance, body image and eating disorders, as well as trauma. Less typical, but frequently seen problems, include more severe mental health concerns (e.g., Bipolar Disorder, psychosis). Interns can work clinically and via outreach services with a culturally diverse student body. CAPS also offers an extensive group therapy program, with about 25-30 groups per semester. Opportunities exist for an optional summer rotation at Career Services on campus. Please refer to our website for a complete description of our program.
UPDATE ON TRAINING DURING TIME OF COVID-19
All Penn State CAPS staff, including trainees, are on site working from their campus offices. During the 2021-2022 training year, interns provided a mix of tele and in-person services. Provision of psychological assessment services for the 2022-2023 training year will occur during the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters. Training seminars are typically conducted in person unless tele is indicated to minimize exposure to COVID-19. Individual psychotherapy supervision is provided in person. Additional group supervision opportunities are provided tele or in person.