The Washington State University (WSU) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) doctoral internship program is located in Pullman, WA. WSU is a land grant university with about 20,000 students attending its Pullman campus: approximately 40% identify as first-generation college students, 30% identify as multicultural, and 7% identify as international. WSU is among the top 36 universities nationally for policies supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students (Campus Pride Index, 2015). The CAPS doctoral psychology internship program is housed within Student Affairs and is an integral part of Cougar Health Services (CHS): medical clinic, pharmacy, and vision clinic.
The WSU CAPS intern training takes a developmental approach and focuses on the transition from acquired practicum-level counseling skills and interventions to the acquisition of professional competencies relevant to becoming socially responsive, entry-level health service psychologists in a variety of settings. Our training philosophy is based upon a Practitioner-Scholar Model. As such, the purpose of our program is to train interns whose work is informed by practice, theory, and research and who take into account individual, multicultural, and societal considerations in their clinical and other service delivery endeavors.
Each internship year begins with extensive orientation. Across the year, we provide didactic training and applied experiences to facilitate growth across the profession-wide competencies established by APA (research, ethical and legal standards, diversity, professional values and attitudes, communication and interpersonal skills, assessment, intervention, supervision, and consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills). We offer weekly individual supervision, through which interns can identify and address specific training needs and interests, in addition to training seminars and group supervision of therapy, groups, supervision, and assessment.
Direct services interns provide include individual therapy, groups and workshops, initial consultations, biofeedback, psychological testing and assessment, substance assessment and motivational interviewing interventions, crisis management, outreach, and provision of clinical supervision. Interns do not have after-hours on-call responsibilities. Due to COVID 19, CAPS transitioned to providing mostly telehealth services (from office or remotely) in March 2020, although continued to offer LD and ADHD assessments and psychiatric services in-person. All staff are currently working from their campus offices and CAPS plans a gradual return to increased in-person clinical services over the 2021-22 academic year. We intend to provide as much supervision and training in-person as is feasible and effective.
Each intern's training is tailored through participation in diversity liaisons and minor rotations. As liaisons, interns are paired with senior clinicians to collaborate with a university office/organization serving diverse student groups. Examples of such organizations include Multicultural Student Services, the Gender Identity Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, International Programs, the Access Center, Trio, and the Multicultural Greek Council.
Semester-long minor rotations are clinical or teaching-based. Training and experiences in minor rotations exceed that which all interns receive. Options include but are not limited to: alcohol & drug assessment and treatment, behavioral health at WSU's CHS medical clinic, biofeedback, doctoral practicum class co-instruction, couples therapy, groups, LD/ADHD assessment, outreach, or another rotation agreed upon with the Training Director.
Interns are involved in CAPS diversity training, contributing to two all-provider diversity trainings each semester. They may also participate on the CAPS diversity committee, which meets weekly or bi-weekly and guides the organization and implementation of CAPS diversity efforts.
Interns engage in research through seminar and outreach preparation as well as their dissertation progress or a small research project for CAPS. They gain administrative experience through participation in the intern selection process, attendance at CAPS and CHS meetings, organization of diversity trainings, and optional committee work.
CAPS' clinicians highly value training and enjoy opportunities to supervise and mentor interns. The program supports increased independence over the year by systematically introducing more complex responsibilities while adjusting supervisory oversight to enhance interns' professional autonomy. By the end of the training year, it is expected that interns will be ready for entry-level doctorate employment or postdoctoral training in a variety of health service psychology settings, including university counseling centers.