The purpose of the Milton Hershey School (MHS) Doctoral Internship Program is to provide interns with a variety of clinical, consultation and assessment experiences with children and adolescents from families of lower income within a residential school setting.
The goal for the MHS internship program is to provide opportunities for all of our interns to demonstrate that they have met each of the required profession-wide competencies in Health Service Psychology (HSP). At the conclusion of the internship, interns will demonstrate competence in each of the required profession-wide competences:
- Ethical and legal standards
- Individual and cultural diversity
- Professional values, attitudes and behaviors
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Consultation and interpersonal/interdisciplinary skills
Since we provide comprehensive psychological and behavioral health services within a residential school setting, and our goal is to train psychologists to work with children and adolescents. The internship program adheres to a practitioner-scholar model of training.
Our program utilizes a competence-based education and training model in professional psychology. We use evidence base interventions when training and assessing interns. Our training for practice is sequential, cumulative and graded in complexity. The training method is experiential which is reflected in the intern work schedule, whereby the preponderance of time is devoted to clinical activity, the majority of which occurs during our extended school year.
Internship provides a year of intensive, supervised clinical experience intended as a transition between graduate school and entry into the profession of psychology. HSP competence is primarily achieved through supervised practice over the course of the internship year. Didactic trainings, professional development opportunities, staff meetings, and professional workshops augment this intensive training experience. Interns are closely involved in treatment in all settings and take greater responsibility for treatment decisions as their skills and knowledge increase. Our experience is that the combination of intensive clinical practice, supervision, didactics, directed readings, and self-reflection provides interns with the necessary foundation to evolve into independent practitioners.
All MHS students are from families of lower income. The average family income for students enrolled during the 2019-2020 school year was $22,219, 15 percent below the federal poverty guideline of $26,200 for a family of four. Many students come from the state of Pennsylvania, but 26 percent come from other states. Fifty percent of students are female and 50 percent of students are male. MHS data indicates that students identify as following racial or ethnic status: White (39%), Black (31%), Hispanic (18%), Multiracial (10%) Asian (1%), Native American (<1%), and Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander (<1%).
While students’ resiliencies often buffer them from adverse outcomes, many students still present with a variety of behavioral, emotional and learning problems associated with underserved families. Approximately 40 percent of students are in active psychological treatment at any one time. Many of these students, and others in the population, may also have learning disabilities, education gaps and medical issues. These factors are complicated by the unique home life program.
Common treatment concerns include neurodevelopmental disorders, bipolar and related disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, trauma and stressor-related disorders, elimination disorders, as well as disruptive and impulsive control disorders. Interns have an active role in the diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management of these students to help them be successful at the school.