The purpose of the doctoral internship is to provide an intensive supervised experience in clinical activities available within an acute care inpatient psychiatric hospital setting. Fairfax Hospital is committed to the achievement of excellence in the internship experience it provides. Interns are encouraged to gain a broad exposure to the variety of professional activities and service delivery systems that exist in an acute hospital setting. The expectation is that interns will profit from the experience in terms of both their professional and personal growth, will view the experience as a valuable capstone to their formal graduate training in psychology and will be capable of assuming positions of responsibility within the field.
The internship experience at Fairfax Behavioral Health affords an opportunity to engage in the assessment, treatment and post-discharge coordination of care for patients seen for acute stabilization within a secure setting. As a result, the training year provides a unique opportunity to work with patients of the most complex or challenging diagnostic groups. The internship at Fairfax Behavioral Health provides an opportunity to work with clinical needs of patients with diagnoses that include adult major mental illnesses, adult mood disorders, adult SUD, gero-psychiatry as well as a general adolescent services. Interns also have the opportunity to learn of the civil committment process as well as step-down to less-restrictive court oversight. Interns will provide psychological testing to include cognitive as well as projective and personality testing. In addition, interns will provide group therapy with objectives tied to the needs of the patient population seen.
The internship experience is very much team based with the intern participating as a member of the multidisciplinary team inclusive of psychiatry, nursing, social services, group therapies, OT, dietary and other adjuctive supports all provided within milieu programming intended to structure the patients' experience within a stabilizing and supportive setting.
It should be noted that while the inpatient psychiatric setting provides a unique environment in which to observe and engage with patients of many diagnostic groups or clinical presentations less frequently seen in outpatent settings, it is not a training site that would best meet the training goals of someone wanting to do advanced training in individual psychotherapy. Rather, patient engagement centers on diagnostic clarification, clinical formulations that are comprised of all aspects of the known biopsychosocial factors, group based treatment interventions and collaborative work with supportive others, families and outpatient providers in meeting the patient's acute care needs as well as aftercare planning.
In addition to clinical activities, each intern meets on a weekly basis with two primary individual supervisors and participates in a number of didatic seminars (e.g., psychologcal testing; group therapy; general diagnostics & case reviews). Daily attendence at the multidisciplinary treatment team also provides the intern an opportunity for exposure to the clinical formulations of multiple cases in addition to their own. Diagnostic considerations, psychopharmacologic interventions, family issues, nursing and milieu management concerns seen across this breadth of clinical presentations may provide one of the most clinically rich training settings available to the advanced graduate student.