The aim of the Psychology Internship Program at Montana VA is to equip postdoctoral-level psychologists in the science, skill development, and art of psychological practice. Our program has an emphasis in training psychologists in the unique factors associated with practicing rural mental health. The Montana VA HCS is well suited as an institution to meet this aim, in that Interns will be in the rural medical care setting described above for 2080 hours over the course of a year providing significant, supervised clinical experiences to veterans while functioning as part of multi-disciplinary teams. During this year, Interns’ learning will be supplemented through didactics, group supervision, and other experiential learning activities. By the end of the internship year Interns will have had experiences that will enable them to build competency in the following ten domains:
Ethical and legal standards
Individual and cultural diversity
Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
Communication and interpersonal skills
Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills
Rural mental health
The Psychology Internship Program is based on the Scholar-Practitioner (Vail) model and is committed to training future psychologists in the scientific practice of psychology. Interns are trained as practitioners and consumers of research. This model of training emphasizes the practical application of scientific knowledge and the reflective process between science and practice. While the Psychology Internship Program at Montana VA Health Care System emphasizes science and empirically based treatments, we agree that “The primary goal of training a practitioner-scholar is the delivery of human services that take into account individual, cultural and societal considerations” (Rodolfa, et al., 2005).
Our program follows the professional developmental model in which the Intern is expected to progress throughout the Internship year. This model indicates that the Intern will move from a somewhat dependent and closely supervised trainee to a relatively independent junior colleague. We strive to provide Interns with strong generalist training and they can expect to complete their Internship year being competent, independent, postdoctoral-level psychologists which will enable them to work competently in rural areas, medical centers, outpatient settings, and within the Veteran’s Affairs Healthcare System.
Our training program emphasizes the psychosocial model of recovery and empowerment of Veterans to recover from mental health difficulties. When indicated, we emphasize the use of empirically supported therapies including Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Depression, CBT for Insomnia, and Interpersonal Therapy for Depression, Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy, to name a few.
This is a generalist internship site, aimed at training well-rounded and skilled clinicians, who have particular expertise in working effectively in rural settings. Interns will be placed on two rotations for each of the two six months periods of internship, totally 4 rotations across the year. In each six month period, the two rotation experiences will combine for a total of 36 hours per week. The total time on each of the two rotations will be determined collaboratively based on training needs, Interns' preference, and supervisor availability. Currently, the Internship offers the choice between the following rotation experiences:
- Clinical Geropsychology
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- General Outpatient
- Outpatient Trauma Recovery
- Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI)
- Program Development and Leadership
- Psychological Assessment
- Residential Trauma & Substance Use Recovery
- Triage and Rapid Evaluation Clinic (TREC)
For additional information about each of these rotations and the program, please see our program brochure.