The Central State Hospital internship training program offers education and supervision in the practice of clinical and forensic psychology, a primary goal of which is to prepare the intern for the practice of psychology with a seriously mentally ill population. Our agency, located in Petersburg, VA, provides services to male and female adults with serious mental illnesses, many of whom also have diagnoses of substance abuse disorders and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our patient population includes pre- and post-trial forensic patients receiving court-ordered evaluation and treatment, patients who have been adjudicated Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) who are receiving evaluation and/or treatment, and non-forensic patients receiving emergency treatment under civil commitment.
This internship program is designed to meet all internship training and supervision requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist in the state of Virginia and comply with the standards set forth by APPIC. The trainee is responsible for obtaining information on licensure requirements and ensuring that they file all necessary forms in a timely manner in order to obtain licensure.
Our training philosophy is that learning occurs through exposure, mentoring, and supervised practice with incremental degrees of task complexity and trainee autonomy. Through this process, interns are expected to gradually increase their clinical proficiency and knowledge of the legal system, and to grow into their professional identity in the field of forensic clinical psychology. The core values of the program include ethical clinical practice and an appreciation of the ways in which clinical skills and knowledge are necessary for competently answering psycho-legal questions. It is our belief that good forensic psychologists are outstanding clinical psychologists first and foremost; therefore, interns will be expected to demonstrate competence in the traditional core skills of clinical psychology, including psychodiagnostic testing, clinical interviewing, treatment planning, consultation, and psychotherapy, while concurrently acquiring a knowledge base of the legal issues and precedents that contribute to the competent practice of forensic psychology.
Our training philosophy is that learning occurs through exposure, mentoring, and supervised practice with gradually increasing degrees of task complexity and trainee autonomy. The core values of the program include ethical clinical practice and an appreciation of the ways in which clinical skills and knowledge are necessary for competently answering psycho-legal questions. It is our belief that good forensic psychologists are outstanding clinical psychologists first and foremost.
Interns are encouraged to make contact with their primary on-site supervisor during orientation or immediately upon completion so they may collaborate on what the intern identifies as their interests and strengths, specialty areas for growth, and what types of supervision they have found most useful. Office assignments and network access will be provided. Interns will also be oriented to the buildings and wards in which they will primarily be operating, making contact with other members of the treatment team and unit staff, and engage in reviews of client charts to develop familiarity with the individuals on their ward. They will also gain early exposure to supervision of trainees as they observe undergraduate practicum students in practice administrations of the WAIS-IV and offer feedback to enhance their performance.
Interns will “shadow” their primary supervisors as they engage in unit activities, to include treatment planning meetings, reviews of client progress, individual interventions (and documentation), and providing group programming. They will also observe and participate in intake assessments of newly-admitted clients as well as risk assessment interviews and testing of individuals recently found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. As their familiarity and skills develop in these areas they will be able to complete these activities with greater degrees of autonomy. In general, 70% of interns’ time will be spent with treatment team duties and provision of psychological services; 15% of their time will be spent part of the Forensic Evaluation Team assisting with pretrial evaluations; 10% will be devoted to didactic training; and 5% of their time will be dedicated to research and other scholarly activities pertaining to clinical or forensic psychology. Internal evaluations of intern performance will be completed twice per year, in addition to any interim evaluations required by their training programs.