Vanderbilt’s University Counseling Center (UCC) is a highly utilized campus support resource that serves 22% of the Vanderbilt student population. The large number of clients who seek services at the Center afford interns diverse clinical opportunities in terms of culture, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and level of acuity. As a multidisciplinary setting, the center staff include psychologists, licensed counselors, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and a nurse. Our multidisciplinary staff and close affiliation with numerous campus offices provides interns many opportunities for inter-professional consultation. Additionally, given that the Center houses other types of trainees, including practicum students who are not as far along in their training as doctoral interns, the provision of supervision is another type of experiential activity in which the interns are engaged. When combined with the numerous licensed psychologists who participate in internship training and the many experiential activities associated with training (individual and group psychotherapy, psychological assessment, outreach & consultation, crisis response, diagnostic interviewing and intake report writing), the Vanderbilt UCC provides a rich training environment for doctoral interns.
Interns are involved in virtually all aspects of clinical service and are considered essential in fulfilling the Center’s mission of assisting students in need and fostering both personal and professional growth. While still in training and under consistent supervision, UCC interns are viewed as colleagues-in-the-making and, as such, they are challenged with managing complex therapy caseloads and assessment cases and responding to campus events. The training opportunities for interns are broad in range and involve psychotherapy (individual and group), supervision (receiving and providing), conducting initial interviews and generating intake reports, preparing and presenting outreach, participating in crisis response/intervention, and training in various forms of assessment (neurodevelopmental and other mental health disorders). While the internship affords enough flexibility to pursue particular interests (e.g., therapy with specific populations and training in specific treatment modalities), UCC interns participate in the same core activities. Center interns work very hard and their efforts and skill have a direct impact on the community they serve.
Vanderbilt UCC adheres to a "generalist” model of training and also provides opportunities for interns to gain experience with treatment of a particular presenting condition (e.g., trauma; eating disorders) or a specific treatment modality (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; crisis care counseling). All interns are required to complete a minimum of four integrated psychological assessment over the course of the training year. Interns discuss with the Training Director their goals for the internship training year, and efforts are made to insure exposure to populations and treatment modalities to help interns realize these goals.
Like most university counseling centers across the country, the Vanderbilt UCC has provided only virtual intervention and assessment services since March, 2020. Vanderbilt students will be required to return to campus in August, 2021 for in-person classes and campus activities and residential living. The UCC expects to provide a combination of in-person and telehealth services in the coming year, depending on the preference of individual students. Clinical supervision will be provided either exclusively in-person or as a combination of in-person and telesupervision, with at least 50% of individual supervision in person. Assessment services will also be provided in-person to students. It is expected that meetings and seminars will be conducted both in-person and virtually.