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What is an Internship in Clinical Psychology?

Internships for Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology

I. Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the internship is to provide a systematic program of supervised, professional training in an applied setting. The internship training program is designed to integrate scientific, professional, and ethical knowledge in a way that will permit the student to demonstrate autonomous and responsible functioning as a practicing psychologist. Consistent with the individual’s previous graduate education and skill development, the internship experience provides an atmosphere of professional socialization that is necessary for the development of a firm professional identity as well as the enhancement of professional clinical proficiency.

The goals of the internship experience are to increase the student’s proficiency in intervention/treatment, assessment/diagnosis, and consultation up to professional practice standards. The internship, therefore, should provide for core experiences in the following areas:

  1. Experience with a variety of methods of assessment/ diagnosis across a variety of problems and clinical populations.
  2. Experience with a variety of methods of intervention/ treatment across a variety of problems and clinical populations.
  3. Experience with culturally/ethnically diverse populations.
  4. Application of critical thinking to professional practice.
  5. Understanding of professional, legal, and ethical issues relevant to the practice of psychology.
  6. Introduction to supervision and management of psychological services.

II. General Policy

The internship occurs following the completion of all didactic and supervised practica in the academic setting. This includes satisfactory performance on the preliminary exams and the research and clinical proficiency evaluations. Ideally, the student should have completed the doctoral project prior to beginning the internship. The National Conference of Internship Training in Psychology (1987) recommends that the predoctoral internship be a full-time, twelve-month experience or the equivalent time spread over two years. Of that time, a minimum of 500 hours of time should be spent in direct patient/client contact. Additionally, a minimum of four hours per week in regularly scheduled, formal, face-to-face supervision is recommended.

Prior to internship, IUP students must have completed a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised practicum with a variety of client populations.

At the time of application for internship, the director of Doctoral Studies must certify that the prospective intern has demonstrated:

  1. Interests and goals appropriate to the internship program.
  2. The ability to apply assessment/diagnosis and intervention/treatment knowledge under supervision.
  3. Ethical and professional conduct.
  4. Interpersonal skills appropriate to the practice of psychology.
  5. A general knowledge base resulting in completion of the doctoral preliminary exam and the research methods proficiency exam.
  6. Research skills resulting in the approval of a doctoral project proposal.

By the time the internship begins, the director of Doctoral Studies must certify that the student has completed all formal graduate coursework, has passed the clinical proficiency evaluation, and has completed the supervised practice (practicum) requirements.

III. Criteria for Internship Settings

All internship plans must be reviewed and approved by the Clinical Training Committee. The student generally applies for an internship at sites approved by the APA, or sites listed by APPIC. If students wish to apply at a site not on these approved lists, the site must meet the criteria adopted by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology.

  • Doctor of Psychology Program
  • Uhler Hall, Room 201
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4519