Oakland PSC Internship | Training Program
Please note that we are fully-affiliated with Alliant International University, and as such, we only accept applications from CSPP’s doctoral programs accredited through the American Psychological Association.
The Oakland Psychological Services Center adheres to a Practitioner-Scholar model of pre-doctoral internship training, which is full-time in duration and includes a minimum of 2,000 hours of training over a 12-month period. The training program utilizes evidenced-based assessment and intervention protocols, and provides interns with a broad range of experiences. Internships increase in depth and complexity as the program year progresses, supporting interns to attain the competencies that are foundational to professional development and to independent practice. Specific emphasis is placed upon professionalism; reflective practice and self-care; scientific knowledge and methods; relationships; individual and cultural diversity; ethical and legal standards; interdisciplinary systems; assessment; intervention; consultation; research and evaluation; supervision; and advocacy.
The program is designed to develop professional psychologists who provide the highest quality care, and who are life-long learners capable of engaging in ongoing education, scientific inquiry and scholarly endeavors.
Educational and Training Goals
The Oakland PSC is dedicated to the following training goals:
- To provide high quality training that adheres to the Practitioner-Scholar Model.
- To develop practitioners who are generalists, and who can apply knowledge based on various theoretical orientations and a range of evidence-informed and evidence-based psychological interventions.
- To develop practitioners who accurately select, administer, score, and interpret multiple psychological assessment tools; who are able to synthesize assessment findings into well-integrated reports; and who are able to use assessment findings in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
- To develop practitioners who integrate research and theory in clinical practice.
- To develop practitioners who recognize the importance of diversity and individual differences, and who are aware of the effects of their own cultural and ethnic backgrounds in clinical practice.
- To develop practitioners who know and use ethical principles as a guide for professional practice, research, self-evaluation and professional growth.
- To develop practitioners who are knowledgeable about one or more models of supervision and consultation and who, in their professional work, are able to make use of and to provide supervision and consultation to different constituencies, e.g., professionals, paraprofessionals, clients.
- To develop practitioners who combine an awareness of personal and professional strengths and limitations with a commitment to respect and collaborate with others; an openness to new ideas; and a dedication to life-long learning.
The PSC adheres to the following training principles:
- Initial caseload assignments are consistent with the intern’s developmental level
- Intensive supervision of case activity is provided
- Each student is supported to administrator, score, and interpret myriad assessment instruments. (Initially, the intern’s administration, scoring, interpretation, and report writing will occur under close supervision by either the primary supervisor or other assigned supervisors. Once a reasonable level of competency is established, the interns work more independently but continue to be supervised throughout the rotation)
- Interns act as co-consultants with a supervisor. As competence increases, interns consult alone
- Interns are provided time to participate in weekly didactic training and monthly seminars that include case conferences and presentations on clinical and professional issues. Additionally, the clinic provides regular in-service educational opportunities (available to all interns), and includes interns in administrative meetings, case conferences, and intake conferences. Meetings where interns share information among themselves or consult with other psychologists are held to offer additional forums for learning and professional development
- Interns receive at least 2 hours of individual supervision and 2 hours of group supervision per week
- Interns present journal articles after case presentations, and facilitate discussions
that relate the significance of the article to practicing psychologists (Journal articles
must be pre-approved by the intern’s supervisor and, have been published in a reputable
journal within the last two-years).
Interns are responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of approximately 10 school-based individual clients, and 4 to 5 clinic-based individual, couple, and family clients. Assignment of clinic clients begins as early as the first week of orientation. Interns are expected to provide case management, crisis intervention, and interdisciplinary consultation for their clients as needed. In order to ensure exposure to a diversity of clients, interns’ caseloads are carefully selected and monitored.
Interns conduct weekly therapy groups with children, adolescents, parents, adults, and families. Groups focus on a topic or theme which is selected by the group leader in conjunction with the supervisor. Topics include, but are not limited to, anger management, social skills development, independent living skills, and parenting skills. Groups may be structured and on a particular topic, psychoeducational, or process oriented. Additionally, interns may offer suggestions for group topics or develop groups for the PSC or community partners as part of an elective experience.
Interns complete three to five psychodiagnostic batteries at the PSC during the training year. These batteries are designed to address the referral question and may include tests of cognitive, personality, perceptual, and/or academic functioning. The clients assessed are representative of the various populations of the greater Bay Area community. The referral questions range from differentiating diagnoses to recommendations for treatment planning. Interns receive supervision from the PSC’s intern testing supervisor. A full range of tests is available to interns. Tests are scored by hand, as well as by computer scoring programs. Interns are expected to provide feedback to clients and other professionals through written reports and verbal feedback.
Location of Services
Approximately half of direct service hours are provided at school sites and approximately half are provided at the PSC.
Interns receive a minimum of two (2) hours of regularly scheduled supervision from their supervisor(s) per week. All supervisors are licensed psychologists. The primary supervisor monitors the intern’s caseload, supports the development of clinical skills, promotes the intern’s professional growth, and evaluates intern’s progress through frequent and actionable feedback. At the beginning of the internship, the supervisor and intern work together to develop an Individual Learning Plan (ILP), which reflects an assessment of the intern’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the intern’s goals and objectives for the internship year.
The name of the primary supervisor will be recorded on the ILP. The original ILP will be retained by the PSC and a copy will be provided to the intern.
In general, the individual assigned as the intern’s primary supervisor remains consistent through the entirety of the program year. In the event that circumstances require a change in the primary supervisor, the intern and the new primary supervisor will review the intern’s ILP, make any corrections/additions (if warranted), and sign and date the updated copy. The updated original will be retained by the PSC and a copy will be provided to the intern.
Group Supervision - Intervention
Each intern receives a minimum of 1.0 hour of group supervision per week. As is the case with individual supervision, a licensed clinical psychologist provides group supervision. The objectives of group supervision are to provide interns with opportunities to apply psychological theory and research, to review case conceptualization, to develop skills for offering and receiving feedback, and to support intern professional development.
Group Supervision - Assessment
Supervision of assessment is provided by the PSC’s assessment supervisor. Interns receive a minimum of 1.5 hours of group assessment supervision per week. Interns also receive individual assessment supervision as needed.
School-Based Team Meeting
Interns attend a school-based team meeting 1.5 hours per week. This team meeting addresses the nature of multidisciplinary work and provides resources and tools for interns to use at their school sites. Discussion focuses on relevant clinical and program matters specific to each setting.
Educationally-Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS)
Interns attend an ERMHS meeting 1 hour per week. This meeting addresses the ERMHS cases and provides guidance for ERMHS-related evaluations, collateral contacts, and student observation.
Supervision of Supervision
Throughout the year, students gain experience in supervision. The interns are introduced to supervision starting with readings that are disseminated during orientation. In the fall they are scheduled for a didactic on supervision that is designed to orient them to the basics of supervision and building on any knowledge they may have learned in school. In December or early January they have a second didactic on supervision meant to orient them to supervisory styles and orientations. In January, interns begin their rotation in supervision of supervision with the first few weeks scheduled to meet with their Supervision of Supervisors group. By mid January, interns are matched with their supervisees and determine supervision schedules. Between January and May interns meet weekly (1 hour) with their supervisees to provide secondary supervision, and weekly with their group (1 hour) to discuss their supervisory experience. Discussion in this group includes promoting a safe environment for the supervisee to speak openly, identifying and tracking the supervisee's concerns about a case, making recommendations to a supervisee about interventions, understanding the supervisor/supervisee relationship, and understanding the distinction between supervision and psychotherapy. Tapes of supervision sessions are reviewed in this supervision group. In this group, interns have the opportunity to discuss their experience of being a supervisor. Relevant peer-reviewed articles that address various aspects of the supervisory process are also discussed.
The PSC’s extensive Didactic Training Program is designed to reinforce applied training, facilitate skill development, support peer interaction, and offer training in specific specialty areas. The content, coordination, and scheduling is determined by the Internship Training Director and training committee and is responsive to feedback from agency staff and interns.
The PSC internship has the following training elements:
Weekly Didactic Training
All interns attend three-hour, weekly didactic sessions. Didactic training offers the interns opportunities to socialize with peers, as well as to learn about a wide variety of evidenced-based practices, and contemporary issues.
Didactic trainings at the beginning of the year focus on the core competencies that are emphasized by the training program (i.e., professionalism; reflective practice and self-care; scientific knowledge and methods; relationships; individual and cultural diversity; ethical and legal standards; interdisciplinary systems; assessment; intervention; consultation; research and evaluation; supervision; and advocacy). More advances topics related to competencies are emphasized as the year progresses.
Evidenced-Based Practices and Contemporary Issues
During the internship year, students receive didactics in evidence-based practices related to treatment approaches (such as CBT) and working with specific populations (such veterans, elderly, severely mentally ill, etc.). Issues related to practice, such as suicide assessment and working with defiant patients, are also explored.
Intern Case Presentations
Each intern is expected to give a case presentation during his or her internship year. The PSC provides interns with specific guidelines to structure their presentations. Interns are expected to present material in an organized, professional manner and to articulate their case conceptualization, treatment rationale, and diagnoses in a clear, concise format alluding to relevant research. Interns are also expected to address issues related to diversity and to discuss any relevant ethical and/or professional issues. Interns are reviewed by their peers and supervisor(s) and given feedback about their presentations. See Appendix E for example.
In accordance with the practitioner-scholar model, the PSC expects interns to be knowledgeable about the current research and latest developing trends in the field of psychology. Interns are expected to give two to three professional presentations throughout the year. These may include the presentation of relevant journal articles to accompany a formal case conceptualization and to facilitate discussion of the research methodology utilized, exploring both its strengths and weaknesses. Alternatively, the presentation could be with a community partner or at a conference, with the parameters to be discussed with the Internship Training Director. A supervising psychologist will be available to help facilitate the discussion and serve as a resource. Topics must be preapproved by the intern's supervisor and/or Internship Director and all research presented should have been published in a reputable journal within the previous two to five years.
Other Training Opportunities
- Program Evaluation Research: Throughout the year, interns will have the opportunity to gain skills related to evaluating
program, program development, and gathering data related to strengthening program
policies and procedures. Specific research topics will be identified by the Program
Director and students will have the opportunity to work closely with both the Internship
Training Director and Executive Director on the research.
- Training in Mental Health Administration/Quality Management (Quality Review Team- QRT): Interns participate in several training experiences that are intended to familiarize them with the administration and management aspects of mental health service delivery. QRT meets to review current client charts in order to monitor internal consistency of clinical care and to insure compliance with the quality of care and documentation that is expected by the PSC funding sources. Participation in this committee allows interns to familiarize themselves with quality control management.
Criteria for Successful Completion of Internship
Successful completion of the internship occurs when the intern:
- Completes a minimum 2,000 hour, full-time internship commitment
- Receives satisfactory evaluations by primary supervisors
- Obtains approval by the Internship Training Director and Executive Director of the PSC
- Completes all internship assignments that are required by both the primary supervisor and the Internship Training Director.