Doctoral Level Internship Opportunities

Pennsylvania Counseling Services offers a full-time 12-month Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology. The primary method of training is experiential and includes exposure to a wide variety of clientele from culturally and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds and emphasizes the provision of psychological services to underserved populations. At least 25% of intern experience is in direct face-to-face clinical service activity and all training time credited to internship is at the post-practicum and pre-doctorate level.

 

The doctoral level psychology internship at Pennsylvania Counseling Services involves broad-based training experience consisting of a 12-month experience in Outpatient Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment. All training time credited to internship is at the post-practicum and pre-doctorate level. Training opportunities include:

 

  • 2 hours of individual supervision, as well as 2 hours of group supervision with supervising faculty weekly (licensed doctoral-level psychologists), case conferences, didactic seminars, group supervision and clinical staff meetings weekly, as well as other periodic educational forums.
  • The interns are provided an average of at least 2-hours of didactic activities weekly which also functions as an activity to allow interns time to socialize as a peer group. Continuing education seminars conducted by PCS are approved by the American Psychological Association.
  • Duties of the interns will include psychological assessment, psychotherapeutic interventions (individual, group, and family sessions), consultation, and case management.
  • Exposure to supervision within a variety of treatment orientations is possible, with supervisors identifying themselves as typically utilizing a pragmatic and often integrative approach to supervision and intervention which is typically couched in a chosen theoretical orientation. Supervisors' orientations include (but are not limited to) Interpersonal and Psychodynamic approaches, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Systems approaches, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
  • Exposure to Empirically Supported Treatments, such as Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Prolonged Exposure among others is possible. Certification in intervention with problem gambling is also available, as is exposure to the Duluth Model for intervention in domestic violence.
  • Opportunities to develop skills in psychological assessment are also available, with PCS maintaining a library of testing material addressing a variety of clinical presentations across the lifespan. Each intern is required to complete at least 4 integrated psychological assessments, however opportunities to engage in further assessment experiences are available.

 

Interns in the program are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week for a full year (with maximum hours being capped at 45 per week), and to minimally perform at the professional capacity of an entry-level doctoral clinician. The applying candidate must be enrolled in an APA-accredited doctoral program (or regionally or accredited equivalent as determined by the PA State Board of Psychology) and must have all coursework completed by the start of the internship year in July. Please see our listing in the APPIC Directory for more specific admission criteria.

 

The outpatient internship involves providing psychotherapeutic intervention within a community mental health setting. The intern will be assigned to a "home clinic" in either Dauphin or Lebanon county, and will work with clients struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Each intern is expected to conduct individual and group therapy to address a range of presenting problems.

 

Notable aspects of the internship:

 

  • Performing intake evaluations to determine suitability for outpatient treatment with a range of clients.
  • Maintaining a varied caseload of both adults and children.
  • Intervening in both group and individual settings. Interns will be required to run at least two groups per week (typically addressing substance abuse issue, however other opportunities are available for group work).
  • The community mental health clinic setting entails interns developing skills with a range of presentations.
  • Clients are typically self-referred, court mandated, or come to PCS from an external referral source (e.g. PCP, MHID, etc.).
  • Given the variety of presenting issues within each community clinic, some degree specialization with a particular population may be possible. This specialization is dependent on availability of clients and particular strengths and skills of the intern, as well as availability of supervision for specific issues.

 

PCS is not currently accepting applications from either doctoral or masters level students for practicum experiences. The doctoral level internship program continues to accept applications through AAPIC's online system. PCS does not require anything above and beyond that which is required in the APPIC application process. PCS requires 3 letters of recommendation, with the preference that these letters be from someone who has interacted with you during your doctoral training and will accept a 4th optional letter from a non-doctoral training source. No applications for master's level internship experiences are being accepted at this time.

 

Inquires should be directed as follows:

mcsutton@pacounseling.com (preferred)

Or by mail to:

MaryAnn Sutton, Ph.D.

Internship Training Director

c/o Pennsylvania Counseling Services

548 South 17th St.

Harrisburg, PA 17104

 

As a Member of APPIC (Member Number: 1913) PCS participates in the APPIC Match and adheres to all APPIC Match policies. This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant. Please use the AAPI online application.

 

While the PCS Internship is a member in good standing of APPIC, we are presently not accredited by the American Psychological Association.

 

Questions related to an internship program's accredited status with the American Psychological Association should be directed to the APA Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation

American Psychological Association

750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002

Phone: (202) 336-5979

Email: apaaccred@apa.org

 

Click here to download the "Internship Admissions, Support, and Initial Placement Data Sheet".

 

Note: The Family-Based track for the internship is no longer available.

 

Mission

The mission of the PCS Doctoral Internship is twofold: treatment and training. At each PCS clinic, we seek to provide high quality, affordable mental health services to diverse populations from the community. PCS is dedicated to helping others by utilizing the method and manner that best fits the therapist and client. We approach our work and our world with professionalism, a variety of treatment approaches, flexibility, openness and humor. We encourage interns to develop their own styles of delivering therapy while emphasizing empirically supported approaches. Moreover, we respect that the road to healing is a process that differs for each individual and tailor our services to clients’ needs. We endeavor to reach a diversity of individuals, including those who might not otherwise have access to these services.

 

Training Model

The PCS Doctoral Internship offers training in the professional practice of clinical psychology to students from doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology that have been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), or regionally accredited graduate institutions in psychology. The primary goal of internship is to prepare future psychologists for professional practice in multidisciplinary community settings. In service of this goal, our internship program provides ample experiences in providing clinical services with considerable support and training from our training staff. Interns are expected to explore their own professional goals and interests during their internship year, thereby gaining greater clarity in the direction of their future careers. Interns are encouraged to utilize scientific methods when solving clinical problems, enhance skills necessary for providing clinical services, hold themselves to the highest professional and ethical standards, and further develop an understanding and appreciation for diversity in clinical service provision.

 

The internship program at PCS is conducted with the purpose of meeting Profession-Wide Competencies set forth by the American Psychological Association and consistent with the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. These competency areas include each of the following:

 

  1. Research
  2. Ethical and Legal Standards
  3. Individual and Cultural Diversity
  4. Professional Values, Attitudes and Behaviors
  5. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  6. Assessment
  7. Intervention
  8. Supervision
  9. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

 

In addition to the profession-wide competencies defined by the American Psychological Association, the PCS internship program also utilizes the Local Clinical Scientist model in the larger context of Evidence Based Practice. Specifically, the internship program at PCS places a significant emphasis on preparing individuals for independent, evidence based practice as psychologists. This statement is made with recognition that integration of clinical expertise, recognition of the patient’s characteristics, values, and context with the best research evidence available has been highlighted as vital within the APA’s policy statement on Evidence Based Practice (APA, 2005). The internship program emphasizes psychologists’ role as a local clinical scientist evaluating the applicability of available relevant research, in the context of the idiosyncrasies of each client in their own context. The PCS internship aimes to prepare interns for the complexities of clinical practice in applied settings, with this preparation occurring in an overarching context of respect for diversity, an understanding of the importance of professional socialization, and an emphasis on the development of professional skills which may be difficult to foster within a preinternship setting. Specifically, the internship aims to develop the intern’s skills not only in terms of direct clinical work with patients (e.g. intervention and assessment), but also their ability to function professionally in terms of interacting with other service providers, understanding the responsibilities of psychologists as leaders, and developing skills in navigating interactions with various systems relevant to professional psychological practice such as administrative, clinical, and financial systems. The internship program utilizes a developmental and sequential training plan. Over the course of the year, interns engage in a planned sequence of training experiences that increase in level of required skill, complexity, and specialization. Throughout the training year, interns gradually assume increasing levels of responsibility and autonomy, cumulatively building on skills learned earlier in the year. In the Fall/Winter Semester, training is devoted toward orienting interns to their training tracks and developing proficiency in general clinical skills. In the Spring/Summer Semester, training is focused on mastery of more specific clinical skills, development of professional identity, and career development. At the conclusion of the training year, interns are expected to be competent to engage in postdoctoral level work within community settings and move towards completion of licensure requirements.

 

Training activities include a minimum of 2 hours weekly of individual face-to-face supervision with licensed doctoral-level staff psychologists, an average of 2 hours a week of group supervision with the Training Director or other licensed psychologist, plus a minimum average of 2 hours per week of didactic trainings or case conferences, as well as clinical staff meetings. Didactics are typically designed specifically for intern level competence and address a range of both clinical and professional issues. Didactic training is informed by the intern’s developmental context as an emerging professional. Interns will also be required to attend intermittent day long seminars at PCS, as well as engagement with state mandated ongoing training for Drug and Alcohol intervention. Continuing education seminars conducted by PCS are approved by the American Psychological Association (APA). Additionally, each intern will be required to present at least one didactic session related to a topic of their choice (dependent on approval from the Training Director), with this didactic integrating peer reviewed research.

 

Policies And Procedures

Inadequate Performance And Conflict Resolution

The PCS Doctoral Internship Program is committed to conducting all activities in strict compliance with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for psychologists. The PCS Internship Program is committed to helping trainees achieve their individual training goals through ongoing feedback during weekly supervision and formal evaluations.

 

The evaluation of interns is a two-way communication. The trainee is expected to evaluate the training program as a whole as well as her or his own training progress. This evaluation includes the individual and group supervision he/she has received during the training period, to provide suggestions and feedback for changes deemed necessary; and to participate in the process of self-evaluation in comparison to the evaluations provided by staff, to round out observations and critiques.

 

The training program recognizes that there are instances in which a trainee fails to meet a reasonable performance standard. These instances may include the following:

 

  • Lower than expected scores on intern performance evaluations
  • Intern violations of the APA ethics code
  • Failure to meet contractual obligations
  • Failure to act in a professional manner
  • Failure to meet clinical documentation standards of the organization

 

In those instances where the trainee fails to meet reasonable performance standards, the Training Director and site supervisors will utilize the Inadequate Performance procedures.

The PCS Doctoral Internship Program complies with all legal and ethical responsibilities to be non-discriminatory in the treatment of psychology trainees. Informal evaluation is an ongoing process during the training year. Meetings with group and individual supervisors provide ongoing feedback on a weekly basis related to the trainee’s progress toward goals and level of competence in meeting performance standards. Structured verbal and written evaluations are completed on a quarterly basis during the internship year. Given the existence of a separate process of progressive discipline procedure for employees of Pennsylvania Counseling Services, as well as the status of the Interns as trainees receiving an ongoing stipend, the process of remediation for Inadequate Performance for Interns is identified as occurring, where appropriate, in parallel with progressive discipline within the larger agency. Specifically, the interns are recognized as receiving ongoing monetary recompense and, as such meet criteria as both trainees and employees. This dual status results in interns being afforded the protections of due process through the remediation for inadequate performance, as well as being subject to the separate process of progressive discipline. These parallel processes are undertaken to ensure equitable treatment of interns in relation to other individuals working within PCS, as well as a recognition of the intern’s unique status as trainee.

 

Definitions:

  1. Training Director - A licensed psychologist who has the administrative and clinical responsibility for the psychology training program.
  2. Site Supervisor - A licensed psychologist who has direct responsibility for a trainee’s clinical work, performance evaluation and discipline.
  3. Intern - An individual who has been selected through the Association of Pre and Post Doctoral Internship Centers (APPIC) match program and contracted to participate in the doctoral psychology internship.
  4. Inadequate Performance - A deficit in professional functioning reflected in one or more of the following ways:
    1. An inability and/or unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into one's repertoire of professional behavior including functioning within both clinical and administrative roles, as well as engagement with supervision and didactic processes.
    2. An inability and/or unwillingness to acquire professional skills in order to reach an acceptable level of competency.
    3. Excessive emotional reactions and/or an inability to control personal stressors that interfere with professional functioning.
  5. Criteria that link this definition of inadequate performance to particular professional behaviors are incorporated into competency-based evaluation forms, which are completed by the Training Director in collaboration with site supervisors at the mid-point and end of internship.
  6. An "intern who has a problem" refers to an intern whose behaviors, attitudes, or characteristics are of concern to training personnel but are responsive to remediation or are not perceived to be excessive for professionals in training. Problems become identified as "Inadequate Performance" when they include one or more or the following characteristics:
    1. The intern repeatedly and chronically does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem when it is identified.
    2. The problem is not merely a reflection of a skill deficit that can be rectified by academic or didactic training.
    3. The quality of services delivered by the intern is sufficiently negatively affected.
    4. The problem is not restricted to one area of professional functioning.
    5. A disproportionate amount of attention by training personnel is required to address the problem.
    6. The trainee's behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remediation efforts, and/or time.
    7. The intern is unable and/or unwilling to carry out expected program responsibilities.
    8. The intern is not able to successfully complete internship exit criteria.
    9. Staff members and peers identify the intern as having repeated difficulties relating to others professionally.

 

Procedures For Addressing Inadequate Performance:

The Training Director and/or site supervisor(s) may, at their discretion, schedule an initial meeting to consider and assess inadequate performance that is judged to be interfering with the intern’s ability to make appropriate progress toward goals and expectations.

 

  1. Such a meeting will include:
    1. A clear written statement of the nature of the concern or conflict.
    2. A notation as to the date, time, place, and circumstances of the problem, if applicable.
    3. A clear statement of informal attempts to resolve the issue that have already been taken to address the problem.
    4. A description of the outcome of such attempts to resolve the issue and any perceived response from the intern.
    5. A statement of the staff person’s expectation or desired resolution that has not occurred to date.
  2. The meeting must be held at a time and place that will allow the trainee to hear the problem as described, and he/she must be given three (3) full days to respond at a second meeting, if needed. The Training Director or a designee determined by the Training Director will determine who, in addition to the trainee and Training Director/Designee will attend the meeting.

 

Intern Grievances

The PCS Pre-doctoral Internship Program is committed to conducting all activities in compliance with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for psychologists. While the Psychology Program attempts to assure fair treatment for all participants and attempts to anticipate problems, there will be occasional issues that come to attention of the Training Director for resolution. This grievance policy is designed to assist trainees and supervisors in the resolution of these issues. The PCS Pre-doctoral Internship Program will comply with all legal and ethical responsibilities to be non-discriminatory in the treatment of psychology trainees. It is expected that most problems can be addressed informally via conversations between the intern and the supervisor. However, there may be times when a trainee believes that he or she has been treated unfairly. In this case, the intern may utilize the grievance procedure outlined below:

 

Step 1:

The formal grievance procedure is used when the intern and site supervisor or Training Director have failed to resolve an issue to the satisfaction of both parties.

 

There will be no retaliatory action taken by PCS or any of its staff against any intern who uses this procedure.

 

Step 2:

Any issues or suggestions that develop in such meetings may be addressed to the intern and to the site supervisor, who may discuss and clarify them with the intern as part of the next supervision meeting.

  1. Where necessary, involved staff (as determined by the Training Director/Designee) will meet as a group to develop an appropriate follow-up intervention or determine appropriate follow-up actions. Such actions may involve, but is not limited to, notifying the Director of Clinical Training at the trainee’s school of study of the conflict, issues or concerns, how they have been evaluated, steps taken toward remediation, and the nature of the ongoing concern. If the inadequate performance involves violation of the APA ethics code, violation of the law, or potential harm to client (in the opinion of the Training Director), immediate termination of the Intern’s engagement with the internship may be undertaken.
  2. Interns needing additional corrective action are informed via written statement about their progress toward resolving the inadequate performance or conflict and recommendations for further actions needed to satisfactorily meet required standards.

 

Step 3:

The trainee may respond with a formal written statement of disagreement with the staff evaluation and recommendations within 10 business days of the initial inadequate performance meeting. If this results in a continuing grievance that cannot be resolved, then the procedures outlined below in the section on Intern Grievances should be followed to resolve the issue.

 

Procedures For Addressing Intern Grievances:

Before initiating formal grievance procedures, the intern should attempt to resolve the conflict through informal discussion with the involved party or parties. The intern should clearly communicate to the involved party the date and nature of the conflict or complaint, as well as suggestions as to how the complaint could be appropriately resolved to his/her satisfaction. If no resolution can be agreed upon to the satisfaction of both parties, the intern may then decide to proceed to the first formal stage of complaint. The formal grievance procedure may be accessed by the trainee within ten (10) business days from the occurrence of the conflict or complaints that gave rise to the grievance by following the steps below:

 

Step 1:

  1. If the problem does not involve the site supervisor, the conflict should be reported and discussed with that supervisor, who will work to resolve that conflict in a timely and responsible fashion. The initial stage of this report may be informal.
    1. If this is unsuccessful, a written description of the complaint should be submitted to the supervisor within five (5) working days of the unsuccessful attempt at resolution.
    2. The supervisor will then review the complaint and respond in writing within five (5) working days of receipt of the written complaint, suggesting a resolution that appears most appropriate according to professional and ethical guidelines as outlined in the APA Ethical Code and the Board of Psychology of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s laws governing the conduct of psychologists.
  2. Should this procedure not result in a resolution, OR if the complaint involves the site supervisor, the trainee should proceed to the next step.

 

Step 2:

  1. If attempts at the supervisory level to resolve the conflict fail OR if the complaint involves the site supervisor, a copy of the written complaint should be provided to the Training Director along with a brief description of the nature of the unsuccessful attempts at resolution. The Training Director will take prompt and responsible steps, within ethical limits, to resolve the grievance informally and then formally, if appropriate.
  2. If this step is unsuccessful, OR if the complaint involves the Training Director, the trainee should proceed to the next level of complaint.
  3. Beyond this point, if the grievance is still not resolved, attempts to resolve it will follow the grievance procedures as mandated by PCS and as outlined in Steps 3 and 4.

 

Step 3:

  1. If attempts at the supervisory level to resolve the conflict fail OR if the complaint involves the Training Director, the same procedures will apply. As above, attempts at informal resolution will be made promptly whenever possible.
  2. Failing these steps, formal resolution and discussion may be initiated with the President of PCS (Ruth Davis, MBA) by a written request made within five (5) working days from receipt of the Training Director’s written answer.
  3. The President will schedule a meeting at which all parties involved in the grievance will be heard. The President may invite witnesses if required and may arrange for an investigation of matters relating to the problem. A record or summary of discussions will be recorded in writing, but such record need not be verbatim.
  4. The President will notify the aggrieved trainee within five (5) working days of his/her decision or of the act that an investigation is in progress. In the latter case, the President will give a decision to the aggrieved trainee within three (3) days after the conclusion of the investigation.
  5. If this step is unsuccessful the intern should proceed to the next level of complaint. Interns needing corrective action are informed in writing about their progress regarding the intern grievance addressed and the extent that the issue is resolved or needs further actions to satisfactorily meet required standards.

 

Step 4:

If the trainee wishes to appeal further, within five (5) working days from the time the President of PCS’s reply is received, the trainee may do so by writing the complaint to the Chief Executive Officer of PCS (Roy Smith, Ph.D.).

  1. The Chief Executive Officer will request a record of the hearing conducted the President of Pennsylvania Counseling Services, the facts elicited during the investigation, if any, and the reasoning underlying the decision made.
  2. The Chief Executive Officer may convene a second hearing.
  3. The Chief Executive Officer will give a written reply to the aggrieved trainee within five (5) working days.
  4. The decision of the Chief Executive Officer will be final and binding.

 

Discharge Appeals

A trainee who has been discharged from the PCS Pre-doctoral Internship Program may appeal directly to the President of PCS. The request for appeal must be made within five (5) days of discharge. Appeal issues may be discussed with the intern’s academic program and a representative from the school may be invited to the scheduled appeal meeting.

 

Representation

The Intern Grievance Procedure is an internal one to PCS. Persons not connected with PCS (such as legal counselors) will not be permitted to be involved in the grievance process other than an academic representative from the intern’s academic program.

 

Requirements For Completion of Internship

The following requirements must be met to the satisfaction of the Training Committee to receive satisfactory certification of internship completion:

  1. The internship requires a minimum total of 2000 hours (inclusive of PTO and Professional Development time) over 12 months. The bulk of this time will be supervised work in the intern’s primary placement and in additional experiences (e.g. assessment). A minimum of 500 hours (25% of time on internship) in the provision of direct face-to-face clinical services is required. Interns are expected to complete the internship within 12 months. Interns who require an extended absence due to maternity or serious medical illness should follow the Pennsylvania Counseling Services Leave of Absence procedure. Time spent on a leave of absence does not count toward the required minimum hours for the internship year.
  2. Interns must receive at least a level of 3 (Intermediate skill level) in all areas by the completion of the internship.
  3. All assigned clinical documentation and administrative record keeping must be completed.
  4. Regular attendance is expected for individual and group supervision meetings, didactic seminars, case consultations, and staff meetings pertaining to the intern’s training. It is expected that interns do not miss more than three Friday training days during the year.
  5. At least four comprehensive Psychological Evaluations with an integrated written report must be completed. Feedback on the results of the evaluation will be provided to the appropriate referral sources.
  6. The intern must participate in and complete a presentation to fellow interns on a topic related to community-based mental health practices that is grounded in empirically supported practices and includes considerations of diversity issues. The specific topic will be determined by the Training Director and interns, based on knowledge areas and areas of need.
  7. Interns complete additional training in Empirically Supported Treatments/Evidence Based Practice at the discretion of the Training Director. Requirements for completion of training protocols take full advantage of available resources with Pennsylvania Counseling Services and are focused on providing Interns with applicable and portable experiences to be utilized both on internship, and subsequently at the postdoctoral and independent practice levels.
  8. Interns comply with any and all additional requirements related to additional training in specific areas of clinical weakness, if determined as necessary by the training committee.
  9. The intern must complete any assigned reading assignments and corresponding requested reaction papers.
  10. All supervisor evaluation forms, seminar evaluation forms, and Internship Program Evaluation forms must be completed.

 

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