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Professional Psychology Internship

Children’s Behavioral Health Services: Brandywine Programs

Client Population

The Devereux Brandywine Programs serves approximately 140 boys between the ages of 7-20. Clinical diagnoses vary widely, but generally are encompassed in one of the following categories: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mood Disorders, Disruptive Behavior Disorders, and Pervasive Development Disorders.

Treatment Program Overview

The guiding treatment philosophy is Trauma Informed Care. Brandywine is certified by the Sanctuary Institute (www.sanctuaryweb.com/institute.php) and adheres to Principles of the Sanctuary Model (Bloom, S. L., 1997) in our organizational culture and approach to treatment. A combination of Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT), Collaborative Problem Solving and Motivational Interviewing is used to assist the client to identify dysfunctional beliefs, learn alternative strategies, and increase their readiness to change. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) interventions are employed as a module based approach to help clients understand their behaviors and beliefs as responses to trauma, learn skills in relaxation, increase affect tolerance, and learn connections between thoughts, feelings, and actions. Gradual exposure is used to facilitate processing of the traumatic experiences and installation of more adaptive beliefs. Family therapy features an emphasis on parent management training and dealing with resistance to consultation on parenting practices using strategic and trauma informed approaches.

Training Activities

Assessment. Interns are required to demonstrate competency in assessment during the training year. Interns are expected to have developed competence in administration of psychological tests prior to internship. Assessment assignments provide an opportunity for the intern to develop competency:

  • tailoring assessment batteries to address referral questions
  • mastering resolution of discrepant results
  • developing clear conclusions that are responsive to the referral question(s)
  • writing individualized recommendations that follow rationally from the results and provide user friendly guidance to the clinical team.

Types of assessment opportunities include assessment of cognitive functioning, academic skills, functional skills, diagnostic evaluations, functional behavioral assessments, intake evaluations and personality functioning.

Intervention. Interns carry a caseload of approximately 4-6 clients. Interns meet with clients individually for at least 1hour per week and with the client’s family for 1hour per week. Additionally, the intern also provides group therapy for 1hour per week. Interns are expected to be available for crisis intervention as needed for their clients.

Consultation. Interns provide consultation during team meetings and on an individual basis with all disciplines within the therapeutic milieu.

Case Management. Interns are responsible for the case management activities associated with clients. Case management typically involves collaboration with delinquency and dependency court systems, managed care organizations, resource coordinators and educational settings. Case management includes planning for visitation and securing aftercare services.

Research/Program Evaluation. Interns complete a research project or program evaluation during their training year. The projects may be part of an existing research project or the intern may develop his or her own research initiative.

Diversity/Cultural Competence. Interns work with a culturally diverse population. Therefore, the ability to provide culturally sensitive interventions is essential to the treatment of the population.

Supervision. Interns work with a multidisciplinary team and provide supervision to members of the team on the implementation of behaviorally-based intervention. In some cases, interns may have the opportunity to supervise a practicum student.

Professional Skills and Development. Professional skills and development begin during the first week of the internship and are continuously evaluated throughout the year. After an initial self-assessment is completed, specific goals and objectives will be established. These targeted areas will be reviewed and discussed during individual supervision.

Training Supervision

The intern is provided with four hours of individual and group supervision each week throughout the training year. The intern will be assigned to work with a primary supervisor and a supplemental supervisor. The primary supervisor will supervise the intern on individual and group therapy, assessment, the research project and general internship issues. The secondary supervisor will supervise the intern on family therapy and case management.

Desired Intern Qualifications and Competencies

The ideal intern candidate will have experience in providing evidenced based practices to children and adolescents, the ability to conceptualize a case from a CBT frame work, and experience in administering a variety of assessments to children and adolescents. The ideal candidate will be trained in behavioral principles and have the ability to apply behavioral interventions. Intern candidates should have strong consultation skills and be able to work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team. Additionally, intern candidates will be able to conduct independent research (e.g., conceptualization, methodology, and analysis).

Outcomes of Training

During the training year the intern will develop a proficient clinical acumen. As a member of the treatment team, the intern will be exposed to multiple theoretical approaches for individual, group and family therapies with diverse clientele. Throughout the training year, the intern will become skillful in managing crisis situations and will develop and implement long term treatment objectives. Additionally, the intern will become adept at working as a part of a multidisciplinary team and in navigating complex systems and collaborating with outside agencies. Upon successful completion of the training year, interns may elect employment in acute and sub-acute settings. Many Interns also secure faculty and research-based positions.

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