Professional Psychology Internship Training Program

Tweet Share on LinkedIn Send email Print

Center for Effective Schools Professional Psychology Internship

Client Population

The Devereux Center for Effective Schools (CES) serves students with, and at risk for developing, antisocial patterns of behavior within public schools (located primarily in urban communities) as well as within other child serving institutions, including private day schools, residential treatment centers and hospital programs.

Treatment Program Overview

The CES is an applied research and technical assistance center specializing in bringing evidence-based practices to schools, districts and other child-serving programs through training/technical assistance, consultation, and model program development. The CES utilizes an integrated three-tiered (universal, secondary, tertiary) approach to prevention and intervention.

At the universal level, targeting all students in the school (or program), the emphasis is on developing strategies to prevent or minimize the occurrence of problem behavior while improving academic performance. Training and technical assistance activities focus on developing schoolwide interventions (e.g., schoolwide positive behavior support [SWPBS], response-to-intervention [RtI], school-based parent training), class-wide interventions (e.g., behavior and instructional management strategies) and strategies for non-classroom settings within the school (e.g., The Lunchroom Behavior Game).

At the secondary level, targeting students at risk for behavioral and academic difficulties, training and technical assistance activities include assisting teams in the implementation of efficient, function-based strategies to prevent worsening problem behavior and academic performance (e.g., check-in/check-out interventions and study/social skills interventions).

At the tertiary level, efforts are made to increase school or institutional capacity to effectively impact students with severe and chronic behavior and/or learning difficulties through consultation and technical assistance. In addition, systematic efforts are made to help improve comprehensive behavior support by utilizing a wraparound model involving key individuals in the child's life at school, home, and the community.

All programs are implemented with an applied research focus. Formative evaluation and treatment integrity are cornerstones of service delivery.

Training Activities

Assessment. Interns have the opportunity to conduct assessments at multiple levels from school-wide, to class-wide, to individual students. Assessments are conducted for academic concerns, behavioral concerns, or both.

Intervention. Interns will have the opportunity to engage in intervention planning, implementation, and evaluation within the consultative framework. The planning, implementation, and evaluation will occur at multiple levels, including working with leadership teams to develop school-wide interventions, working with an individual teacher to implement a class-wide intervention, or assisting school staff to design a function-based behavior intervention plan for an individual student.

Consultation. Service delivery at CES is indirect in nature and thus, relies heavily on consultation - in particular, a behavioral model of consultation. Consultative focus occurs at multiple levels ranging from school-wide, to class-wide, to the individual student or groups of students. In addition to the basic problem-solving steps of problem-identification, problem analysis, plan implementation and evaluation, CES consultants facilitate team meetings, provide team-based training and provide technical assistance and feedback on intervention implementation.

Case Management Since CES service delivery is almost exclusively indirect, case management is not part of the internship experience.

Research/ Program Evaluation. CES is an applied research institute and the majority the project sites operate under a research framework. Interns have multiple opportunities to engage in formative and summative evaluation. In addition, an internship requirement is to complete a research project. Interns at CES are typically well-versed in research methodology so this requirement is an opportunity to showcase their skills. Past interns have presented their projects at national conferences and have published their results in refereed journals.

Diversity/Cultural Competency. Given the urban focus of CES and the wide range of organizations with which we consult, cultural issues and concerns are woven into all aspects of the training program. Interns are exposed to culturally competent practices through the seminar series as well as in weekly supervision sessions.

Supervision. Interns will have the opportunity to provide supervision to masters-level psychologists or therapists in the CES department or in other Devereux programs. Supervision activities may range from supervising a training/technical assistance activity to providing oversight on an individual clinical case, including the conduct of a functional behavioral assessment and individual behavior support plan.

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. Professional skills include time management, dependability, ethical standards, judgment and decision-making ability, among others. These targeted areas will be reviewed and discussed during individual supervision.

Training Supervision

Supervision is provided by the primary supervisor, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist. Supplemental supervision is provided by other members of the CES team who are coordinating projects that include the intern. Supplemental supervisors may include other licensed psychologists, school psychologists or certified behavior analysts

Individual supervision with the primary supervisor is accomplished through weekly scheduled 2-hour face-to-face meetings, in addition to informal contacts and in-vivo observations that occur throughout the course of a week. Supervision from supplemental supervisors consists of a combination of formal meetings and on-site observations. A combination of peer and professional supervision is also offered through the bi-weekly roundtable seminars.

Desired Intern qualifications and competencies

CES is an excellent nontraditional training opportunity for candidates with training in school psychology, strong knowledge in applied behavior analysis and research design, and experience in academic and behavioral assessment, intervention, and school-based consultation. An interest in working with students with behavior disorders, educators, and parents in an urban setting is required. Knowledge of the basic tenets of school-wide positive behavior support is preferred.

Outcomes of Training

The CES provides an opportunity to train within a research institute dedicated to providing a continuum of services to public schools and other child-serving systems. Due to the indirect nature of service delivery, this is a unique training opportunity within the Devereux organization for interns seeking a non-traditional experience. During the training year, interns develop and refine skills in consultation, training, and technical assistance along with skills in clinical services including academic and behavioral assessment and intervention. At times, there are additional opportunities to develop grant writing skills (although not a required component of the internship). Upon successful completion of the training year, CES interns typically accept employment positions as school psychologists in a school district, as college or university faculty members, or as training/consultation or research professionals for state departments of education or applied research centers.