Professional Psychology Internship Training Program

Tweet Share on LinkedIn Send email Print

Community Services

Client Population

Devereux PA Community Services provides programs and supports to children and adult individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and mental health disorders. Individuals receiving services range from young children to older adults. Interns have the opportunity to work with a variety of individuals, clinical conditions and age ranges.   

Treatment Program Overview 

Our mission for the doctoral internship is to provide a training experience that will prepare the intern for beginning independent practice in psychology. Devereux PA Community Services provides a model for clinical interventions and supports using identified evidence-based practices.  Core components of this model include functional behavioral assessment methods, clinical hypothesis formulation related to specific assessment data, evidenced based interventions linking to the clinical hypothesis, and progress monitoring that informs data-based decision making.

Clinical services are provided in home, school and community settings. In addition, community-based prevocational services and specialized work skill programs are provided to assist adults with disabilities to secure competitive employment in the community. 

Training Activities  

Assessment.  Interns are provided with an array of assessment opportunities including functional behavioral assessment, intellectual assessment, adaptive assessment, clinical behavioral assessment and neuropsychological assessment. 

Intervention.  Interns use the assessment process to formulate a clinical hypothesis. The hypothesis is then used in developing positive behavior support plans based on evidence-based interventions. A key aspect of clinical intervention is the teaching of functionally equivalent skills that relate directly to shaping more socially acceptable responses in place of the individual’s challenging behaviors. Some of these interventions may include teaching specific functional communication skills, social skills, coping strategies, problem-solving approaches, anger management training, relaxation technique training and cognitive-behavioral approaches.   

Consultation.  Clinical consultation is widely used in the delivery of services.  Interns will gain experience acting as a consultant to community-based treatment teams including staff, family and/or school staff.  

Research/ Program Evaluation. Each intern is expected to complete one research or treatment outcome study during the training year. Interns are encouraged to participate in an existing research study in collaboration with another clinician at Community Services or to develop a new project. As an alternative to an experimental design, interns may choose to participate in a treatment outcome study on a topic that is relevant to the program and will aid Devereux’s treatment outcome initiatives. Interns present their research/treatment outcome findings at a formal presentation to peers and other clinical staff. Interns are supported in their research by the Devereux Behavioral HealthCare Library, staff at ICPTR, and the intern supervisory staff at Community Services. 

Diversity/Cultural Competency.  Cultural issues and concerns are interwoven into all clinical applications. This includes selecting assessments, interventions and training methods that have cultural relevance and impact on the individual’s care.  Additionally, interns are exposed to collaborative, culturally sensitive consultation practices. Devereux’s community-based programs span multiple counties within PA including urban, suburban and rural communities.  Thus, the intern will have opportunities to address treatment and assessment issues (under supervision) across client populations which vary markedly across numerous cultural dimensions.   

Supervision.  At mid-year the intern has the opportunity to provide clinical supervision to the clinical team members who are assisting on the intern’s research project. The intern will also have the opportunity to supervise behavior therapists working in community behavioral health programs in home and school settings.  Supervision experiences include scheduling supervision times, coordinating clinical activities related to research and treatment, and formal documentation of supervision times. 

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

Training and Supervision 

Each intern receives 4 hours of supervision weekly. Supervision of interns is provided in both individual and group formats. Devereux PA Community Services uses a developmental competency-based model that builds clinical skills over the course of the internship. Two hours of individual supervision are provided by a primary, doctoral-level licensed psychologist. Group supervision is provided weekly through participation in the clinical teams as well as in sessions with other interns. Clinical issues, case reviews, in-service training, individual issues and organizational information are some of the common topics at the group supervision meetings. Additionally, didactic center-based training experiences are possible. 

Desired Intern qualifications and competencies 

The ideal intern candidate will have the following characteristics:

  • Strong interest in working with children with emotional/behavioral disorders, autism and other developmental disabilities as well as with adults with intellectual disabilities and autism;
  • Interest in working in a social learning/behavioral model for clinical service delivery;
  • Experience conducting psychological testing, interpretation and consultation;
  • Experience conducting functional behavioral assessments
  • Experience and training in applied behavior analysis
  • Interest in and willingness to participate in applied research and related development initiatives.

Outcomes of Training

Over the course of the training year, the intern will develop competencies in providing clinical services using a best practices model where clinical formulation, intervention and analysis are supported by relevant clinical data. Specific skills will be developed in the areas of functional behavioral assessment, individual therapy, psychological and neuropsychological assessment, group therapy, research methodology, and the consultative process. Upon completing the training, interns may be employed in residential programs, clinics, hospitals, community programs and as consultants for specialized populations.