Professional Psychology Internship Training Program

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Devereux PA Pocono Programs and Services

Client Population

The Devereux Pocono Programs and Services serves approximately 86 adults (in residential programs) aged 18 through the lifespan with intellectual and developmental disabilities, co-occurring diagnoses (i.e., intellectual disability and mental illness), mental illness only, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Individuals have a variety of psychiatric, medical and behavioral needs that are met through an interdisciplinary team process. Individuals are served in residential, community-based group homes, prevocational settings, and Life Sharing. Life Sharing provides individuals with the opportunity to live in a natural family setting while receiving support, treatment and services to improve their quality of life, and increase their independence. In addition, the Pocono Center provides children’s Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services, which provides Therapeutic Support Staff, Mobile Therapy and Behavioral Support Coordination services to children with a variety of disabilities and diagnoses.

Treatment Program Overview

The purpose of the internship program is to provide a variety of clinical, assessment and consultation experiences with children (through the BHRS program), and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges across settings utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to treatment. Within this setting interns progress from an initial, closely supervised and monitored experience to a more autonomous level of professional functioning by the end of the training year. The overarching goal of the program is to prepare the intern for entering the independent practice of psychology.

The internship is consistent with the scientist-practitioner model and reflects a concern for the competent, theoretically informed, and empirically grounded practice of professional psychology. In addition, interns are encouraged to continue to develop their research and analytical skills in combination with their clinical competencies.

Training Activities

Assessment. Psycho-educational and psychological assessment and diagnosis are an important part of serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Evaluations are conducted to determine eligibility for funding and placement and treatment decisions. Each intern is required to attain competency. Assessments will include psychological evaluations, functional behavioral assessments, mental status examinations, dementia screenings, and other assessments, as necessary. The administration, report writing, and feedback of assessments are supervised by the clinical director. In addition, interns are responsible for clinical aspects of annual reports for their assigned caseload and to develop positive behavioral support plans as needed.

Intervention. Interns have the opportunity to carry between 4 and 6 individual therapy cases, participate in program implementation, and provide informal supportive counseling. Interns facilitate one or two groups either alone or with a co-facilitator (examples of groups are anger management, social skills, advocacy, etc). Experience in family therapy can be provided in certain circumstances; however, this is not a commonly provided service at the Pocono Center. At the end of the training year, interns present a formal case review to Devereux faculty and staff.

Consultation. Each intern has the opportunity to serve as a consultant, which includes consultation to staff participating in one of the ongoing model programs. In addition, the intern attends weekly team, clinical team, and medication review meetings. Interns also serve as consultants to train direct support professionals on implementation of Social Emotional and Environmental Support Plans and other behavioral interventions. Interns have the opportunity to provide training to staff for modules such as Introduction to the Individuals We Serve, Positive Approaches, Traumatic Brain Injury, New Directions, and Preventing Sexual Incidents.

Case Management.While the intern training does not specifically include experience in case management, there will be opportunities to interact with support coordinators from outside agencies and families to provide support and occasional coordination of visits and other services.

Research/ Program Evaluation. The intern is required to conduct a research project that contributes to the work of the Pocono Center. At the beginning of the internship year, interns and supervisors discuss an appropriate study to conduct. Interns conduct a literature review, submitting an IRB approval form, collecting data on the identified variable or intervention, conducting appropriate statistical analysis, interpreting the data, and writing up the study. The final research projects are presented to Devereux faculty and staff.

Diversity/Cultural Competency. Devereux believes that cultural competence and diversity are an important aspect of any integrated training experience. Training and opportunities to work with diverse populations and staff are provided on a regular basis throughout the training year.

Supervision. Interns provide supervision to pre-professional trainees and other practicum students. The supervision is overseen by the primary supervisor at the site.

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

Each intern receives 2 hours per week of individual supervision from the Director of Clinical Services in the area of individual/group therapy, assessment, and consultation. Consultation with other licensed staff (LPC, LSW) is available as well to enhance the training experience.

Interns receive 2.0 hours of group supervision weekly at group clinical supervision meetings. In addition to on-site supervision, interns are required to travel every two weeks to the Institute of Clinical and Professional Training and Research in Villanova, PA (approximately 2 hour drive) to participate in didactic training and socialization experiences with the other interns.

Desired Intern qualifications and competencies

The ideal intern candidate will possess prior experience in working with individuals with Autism Spectrum disorders, or intellectual and developmental disabilities, with a goal of further developing competencies to serve this target population. In addition, some prior experience or foundational knowledge of Functional Behavioral Assessment and/or Positive Behavioral Support is desirable.

Outcomes of Training

At the end of the training year, interns will demonstrate competence in the practice of psychology. This includes competence in performing assessments, treatments and consultation in an ethical and professional manner. In addition, interns will demonstrate cultural competence in working with varied populations and serving as a member of treatment teams. The intern also will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the research and literature relevant to the populations served. All aspects of the training year will be conducted in adherence with the ethical standards set forth by the American Psychological Association and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.