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Professional Psychology Internship

Devereux PA Adult Services

Client Population

Devereux PA Adult Services provides programs and supports for adult individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, mental health disorders, dual diagnoses and brain injuries. Individuals receiving services range from transition age-adults to the aging. 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 Adult Services provides a model for clinical interventions and supports using identified evidence-based practices. Core components of this model include functional and 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 campus-based homes, community group homes, apartment programs and in other community settings. In addition, prevocational services and specialized work skills training programs are provided for those individuals involved in the vocational/work programs

Training Activities

Assessment. Interns are provided an array of assessment opportunities including functional behavior assessment, intellectual assessment, adaptive assessment and clinical behavior assessment. The intern will also have opportunity to conduct limited neuro-psychological assessments.

Intervention. Interns use the assessment process to formulate a clinical hypothesis. This hypothesis is then used to select evidenced based interventions that are relevant to the presenting problems. A key aspect of clinical intervention is the teaching of alternative or 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: identifying specific 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 gain experience in both direct and indirect consultative approaches when working with individuals and their interdisciplinary teams. A behavioral consultative model is utilized at Devereux PA Adult Services.

Research/ Program Evaluation. Interns are required to complete a research project during their internship experience at Devereux. Based on a topic of interest, interns are guided throughout the process, from conducting a literature review to developing the methodology for implementation, analyzing the results and discussing the findings. Interns also participate in the Center’s Applied Research program and participate in the planning, implementation and presentation of research. In addition, there are opportunities to join other various program projects that serve to evaluate the quality of service delivery and enhance the system of care.

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.

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 experience includes scheduling supervision times, coordinating clinical activities related to the research project and formal documentation of the supervisory sessions.

Professional Skills and Development. Professional skills and development begins during the first week of the 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 will be reviewed and discussed during individual supervision.

Training Supervision

Supervision of interns is provided in both individual and group formats. Devereux PA AdultServices uses a developmental competency-based model that builds clinical skills over the course of the internship. Group supervision is provided weekly through participation in the clinical teams. 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 adults with intellectual disabilities, autism, dual diagnoses, and brain injury.
  • Interest in working in a Social Learning/Behavioral model for clinical service delivery.
  • Experience participating in applied research and willingness to learn and participate in research projects and related program development initiatives.
  • Experience in working in an interdisciplinary team process

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 assessment, group therapy, research methodology, and the consultative process.

Upon completing the training year, interns are employed in residential programs, clinics, hospitals, community programs and as consultants for specialized populations.

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