DOCTORAL LEVEL INTERNSHIPS
The doctoral level psychology internship at Pennsylvania Counseling Services involves broad-based training experience consisting of a 12-month experience in outpatient community mental health and substance abuse treatment. All training time credited to internship is at the postpracticum and doctoral level.
Interns in the program are expected to work a minimum of 40 hours per week for a full year (with maximum hours being capped at 45 per week), and to minimally perform at the professional capacity of an entry-level doctoral clinician. The applying candidate must be enrolled in an APA-accredited doctoral program (or regionally or accredited equivalent as determined by the PA State Board of Psychology) and must have all coursework completed by the start of the internship year in July. Please see our listing in the APPIC Directory for more specific admission criteria.
This outpatient internship involves providing psychotherapeutic intervention within a community mental health setting. The intern will be assigned to a “home clinic” in either Dauphin or Lebanon county, and will work with clients struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Each intern is expected to conduct individual and group therapy to address a range of presenting problems.
The mission of the PCS doctoral internship is twofold: treatment and training. At each PCS location, we seek to provide high-quality, affordable mental health services to diverse populations within the community. We’re dedicated to helping others by using the method and manner that best fits the therapist and client. We approach our work and our world with professionalism, a variety of treatment approaches, flexibility, openness and humor. We encourage interns to develop their own styles of delivering therapy while emphasizing empirically supported approaches. Moreover, we respect that the road to healing is a process that differs for each individual and tailor our services to clients’ needs. We endeavor to reach a diversity of individuals, including those who might not otherwise have access to these services.
NOTABLE ASPECTS OF THE INTERNSHIP
- Performing intake evaluations to determine suitability for outpatient treatment with a range of clients.
- Maintaining a varied caseload of both adults and children.
- Intervening in both group and individual settings. Interns will be required to run at least two groups per week (typically addressing substance abuse issue, however other opportunities are available for group work).
- The community mental health clinic setting entails interns developing skills with a range of presentations.
- Clients are typically self-referred, court mandated, or come to PCS from an external referral source (e.g. PCP, MHID, etc.).
- Given the variety of presenting issues within each community clinic, some degree specialization with a particular population may be possible. This specialization is dependent on availability of clients and particular strengths and skills of the intern, as well as availability of supervision for specific issues.
This internship offers training in the professional practice of clinical psychology to students who have graduated from doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology that have been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), or regionally accredited graduate institutions in psychology.
The primary goal of this internship is to prepare future psychologists for professional practice in multidisciplinary community settings. In service of this goal, our internship program provides ample experiences in providing clinical services with considerable support and training from our training staff.
Training opportunities include:
- A minimum of two hours of individual face-to-face supervision, as well as two hours of group supervision with supervising faculty weekly (with licensed doctoral level psychologists), case conferences, didactic seminars, group supervision and clinical staff meetings weekly, as well as other periodic educational forums.
- An average of at least two hours of didactic activities weekly. This practice also allows interns time to socialize as a peer group. Continuing education seminars conducted by PCS are approved by the APA.
- The opportunity to present at least one didactic session related to a topic of their choice (dependent on approval from the training director), with this didactic integrating peer-reviewed research.
- Internship duties, including psychological assessment, psychotherapeutic interventions (individual, group and family sessions), consultation and case management.
- Available supervision within a variety of treatment orientations. Supervisors typically use a practical and often integrative approach to supervision and intervention which is typically couched in a chosen theoretical orientation. Supervisors’ orientations include (but are not limited to) interpersonal and psychodynamic approaches, acceptance and commitment therapy, systems approaches and cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Exposure to empirically supported treatments, such as motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure among others. Also available are certification in intervention with gambling issues and exposure to the Duluth Model for intervention in domestic violence.
- Opportunities to develop skills in psychological assessment. PCS maintains a library of testing material addressing a variety of clinical presentations across the lifespan. Each intern is required to complete at least four integrated psychological assessments and can access opportunities to engage in further assessment experiences.
The internship program employs a developmental and sequential training plan.
- Over the course of the year, interns engage in a planned sequence of training experiences that increase in level of required skill, complexity and specialization.
- Throughout the training year, interns gradually assume increasing levels of responsibility and autonomy, cumulatively building on skills learned earlier in the year.
- Fall/Winter Semester: Training is devoted toward orienting interns to their training tracks and developing proficiency in general clinical skills.
- Spring/Summer Semester: Training is focused on mastery of more specific clinical skills, development of professional identity, and career development.
- At the conclusion of the training year, interns are expected to be competent to engage in postdoctoral level work within community settings and move towards completion of licensure requirements.
Interns are expected to explore their own professional goals and interests during their internship year in order to greater clarity in the direction of their future careers. Interns are encouraged to:
- Use scientific methods when solving clinical problems.
- Enhance skills necessary for providing clinical services.
- Hold themselves to the highest professional and ethical standards.
- Further develop an understanding and appreciation for diversity in clinical service provision.
This internship program is conducted with the purpose of meeting profession-wide competencies set forth by the APA and consistent with the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. These competency areas include each of the following:
- Ethical and Legal Standards
- Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Professional Values, Attitudes and Behaviors
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills
- Consultation and Interprofessional / Interdisciplinary Skills
In addition to these competencies, this program also uses the Local Clinical Scientist Model in the larger context of evidence-based practice. We place a significant emphasis on preparing individuals for independent, evidence-based practice as psychologists. This statement is made with recognition that the following elements have been highlighted as vital within the APA’s policy statement on evidence-based practice (APA, 2005):
- Integration of clinical expertise
- Recognition of the patient’s characteristics, values and context
- Referencing the best research evidence available
The internship program emphasizes psychologists’ role as a local clinical scientist evaluating the applicability of available relevant research, in the context of the idiosyncrasies of each client in their own context.
This internship works to instill:
- An overarching context of respect for diversity.
- An understanding of the importance of professional socialization.
- An emphasis on the development of professional skills which may be difficult to foster within a preinternship setting.
- A development of the intern’s skills not only in terms of direct clinical work with patients (e.g., intervention and assessment), but also their ability to function professionally in terms of interacting with other service providers, understanding the responsibilities of psychologists as leaders and developing skills in navigating interactions with various systems relevant to professional psychological practice such as administrative, clinical, and financial systems.
Click the button above for information on our doctoral internship, the policies and procedures, and more.
PCS is not currently accepting applications from either doctoral or master’s level students for practicum experiences. The doctoral level internship program continues to accept applications through AAPIC’s online system. PCS does not require anything above and beyond that which is required in the APPIC application process. PCS requires three letters of recommendation, with the preference that these letters be from someone who has interacted with you during your doctoral training and will accept a fourth optional letter from a non-doctoral training source.
Individuals from diverse backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply to the Doctoral Internship Program at Pennsylvania Counseling Services.
Inquires should be directed as follows:
Or by mail to:
MaryAnn Sutton, Ph.D.
Director of Clinical Training
c/o Pennsylvania Counseling Services
548 South 17th St.
Harrisburg, PA 17104
As a Member of APPIC (Member Number: 1913) PCS participates in the APPIC Match and adheres to all APPIC Match policies. This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant. Please use the AAPI online application.
While the PCS Internship is a member in good standing of APPIC, we are presently not accredited by the American Psychological Association. Questions related to an internship program’s accredited status with the American Psychological Association should be directed to the APA Commission on Accreditation:
Click here to view or download the “Internship Admissions, Support and Initial Placement” data sheet.
Note: The Family-Based track for the internship is no longer available.