DOCTORAL LEVEL INTERNSHIPS
This program is accredited, on contingency, by the American Psychological Association.
The doctoral level psychology internship at Pennsylvania Counseling Services (PCS) is a 12-month broad-based training experience in outpatient community mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Participants in the PCS doctoral internship 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 accredited or the equivalent as determined by the Pennsylvania 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.
The PCS doctoral internship program involves providing psychotherapeutic intervention within an outpatient community mental health setting. The intern will be assigned to a “home clinic” in either Dauphin or Lebanon County; each intern will work with clients struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse issues and is expected to conduct individual and group therapy to address a broad range of presenting problems.
The mission of the PCS doctoral internship program is focused on two primary objectives:
- Providing treatment across a broad spectrum of presenting problems.
- Receiving training and supervision at a doctoral level.
At each PCS location, we seek to provide high-quality, affordable mental health services to diverse populations within the community. We are dedicated to helping others by using the methodology and interactional style that best fits the therapist and client. As a company, we approach our work and our world with professionalism, which includes a variety of treatment approaches; our PCS values are demonstrated through flexibility, acceptance, compassion 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 we tailor our services to the client’s needs. We endeavor to reach out to a diversity of individuals, including those who might not otherwise have access to these services.
NOTABLE ASPECTS OF THE INTERNSHIP
- Interns will perform intake evaluations with a broad range of clients in order to determine suitability for outpatient treatment.
- Interns will maintain a varied caseload of both adults and children.
- Interns will intervene in both group (at least two groups per week) and individual settings; groups will typically address substance abuse issues; however, other opportunities are available for group work.
- The community mental health clinic setting allows interns to develop skills with a broad 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 mental health clinic, some degree of specialization with a particular population may be possible. This specialization is dependent on the availability of clients and the particular strengths and skills of the intern, as well as the availability of supervision for specific issues.
The PCS doctoral internship program 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 a broad range of clinical experience, which includes considerable support, training and supervision from our training staff.
Training opportunities include:
- A minimum of two hours of individual face-to-face supervision, as well as two hours per week of group supervision with supervising faculty (licensed doctoral level psychologists), case conferences, didactic seminars, group supervision and biweekly clinical staff meetings, as well as other periodic educational forums.
- An average of at least two hours per week of didactic activities. This practice also allows interns time to socialize as a peer group. Continuing education seminars conducted by PCS are approved by the APA for CE credits.
- Presentation of at least one didactic seminar related to a topic chosen by the intern (dependent on approval from the training director), which uses peer-reviewed research.
- Psychological assessment, psychotherapeutic interventions (individual, group and family sessions), consultation and case management.
- Supervision from a variety of treatment orientations. Supervisors typically use a practical and often integrative approach to supervision and intervention which is typically framed in a specific theoretical orientation. The clinical orientations of the PCS supervisory staff 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.
- Experience with various psychological assessment tools with the goal of increasing the intern’s skills in this area. PCS maintains a library of testing materials which are appropriate for a variety of clinical presentations that can occur across a person’s lifespan. Each intern is required to complete at least four integrated psychological assessments and may engage in additional assessment experiences if desired.
The PCS doctoral internship program employs the following training plan, which is designed to create a sequential and developmentally based experience.
Over the course of the year, interns engage in a planned sequence of training experiences that gradually increase in terms of the required level of skill, complexity and specialization.
- Throughout the training year, interns gradually assume increasing levels of responsibility and autonomy, cumulatively building on skills that are learned earlier in the year.
- During the fall/winter semester, training is devoted to the training track of the individual intern and assisting them in becoming proficient in more broad-based clinical skills.
- During the spring/summer semester, training is focused on the mastery of more specific clinical skills, the development of their professional identity and the expansion of their career in the field of psychology and its practice.
- At the conclusion of the training year, interns are expected to demonstrate competency for engagement in postdoctoral level work within community settings and be taking steps to move toward completion of their psychology licensure requirements.
Interns are expected to explore their professional goals and interests during their internship year in order to attain greater clarity regarding the direction of their future career. Interns are encouraged to:
- Use scientific methods when attempting to solve clinical problems.
- Enhance the skills that are necessary for providing clinical services.
- Hold themselves to the highest professional and ethical standards.
- Develop a further understanding of and appreciation for diversity as they provide clinical services.
This internship program is conducted with the purpose of meeting the professionally wide competencies that are set forth by the APA while also maintaining program standards that are consistent with the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. These competency areas include 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, the PCS doctoral internship program also uses the Local Clinical Scientist Model in the larger context of evidence-based practice. A significant emphasis is placed on preparing individuals for independent, evidence-based practice as psychologists. In addition, the following are vital elements of the APA’s policy statement on evidence-based practice (APA, 2005):
- Integration of clinical expertise
- Recognition of the patient’s characteristics, values and context
- Reference to and use of the best research evidence available
The PCS doctoral internship program emphasizes the psychologist’s role as a local clinical scientist who is continually evaluating the applicability of relevant research in the context of the idiosyncrasies of each client. In addition, there are ongoing efforts to instill:
- An overarching context and respect for diversity.
- An understanding of the importance of professional socialization.
- An emphasis on the development of professional skills that may be otherwise difficult to foster within a preinternship setting.
- The importance the intern places on the continuing development of their skills, not only in terms of their direct clinical work with patients (e.g., intervention and assessment), but also as it relates to their ability to function professionally and interact with other service providers.
- An understanding of the responsibilities of psychologists as leaders, which includes the development of skills for navigating interactions with various systems relevant to the professional practice of psychology (e.g., administrative, clinical and financial systems that interface with their practice).
Click the button above for more information on the PCS doctoral internship program, including policies, procedures, benefits and more.
PCS is not currently accepting applications from either doctoral or master’s level students for practicum experiences. The PCS doctoral 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 the applicant during their doctoral training; a fourth letter (which is optional) will be accepted from a nondoctoral training source.
Individuals from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply to the PCS doctoral internship program.
Inquiries should be directed as follows:
MarryAnn Sutton, PhD
Pennsylvania Counseling Services
Director of Clinical Training
Or by mail to:
MaryAnn Sutton, PhD
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 abides 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.
The PCS doctoral internship program is currently accredited on contingency by the American Psychological Association and is a member in good standing of APPIC. Questions related to an internship program’s accreditation 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.