Psychology Internship Program Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

Training Model and Program Philosophy

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Training Model and Program Philosophy

The Psychology Internship Program adheres to the values of the Department of Veterans Affairs, VISN 16, and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in its commitment to excellence in training.
Training is grounded in the scientist-practitioner model.

Our program assumes that good practice is always grounded in the science of psychology. In turn, the science of psychology is necessarily influenced by the practice of psychology. As a consequence, our approach to training encourages clinical practice that is consistent with the current state of scientific knowledge while still acknowledging the complexities of real patients and the limits of our empirical base. In this regard, we aim to produce psychologists who are capable of contributing to the profession by investigating clinically relevant questions through their own clinical research or through program development and evaluation.

The members of the Psychology Training Program have identified six components to our educational model. With all interns, we attempt to ensure that these components are a part of their training experience.
These six components are:

  1. An emphasis on high quality supervision that varies with the developmental needs of an intern. On all rotations, a process is followed in which supervisors first assess the skill level of an intern, provide didactic instruction (if required) regarding the skill, model the clinically relevant skill for an intern, and observe the intern employing the skill. Only after completing this process is an intern allowed to employ the skill without direct supervision.

  1. Instruction in empirically-grounded methods of assessment and treatment. On all rotations, interns are instructed in methods that have received widespread empirical validation. These include structured interview techniques, cognitive-behavioral techniques for treating a broad range of psychological problems, neurocognitive assessment procedures, and proper use of empirically validated psychometric instruments.

  1. A broad range of clinical experiences and didactics designed to create general clinical skills. All interns are provided with a range of experiences across rotations designed to foster skills in general assessment of psychopathology, consultation and liaison skills, short and long-term therapy skills. Interns are also instructed in general professional issues.

  1. Specialized training in a substantive area chosen by an intern. Interns may participate in the Traumatic Stress Recovery Program specialty offered at this site or in other rotations. Interns, in collaboration with the training director and their preceptor, may also design a unique set of training experiences that emphasize a trainee’s interests.

  1. Flexibility in designing an individualized internship experience. Interns, in collaboration with staff members, have the opportunity to create a unique set of rotations that best match their professional interests and goals. These selections are guided by the training needs and goals of each intern rather than the systemic needs of the hospital. Opportunities are provided for interns to create high-quality experiences away from the SLVHCS, if dictated by legitimate training goals, such as working with a population the SLVHCS does not serve.

  1. Exposure to clinically-relevant research. Opportunities to participate in clinically-relevant research are offered to all interns. These include collaborating with staff on ongoing projects or initiating a project during the internship year. At a minimum, interns are expected to develop a critical appreciation for ways in which clinically-relevant research can inform clinical practice.

Program Goals and Objectives

The purpose of the pre-doctoral internship is to train professional psychologists for independent professional psychology practice in the areas of clinical services, research, and education, particularly in medical center, public sector, and academic settings. This expected outcome is facilitated by the primary goal of ensuring advanced competency in clinical psychology.

Specific skills to be developed

The internship program is structured to provide training activities to facilitate development of advanced competencies in several areas important for the provision of good clinical care, research, and education.

Assessment, Diagnosis, and Intervention

Interns will develop competence in psychological evaluation and assessment of adults with a variety of diagnoses, problems, and needs. Interns will develop competence in theories and methods of intervention

Consultation, Supervision, and Teaching

Interns will develop competence in providing consultation, in developing basic knowledge of supervision and possibly providing supervision, and in teaching. Interns will develop competence in educating and supporting other professionals in clinical settings, and may provide consultation to junior practicum trainees.

Scholarly Inquiry

Interns will develop competence in a course of scholarly inquiry for purpose of clinical practice, and, if applicable, to scientific literature. Interns will develop competence in applying scientific knowledge in a clinical setting, in being educated consumers of empirical research, and in becoming competent in at least one Evidenced Based Therapies (EBT). Interns may develop skills in participating in a research project.

Professional, Ethical, and Legal issues

Interns will demonstrate appropriate ethical and professional standards required for clinical psychologists. Interns will demonstrate professional responsibility and behavior consistent with current professional standards and ethical guidelines. Interns will demonstrate continued growth in professional development and identity.

Cultural and Individual Diversity

Interns will demonstrate knowledge of and provide culturally sensitive services (assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment) to the patient population. Interns will have a mature understanding of issues of ethnic, cultural, gender, sexual, and other aspects of diversity. Interns will, independently or with supervision, incorporate this understanding into their clinical work with veterans.

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