Program Description and Aims

The CCS doctoral internship in health service psychology is designed to assist interns in integrating the science and practice of psychology using a developmental mentoring training approach. The internship training focuses on providing psychological services as both an art and a science with the translation of theory and research into effective generalist practice. Our internship program incorporates the following training aims:

  1. The first program aim is to offer training and experiences to develop profession-wide competencies, including individual counseling, group counseling, assessment, crisis intervention, consultation and outreach, and supervision.

    Interns provide individual counseling, co-facilitate a therapy group with a senior staff member, and meet with clients for initial consultation appointments. They regularly consult with on-campus and off-campus partners, and develop and implement outreach presentations. Assessment training is focused on diagnostic, referral, and substance use services that are integrated into the services we provide to the NIU student population. Interns also provide supervision to a practicum student during the spring semester and attend supervision of supervision meetings. We do not provide formal research training as part of the internship experience, although we support interns in completing their own doctoral research and incorporating research/literature into their work as specific above.

  2. The second program aim is to assist interns in developing profession-wide competencies related to their professional identities, values, attitudes, communication, and interpersonal skills.

    This goes beyond clarifying and solidifying a foundational theoretical orientation and related counseling skills to developing increased awareness of individual strengths, areas for growth, and an emerging professional identity in a variety of roles. We are committed to providing interns experiences that are sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity as they engage in the daily responsibilities of psychologists who work in university counseling centers.

    One way our program meets this aim is through a year-long specialization focus in a clinical area of interest. The specialization component allows interns to develop both breadth and depth of competencies in their area of interest while exploring the existing literature and integrating it into their practice. Each intern specialization plan also includes a multicultural component focused on a designated student population that intersects with the clinical area of interest. Once the specialization area is decided upon at the start of the internship year, an intern works with her or his specialization supervisor to develop a specific plan with identified goals across a variety of activities. The range of activities includes clinical interventions (e.g., individual and possibly group counseling), outreach programming, and consultation and collaboration with others on campus. 

  3. The third program aim is to integrate individual and multicultural diversity competency as well as ethical/legal competency into the development of the competencies specified above. This occurs within the context of an intern's provision of various clinical services, supervision, training seminars that are offered in these areas, and the diversity of CCS clients, who reflect the diversity of the NIU student population.