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APA-Accredited Psychology Internship Program

A Letter from the Training Director

 

Dear Internship Candidate,

Photo of Diane SobelI am excited about your interest in the psychology internship training program in health service psychology at the University of Kentucky Counseling Center (UKCC).  At UKCC, the training staff believes that the internship year is a crucial part of professional development, and we appreciate that you are considering our Center for this important time in your training.

 

Our internship program began its inaugural year on August 13, 2012.  It was accredited by the American Psychological Association for 7 years in 2015.  It will continue with its tenth class on August 9, 2021 with 4 full-time interns.  UKCC is a member of the Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies (ACCTA), and it is accredited by IACS (International Association of Counseling Services, Inc.).  The psychology internship is a member of APPIC (#2227).  It is 12 months, full-time, 2000 hours overall, with 400 direct clinical hours. 
 

From the perspective of both our staff and former trainees, training is a highly valued component of the work that our staff do at UKCC, and nearly all staff are involved in the training program in some capacity.  Interns have the opportunity to be supervised by or work alongside many members of our staff.  Interns have a primary supervisor for individual therapy, and they also are supervised by other staff members in group therapy, assessment, supervision, outreach, and consultation.  Connections with different staff members may also occur through work as a co-liaison to a campus department or student group, co-leader in a therapy, skills, or support group, or through observing and conducting outreach programs together. 
 
Multicultural competence and work in equity and social justice is a strong component of the internship program and UKCC.  Interns are often surprised by the diverse identities of the clients on their caseloads with regard to ethnic/racial identity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, SES, rural, urban, Appalachian, International and first generation college student status.  UKCC strives to provide culturally competent services and affirm the identity of any student who seeks our services.  There are at least two inservice trainings on social justice-related topics each semester for the entire staff, including the interns.  In addition, our entire staff and interns participate in cultural conversations, some of which include our entire staff, and some of which include separate white accountability groups, anti-blackness racism accountability groups for non-black people of color, and healing and support spaces for our black staff of color.  As staff, we recognize that this work is never complete, that we make mistakes, that we need to address our shortcomings regularly, and that the work is difficult and often uncomfortable. We hope to encourage continued growth in these areas for ourselves, as well as our trainees.

Our interns are full partners with our staff members in being engaged in equity and social justice work on campus.  They serve as co-liaisons with staff members to campus and student organizations that support students with many different identities (e.g. LGBTQ students, MLK Center, Disability Resource Center, UK Cares—which serves first generation, minority & students with disabilities).  The consultation project conducted by our interns has also often focused on supporting a department that works with students on issues of belongingness, inclusivity, and achieving academic success (e.g. Disability Resource Center, Martin Luther King Center, Veterans Resource Center, etc.).  There is an opportunity for interns to serve on our Center’s Inclusive Excellence Committee during the year. 
 
Our training model is experiential and developmental, and views personal and professional growth as occurring simultaneously.  We seek interns who are interested in engaging in that personal and professional growth in an environment that is interpersonal, relational, supportive, challenging, and growth-enhancing.  Interns who fit best in our program are interested in increasing their self-awareness and competencies, are open and open-minded, are willing to engage in challenging conversations, are able and willing to explore their growth edges, are curious and engaged in seeking out the most current scientific research and incorporating it into their work, are aware of their strengths and limitations, and recognize and appreciate that anti-racism and the development of competencies is a lifelong process.  Our supervisors recognize that our interns bring strong skills from their prior experience, and they strive to provide a nurturing environment in which interns can improve those competencies and develop new ones, too. 
 
Former interns have described the Center as one that “takes training seriously,” and that “training is clearly a priority at this site.”  Interns have described the UKCC as a welcoming place in which they feel encouraged to be engaged with the staff and with each other.  Interns are encouraged to voice their perspectives on the training, the center, and issues discussed at UKCC, and we see this as part of intern development into the role of a professional psychologist.  The internship was designed such that interns would have all the experiences that a staff member at a counseling center might have, so that when the internship experience is over, interns will be fully prepared as an entry level psychologist not only in a counseling center, but in many different settings that employ health service psychologists.  Former interns report that this is, indeed, their experience. 
 
I hope that this letter gives you a sense of what it is like to be at UKCC, and has provided some assistance in your decision-making process.  Please see our materials for more specific information about the Center, staff, program, seminars, training requirements, and application process.  I welcome your questions about our center and our program at diane.sobel@uky.edu or (859) 257-8701.  We know that the internship search process is both exciting and stressful at the same time.  We wish you the best in your search process, and we appreciate your interest in our program. 
 
Di Sobel, Ph.D.
Assistant Director/Training Director

P.S.  Most aspects of the training program have remained ”the same” as prior to the emergence of COVID-19.  UKCC is providing nearly all services through telehealth (initial consultations, individual therapy, therapy groups, support groups, outreaches), and all training and supervision is currently occurring through zoom meetings.  Our university currently has an on- campus presence, and our staff and interns are providing telehealth either from their offices on campus or from their homes.  Our interns were able to achieve the 500 clinical hours needed to complete the internship in 2019-2020, and the 2020-2021 cohort is also moving toward that mark at the same pace as in previous years.  We anticipate that the same will be true for our 2021-2020 cohort.   LD/ADHD assessment is the one area in which requirements have been reduced at present, as we have not yet been able to offer in-person assessment, but we are working toward transitioning to assessment through telehealth.  We are continuing to explore creative ways to offer this service to our clients, and this training to our interns.  We hope that you will be flexible about your expectations of the coming internship year, as our center continues to make changes in our processes in response to the pandemic, so that we can provide services to our clients, supervision and training experiences to our trainees, and a safe work environment for our staff and trainees.