Internship Structure

The Sam Houston State University Counseling Center is a full-time (40 hours per week), twelve-month, 2000 hour doctoral internship in health service psychology. There are no part-time positions offered. If an intern works over 40 hours per week, they are provided with informal flex time for every hour worked on campus beyond 40 hours per week.

Interns spend approximately 54% of their time (21.5 hours per week) engaging in direct clinical services including individual therapy, screening clinic, group therapy, assessment, outreach, on-call crisis intervention and consultation, and the provision of supervision. Interns spend 26% of their time (10.5 hours per week) in supervision, didactic training, and professional development. The remaining 20% of their time (8 hours per week) includes supervision preparation, planning, documentation, and staff meetings.

The breakdown of the time interns spend in various activities is:

• Approximate Clinical Service hours: 21.5 hours per week
• Approximate Training hours: 10.5 hours per week
• Approximate Indirect Service Hours: 3 hours per week
• Approximate Administrative hours: 5 hours per week

Clinical Service:

Individual Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is primarily individual. Interns will complete approximately 15 hours of individual therapy. The SHSU Counseling Center operates on a brief therapy model, however we do not have session limits; thus, interns have the opportunity to conduct longer-term therapy with a few cases. Interns are expected to video record all individual and couples counseling sessions in order to enrich the training experience. Video recordings will be reviewed weekly during individual supervision. Due to the requirement of recording all sessions, interns and supervisors inform and document consent of permission to record and notify clients on an intern’s caseload of their supervision status. In keeping with the developmental emphasis of this internship, it is anticipated that supervisors will review more video recordings at the beginning of the training year and less throughout the year. Individual and couples counseling assignments are made through the screening clinic. The clinician on duty in the screening clinic either accepts the client for individual therapy or assigns them to another level of care (self-help, workshop, group, outside referral). Senior staff is mindful of intern’s needs and staff will be intentional in assigning clients to help the intern meet requirements for successful completion of the internship and/or licensing requirements. At the outset of the training year, the intern and supervisor will discuss training goals and interests in working with specific populations. The supervisor will assist the intern by managing and referring cases to help meet these goals. Interns are encouraged to discuss any changes in their training goals with the supervisor. The intern is operating under the supervisor’s license.

Screening Clinic. Interns will provide three hours of service in the Screening Clinic per week. The Screening Clinic is the first point of entry for students seeking services at the Counseling Center. A brief assessment of client needs is conducted to determine the appropriate level of care for the client. Clients may be assigned to self-care resources, workshops, Therapist Assisted Online (TAO) counseling, group counseling, individual counseling, psychiatry, or outside referral. During orientation, interns will be provided training in the Counseling Center’s structure and format for the Screening Clinic. Interns will first observe senior staff complete the screening process and then will be expected to complete a screening while being observed by a senior staff. The Training Director shall grant approval for interns to screen independently; this is done after collecting feedback from senior staff who have observed the intern in screening.

Group Counseling. The Counseling Center offers a variety of therapy groups, specific identity-based support groups, and skills building groups. Interns will submit their choice of groups to co-facilitate to the Group Coordinator during orientation. Additionally, interns will be expected co-facilitate workshops for the university community. Development of group counseling skills is designed to be developmental, sequential, and graded in complexity. Interns will either observe or co-facilitate a group with a senior staff member in the fall. During the spring semester, and once approved by Training Director after receiving feedback from Group Coordinator and group supervisors, interns will lead on their own or co-facilitate another group with an intern. Additionally, interns will be expected co-facilitate workshops from the Helping Kats C.O.P.E. Workshop Series for the university community. Interns are also encouraged to develop groups and/or workshops in their own areas of interest with the guidance of the Group Coordinator and senior staff.

Assessment Clinic. Interns will conduct two formal psychoeducational assessment batteries per semester for the office of Services for Students’ with Disabilities. Formal assessment batteries will include intelligence, achievement, and personality measures. Interns will be expected to write integrative reports based on their findings. Depending on the education and previous training of the intern, observation of testing and assigned reading may be required before being allow to independently conduct an assessment. Additionally, specific training and assigned readings in intelligence, achievement, and personality will be required of all interns as part of training seminar. All formal assessments with clients require video recording or live supervision. Interns who have an interest in assessment or want to further develop this skill may conduct additional assessments during the summer semester with the approval of the Assessment Coordinator. Interns may also consult with the Assessment Coordinator about additional measures available to assist in diagnosis, case conceptualization, and treatment planning.

Outreach and Consultation. Outreach and consultation activities allow the Counseling Center to reach a larger number of students. Interns participate in a variety of outreach activities such as presentations, university wide fairs, and programming targeted at groups who request a theme-related topic or populations who may not typically seek counseling services. Outreach requests are received by the Director of the Counseling Center and are then assigned during staff meetings. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in outreach activities as they arise. Outreach presentations often occur in the evenings; thus, interns are able to use flex time for after-hours work. If interns are interested in developing specific outreach services for the university community, the program will work with the intern to help develop these opportunities. Initially, interns may observe senior staff, followed by senior staff observations of the intern, and then present independently at outreach events. Supervision of training in outreach may be addressed in individual supervision or interns are invited to consult with senior staff who have expertise in an area of interest to the intern. Interns must complete a minimum of three psychoeducational outreach presentations over the course of the internship year.

Consultation involves work with liaisons with various campus offices, student groups, and case-based assistance to members of the campus community. Opportunities for consultation will occur throughout the internship year, primarily through requests received by the Director of the Counseling Center.

On-Call Crisis Intervention and Consultation. Crisis intervention services are designed to assist students who are confronting life-threatening circumstances, current or recent traumatic experiences, serious mental illness, and concerns about the safety of themselves or others. Typical crisis intervention issues include suicidal ideation, active psychosis, profound depression, or deterioration in functioning to the point the student is unable to maintain basic levels of care.

Interns are involved in daytime and evening on-call services two weeks per semester throughout the internship year. On-call services include taking phone calls and seeing walk-in clients requiring immediate clinical attention. Consistent with our developmental model, interns will first shadow a senior staff member before providing these services independently.

Provision of Supervision. The Counseling Center has masters and doctoral level practicum students during the academic year. Interns will serve as the primary, individual supervisor to one practicum student per semester. When providing supervision to a practicum student, the supervising intern is expected to provide two hours of weekly face-to-face scheduled supervision. Additionally, the intern will be given one hour per week of supervision preparation time to review video recordings of their supervisee's individual counseling sessions on a regular basis. Interns will also consult and provide support to supervisee's as needed and complete necessary evaluations. Interns will participate in Supervision of Supervision seminar one hour per week and are required to video record their supervisions for review. Interns will participate in co-supervision of the practicum student before providing independent supervision.

1.  This is a developmental process for the intern; thus, one intern might be supervising independently while another is still doing co-supervision at different points in the semester. It is at the discretion of the supervisor to determine when the intern is ready for independent supervision. The supervisor communicates this decision to the Training Director.

2.  It is up to the supervisor to use their discretion in determining if the practicum student completes a supervisor evaluation for the intern only, supervisor only, or both. This is determined largely by the stage of development of the intern; if an intern is primarily observing then a practicum student should not complete a supervisor evaluation of the intern.

Training Activities:

Individual Supervision. Interns will have two primary supervisors, one for each half of the year. All primary supervisors are licensed as psychologists in the State of Texas. Primary supervisors will provide four hours of regular individual clinical supervision per week for screenings, individual psychotherapy, crisis intervention services, consultation, and supervision of supervision. Supervisors also provide oversight for case management and administrative activities. Supervisors typically utilize case discussion and review of video recordings. Supervisors provide interns with ongoing feedback and offer verbal and written evaluations of interns’ work. Interns should provide their supervisor with a video record of at least one session per week. Additional sessions may be viewed at the request of the supervisor or intern. Recordings are considered to be transitory information and are deleted after review or use in supervision. It is the responsibility of the intern to keep their supervisor apprised of any potentially dangerous or troublesome cases. In the event that a supervisor is unavailable for one or more days, the intern should inform/consult with the Training Director or another senior psychologist. Interns have secondary supervisors for assessment, group counseling, and outreach services. Secondary supervisors are typically licensed psychologists, though on occasion they may be staff members who hold a doctorate in psychology, but have yet to complete requirements for licensure as a psychologist in Texas.

Group Supervision and Outreach Supervision. All interns are expected to be part of group therapy. Interns typically require one-half to one hour per week of group supervision while outreach supervision time is provided as needed.

Supervision of Supervision Seminar. Interns meet with the Training Director weekly for one hour in a group to discuss their supervisee’s cases. Supervision of Supervision Seminar includes assigned readings, discussion of intern’s supervisee’s work over the past week, and review of supervision via video recording. The Supervision of Supervision Seminar serves two important purposes, it supplements individual supervision by providing an additional opportunity to discuss and receive feedback regarding supervisee’s cases and, it offers an opportunity for interns to practice providing clinical case consultation.

Training Seminar. Interns participate in a one-hour weekly seminar series which meets from August through July with a break between semesters. The majority of these seminars are didactic lecture-discussion programs. Members of the professional staff, other mental health professionals, and university faculty facilitate the seminars with interns. Seminar topics cover areas relevant for clinical practice in a university counseling center. Training seminars will focus on professional issues in psychology, such as ethical and legal issues, self-care, EPPP, and job search. Seminars will also focus on assessment including intelligence, achievement, personality, career, and specific populations. Finally, training seminar will include a focus on evidenced based techniques and treatments and on specific clinical or diagnostic groups.

Multicultural Seminar Series. This series alternates with the Group Seminar Series (noted below). The format of the seminar includes didactic training, experiential exercises, self-reflection, and multicultural case consultation. The goal is for interns to explore how their own identities, biases, and privileges impact their clinical and professional work and to examine the ways in which the current sociopolitical environment impacts the well-being of the community-at-large. To expand interns’ knowledge of and commitment to social justice, interns will create a workshop on a diversity-related topic that will be incorporated into the Helping Kats C.O.P.E. Workshop Series during the spring semester. Alternatively, interns may co-facilitate the diversity seminar for the spring practicum cohort alongside the Group Coordinator.

Group Seminar Series. This series alternates with the Diversity Seminar Series (listed above). The Group Seminar is designed to increase competency in the provision of effective group therapy services and group psychoeducation. Additionally, this seminar will provide a space for interns to process their group leadership experiences over the course of the training year. Each semester, interns are expected to deliver a short, informal presentation over their current group’s progress, development, and challenges to the Group Therapy Coordinator, intern cohort, and practicum trainee cohort. Additionally, interns will have the opportunity to co-facilitate the group therapy training for the spring practicum cohort alongside the Group Therapy Coordinator.