The Intern Experience

Interns can expect to be welcomed and supported by all members of the UCC staff and to be treated like a full-time staff member with increasing responsibilities during the internship year. The WFUCC Psychology Internship experience prepares interns to be strong generalists who are ready to move into full-time clinical practice upon completion of the training year.  Interns leave the internship with strong skills in therapeutic intervention, diagnosis and treatment planning, conceptualization through the lens of a primary theoretical orientation, appropriate use of assessment instruments, and competence in working with clients from diverse backgrounds.  Interns will also be proficient in conducting thorough risk assessments and managing crisis situations during and after office hours.

Interns can expect to be engaged in all activities associated with working in a university counseling center, with the goal of this contributing to the development of a solid professional identity.  Specifically, interns lead the planning and facilitation of prevention and outreach presentations and therapy groups for students, which serve to increase autonomy as a professional and build leadership skills.  Interns develop an understanding of their role as a psychologist within a larger university environment by providing consultation to staff, parents, and students regarding persons of concern and consulting with other providers on campus regarding shared students.  Additionally, interns gain knowledge of and have influence on the overall functioning of the center and agency decision-making by participating in UCC staff meetings and retreats.

Last, interns can expect to have the ability to co-construct their internship experience with their supervisor and the Assistant Director for Training.  As much as possible, we work to tailor the training year to fit the needs of each intern. As such, interns are encouraged to explore their own areas of interest and to select an area of specialization for the purpose of developing a niche in the mental health field.

Direct Service Activities

All interns participate in the following direct service activities in order to develop the nine APA-designated competencies.  Interns complete at least 500 hours of direct, face-to-face service with clients during their training year.

  1. Initial Visits (IVs)

 Each student presenting for services at the UCC for the first time is scheduled for a 30-minute “Initial Visit” (IV).  Upon arrival for their appointment, clients complete intake paperwork and the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms-62 (CCAPS).  After the orientation period, interns will be scheduled to conduct a set number of initial visits per week and are expected to learn how to integrate new clients into their schedule by assessing how quickly they need to be seen, prioritizing high-risk clients and spacing out appointments as appropriate.

  1. Individual Therapy

Interns are expected to begin the training year with a basic knowledge of various therapeutic theories and to increase that knowledge throughout their placement at the UCC.  Interns provide individual therapy, seeing WFU students for short-term therapy (1-12 sessions), providing approximately 13-15 individual therapy hours per week.

  1. Triages

 After the orientation period, interns begin conducting triage and crisis walk-in sessions on their own with the expectation that they consult with UCC staff members as needed. Interns provide one hour of Triage coverage per week and assist with Crisis Walk-Ins when available to do so.  All interns are provided training in suicide risk assessment and managing crisis situations.

  1. After-Hours Crisis Intervention (On-Call)

 Once interns are capable of conducting suicide risk assessments and managing crisis situations during office hours, they join the after-hours on-call rotation of the UCC clinical staff members.  After-hours response may entail conducting a suicide risk assessment via phone or meeting with a student on campus to provide support, assess risk, and/or facilitate hospitalization if needed.  Interns always have access to their supervisor or another UCC clinician for consultation and assistance during their on-call responsibilities.  Interns will be on-call for a total of approximately four weeks during the training year.

  1. Group Therapy

 Interns are actively involved in group development, including planning, advertising, and screening potential participants for group.  Interns co-lead a group with a staff member during fall semester.  Interns are then expected to propose and plan a psychoeducational workshop or seminar, support or therapy group addressing a topic of interest or an issue affecting students on campus for the spring semester.

  1. Case Management

 Interns receive training in providing referrals, completing documentation for clients, and communicating with providers on and off campus in the interest of taking a treatment team approach and/or facilitating positive continuity of care.  Case management is scheduled as needed to make contact with referral sources on behalf of clients, make follow-up contact with clients, respond to e-mails, return telephone calls, and do general planning regarding work with clients.

  1. Assessment

Interns receive training in the use and interpretation of some commonly used psychological assessment instruments.  Clients receiving services at the UCC complete the CCAPS-62, a 62-item instrument with eight distinct subscales related to psychological symptoms and distress in college students, at intake, and the shorter version, the CCAPS-34 every 3rd session in order to track symptom levels and client progress over time.  Interns are expected to utilize this assessment data to aid in diagnosis and to inform their work with clients.

Interns are expected to utilize additional assessment measures with clients on an ongoing basis for diagnostic and clinical outcome purposes.  It is required that interns attend didactic trainings on various assessments and utilize each of them at least once during the internship year (e.g., Eating Disorder Inventory-3, AUDIT, ADHD screener, etc.).  Interns are also expected to administer and interpret a personality measure (e.g., MMPI-2, MCMI) twice during the internship year.  Results will be interpreted by the intern and shared with the client during an interpretation session.

Non-Direct Service Activities

 All interns also participate in the following activities that do not count as direct service hours toward licensure in North Carolina, but are integral to the mission and operation of the UCC.

  1. Outreach Programming and Prevention

The UCC engages in a wide range of outreach activities, including invited presentations to departments, classes, residence halls, and student groups, resource fairs, and suicide prevention trainings to the campus community. Interns are expected to participate in ongoing UCC outreach programming efforts throughout the internship year, including Signs of Stress week, Exam Fairies, and Suicide Prevention trainings.

  1. Provision of Supervision

After engaging in a supervision seminar and providing co-supervision during the fall semester, interns have the opportunity to act as primary supervisor to a master’s counseling intern or doctoral practicum trainee during the spring semester of the internship year.  Interns meet weekly for one hour with their supervisee and are also responsible for reviewing and providing feedback on the supervisee’s case notes and videotaped sessions.  Supervision sessions are recorded so interns can review them in weekly supervision of supervision.

  1. Counseling Center Administration

Interns have the opportunity to choose an area of counseling center administration they are interested in and to shadow and assist the UCC staff member in that role.  Areas of administration include, but are not limited to, clinical service, programming and prevention, training, group coordination, and directorship.  Regardless of a choice to learn more about a particular area of administration, interns may be given administrative tasks to complete to assist the operation of the UCC, such as researching resources or materials for UCC purchase, providing feedback on UCC policies or website language, or creating handouts or brochures for clients.  Interns can also volunteer to participate on work groups that form within the UCC to address specific challenges or to implement certain projects.  Additionally, interns, along with other clinical staff members, assist with providing coverage at the front desk of the UCC occasionally when the administrative staff members are not available.  All of these tasks allow interns to see how various aspects of the UCC operate.