Model and Philosophy of Training

Our internship program attends to diversity/multicultural issues throughout various training activities, including didactic training, supervisions, and actual clinical experiences with a diverse client population The staff of the Counseling Center is committed to the awareness and affirmation of diversity in all our clinical and non-clinical endeavors. We are dedicated to offering an internship and counseling center that encourages and conveys respect, concern and understanding for individuals of all backgrounds.

At the doctoral internship level, training largely consists of experiential learning supplemented by supervision, mentorship and didactic learning.

The staff encourages interns to assess their professional strengths and limitations and assists them in developing appropriate learning experiences to guide their growth within the parameters of the training opportunities offered at UNC.

Over the course of the internship, as we see competence and confidence levels increase for the intern, we are committed to creating opportunities across all skill areas that will foster greater autonomy and independent functioning. This aspect of the internship includes allowing an intern to engage in activities such as:

  • Serving as a campus-based consultant
  • Managing one's own caseload of clients
  • Co-leading a therapy group with another intern or less experienced graduate student
  • Developing a special interest area
  • Providing clinical supervision for a practicum student.
  • Designing psycho-educational workshops for the campus community

We do this as a means of facilitating the transition from being a "trainee" to becoming a professional psychologist.

Developmental Model

One aspect of the developmental models of training is the concept of "Stages of Growth" and the assumption that skills and knowledge build upon established skills and knowledge. Training is intentionally sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity.

A second aspect is that more is involved in being an effective professional than only skills and knowledge. A sense of professional identity and an integration of oneself as person into that professional role are also essential. Confidence level and the sense of professionalism evolve with years of experience and expanded training opportunities.

Even within levels of training, different trainees have different amounts of:

  • Prior Experience
  • Personal Motivation
  • Intervention Skills
  • Professional Maturity
  • Theoretical Knowledge

Moreover, they have a variety of career goals and interests. Hence, individual assessment, establishment of individualized learning goals, and a plan for reaching those goals is necessary for each intern. We aim to meet each trainee where he or she is at, and challenge them appropriately with varying clinical experience and degree of autonomy

Mentorship

Mentorship in our training program is indicated by a genuine commitment to both individual and group supervision. Interns are considered developing professionals and are encouraged to work closely with senior staff members, who provide mentoring and serve as professional role models for our trainees.

Overall, we strive to create an atmosphere of respect and trust where interns and professional staff support one another's growth, both personally and professionally.

Theoretical Orientation

Staff members model ethical and professional clinical approaches and they participate in teaching through supervision, consultation, and teaching of seminars devoted to the professional development of interns. Staff members utilize a variety of theoretical orientations in their clinical work, including:

  • Cognitive
  • Cognitive-behavioral
  • Interpersonal
  • Mindfulness-based
  • Feminist
  • Systems
  • Existential
  • Solution-focused

Regardless of the primary orientations of each staff member, all staff believes the therapeutic relationship is the key contributor to therapy process and progress. Therefore, interns will have the opportunity to gain exposure to a variety of therapeutic approaches and styles, while still refining their ability to attend to relational dynamics and use the therapeutic relationship as a primary tool or change mechanism.

Training Activities

We aim to train interns as skilled generalist equipped to work in a variety of post-internship employment settings. To accomplish this, we provide a range of didactic and experiential training activities that psychologist in a university counseling center setting or other similar mental health settings are likely to encounter, including:

  • Couple Therapy
  • Group psychotherapy
  • Clinical intake assessment
  • Crisis intervention
  • Outreach and consultation
  • Provision of supervision
  • Assessment
  • Multicultural competence
  • Ethical comportment

Scholarly Literature

Our staff also recognizes the importance of clinical practice that is informed by scholarly inquiry. Theoretical and literature is integrated with experiential components of training. Administrative and policy decisions at our center are informed by scholarly review of both empirical and theoretical literature, as well as our center's ongoing examination of service utilization, client demographics, results of the CCAPS (which all clients take upon intake and at scheduled intervals during their treatment), and client satisfaction.

Results of ongoing satisfaction surveys and the CCAPS may also inform areas in need of attention for clinical staff and trainees. Interns will be trained in various empirically supported treatment approaches, as well as in outcome assessment and the integration of science and practice.


"Psychologists are recognized as Health Service Providers if they are duly trained and experienced in the delivery of preventive, assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic intervention services relative to the psychological and physical health of consumers based on:

  1. having completed scientific and professional training resulting in a doctoral degrees in psychology;
  2. having completed an internship and supervised experience in health care setting;
  3. having been licensed as psychologist at the independent practice level."

(APA, 1996; APA 2011) The University of Northern Colorado Counseling Center adhered to the principles of the Health Service Psychology Education Collaborative.