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Psychology Internship Philosophy and Goals

Philosphy and Goals

The Psychology Internship Program at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics is focused on delivering services to infants, children, adolescents and their families, as well as to those other caregivers who regularly interact with children (i.e., teachers, social services workers, residential workers and medical staff).

Whenever possible, interns are exposed to empirically validated treatment procedures and the supporting published literature on these procedures.

The major aspiration of the program is to provide an integrated, individually-tailored, balanced and coordinated series of learning experiences that will serve the aspiring professional psychologist with opportunities to:

  • Practice and expand on previously held knowledge and learned skills
  • Develop new skills and knowledge
  • Experience personal and professional growth and development, thus contributing to the emergence of a competent, scientist/practitioner professional psychologist
  • Gain a working knowledge of the pediatric medical community

In order to support this aspiration and our program philosophy, the following represent the internship's training goals:

     Goal #1: Interns will engage in practices and behaviors facilitating effective professional relationships at the requisite level for entry level into the field of psychology.

     Goal #2: Interns will know how to assess and conceptualize psychological functioning in a diverse range of children and presenting problems.

     Goal #3: The intern will gain clinical experience in the provision of effective psychological intervention.

     Goal #4: The intern will gain clinical experience in the practice of consultation.

Training Philosphy

The CMH Pre-doctoral Psychology Internship Program follows a "Scientist Practitioner" training model. In accordance with the Scientist Practitioner model, our program strives to integrate science and practice so that activities and advances in one domain inform the other.

Interns are to learn about practice and research, and carry both out under the supervision of faculty with expertise in these areas. While the primary focus of our program remains training in clinical practice, the addition of a significant number of faculty who conduct rigorous research has allowed us to expand our research mission and to involve interns in that research in meaningful ways. Consistent with this model, our goal is to produce psychologists who use scientific methodology in their practice-decisions; to work with clients using scientifically valid methods, tools, and techniques; to inform their clients of scientifically-based findings and approaches to their problems; and to conduct practice-based research.

To further help delineate our training model and practice, our program closely mirrors the model set out by Roberts, et al. in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1998 entitled "A model for Training Psychologists to provide Services for Children and Adolescents" (to access this article, click here).

We believe that while this model seems to have at its basis that of scientist-practitioner, it adds some specificity that further informs the training of those intending to focus their professional work in the care of children and their families. This model posits a clear set of tasks and learning experiences that are essential to the development of the aspiring clinical child psychologist.

Training components comprising the model include: developmental psychology; developmental psychopathology; child, adolescent and family assessment methods; intervention strategies; research methods and systems evaluation; professional, ethical and legal issues pertaining to children, adolescents and families; issues of diversity; the role of multiple disciplines and service delivery systems; prevention, family support and health promotion; and social issues affecting children, adolescents and families.

While the model suggests that a significant proportion of the didactic exposure in these areas will occur during the graduate coursework, it also assumes that the intensive clinical experiences provided during internship are essential to the mastery of these areas. 

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