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Internship Training Aims, Sequence, and Expected Outcomes

Internship Training Aims, Sequence, and Expected Outcomes

Training Aims 

The major aspiration of the program is to provide an integrated, individually-tailored and balanced 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 and skills to work as part of a multidisciplinary team 

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 that facilitate effective professional relationships.
  • Goal 2: Interns will know how to assess and conceptualize psychological functioning in a diverse range of presenting problems with diverse pediatric populations.
  • Goal 3: Interns will gain clinical experience in the provision of effective psychological intervention.
  • Goal 4: Interns will gain clinical experience in the practice of consultation.


Clinical Child Psychology Track 

The Clinical Child Psychology Track meets the internship core competencies in professional development, assessment, treatment, and consultation through a year long outpatient clinical child experience and three 4-month long rotations picked from five options: ADHD/Behavioral Pediatrics, Eating Disorders, Feeding/Elimination Disorders, Special Needs, and Trauma, as well as through research and didactics. The clinical child track emphasizes experiences that build skills that will prepare interns to be competitive for fellowships in clinical child psychology and for careers in academic medical centers, primary care clinics, private practice, and a variety of other settings.


Clinical Child Track Experiences:  

1. A year long (two days per week) outpatient clinical child experience including assessment and intervention with children, from early childhood through adolescence, who are referred by community pediatric providers or pediatric subspecialists within the hospital with concerns of attention problems, disruptive behavior, anxiety, depression, autistic spectrum disorder, learning problems, developmental delay and associated behavioral concerns, feeding problems, elimination disorders and comorbid medical conditions. 

2. The final two months of the clinical child experience will be dedicated to participation in the ADHD Summer Treatment Program, as it provides an opportunity for interns to apply the skills they have developed from the training experiences across the internship year. The STP is an 8-week manualized treatment that provides interns with an opportunity to supervise undergraduate counselors in the administration of behavioral management techniques, conduct daily treatment integrity and fidelity checks as a component of program evaluation, assist in gathering data for medication assessments, and develop individualized treatment plans for children that have not responded to the standard treatment within the STP. Interns will also gain experience in conducting behavioral assessments in a school-like setting and learn how to communicate the results with school personnel, as children spend 2 hours per day in a classroom setting with special education teachers and developmental aides. 

3. Three, 4-month long (2 days per week) specialty rotations. Interns may choose to obtain concentrated experiences in 3 out of 5 rotation options:

  • ADHD/Behavioral Pediatrics 
  • Childhood Traumatic Stress 
  • Eating Disorders 
  • Feeding and Elimination 
  • Special Needs


Pediatric Psychology Track 

The Pediatric Psychology Track meets the internship core competencies in professional development, assessment, treatment, and consultation through year long experiences in inpatient consultation/liaison and outpatient child psychology clinic and three 4-month long rotations in medical specialty clinics, neuropsychology, and integrated pain management, as well as through research and didactics. The pediatric psychology track emphasizes experiences that build skills that will promote interns being competitive for pediatric psychology fellowships and successful in careers as pediatric psychologists. 


Pediatric Track Experiences:

1. A year long (3 half-days per week) inpatient consultation/liaison (CL) experience with consults originating from inpatient medical teams (e.g., GI, hem/onc, rehabilitation, neurology, surgery, general pediatrics) with consult questions including assessment of and recommendations for adjustment to medical diagnosis/treatment, barriers to medical adherence, and emotional/behavioral functioning, as well as implementation of behavioral interventions. 

2. A year long (2 half-days per week) outpatient clinical child experience including assessment and intervention with referrals from pediatric subspecialists for youth with a chronic medical condition and emotional/behavioral, adjustment, and learning concerns including anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning difficulties, oppositional behavioral and adjustment to and non-adherence to medical regimens. 

3. Three, four-month long (2 half-days per week) specialty rotations with concentrated experiences in the following areas:

  • Pain Management 
  • Integration in a pediatric subspecialty clinic (e.g., endocrine/diabetes, GI, sleep clinic, etc.) 
  • Neuropsychological assessment 

Expected Outcomes 

At the end of internship, we expect that our interns will 1) engage in practices and behaviors facilitating effective professional relationships at the requisite level for entry level into the field of psychology; 2) know how to assess and conceptualize psychological functioning in a diverse range of children and presenting problems; 3) gain clinical experience in the provision of effective psychological intervention; and 4) gain clinical experience in the practice of consultation. 

We expected that our trainees will go on to demonstrating the minimal level of profession-wide competencies in the areas of Research; Ethical and Legal standards; Individual and Cultural Diversity; Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors; Communication and Interpersonal Skills; Assessment; Intervention; Supervision and Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary skills. 

We expected that upon meeting these aims and competencies that our interns will go on to be successful in obtaining postdoctoral fellowships, state licensure, and/or careers within the broad field of psychology

Educational Experiences for Psychology Interns and Fellows




Psychology interns and fellows become oriented to the hospital and training program during a week-long orientation. The orientation meetings that occur at the beginning of the training year acquaint the trainees with the components of the training experience as well as each of their supervisors, seminar leaders, and instructors. Trainees are given tours of the major hospital locations and clinics that they will have an opportunity to train. Much of the orientation to the hospital’s policies and procedures pertaining to infection control, safety, immunizations and employee health, cultural diversity and ethnicity are completed on-line prior to arrival. Training on use of the electronic medical record occurs the first week. Each month during the training meetings, topics discussed during the initial orientation will be revisited and reviewed.



The didactic presentations are scheduled to occur on a weekly basis, with presentations by medical and psychological staff from our department and from invited speakers outside of the department. The Didactic Seminars for trainees are a vehicle whereby staff psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals from within and outside our division (our hospital, other institutions, or from the private sector) acquaint the trainees with a broad variety of theoretical orientations, assessment techniques, and interventions. 

Examples of the topics covered include: empirically validated treatments, issues in assessment, conversion disorder, psychopharmacology, functional behavioral analysis, management of obesity, phenotypic expressions of genetic disorders, management of chronic pain, adolescent substance abuse, genetic counseling, setting limits with teens, gay/lesbian/bisexuality issues, toilet training, diabetes management, traumatic brain injury, and biofeedback.


Professional Issues 

This seminar is scheduled on a monthly basis to help prepare the trainees for starting their careers, with approximately two-thirds of the discussion led by staff from within our division and one-third by professionals from outside of Children's Mercy. Topics include the following: preparing and revising your CV, preparing for post-doc and job interviews, preparing to take the EPPP, taking care of yourself, discussions with previous trainees (who are practicing in the Kansas City area), discussions with pediatricians from the area (for their perspective of their need for psychological services for their patients), insurance/billing, and preparing (way ahead of time) for promotion within a hospital setting.


Clinical Supervision 

The trainees receive supervision in the refinement of existing professional psychological competencies and in the mastery of new skills, methods, and procedures. This includes assessment, diagnosis, psychotherapy, consultation, research, and evaluation. Regularly scheduled supervisory sessions are held for all training activities. In addition to direct supervision on clinical cases, Supervision Seminar is also scheduled on a monthly basis. This seminar discusses supervision from both the supervisor and supervisee perspective, and is an excellent forum to discuss burgeoning skills as a supervisor.



While the primary focus of our program remains training in clinical practice, a significant number of faculty conduct rigorous research, allowing us to expand our research mission and to involve interns in research in meaningful ways. Our goal is to produce psychologists who use scientific methodology in their practice-decisions and work with clients using scientifically valid methods, tools, and techniques.

An optional year- long research experience with an ongoing or new project at Children's Mercy with a focus on integrating research and clinical practice can be incorporated into a trainee’s schedule (one half day per week). This will replace a half day of administrative time. Mark Connelly, PhD, is the Director of Research for the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences and oversees all research experiences for trainees, but the trainee's direct research supervisor will depend on the research experience chosen.


Cultural and Individual Differences 

Consideration for cultural and individual differences and diversity are incorporated across all training experiences. Our program is committed to training diverse trainees and works with each trainee to develop skills and show profession-wide competencies through a range of experiences. Throughout our educational and clinical experiences we integrate and consider cultural and individual differences and diversity, which includes (but is not limited to) language spoken, national origin, ethnicity and culture, race, family constellation, disability (e.g. physical limitations), sexual orientation, religion, and socioeconomic status. 

In addition to the experiences gained with individual patients and didactics, trainees are encouraged to participate in diversity activities through Children’s Mercy and/or the community. The following are examples of experiences at Children's Mercy that occur throughout the year are available to trainees for observation and participation: Equity & Diversity Forum; Operation Breakthrough Bus Tour- tour of neighborhoods in the urban core of Kansas City with speakers who share experiences about personal challenges and ways that they have overcome these challenges; Cultural Competency Workshop; Spanish Bilingual Assistant Course; Qualified Bilingual Staff; Lisa Barth Chapel Offers area for prayer and meditation 24 hours per day; Gender Pathway Services Clinic (GPS).