The Towson University Counseling Center fosters the academic success, personal effectiveness, and emotional well being of Towson University students and the campus community, promotes a campus environment that values diversity and the unique contributions of all individuals, and maintains quality standards and contributes to the profession of psychology through its professional training and staff development activities.
Our internship significantly benefits both the intern and the Center. Most important from the point of view of the intern is the opportunity to receive supervision and training by qualified senior staff members as well as to refine existing ideas and skills. The internship program also benefits the Center by enhancing the amount of service offered and the development of new and innovative programs. Intern expertise is acknowledged and the application of their skills is encouraged.
Core experiences are provided that serve to facilitate the enhancement, acquisition, and integration of skills into the trainees' repertoire in remedial, developmental, and preventive areas. Additionally, interns have the opportunity to focus in particular areas of interest through elective activities and through special emphases within their core activities.
The Counseling Center offers intense supervision reflective of both the goals and objectives of the Center and each individual intern. It is understood that growth occurs in the context of close, effective supervision coupled with trainee freedom to experiment and develop a sense of independence and competence. Supervision may include exploration of personal growth issues as they are related to supervisees’ professional development and performance.
Training is sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity
Structurally, the internship is designed to provide a comprehensive, organized sequence of training experiences for individuals at the end of their formal educational preparation as professional psychologists. Interns start the year by participating in a month-long orientation process where they meet staff members in various roles and make decisions about what areas they would like to emphasize during their internship year. Interns sit in on intakes and gradually assume responsibility for conducting them before becoming certified by the Center to conduct them independently, typically coinciding with the assumption of the role of emergency coverage clinician. Clinical caseloads build slowly at the start of the year, affording a higher proportion of supervision time to number of clients. This proportion shifts as the year goes on and the caseload builds. Additionally, the focus of clinical supervision shifts as the year goes on, tailored to the specific developmental needs of the intern. Starting in the mid-point of the internship year, interns become primary clinical supervisors for our extern trainees. Finally, the intern seminar is designed to reflect current developmental issues for interns. Upon leaving the internship, it is expected that the intern will be ready to function as an autonomous, independent professional psychologist.
Training addresses the role of science in psychology
At Towson, the practice of psychology is the primary focus of the training program. However, this practice is informed by scholarly inquiry. While interns may or may not conduct empirical research beyond their dissertations during their internship year, science and scholarship are important foundations of practice. First, interns are encouraged to consider scientific empirical findings in clinical work. Secondly, they are encouraged to use the scientific method in clinical thinking - critical evaluation of clinical interactions, awareness of bias, and hypothesis development and testing in clinical practice. Also, scholarly work is assigned and discussed in the intern seminar that lends itself to enhanced understanding of clinical concepts. Thirdly, the bulk of interns’ learning happens through actual practice. By providing a significant amount of direct service under intensive supervision and in an intellectually stimulating environment, interns gain a great deal of information and new learning through their clinical experiences. Fourth, through the research semianr, one hour per week of the internship is devoted to explicit discussion and support of whatever research project interns may be doing, dissertation or otherwise. Finally, much of the scholarly work that occurs in the Center, including analysis of cases in conferences and analysis of the extensive data collected from clients at intake and after each session, is done for the purpose of direct application to clinical work. By year’s end, as a result of the constant infusion of these principles into their practice, interns are expected to be true practitioner-scholars in the sense of using science to inform practice
Internship Goals and Objectives
The mission of the internship is to provide a training experience that will prepare the intern to meet the service demands of the role of professional psychologist as well as the licensure / certification requirements for psychology. This mission is achieved through the following goals and objectives:
Goal #1: To further develop existing skills and teach a variety of new ones that will facilitate the intern’s development as a psychologist.
Objective #1a: Training is developmentally graded so that interns assume increased responsibility and independence as the year progresses, completing the year with the ability to function as an independent psychologist.
Objective #1b: Through training and supervised experience, the intern develops their skills in individual and group therapy, provision of supervision, research, and developmental and preventive programming.
Objective #1c: Interns participate in certain core activities to build useful skills toward functioning independently as professional psychologists, and they also have the opportunity to focus on special interests within core activities and also to select elective activities.
Objective #1d: Interns demonstrate the ability to manage, balance, and effectively prioritize multiple responsibilities
Goal #2: To emphasize an understanding of and appreciation for multiculturalism, both within the group of interns and across all internship activities.
Objective # 2a: Interns further develop their knowledge about self and others, skills, and abilities necessary to function as a multiculturally competent professional
Goal #3: To conduct research activities and to integrate scientific findings and the scientific method into the practice of psychology.
Objective #3a: Interns utilize scientific work and the scientific method in many of the core and elective activities of the internship.
Objective #3b: Interns establish personal research goals for the year and receive weekly support toward reaching those goals.
Goal #4 To facilitate interpersonal and intrapersonal skills as they relate to the professional role
Objective #4a: Interns further develop interpersonal skills that facilitate effective relationships with colleagues and clients
Objective #4b: Interns facilitate the development of self-awareness and openness to and integration of feeedback
Goal #5: Interns function in an ethically, legally, and professionally sound manner
Objective #5a: Interns gain familiarity with and learn how to apply professional, legal, ethical, and organizational policies, guidelines, and standards