Psychology Internship Program Rotations

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Organization Type: 
Program Type: 
Education Level: 
Postgraduate (e.g., residency, fellowship)
Educational Elements: 
Independent Study
Self Reflection Activities
Experiential not including services to patients
Experiential including clinical contact with patients
Program Description: 

The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System is a two division, consolidated, tertiary care medical center containing medical, surgical, psychiatric, rehabilitation, and nursing home beds and a wide variety of outpatient specialty and primary care services. One of the largest VA medical centers in the nation, it contains a broad spectrum of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services ranging from disease prevention through primary care, to complex surgical procedures, to extended rehabilitative care.  Affiliated with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the medical center is used as a training hospital for psychiatric, surgical, medical students and residents, as well as students from a diversity of Allied Health Professions training programs. Among the trainings offered is the psychology internship program.

The psychology training program is a 12-month internship for students actively pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical or counseling psychology. The program is built on a “practitioner-scholar” model of training consisting of 10 percent didactic and the rest rotational experiences.  Four rotations, each 12-13 weeks in length, are completed by the interns.  Important hands-on experiential aspects of the internship training are grounded in scientific literature, and interns are challenged to measure their assessment and intervention practices against an established knowledge base in a systematic way. All interns, regardless of specialty interests, are expected to master the basic skills required of a beginning psychologist in areas of assessment, intervention, consultation and professional development. The goal for the internship is to provide each intern with individualized experiences and training, as well as increasing amounts of responsibility and autonomy commensurate with demonstrated abilities, so that sufficient preparation for the role of professional psychologist will be achieved by the end of the internship year. 

Psychology interns on the primary care mental health rotation have the opportunity to work with both primary care mental health integration (PCMHI) and health promotion disease prevention (HPDP) in the primary care setting working closely with the patient aligned care teams (PACT).   Interns work as an integral member of these interdisciplinary treatment teams (i.e. psychologists, psychiatrists, primary care physicians, nurses, social workers and administrative assistants).  These rotations can be used as a part of the behavioral medicine/health psychology track internship or as electives for the other track programs.

The PCMHI seeks to bridge the gap between medical and mental health care outside of a specialty mental health clinic in order to improve access to behavioral health services within the primary care treatment environment.  This rotation provides opportunities to work closely with PACT providers, various specialty medical services, and psychiatry in order to coordinate care and provide problem-focused mental health/behavioral medicine interventions. The goal is to enhance the delivery of holistic health services in primary care and to develop skills to address behavior change needs.  Interns learn to conduct brief assessments and problem-focused, solution-oriented individual and group interventions to address mild to moderate psychiatric and behavioral health issues including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain, insomnia, stress management, tobacco use, weight management, treatment adherence and substance use disorders in a patient–centered environment.  Interns also learn or refine skills in using motivational enhancement strategies to improve veterans’ follow through with more intensive treatment and/or to make healthy lifestyle changes within the primary care setting, as well as develop their skills in communicating assessment findings and treatment plans to veterans and to other clinicians, orally and in written reports.  Through individual and group supervision, interns are encouraged to develop their professional identity, self-assurance in relating to patients and other clinicians, and expertise for working with a range of behavioral health issues.

In the HPDP program, interns are involved in the training of primary care staff in the  use of behavioral interventions such as clinician and patient health coaching, motivational interviewing and act as a behavioral health consultant to the PACT, the women’s clinic, and area community based outpatient clinics.  An intern on this rotation has the opportunity to be involved in both individual and group interventions focusing on health promotion and disease prevention with a variety of medical patients.  These may include weight management, tobacco use cessation, shared medical appointments and drop-in group medical visits (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and psychoeducational groups (e.g. stress management, chronic pain).  There are also opportunities for interns to conduct brief psychological assessments and screenings (i.e. mood, cognitive, and pre-surgical) within the primary care setting.  On the HPDP rotation, interns have opportunities to work with a variety of healthcare professionals including primary care physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, dieticians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and the VIST (Visual Impairment Services Team).


Program Results: 

This internship program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and is a member of the Association of Psychology Predoctoral and Internship Centers. 

Targeted Professions
Clinical Health
Self-Reported Competencies
PCPCC’s Education and Training Task Force identified 16 interprofessional training competencies critical for preparing health professionals for practicing in team-based, coordinated care models such as patient-centered medical homes. Listed below are the self-reported competencies that this program has achieved, which have been organized by the five core features of a medical home as defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Patient-Centered Care Competencies: 
Advocacy for patient-centered integrated care
Development of effective, caring relationships with patients
Patient-centered care planning, including collaborative decision-making and patient self-management
Comprehensive Care Competencies: 
Assessment of biopsychosocial needs across the lifespan
Risk identification
Coordinated Care Competencies: 
Care coordination for comprehensive care of patient & family in the community
Health information technology, including e-communications with patients & other providers
Interprofessionalism & interdisciplinary team collaboration
Quality Care & Safety Competencies: 
Evidence-based practice
Accessible Care Competencies: 
Promotion of appropriate access to care (e.g., group appointments, open scheduling)
Last updated November 15, 2013

* Please note: Information contained in this database is self-reported by representatives from each program. It does not represent an exhaustive list of education and training programs and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement from the PCPCC.


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