Our training program is designed to expose interns to a variety of clinical opportunities in both medical and behavioral health settings. Our inpatient training provides a robust, immersive experience into the provision of care to patients with comorbid psychiatric and general medical conditions while our outpatient services provide interns with the opportunity to conduct behavioral health treatments to community members across the lifespan. The Internship Program consists of required and elective components, and it is organized into two six-month rotations. Each intern is assigned a primary rotation, where they spend four days per week (with the exception of protected didactic and supervision time). In addition to the primary rotation, each intern chooses a minor rotation, or “elective,” where they spend the equivalent of one day per week for 6 months. Mid-year interns will switch rotations. This provides interns an opportunity for a varied training experience and exposure to multiple supervisors.
Our training program is comprised of seven core elements:
1. Psychological Assessment - All interns are expected to refine their psychological assessment skills over the course of the internship year. Therefore, within each rotation, interns will be assigned a variety of psychological assessments from throughout the hospital. Interns are expected to further develop their ability to select, administer, score, and interpret psychological measures to address a variety of referral questions. Interns are also expected to write clear, concise, well-integrated reports that appropriately answer referral questions. Interns will also communicate test results to other professionals to inform treatment and services. Interns are expected to complete at least 8 comprehensive psychological assessments as part of their core training over the course of the year.
2. Therapy and Intervention - Interns will have the opportunity to provide psychotherapeutic services to individuals across the life span in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
- Individual Therapy: Interns are expected to maintain a caseload of 6 to 10 individual therapy patients. Through didactics, supervision, and direct practice, interns will become proficient in case conceptualization and the provision of evidence-based interventions to individuals presenting with a variety of issues and diagnoses. In addition, interns will be expected to manage cases appropriately, maintain consultation and liaison with psychiatrists and other team members, to document services timely, and to make appropriate community referrals.
- Group Therapy: There are several options for providing group therapy and the intern should consult with his/her supervisor to determine which group experiences will most enhance the intern’s training given their individual goals and the patient population’s needs. Possible group experiences include: social skills training, process oriented groups, trauma and recovery groups, psychoeducation, positive psychology, coping skills, and anger management. If the intern has a particular interest in implementing a specific group, the process for designing and implementing a group can be discussed with the intern’s supervisor.
3. Supervision (minimum of 4 hours/week) - Supervision is a core element of the internship program. Supervision provides interns with guidance and models for professional conduct and activities. Each supervisor is a licensed clinical psychologist and will provide regularly scheduled weekly supervision sessions. At the start of the rotation, interns and their supervisor will meet to select two dates and times (1.5 hours in duration) each week to meet for regularly scheduled supervision. In addition, members of other disciplines at the intern’s various rotation sites, will supervise interns in consultation and collaboration with the intern’s supervisors. To ensure a varied supervisory experience and to broaden awareness of diverse styles of competent practice, interns switch supervisors mid-year at the end of their first rotation. At a minimum, interns will spend three hours per week in individual supervision by a licensed psychologist. In addition to regularly scheduled supervision sessions, supervisors will be available to address any issues that arise between sessions. Interns’ work will be observed in vivo on at least one occasion each rotation in areas of both assessment and therapy. Supervisors will provide direct feedback to the intern on observed sessions. In addition to individual supervision, will also participate in a combination of content and process-based focused group supervision facilitated by members of the training committee. This is a regularly scheduled group supervision that occurs weekly for one (1) hour.
Interns also have the opportunity to participate in the provision of supervision to psychology externs. Specifically, interns engage in direct practice acting as a senior peer supervisor with psychology externs. Interns are paired with an extern, with whom they work throughout the course of the year, meeting on an individual basis twice a month for one hour. The interns will implement these roles under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
4. Didactics (minimum 8 hours/month) - Didactic training will occur weekly (on Wednesdays from 11:00 am to 1:00pm). Didactic trainings will be divided into four broad categories: Supervision, Diversity, Assessment, and Professional Development. Each broad category will be covered once a month with specific topic presentations relevant to the category.
- Diversity (2 hours/month): The diversity series focuses on assisting interns in increasing their cultural competencies in psychological treatment and assessment by incorporating the Multicultural Competency Guidelines adopted by the American Psychological Association, which includes Awareness, Knowledge and Skills. The goal of the seminar is to increase interns’ awareness of their own attitudes and beliefs and how their own cultural backgrounds have influenced their attitudes, stereotypes, preconceived notions and behavior. Through case presentations and research articles, interns will increase their knowledge of ethnically and racially different individuals. Interns’ skills for working with diverse populations will be fostered by enhancing their ability to recognize cultural issues, increasing their abilities to deal with clients in ways that are flexible and sensitive, and increasing their abilities to deal with their own reactions to clients.
- Supervision (2 hours/month): The supervision series focuses on preparing interns to become effective clinical supervisors via teaching various supervisory models and skills. Interns will be paired with an extern, which allows interns to practice utilizing various supervisory models, to impart experiential guidance on clinical and professional issues as these emerge from their clinical experience at JSUMC and provide mentoring about professional development and/or other relevant issues. Their supervisory experiences will be discussed throughout the supervision didactic series.
- Assessment (2 hours/month): The assessment series focuses on interpretation of various psychological assessments and their use within a healthcare setting. Further, the second half of the year focuses on specific projective assessments and neuropsychological assessments.
- Ethics and Professional Development (2 hours/month): This series includes various topics related to early career psychology and professional development. For the first half of the year, the Ethics and Professional Development didactic focuses on specific ethical standards. The standards are reviewed and interns are expected to apply the standards to their own clinical experiences in a thoughtful, meaningful discussion. In between didactic sessions, interns are encouraged to keep an “ethics journal,” which logs ethical dilemmas they faced in their clinical practice, potentially with other professionals, options they considered, and how they ultimately resolved the issue. Interns are expected to cite specific APA principles that were involved. In the second half of the year, topics will focus on “brown bag items” pertaining to professional development. Examples include issues related to early career psychologists, the imposter syndrome phenomenon, the EPPP, establishing a private practice, etc. This didactic series gives interns the opportunity to engage in open, honest discussions with psychologists about important issues in the field that are relevant to their professional development, facilitating the transition from trainee to an independent psychologist.
In addition, interns will attend the Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, which occurs weekly (excluding the first Wednesday of each month) for 1.5 hours. Lastly, interns will participate in a bi-weekly psychotherapy case conference seminar with psychiatry residents led by a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
5. Electives/Secondary Rotation - Each intern selects an area not best captured by the primary rotations that they would like to focus on. Electives include: Geriatrics, Addiction and Recovery Services, Crisis/Access center, and the Behavioral Health Home. Assignment to the electives is designed to bring diversity to intern experiences and provide interns with opportunities to become familiar with alternate settings where psychological services are delivered.
6. Professional Role Development - The internship focuses on helping interns develop a positive professional identity as future psychologists. Part of this focus is creating an environment where interns work alongside, and with, multidisciplinary treatment staff to learn how psychology operates within a larger health care facility and the unique role psychologists bring to patient care. This is achieved through encouraging intern observation, engagement, and interaction with professional role models. Over the course of the year, interns will have the opportunity to enhance their skills in professional consultation as well as provide consultative guidance to other health care professionals on their respective treatment teams, including members of other professional disciplines.
7. Research - JSUMC Research Day is an annual event that provides opportunities for healthcare professionals, residents, and students affiliated with Hackensack Meridian Health to present original research studies and vignettes to the academic and professional communities. It is conducted to enable healthcare professionals to maintain proficiency in evaluating critical scientific data, and to promote and present examples of practice-based learning. Interns are expected to participate in Research Day with either an independent research topic or a group intern research project. In addition, interns will participate in a monthly journal club in which they are assigned to present research articles relevant to the clinical work they are doing and the populations they serve. Further, if interested, interns are supported in pursuing research projects of areas they are interested in.