Model of Training & Core Competencies
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) internship prepares trainees as strong generalists in the practice of psychology. The training is agency-based with opportunities to gain experience in CAPS functions such as clinical interviewing, individual, and group counseling/psychotherapy; consultation and outreach; supervision and training; and crisis intervention. CAPS internship program utilizes a practitioner-scholar-developmental model of training emphasizing learning by observing models, then actually practicing skills, while consulting scholarly research.
The focal point of this model entails a focus on service delivery with professional development being viewed as sequential in nature, and with the goal of helping interns move toward greater levels of autonomy and independent practice by the completion of the internship year. This model also includes an emphasis on experiential learning which allows interns to learn through concrete experience, reflective observation, active experimentation, and an establishment of mentoring relationships where training is viewed as relational and reciprocal. There are certain developmental markers that indicate movement toward becoming a competent therapist over time (Stoltenberg and Delworth, 2009; Competency Benchmark Document, 2008).
We believe that assessing the developmental level of each competency area at the beginning of the year and tracking changes in behavior up to the end of the year is the way to shows the progress and growth of each intern. Our training model aims to produce competent and versatile generalists who are prepared to practice as entry-level professionals in College and University Counseling Centers as well as a variety of related clinical settings. The internship program serves to prepare interns to meet the requirements for psychologist licensure. As generalists, interns are expected to develop enhanced awareness, knowledge and skill in the core competency areas of professional psychology.
- Clinical Skills Competence in
- Initial Assessments, Referral and Report Writing
- Brief Individual Psychotherapy, Conceptualization and Interventions
- Group Psychotherapy, Conceptualization and Interventions
- Crisis Intervention
- Outreach and Consultation Competence
- Supervision Competence
- Multicultural Competence
- Professionalism, Professional Identity Development and Ethical Conduct and Practice
Components of Training Philosophy
Mentoring and Modeling
An important aspect of our training philosophy is the importance of mentoring and modeling. Consistent with our practitioner-scholar-developmental model of training, interns have opportunities to work collaboratively with professional staff members who represent diverse training disciplines including psychology, mental health counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, and psychiatry. Our training program endorses an “open-door policy,” encouraging interns to interact with staff who function in a variety of roles such as mentor, supervisor, consultant, teacher, advocate, and administrator.
Mentoring occurs through a progressive and experiential “learning by doing” process that is augmented by close supervision, co-facilitation and co-presentation opportunities and shadowing of staff during clinical or programmatic activities. Mentoring also occurs in the context of didactic training activities, staff meetings, project collaborations, and informal consultations with center staff. This range of experience allows interns to gain exposure to a variety of styles and perspectives, and serves to expand their clinical and conceptual repertoire and to cultivate areas of interest or specialty. In our approach to mentoring interns, we strive to model professional behaviors and demonstrate our commitment to ethical practice and all types of diversity. In addition, we strive to model open and healthy communication, critical thinking skills, self-care, continuing education and lifelong learning, and active membership in professional organizations.
Professionalism & Professional Identity
Another tenet of our philosophy is based on our belief that the internship year is a time when a critical socialization process occurs for interns. This process helps foster the emergence and integration of a professional identity which is essential during their important transition from graduate student to practicing professional. We believe that a professional identity entails balancing of multiple professional roles and responsibilities, effective communication with clients and colleagues, and development of sound judgment and personal maturity. It also encompasses awareness and adherence to professional and ethical conduct, consolidation of theoretical orientation, and the ability to work collaboratively within larger systems.
The socialization process of interns occurs in the context of daily interactions, formal supervision and training activities, and through professional relationships with members of the community. Developmentally, we expect interns will enhance their breadth and depth of clinical skills and assume increasing levels of autonomy and independent functioning.
Learning in a Supportive Environment
Another element of our training philosophy is the belief that interns learn most effectively in a supportive atmosphere that is professional, collegial, and encouraging. With a strong investment in intern training and supervision, our CAPS training staff strives to cultivate a safe and welcoming environment in which interns can grow and develop as professionals. We consider interns as an integral part of our staff, and believe that interns have as much to offer us as we have to offer them. Interns receive ongoing mentoring, constructive feedback and evaluation which is reciprocal in nature, and ongoing encouragement to move steadily toward greater levels of independence and confidence. We are also aware that interns may enter our internship at different levels regarding clinical and conceptualization skills, practicum experience, integration of theoretical orientation, communication skills, and sensitivity to cultural diversity. As a result, we believe it is important to assess the developmental level of interns early on so that their training needs, interests and goals can be met during the course of the year.
Another philosophical premise is our belief that self-awareness is critical to the development of effective therapy skills as a psychologist. In this regard, interns will be asked to engage in a process of self-reflection and personal exploration with supervisors and training staff to reflect upon how their life experiences, personal qualities and interpersonal dynamics relate to their clinical and therapeutic work. Supervisors take great care to develop training relationships with interns that are characterized by trust, safety and respect. As such, we believe that care should also be taken to differentiate between therapy and supervision, and that personal exploration with interns should always be carried out with an emphasis on enhancing their therapeutic effectiveness and professional functioning rather than conducting therapy with them. The use of ongoing and constructive feedback is also essential in enhancing intern self-awareness and professional growth during the year. We believe it is important to use a strength-based approach while also encouraging areas for continued growth, and to strike the important balance of support and challenge in interns’ acquisition of clinical skill, self-awareness, and professional development.
Integration of Scholarly Knowledge and Practice
Another principle is our belief that interns should be informed by the integration of scholarly knowledge and research findings as it impacts clinical practice. We emphasize the consumption of scholarly research in the application of clinical practice through training activities, didactic seminars and professional dialogues with center training staff. We encourage interns to gain understanding of a variety of empirically-informed treatments and interventions, analysis of current trends in the field, and the use of critical thinking in the process of clinical decision-making.
Appreciation for Differences
A final essential theme woven throughout the entire training program is that we value openness and appreciation for all differences among individuals including center staff and interns. We believe that honoring the richness of our similarities and differences facilitates growth and development and enhances quality of life in our community and the world in which we live. In order to effectively respond to the unique needs of our diverse student population and broader campus community, we consider our own cultural contexts including understanding of the interaction of worldviews and experiences of oppression and privilege. As such, we are committed to promoting awareness and understanding of cultural diversity at all levels. We actively infuse this philosophy into the planning and implementation of all professional activities including:
- Counseling Services
- Internship Training
- Programming and Presentations
- Consultation Activities
- Creation of Center Brochures and Center Web Site
- Development of Center Policies and Procedures
- Recruitment of Staff and Interns
- Continuing Education and Professional Development
- Research and Scholarly Activity.
Interns are expected to develop enhanced multicultural competence during the year and to be skilled in addressing the needs of the various populations we serve.
Known as one of the world's premier travel and leisure destinations, Orlando is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States with an estimated population of 15 million. Its temperate climate, tourism industry and cultural diversity make it a popular destination. Over 35 million people visit Orlando each year as they enjoy area attractions and theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. Orlando is close to world-class beaches on both the west and east coasts of the state. Orlando, Floria is known for its shopping, dining, nightife, lakes, golf courses, jogging trails, and nature preserves.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida, founded in 1963, is among the nation’s largest universities, with an enrollment of approximately 58,587 students which now makes UCF the second largest institution in the nation. As a major metropolitan research university, UCF plays a large role in Central Florida’s fast-paced growth through its community and corporate partnerships, research programs, regional campuses and its nearly 10,567 employees (faculty and staff). UCF is one of 11 member institutions of the Florida State University System. It has 12 colleges and offers 92 baccalaureate degree programs, 85 master’s degree programs, and 30 doctoral degrees programs. UCF main campus is located 13 miles east of the city of Orlando, 45 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Kennedy, and 100 miles from Tampa and the Gulf of Mexico. UCF has partnered with community colleges around Central Florida to provide 10 regional campuses (Cocoa, Daytona Beach, Sanford/Lake Mary, Leesburg, Ocala, Valencia Osceola, Palm Bay, South Lake, South Orlando, Valencia West) and 5 regional locations (Center for Emerging Media, Executive Development Center, Florida Solar Energy Center, Rosen Hospitality Management, and Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona) that offer UCF classes and degrees. The majority of the students are residents of Florida (70%). UCF also has students from 63 Florida counties, 50 states and 145 countries. Roughly 52% of the students are women. 28% are racial/ethnic minority students (Hispanic- 17.6%, Black- 9.8%, Asian/Pacific Islander- 5.6%). International students comprise 3.1% of the student body. 76% of undergraduates receive financial aid, and UCF has a retention rate of 86%.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Services and Location
CAPS provides counseling and psychological services to enrolled students at the University of Central Florida. Students come to CAPS with an array of developmental and mental health concerns ranging from minor adjustment issues to various kinds of severe psychological disturbance. Among the services offered by CAPS are psychological assessment, brief individual and couples counseling, assessment services and referral, consultation, group therapy and workshops, career assessment and counseling, crisis intervention, consultation services, and developmental programming and presentations.
CAPS staff is diverse in a number of areas including background, educational training, theoretical orientation, supervision style and areas of special interest and expertise. This diversity provides a breadth of perspective and richness that is essential in the service delivery of students, mentoring and supervision of interns, and professional dialogue between staff members and our constituents for whom we serve.
The administrative staff at CAPS is comprised of the Director, three Associate Directors (Training, Clinical Services, and Prevention and Outreach). In addition, the Center currently employs 16 full time and 2 part time professional counseling staff members. Our Center support staff includes an Administrative Assistant, several Program Assistants and a Computer Specialist. Our staff is committed to providing high quality training and supervision, and we consider interns to be an integral part of our staff.
CAPS is located in the Student Resource Center, Building 7G Room 213. Please visit the general information section of our website for more detailed information about our Center hours and location, services, staff, and programs.
Direct Service Activities
Interns gain experience with a variety of direct service activities throughout the year which are described below. The degree of involvement in each activity may be negotiable and determined by the interest and experience of the intern and needs of the Center.
Every UCF student who requests services at CAPS is entitled to an assessment. The purpose of an initial assessment is to gather information about the student’s background and presenting concerns, gain a comprehensive understanding of their needs, and determine appropriate treatment planning and recommendations including services offered at CAPS. When it becomes clear that a students needs are beyond those services provided by CAPS, we refer to other campus and community resources.
Interns receive didactic and experiential training in intake assessment and may also have opportunities to observe senior staff in conducting intakes with clients. Interns are required to conduct a minimum of 2 initial assessments each week which are supervised throughout the year in individual supervision and also reviewed in the context of weekly case disposition meetings.
Brief Individual and Couples Counseling
Brief individual and couples counseling serves to assist students in resolving issues which cause emotional distress and interfere with personal goals and academic success. Interns spend approximately 12-15 hours per week providing individual and couples counseling to UCF-enrolled students within a brief therapy framework. Interns have the opportunity to broaden their clinical experience through exposure to culturally diverse clients and a variety of client issues ranging from developmental concerns such as adjustment to college and relationship difficulties to more psychologically challenging clinical issues such as eating disorders, mood disorders, trauma concerns and substance abuse.
Although our Center maintains a brief therapy model, interns have the opportunity to work longer with 1-2 clients during the internship year. Long-term therapy cases must be discussed between intern and their individual supervisor with ultimate approval being determined by a Center Utilization Review Committee.
Interns gain a majority of crisis intervention experience through timely access/walk-in coverage throughout the year. Interns assume greater levels of responsibility for crisis intervention after receiving didactic training along with opportunities to shadow and observe senior staff in responding to clinically urgent and complex client situations (e.g., suicidal or homicidal risk, psychotic episodes, or overwhelming trauma).
In addition to serving individuals in crisis, CAPS also responds to the psychological and emotional needs of the larger campus community in the aftermath of a traumatic event (e.g., suicide, homicide, hurricane, etc.) to assist those affected in coping with the tragedy. Interns may have opportunities to assist senior staff in planning and implementation of these interventions depending on the nature of the crisis and training interest of interns.
Timely Access/Walk-In Service
CAPS provides same day walk-in services to students requiring assessment, consultation, emergency service and referral resources. The walk-in procedure ensures timely assessment of students, provides service and referral options, and helps determine the urgency level and subsequent scheduling for students needing ongoing services. Interns typically spend 3 hours per week in this activity (including occasional center crisis coverage during the lunch hour).
Our group therapy program has grown considerably in recent years to include process-oriented psychotherapy groups, support groups, and structured workshops on a variety of focused themes In the fall semester, interns without prior group therapy experience will process-observe a psychotherapy group which is co-facilitated by senior staff members. In this role, interns have opportunities to meet with the facilitators following each session to examine issues of group process and co-facilitation. Interns with prior group therapy or process-observing experience will co-facilitate a minimum of one (1) psychotherapy group with a senior staff member each semester. Interns are encouraged to initiate the formation of one (1) structured workshop during the year that reflects an area of interest and compliments the clinical needs of the Center. Group therapy assignments and co-facilitation pairings for interns are made in consultation with the Group Therapy Coordinator and Training Director along with the preferences of interns. Each intern will receive supervision from the senior staff co-facilitator for each therapy group being conducted or process-observed. Current group therapy and workshop offerings.
Consultation refers to contacts where a Center staff member is providing psychological expertise to parents, administrators, faculty, staff, and friends or family members who are concerned about the welfare of a particular student. Consultations may occur in-person or by telephone contact and be geared toward helping others make a referral or exploring options about intervening or responding to a challenging student dilemma. In addition, interns will establish formal and ongoing consultation relationships with other departments on campus.
Consultation may also involve helping UCF campus organizations enhance the effectiveness of their programs or services and/or serving on university committees where our psychological expertise may serve broader campus initiatives. Interns will receive didactic training in the area of consultation, and have opportunities to observe or discuss consultation situations with supervisors and other senior staff.
Clients seen at CAPS may also benefit from receiving psychotropic medications. Interns, in consultation with their supervisor, provide client referral to the psychiatrist or other general practitioners located in the Student Health Services.
Developmental Programming and Presentations
Developmental programming and presentations are offered throughout the year by CAPS to enhance personal development and psychological well-being of UCF students and to promote a healthy campus environment. A range of developmental presentations are conducted routinely by Center staff and interns through outreach programming that is both psychoeducational and preventive in nature. Many of these presentations are infused into existing CAPS programs or offered in settings such as residence halls, classrooms, and parent-orientation sessions. Interns are expected to organize and present a minimum of three (3) presentations and participate in three (3) tablings a semester, for a total of a minimum of nine (9) presentations and tablings for the year.
Personality and Career Assessment
Formal psychological testing and/or career assessment is not necessarily a routine aspect of any counselor or intern’s work. When psychological testing or career assessment is deemed necessary, it is ordinarily integrated into the therapy process itself. Inventories which are typically utilized at CAPS include the Strong Interest Inventory, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, Clinical, Eating Disorder Inventory, and Beck Depression Inventory. Interns will typically do psychological testing on at least two clients for their clinical case presentations. The decision about what tests to administer, to a client, and review of results and interpretation with a client, will be determined among the intern and her/his supervisor. Interns may gain experience with various psychological and career assessment inventories based on their interest and availability of staff members with expertise in these areas.
AccreditationPLEASE NOTE : Our Doctoral Internship in Professional Psycholgoy is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), has been an APPIC members since 2007 and takes part in the national match process.
CAPS is also accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS), Inc.
Inquiries about the accreditation status of our psychology internship program may be directed to:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242