High Plains Psychology Internship Consortium

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Program Structure and the Intern Experience

High Plains PIC offers one-year, full-time doctoral internships beginning and ending in August each year. The expected start date for the 2018-2019 cohort will be August 6, 2018. The Consortium is comprised of five agencies located in rural Colorado and Nebraska and provides a range of clinical and didactic experiences that represents the necessary depth and breadth required for future professional practice within rural school and clinical settings. Interns have a primary placement at one site with the possibility of completing other training experiences at other sites within the consortium or with community partners. Across training sites, interns are expected to complete 2000 hours of training during the internship year.  Interns are expected to have at least 25% spent in face-to-face direct service delivery with a focus on evidence-based practice. Interns are also expected to achieve the APA Profession-Wide Competencies, as stated below, and to abide by the APA Code of Ethics, the requirements of the High Plains PIC training program, and the policies and procedures of their training sites.

Major Training Emphases

High Plains PIC offers interns a unique opportunity to advance their clinical training in rural and frontier settings, areas in which behavioral healthcare is often in short supply. Interns are afforded rich clinical experiences that highlight the specific demands and shared experiences within these small communities, as well as identify and creatively address the common barriers inherent in rural health. As providers, interns participate in High Plains PIC’s goal to expand the capacity of underserved rural communities to address behavioral healthcare needs through integrated services. Furthermore, all training experiences are provided within the context of a developmental perspective and trauma-informed care.

In addition to offering a distinctive experience in rural psychology, High Plains PIC offers the following major training emphases in all sites:


Behavioral Health Intervention


Interns across sites receive training in Behavioral Health Intervention. Each consortium site provides opportunities for interns to work in outpatient and/or school settings to provide therapy (individual, group, and family), crisis intervention, and academic interventions to children and adolescents, racial/ethnic groups, and socioeconomic levels within a variety of evidence-based therapeutic modalities.


Psychological Assessment


Interns across training sites receive training in Psychological Assessment. Interns at each consortium site administer, interpret, and provide written synthesis of psychological test batteries. Assessments may include intellectual, achievement, personality, neuropsychological batteries, and/or other competency-based measures. In addition to administering these measures, interns utilize assessment writing skills to produce accurate, high quality, reports that communicate findings and recommendations in a clear, coherent, useful manner. While each site varies on the number and type of referrals, interns complete a minimum of five (5) comprehensive psychological assessments during their internship year.


Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Consultation


Interns across training sites participate in activities related to interdisciplinary consultation and systems collaboration. Each consortium site provides opportunities for interns to provide education and guidance to other professionals regarding psychological issues, establish and engage in collaborative relationships with other agencies (e.g., schools, community agencies, social services, juvenile justice system), and participate on interdisciplinary treatment teams.


Trauma-Informed Care


Interns across training sites are provided with a strong background in Trauma-Informed Care. Recognizing that trauma is a common experience for both children and adults, and that trauma is associated with adverse behavioral health and physical health outcomes, High Plains PIC implements a trauma-informed approach. Interns at each consortium site are expected to realize the impact of trauma, recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma, integrate this knowledge into practice, and actively work to avoid re-traumatization.

Elective Rotations

All sites may offer elective training experiences that differ based on site. Elective rotations are offered dependent upon the needs and interests of the intern(s) and the availability of community partners. A sample of potential elective rotations includes:


Center for Healing Trauma and Attachment, Inc (Fort Morgan, CO)

Re-1 Valley School District (Sterling, CO)

Nebraska Autism Spectrum Disorders Network (Scottsbluff, NE)

Equine Therapy (Brush, CO) 

Specialized Evaluations (neuropsychological assessment, forensic, etc.)

Supervision

All interns receive a minimum of 4 hours per week of formal, scheduled supervision. One licensed psychologist serves as primary clinical supervisor at each consortium site. Interns receive a minimum of two (2) hours of individual supervision each week from a licensed psychologist, with at least one (1) hour of that supervision from their primary supervisor. Supplemental weekly individual supervision is provided by supervisors of elective rotational experiences as needed. Weekly group supervision is required and conducted with all interns for two (2) hours per week. Group supervision is conducted via high-quality, secure distance technology with in-person sessions occurring at least four (4) times per year. Group supervision focuses on case presentation, professional development issues, and clinical topics. In addition, "on-the-fly" informal supervision and consultation is encouraged and provided by High Plains PIC supervisors.

Didactics

Interns are exposed to a variety of psychologists and guest speakers through a comprehensive didactic seminar series that spans the length of the training year.  Didactics focus on a wide range of topics, including issues related to direct service provision, as well as more theoretical and/or professional development focused topics, all designed to build upon prior knowledge and experiences and complement experiential training during the internship year.  All didactic seminars are expected to incorporate individual and/or cultural diversity themes and adhere to professional grade presentation standards, with up-to-date evidence based citations and references as appropriate.  In the coming year, 2018-2019, this format will be changed to an all-day format that will be conducted in person, one time per month, in either Greeley, Brush, or Scottsbluff. Every fourth month will include an online didactic day. These didactics will be organized around a broad theme (e.g., ethics, diversity, professional development, advanced skills, assessment) in order to provide depth and opportunities for discussion among interns and the Training Committee. For all didactic presentations, interns are given the opportunity to provide direct feedback via an electronic survey.

Research

High Plains PIC trains psychologists who are effective consumers of research and who utilize scholarly inquiry to inform their practice. In addition to infusing current research into areas of practice, interns are expected to engage in an applied research experience during their internship year. Interns are able to select from one of the following research opportunities in a self-selected area pending supervisor approval: site-specific program evaluation, single case study, and/or partnership with a UNC faculty member on an existing project. At our biweekly research meetings, interns are introduced to different aspects of program evaluation (e.g., creating logic models, single subject design, identifying disproportionality) and encouraged to read and discuss relevant research.

Stipend, Benefits, and Resources

The current stipend for the 2018-2019 training year is is $22,000 for all clinical training sites, with the exception of Option in Psychology, LLC, which provides a stipend of $28,352, as required by the stipulations of a grant subaward.  In subsequent years, interns at all sites will be funded at the same rate. The interns placed in Colorado are employed by either Converge Day Treatment Center or Colorado Center for Assessment and  Counseling.  The interns placed in Nebraska are employed by Educational Services Unit 13 or Options in Psychology, LLC.  Interns at Converge Day Treatment Center and Educational Service Unit #13 are provided with health insurance benefits. The intern at the Colorado Center  for Assessment and Counseling is provided with a supplemental stipend of up to $250 per month (or $3000 annually) allotted for the purchase of a health insurance plan.  The intern matched at Options in Psychology, LLC does not receive additional health insurance benefits or an additional monies given the discrepancy in stipend. The intern placed at ESU13 is also provided with long-term disability, life insurance, and liability insurance, as these are standard benefits provided to all ESU13 employees.  Two of the clinical training sites follow a school schedule and afford interns several scheduled breaks.  At a minimum, all interns are provided with 15 scheduled vacation days, 5 flex days, and 2 professional leave days (for post-doctoral position interviews, dissertation defense, etc.).  In addition, interns are provided with 2 hours per week of dedicated research time that may be used for dissertation and/or activities fulfilling the research requirement of the internship. Interns are asked to inform their primary site supervisor of requested leave at least two weeks prior to the date, except in the case of sickness or an emergency, which should be communicated to their primary site supervisor as soon as possible. Interns are also expected to follow site-specific procedures for requesting leave.


High Plains PIC interns have access to numerous resources in all training sites. Assessment and other training materials are provided by each training site, and additional materials that may be needed may be purchased pending Training Committee approval.  Each intern has access to administrative and IT support through their primary training site.  Each intern is provided with a workspace as well as access to a laptop computer and distance technology.  Interns are also able to access the Applied Statistics and Research Methods Lab through the University of Northern Colorado, and receive full electronic access, including the ability to download books and journal articles, to the UNC library system.  


Finally, interns matched with High Plains PIC are expected to travel to other consortium sites several times during the internship year and therefore, must have access to reliable transportation.  Interns are reimbursed for their travel between sites for required training experiences at the mileage rate of $0.49 per mile.  The travel policy is included in the Intern Handbook and instructions on how to complete and submit the document to the University of Northern Colorado are provided during Orientation.