Philosophy of Training

The Butler Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology focuses on the training of generalist Health Service Providers in psychology. We approach this endeavor through our emphasis on intensive supervision, enabling the intern to work toward increasingly complex clinical practice as well as an integrated sense of personal and professional development. The program values experiential learning in which interns “learn by doing” in terms of providing services under the direct supervision and mentorship of senior staff psychologists. Interaction between interns and staff is both formal, through involvement in individual and group supervision, intern seminars, case conferences, supervision of supervision and staff development activities, and informal, through an “open door policy” which emphasizes the value of consultation and collaboration. Training staff may be called upon to fulfill multiple roles with interns including consultant, mentor, teacher, evaluator, advocate, advisor and colleague. It is through these roles and relationships that skill development, professional identity and personal integration are modeled and taught. One goal of the training program is that what begins as a mentor-mentee relationship may ultimately result in a collegial consultative relationship in which both trainer and trainee perspectives are seen as equally useful and valuable.

Although applied practice is the focus of the internship experience, the ability to access and utilize scientific research in the treatment setting is highly valued. Attention to scholarly contributions to the field can be seen through assigned readings for seminars, support for individual intern research interests, including dissertation time, and a general approach to clinical work that calls on the processes of “hypothesis testing” and other scientific models to inform case conceptualization and treatment.

The philosophy of training of the internship program is grounded in the consistent ethical treatment of the intern and their clients. An effort is made, through teaching and by example, to model and promote a humane work environment conducive to learning and growth. Formal and informal staff development opportunities emphasizing team-building, including the value of a sense of fun and humor, are seen as important in maintaining balance. Individual and cultural differences are honored, and the intern is encouraged to work toward the integration of their person with their role as a psychologist.  Interns are expected to develop competencies to effectively serve diverse populations, and the program therefore ascribes to APA’s position statement “Preparing Professional Psychologists to Serve a Diverse Public: A Core Requirement in Doctoral Education and Training.”

Finally, the Butler internship embraces the awareness and use of self-perspective as part of our training model. We value personal exploration and expect interns to examine the qualities and dynamics they bring to interactions with clients, peers, and other work-related relationships. We believe such discussions, as they relate to interns’ activities on internship, can be quite useful when trying to understand transference and countertransference issues and in facilitating the interns’ professional growth. This may call for interns to reflect on and discuss personal information that may influence their clinical practice. Such disclosure frequently occurs within a supervisory relationship characterized by safety, trust, and respect. Supervision is not viewed as psychotherapy, and the focus of personal exploration is meant to enhance interns’ growth and effectiveness as clinicians rather than serve as a form of psychotherapy.