Training Model and Philosophy
The doctoral internship in professional psychology offered at Cook Counseling Center at Virginia Tech provides excellent preparation for generalist, entry-level psychologists who wish to pursue a career in a university counseling center, or in such venues as private practice or outpatient mental health services.
The training program follows a practitioner-scholar model of psychology training that emphasizes the practice of counseling and psychotherapy informed by scientific and scholarly inquiry. To this end, the training program employs a variety of modalities that include a structured and sequenced seminar series, experiential activities, and supervised clinical experiences intended to promote the acquisition of practice skills as well as the development of critical thinking. Interns are encouraged to engage in applied research focusing on addressing questions directly suggested by experiences encountered in clinical practice. Interns are also encouraged to be critical, informed consumers of research with an eye toward clinical applications of scientific findings.
Cook Counseling Center provides an environment that is both supportive and challenging to interns as they acquire new skills and reach new levels of personal and professional growth. Interns are seen as emerging professionals and are included in most staff activities. Interns have many opportunities to consult with senior staff, and quality of supervision is emphasized by interns receiving a minimum of five hours of supervision per week.
The training program espouses a developmental philosophy with the intent to encourage intern growth and development over the course of the training year in domains relevant to the professional practice of psychology. As such, supervisors strive to assess the interns’ beginning levels of competencies in domains relevant to professional practice and work toward growth in these areas over the course of the internship year.
The following are primary areas of focus for interns and serve as the basis for formal evaluation:
- (i) Research
- (ii) Ethical and legal standards
- (iii) Individual and cultural diversity
- (iv) Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
- (v) Communication and interpersonal skills
- (vi) Assessment
- (vii) Intervention
- (viii) Supervision
- (ix) Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills