Clinical Psychology Training

Clinical and counseling psychology students from different universities receive training through our Doctoral Internship, Externship, and Practicum Programs.

The University Counseling Service's staff includes full-time psychologists, counselors, and adjunct psychiatrists. 

Each year we accept three full-time doctoral interns and a varied number of externs and practicum students. Our student body is made up of people from more than 66 countries, giving us the opportunity to offer a unique transnational training experience.

For more information about the HUCS Doctoral Internship Training Program, click here to view our poster, it provides details on Admissions, Support, and Initial Placement Data.

University Counseling Service

202-806-6870 - 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Crisis Line:
202-345-6709 - After 6:00 PM

6th & Bryant Streets NW | Washington, DC 20059

Doctoral Internship Program

Overview

Howard University Counseling Service offers doctoral internship training in psychology, to prepare students for the practice of professional psychology. Internship Training Program uses a practitioner-scholar model to achieve the goal of preparing interns to become competent, well-rounded entry-level psychologists with special competencies working with a diverse population. 

Interns complete one full-time year of specialized training in the substantive area of clinical/counseling psychology. Trainees are expected to engage in some degree of self-disclosure as an integral part of the training program.

Their workload includes the following:

  • Clinical and training activities
  • Administrative activities
  • Professional development
  • Teaching and supervision

Interns gain skills and competencies, primarily through direct service delivery and specialized supervision, in individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, assessment, outreach and consultation. This is achieved in the context of a program that offers didactic and experiential exposures, of which in-depth training in diversity issues is a vital element.

The internship training program is sponsored by Howard University, which has among its primary functions the provision of service to a population of recipients sufficient in number and variability to provide interns with adequate experiential exposure to meet its training purposes, goals and objectives.

The stipend for each intern is $34,999.

Services

The university has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students and is situated in the heart of Washington DC where demographics continue to change rapidly. Students comes from all 50 states more than 66 countries. Our population includes students across the life span (ages 16 to 74) and groups who are diverse in ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender, race, and socioeconomic strata. The multiplicity of our student enrollment affords the University Counseling Service (UCS) the opportunity to serve a clientele that is widely representative of the global diversity found in modern American society.

UCS provides individual and group counseling/psychotherapy for students dealing with personal, social, emotional and educational concerns; specialized workshops and primary prevention outreach programs for a number of problems (stress, depression and anxiety management, study skills, suicide education and prevention, drug and alcohol prevention activities, date rape, career choice, the National Depression and National Alcohol Screening Day activities; psychodiagnostic testing; crisis intervention, grief counseling; and consultation to various units of the University.

Time Commitment

The UCS internship requires of each intern one full year of full-time training to be completed in no less than 12 months. The UCS does not offer half-time internships. In the case of extreme hardship, a trainee may be given an extension of time, but not to exceed 24 months. The internship begins each year on August 01 and ends on July 31 of the following year.

Interns typically work a 40-50-hour week, from Monday through Friday. Interns may work longer hours while on the court rotation and during the months from October through March which seems to be the peak months for new clients to present for services. In addition, several the formal training activities end in April, which keeps the average work hours at approximately 40 to 50 per week. Interns completing the court rotation, typically spend an additionally 10 to 15 hours fulfilling report writing responsibilities. Interns complete a minimum of 2000 hours for the training year (i.e. 50 weeks at 40 to 50 hours per week).

Appic Application Appic Web Site

Externship/Practicum

Overview

  1. Externships should not exceed 16 hours in a two-day block and without the necessity of taking work home. The stress level for students should be minimized when possible.
  2. Individual face-to-face supervision should be no less than 25% of the time spent in service-related activities (i.e., treatment, assessment, interviews, report-writing, case presentations, and consultations).
  3. If there are set times when externs must be at the training facility (e.g. staff meeting every Thursday, 9-11 am.), externship directors should let this be known at the time of interviews.
  4. Stipends for externs are encouraged.
  5. Externship offers will be made starting 9:00 am on April 2nd and must be accepted or rejected by 1:00 pm on that day.
  6. Externship sites do not provide students with information regarding their status or rankings prior to 9:00 am on the notification day. 
  7. Students do not attempt to elicit information from sites regarding their status or ranking prior to the notification day. 
  8. On notification day, no student shall hold more than one offer for more than two hours.
  9. A candidate who is no longer being considered by an externship site should be notified by the site at the earliest possible date in advance of April 2. However, sites do not contact any students under consideration to provide their status or ranking in advance of the notification date.
  10. Contracts between the university or school and training facilities should be executed as early as possible after the notification day.

Regular Training Activities

At the University Counseling Service, trainees are expected to engage in some degree of self-disclosure as part of the learning experience.

Activity Length

Intake Conference

2 hrs.

Practicum/Externship Seminar

1.15 hrs.

Staff Meeting and/or Staff Development

0.45 hrs.

Psychoanalytic Seminar/Clinical Case Presentations

2.5 hrs.

Case Conference (3rd year students)

1.5 hrs.

Intake Coverage C.O.D., TBA

2 hrs.

Intake Documentation

1 hr.

Individual Psychotherapy/Counseling (2 clients)

2 hrs.

Preparation of Notes

1 hr.

Supervision

1 hr.

Supplemental Activities

Activity Length

Group Dynamics/Psychotherapy Seminar

2 hrs.

Observation Group

1.5 hrs.

Outreach Program (TBA)

TBA

Seminars and Rotations

Group Dynamics Seminar: Theory and Practice

The group training component runs from September to May and consists of the following:

  • Seminar on theory and technique in group psychotherapy and group counseling

  • Observation of an ongoing psychotherapy group conducted by training staff

  • Discussion group - following the observation of the above mentioned training group

  • Starting and conducting a group to its date of termination

  • Supervision of group work

  • Attendance of two outside conferences, one per semester

Learning Objectives

  • To provide trainees with the basic theoretical foundation and technical skill necessary to conduct group counseling and/or group psychotherapy at increasing levels of competence.

  • To provide trainees with understanding of the ethical guidelines for conducting group counseling and/or psychotherapy. 

  • To provide knowledge of distinguishing factors between group counseling and group psychotherapy.

  • To provide knowledge and skill in the understanding and in the technical interventions indicated to address the impact of diversity and multiculturalism in group.

Observation Group

The observation group is a psychotherapy group for students that follows the academic calendar. Each member is screened and invited to voluntarily participate in the group. A signed document granting permission to be observed is provided by each member.

Both group members and group trainees are required to observe the group contract with specific attention given to confidentiality and the laws of the District of Columbia dictating procedures and conduct around group confidentiality.

Each participant from each group provides written documentation of their consent to this contract. At the first group session, group members and trainees are introduced to one another and group members are invited again to ask questions.

Psychoanalytic Theory/Clinical Case Presentations

Objectives and Requirements

The psychoanalytic theory is based on biological concepts and working hypotheses built up in clinical practice. All its' concepts are theoretical constructs, and any account of them in anatomical and/or physiological terms is inappropriate.

My theoretical approach is based on Freud's work, integrated with concepts from post-Freudian authors, such as W. Bion, D. Winnicott, D. Maldavsky, N. Neves, J. Lacan, R. Spitz, M. Klein, D. Shapiro, J. Piaget, N. McDougall, etc.

1. Objectives of the Seminar

To provide trainees with an integrated theoretical instrument that gives a coherent structure for understanding psychological phenomena and undertaking clinical practice. The seminar:

Examines the construction of human subjectivity and the impact of experiences during the developmental period of life on the shape of the adult mind.

Explores how meanings, values, thoughts, affects, desires, fantasies, intentions, and actions arise from the nature of the body, the bodily experience and the interaction with the environment.

Unfolds the inner structures within which these functions emerge, starting at the moment of birth and continuing throughout life.

Focuses on the application of the concepts to clinical work in a sequential, cumulative and graded in complexity approach.

Trainees are encouraged to discuss how local culture provides a vehicle for the expression of balanced and pathological personalities.

2. Seminar Requirements

Most of the work is done in class; therefore to approve this training component, all trainees are expected to attend at least 90% of the classes. If a trainee misses more than 3 classes, irrespective of the reason, he/she will have to write a 15 to 20 pages essay about an assigned topic in order to complete the component. There will be no completion with five or more missed classes.

Trainees have the responsibility to arrive and leave on time, read all the material given in class, review the concepts, watch the films, participate in class-discussions, prepare questions/comments, give presentations and lead class discussions. At the end of the year, trainees will be asked to give written recommendations for improving the following year's seminar.

Interns' performance will be evaluated three times during the academic year. These evaluations will be part of the interns' records.

A Completion Form will be provided at the end of the academic year.

Psychoanalytic References

Research Seminar

  • The purpose of the research seminar is to provide interns with a forum to discuss research-related issues in a clinical setting. In a clinical setting, research often gets overlooked. Whether it is the trainees' individual research projects, or the contributions that the clinical setting might be able to offer if their data were presented to other institutions, reviewers, agencies, or contributors. One of the goals of the seminar is to keep interns involved in research, directly or indirectly, in order to facilitate their development into well-rounded psychologists.

  • Trainees are expected to participate in seminar discussions, and make contributions to ongoing research projects, develop their own project, or use the space to receive feedback and support for their dissertation.

  • The research team meets biweekly on Wednesdays 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

  • Specific topics will include, but are not limited to:

    • Dissertation support

    • Project development

    • Research design

    • IRB related topics

    • Grant writing

    • Publishing and presenting

    • Other topics as requested

Clinical Supervision: Case Conference

  • Case conference is designed as an ongoing group supervision experience to provide an in-depth training for participants with their active client caseload.

  • Trainees are expected to select two or three clients from their caseload ranging from long-term to brief in duration. These clients are followed throughout the school year with emphasis on assisting the trainee with clinical and theoretical skills. The impact of the client on the therapist is carefully examined. The participants receive supervision from the leader as well as the other group members. While the major thrust of case conference is psychodynamic in orientation, other schools of thought are not excluded.

  • Psychology interns and externs make up the usual composition of the group.

  • A degree of self disclosure is part of this experience.

Forensic Rotation (Internship Only)

Rotation at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (occuring virtually during COVID-19 crisis)

Child Guidance Clinic

Supervisor: Michael E. Barnes Ph.D. michael.barnes@dcsc.gov (link sends e-mail)

From August to February or February to July

  • In addition to providing psychodiagnostic services to students seeking treatment at the Howard University Counseling Service on an "as needed basis, the interns participate in an intensive six-month rotation, providing psychological evaluations for the Social Services Division's Child Guidance Clinic.

  • Interns are required to attend four specialized in-service training seminars each six months, on topics relevant to the work of the Clinic. These seminars are provided by the Court and selected by the Clinic. Local and nationally recognized experts are scheduled each year. Scheduling is made far in advance such that interns may adjust their time accordingly.

The Child Guidance Clinic:

  • Evaluates juveniles age four through eighteen who are under court adjudication

  • Evaluates adults for parental capacity with children under court supervision

Referrals focus on:

  1. Intellectual functioning

  2. Personality functioning

  3. Educational functioning

  4. Neuropsychological functioning

Referral questions may address, but not limited to:

  • Rehabilitation plans

  • Risk to self or to the community at large

  • Competency to stand trial

  • The impact of a traumatic event(s) upon a juvenile such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse

  • capacity

  • Level of detention required

  • Whether a juvenile may be rehabilitated subsequent to a serious violent offense

Referrals are typically made by:

  • Judges via court order

  • Court probation officers

  • Court social workers

  • DC Office of the Attorney General

  • DC Public Defender Service attorneys

Diagnostic categories:

The Clinic has access to a variety of age-appropriate, nationally named and standardized instruments for assessment of specific diagnostic categories such as, but not limited to:

  • Posttraumatic stress

  • Parenting stress/capacity

  • Substance abuse

  • Depression

  • Anger

  • Anxiety

  • Mental retardation

Services:

Interns may expect to participate in the following services pursuant to their work:

  • Consultation to court social workers, probation officers or other court professionals

  • Consultation to court liaison agencies such as public or private schools, Youth Forensic Services,

  • Corporation Counsel, Public Defender Service, Child Advocacy Center, etc.

  • Interviews or data gathering forums with collateral informants

  • Outreach to youth and professionals in the community

  • Testimony in court (if required)

Staff:

  • There are three licensed clinical psychologists on staff.

  • Full-time deputy clerks help with the interns' adjustment to the Clinic and Court.

Hospital Inpatient Rotation (Internship Only)

  • The Howard University Hospitals Psychiatric Unit is a voluntary unit with patients who have varying mental health concerns ranging from major depression to acute paranoid schizophrenia.

  • The hospital rotation is 4 to 5 hours a week, for four months and takes place on the inpatient psychiatry unit. (occuring virtually during COVID-19 crisis)

  • On Howard University Hospital Psychiatric Unit, interns are afforded the opportunity to gain exposure to an additional mental health care system through a close working relationship with psychiatrists, psychiatric residents, nursing staff, medical students, and patients.

  • Interns are provided direct supervision with respect to their participation in the psychiatric unit activities and services. The interns receive supervision on a weekly basis from licensed UCS psychologists, and have the opportunity to receive feedback from the attending psychiatrist.

Microcounseling Teaching Component (Internship Only)

The focus of micro-counseling is the coordination of a didactic experience that affords the doctoral interns an opportunity to further develop their teaching skills. Micro-counseling is supervised by a member of the training staff.

The Howard University doctoral interns have the responsibility of teaching a sixteen week course. Students enrolled in the course are second year doctoral candidates from the Clinical Psychology Program at the university.

The goal of the course is to cover the psychotherapeutic relationship from the intake interview to termination and to facilitate the acquisition of counseling skills. Topics include, but are not limited to informed consent, ethical considerations, and interventions techniques.

Each week the interns meet with the coordinator ;to discuss the relevant literature and best practice in clinical services. That information is integrated into the lecture presented that week. During the weekly meetings with the coordinator, the interns also discuss the integration of their teaching roles.

Learning Objectives :

  • Interns will demonstrate an understanding of ethical standards of psychology

  •  Interns will demonstrate an understanding of issues of diversity that are related to teaching and clinical practice

  • Interns will develop effective teaching skills

Reading List:

Boisvert, C. M., & Faust, D. (2003). Leading researchers' consensus on psychotherapy findings: Implications for the teaching and conduct of psychotherapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice , 34, 508-513.

Cardemil, E.V., & Battle, C. L. (2003). Guess who's coming to therapy? Getting comfortable with conversations about race and ethnicity in psychotherapy. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 34(6), 595-600.

Deegear, J. & Lawson, D. M. (2003). The utility of empirically supported treatments. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice,34(3), 271-277.

Fischer, A. R., Jome, L. M., & Atkinson, D. R. (1998). Reconceptualizing multicultural counseling: Universal healing conditions in a culturally specific context. The Counseling Psychologist , 26, 525-588.

Shaffer, P.A., Vogel, D.L., & Wei, M. (2006). The mediating roles of anticipated risks, anticipated benefits, and attitudes on the decision of seek professional help: An attachment perspective. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 53, 422452

Vogel, D.L., Wade, N.G., & Hackler, A.H. (2007). Perceived public stigma and the willingness to seek counseling: The mediating roles of self-stigma and attitudes towards counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 4050.