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Aim and Training Philosophy

Aim of Health Service Psychology Internship

  •  To train social justice-oriented generalist practitioners for entry into the field of health service psychology.

Training Philosophy

Trainees at our site develop specialized skills in psychotherapy and generalist skills in assessment, outreach, and other areas of special interest. We highly value our mentor-ship role and, as mentors, our goal is to facilitate the transition of interns into professional roles and full-fledged membership in our professional community. This goal is accomplished through specific, sequential, cumulative, and increasingly complex experiences intended to both challenge and support trainees in their mastery of specific competencies. Interns will gain intervention skills related to individual psychotherapy, group counseling, crisis intervention, intake interviewing, provision of supervision, and outreach. Our internship also includes training and experience related to assessment, consultation, multi-disciplinary collaboration, integrated health-care, cultural diversity, professional values and attitudes, communication and interpersonal skills, ethical and legal standards, and competency within a chosen area of emphasis. Our program philosophy is grounded in the practitioner-scholar model with emphases on psychotherapy and multiculturalism.

Psychotherapy Training

Psychotherapy training is grounded in an integrative perspective that assumes that therapists can acquire a wide repertoire of conceptualization and intervention tools that can be used to meet the unique needs of each client. Interns will be introduced to a unified framework for psychotherapy that can be used to identify strengths and areas for growth. This framework recognizes the centrality of (1) cognition, (2) emotion, and (3) behavior. These three aspects of current functioning are influenced by external factors including: (4) developmental experiences, (5) interpersonal patterns, (6) social systems, and (7) cultural contexts. Current functioning is also shaped by internal factors including (8) unconscious processes and (9) biology. Over the course of the training year, interns will learn to use theoretical concepts and interventions that target each of these nine areas of functioning. Multitheoretical conceptualization and treatment planning will be used to help psychotherapists decide where to focus and how to intervene (www.multitheoretical.com).

Multicultural Training

Multicultural training at the AHWC internship emphasizes culturally-relevant practice and social justice. We value and attend to cultural and ethical issues throughout every facet of our training program. Emphasis is placed on the richness of cultural diversity within the NMSU campus and the community of Las Cruces. Our internship offers training in exploring cultural diversity within the Southwest region and Borderlands communities, applying a variety of perspectives while attending to intersectionality of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and physical abilities, etc. The NMSU student population consists of a blending of diverse cultures and backgrounds comprised of Latinx, Indigenous, and White students. The population is further enriched by the presence of Asian American, African American, and an international study body. In addition to this racial and ethnic diversity, we recognize our students’ diverse, intersecting identities related to other demographic variables.
Interns are encouraged to examine their own cultural experiences and biases as part of their training, as well as appreciating the similarities and differences among their peers, colleagues, supervisors, and clients. Training in specific skills to enhance cultural competence is emphasized in our multicultural training seminar. Of equal importance to us is the philosophical belief that it is our responsibility as culturally-competent professionals to encourage self-exploration and awareness among interns so that they too will become social justice advocates. Interns will work together to create a project focusing on social action, responsibility, justice, and advocacy that addresses environmental and systemic means of facilitating change within the university setting.

Training Atmosphere

Our training program is founded on the belief that learning occurs best within a setting that provides both developmentally-appropriate challenges and a warm, supportive atmosphere. Within this environment, we encourage interns to participate in self-reflection and personal integration of their professional experience. We try to develop meaningful supervisory and collegial relationships to facilitate a deeper understanding of self and others. Interns are encouraged to use the internship experience as a vehicle for personal and professional exploration and growth. We believe that interns will benefit the most from their internship experience if they are willing to share their knowledge and experience with us and remain open to feedback and dialogue.