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 are guided to develop clinical skills as generalist practitioners, as well as receive specialty training focused in their individual areas of interest. We highly value the mentorship role and as mentors, our goal is to help interns transition into professional roles and be prepared to pass on their knowledge and experiences to the next generation of psychologists. 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. Our program philosophy is grounded in the practitioner-scholar model with an emphasis on social justice informed practice and training. Our model emphasizes culturally relevant practice, which demonstrates our value and attention to multicultural and ethical issues throughout every facet of our system and training.

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 (

Multicultural Training

Consistent with the mission of our university and the Center, is a strong emphasis on diversity woven throughout all aspects of our philosophy and training experiences.  Emphasis throughout the training program is placed on the richness of cultural diversity within both the NMSU campus and the community of Las Cruces.  Our internship offers training in exploring cultural diversity within the Southwest and Borderland, applying a variety of perspectives while considering intersectionality. Interns are encouraged to examine their own cultural experiences and biases as part of their training, as well as appreciate the similarities and differences among their peers, colleagues, supervisors and clients.  Diversity is not only addressed in the Multicultural Seminar but is integrated throughout all of the competency areas as it is viewed as an integral part of our professional work.  Interns are expected to create a project during the year that focuses on social action, responsibility, justice, and advocacy in order to address environmental and systemic means of facilitating change within the university or community 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.


Expected Competencies

Competency 1: Communication and Interpersonal Skills

1.A.     Communication and Interpersonal Skills with Clients

1.B.     Communication and Interpersonal Skills with Colleagues, Organizations and Communities

Competency 2: Intervention

2.A.     General Principles of Intervention

2.B.     Individual Psychotherapy

2.C.     Crisis Intervention

2.D.     Triage Interviewing

2.E.      Group Counseling

Competency 4: Supervision

4.A.     Providing Supervision

4.B.     Receiving Supervision

Competency 5: Outreach, Consultation, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration

5.A.     Outreach

5.B.    Consultation

5.C.    Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Competency 6:  Individual & Cultural Diversity

Competency 7:  Professional Values & Attitudes

Competency 8:  Ethics & Legal Standards

Competency 9:  Research