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Doctoral Psychology Internship Program

The Emory University School of Medicine Doctoral Psychology Internship Program is based in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences/Grady Health System and Rehabilitation Medicine/Division of Neuropsychology. The Division of Psychology within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine has been training psychologists since the early 1960s and the internship program received initial American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation in 1980. The program is comprised of a general internship experience that includes a general and trauma track as well as a neuropsychology track that includes opportunities for training concentrations in adult/pediatric and adult/geriatric neuropsychology. Established in 2001, the neuropsychology track meets APA Division 40, Houston Conference, and Association of Internship Training Centers in Clinical Neuropsychology (AITCN) guidelines for neuropsychology internships. The Emory University School of Medicine Doctoral Psychology Internship Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation at the American Psychological Association. The Commission may be contacted by telephone at (202) 336-5979, by regular mail at 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, or on the web at

The internship year is viewed as a time to gain clinical experience to solidify and expand knowledge based on the science and theory of psychology and to integrate this experience and knowledge with standards of professional practice. The internship program is anchored by a scientist-practitioner training model and seeks to provide a generalist experience in which interns in all training tracks have opportunities for supervised work with clinically and socio-demographically diverse populations across the lifespan in a range of settings. The availability of supervised clinical experience with varied clinical populations across a range of settings makes it possible for interns to obtain clinical training within a biopsychosocial generalist framework. Interns also are exposed to a variety of theoretical frameworks for clinical practice, including integrative, psychodynamic, interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, family systems, humanistic/existential, neuropsychological, and neurobiological. Consistent with the scientist-practitioner model, training focuses on integrating clinical theory with scientific knowledge. Interns are encouraged to apply the scientific literature to clinical assessment, case formulation, and intervention as part of an overarching evidence-based practice approach. Training activities are structured in accordance with a competency-based perspective to ensure development of key competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) in professional psychology that build on competencies obtained in the context of graduate school training. Along with an emphasis on theory, science, and practice elements of individual level clinical work, the internship training experience also includes a focus on systems level assessment and intervention encompassing the activities of psychologists that pertain to advocacy, social change, and social justice, particularly as this relates to work with diverse clinically under-served populations. A developmental perspective also guides the training approach such that over the course of the training year interns gain increasing levels of clinical autonomy in support of their evolving professional identities and roles as psychologists. Finally, the internship program strives to cultivate a training environment where interns can develop professionally in ways that are congruent with their individual training needs and goals. Collectively, these training emphases reflect the overarching goal of the internship to train culturally competent psychologists who can assume professional roles in a multitude of settings, key examples of which include academic health science centers, universities, community clinics, and interdisciplinary health care environments.

A key priority of the internship program is to train culturally responsive psychologists. Toward this end, the program is strongly committed to cultivating a training environment in which cultural diversity and individual differences are valued, respected, and honored. The program is fortunate to be set within a constellation of training contexts that are rich in individual and cultural diversity, creating ample opportunity for active exploration of diversity in the human experience as an integral component of internship training. This core emphasis is reflected in both experiential and didactic training activities, including clinical service provision, clinical supervision and the internship seminar curriculum. Across training settings interns have opportunities for clinical experiences with diverse populations encompassing a wide range of backgrounds with respect to age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, nationality, and cultural context. A central focus of the training process is on facilitating learning about the necessity of a cultural framework for effective and ethical psychological practice as well as highlighting the importance of understanding local context in all professional psychology endeavors.

The training environment also yields opportunities for interns to learn about key systemic aspects of professional functioning. For instance, interns gain experience in interdisciplinary collaboration, which is inherent to work in academic health science center settings. Interns also learn to utilize community and systems-based interventions that are vital to effective work with the clinical populations served.

Consistent with the program philosophy, a strong focus on clinical training during the internship year is regarded as essential for interns to achieve competency in effectively applying scientifically derived psychological knowledge. Accordingly, the internship offers broad-based training that includes work with clinically diverse patient populations with respect to psychodiagnostic presentation, severity of psychological dysfunction, neurocognitive status, psychosocial functioning, and co-occurrence of health/medical conditions. Interns are expected to master basic clinical competencies in work with patients from diverse sociodemographic and cultural backgrounds across a range of domains (assessment, intervention, consultation, ethics, individual and cultural diversity, professional identity/functioning, interpersonal skills, scholarship/research and supervision).

As a leading center for scientific inquiry, Emory University, including the School of Medicine, offers a rich context for psychology interns to explore innovative state-of-the-art approaches to science-practice integration. Didactic learning in seminars centers on clinically relevant content areas and supervision focuses on utilizing the psychological literature to inform clinical practice, as well as applying a scientific method of thought to assessment, case conceptualization, and intervention planning. Additionally, faculty members model a range of professional role functions through their clinical work, training activities, applied research endeavors, community engagement, and public policy advocacy relative to issues that concern both professional psychology and the public interest from which interns can draw as reference points for informing their own professional role development. Supervisory orientations differ depending on the service setting. Supervision in different treatment modalities such as individual, couples/family, group, case management, and consultation allows the intern the opportunity to sample various intervention strategies. Additionally, all aspects of training integrate experiential, scholarly, theoretical, and evidence-based learning activities associated with both the science and practice of psychology. This broad-based generalist clinical training framework serves as an excellent foundation for psychologists who pursue generalist scientist-practitioner careers, as well as those who may specialize further during post-doctoral training.

The number of interns selected each year is limited to three interns for the general internship experience general track, one intern for the general internship experience trauma track, two interns on the neuropsychology track with an adult/pediatric concentration, and 2 interns on the neuropsychology track with an adult/geriatric concentration. The size of the intern class ensures that the faculty have the time and support to make a major commitment to supervision and teaching of interns.