Skip Navigation

Predoctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology

The Emory University School of Medicine/Grady Health System (Emory/Grady) predoctoral internship in clinical psychology has both a General Internship Experience (GIE, General and Trauma Track experiences) and a Neuropsychology Track (NT) within the General Internship. The internship utilizes a competency-based generalist clinical training philosophy that is firmly rooted in a scientist-practitioner model of psychology education. A developmental framework guides a core focus on continuing to cultivate professional trainee competencies (knowledge, skills, attitudes), thereby building on competencies learned during doctoral training and anchored by the science of psychology. Supervised clinical experience with varied clinical populations across a range of settings is provided throughout the internship year, along with opportunities for professional development in training and scholarly activities. Collectively, these activities 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. The internship is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Applicants may contact the Commission by phone at 202 336 5979, by mail at 750 First Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002 or on the web at http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/contact.aspx.

The General Internship Experience is based at Grady Health System (GHS), a university affiliated public hospital located in downtown Atlanta that serves as the primary teaching hospital for the Emory University School of Medicine. Within this large urban hospital setting, interns gain diverse clinical experiences with child and adult psychiatric and medical patients with severe psychopathology and life stressors. The Neuropsychology Track offers rich and diverse training experiences through the neuropsychology services of three facilities within Emory Healthcare: the Emory University Center for Rehabilitation Medicine (CRM), Children’s Health Care of Atlanta (CHOA), and Wesley Woods Center (WW). The NT meets APA Division 40, Houston Conference, and Association of Internship Training Centers in Neuropsychology (AITCN) criteria for neuropsychology training.

A key strength of the internship involves the diversity of available clinical training experiences combined with a dynamic academic health sciences center training environment that offers a wealth of learning opportunities.  The clinical breadth of services provided and patients served by GHS makes it possible for interns to obtain general clinical training across a range of settings. Similarly, the collective range of services offered and clinical populations served at the Emory CRM, CHOA, and WW provide exceptional neuropsychology internship training opportunities.  The varied clinical environments within which the internship program is set serve patient populations representing a wide range of sociodemographic backgrounds with respect to age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, and socioeconomic status. As such, the development of individual and cultural diversity competency is prioritized throughout the internship year, with interns learning about the necessity of a cultural framework for effective and ethical psychology practice across all domains of professional functioning. Additionally, our training model underscores the importance of considering the local context in all professional psychology endeavors.

Finally, the training environment 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). 

Multiple theoretical orientations are represented among the faculty, including integrative, psychodynamic, interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, family systems, existential/humanistic, developmental, biopsychosocial, and neuropsychological/neurobiological. The neuropsychology faculty takes a syndrome-oriented, flexible battery approach to assessment that incorporates quantitative and qualitative data in the differential diagnosis of neuropsychological disorders. 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.

Throughout the year, the interplay of science and practice is emphasized. 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.

The number of interns selected each year is limited to three interns for the GIE General Track, one intern for the GIE Trauma Track, and four interns for the Neuropsychology Track.  This ensures that the faculty have the time and support to make a major commitment to supervision and teaching of interns. Additionally, the internship program is committed to a continual review process of the program to help ensure that the training offered is relevant to the clinical training needs of interns as well as employment opportunities that are available in the changing health care environment.