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Internship in Health Service Psychology

The Emory University School of Medicine Internship in Health Service Psychology is based in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Rehabilitation Medicine.  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 initially received 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 for Internship Training in Clinical Neuropsychology (AITCN) guidelines for neuropsychology internships.  The Emory University School of Medicine Internship in Health Service Psychology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.  Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation 

Questions about the internship training program should be directed to the Director of Psychology Internship Training, Emory University School of Medicine Internship in Health Service Psychology:

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Grady Health System
80 Jesse Hill Jr Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404) 616-6862/E-mail: efarber@emory.edu 

Training Philosophy

The internship year represents a time to solidify and expand clinical skills and knowledge as well as to gain experiences that support professional development consistent with roles and standards of practice in health service psychology.  The internship program is anchored by a scientist-practitioner model such that training emphasizes the integration of clinical theory and practice with scientific knowledge to inform clinical assessment, case formulation, and intervention as part of an overarching evidence-based practice approach.  The training experience also is grounded in a generalist framework in which interns across all training tracks have opportunities for supervised work with clinically and socio-demographically diverse populations across the lifespan in a range of settings. Accordingly, interns gain experience with diverse clinical populations with respect to psycho-diagnostic presentation, severity of psychological dysfunction, neurocognitive status, psychosocial functioning, and co-occurrence of health/medical conditions. Interns also are exposed to a variety of theoretical frameworks for clinical practice, including integrative, neuropsychological, neurobiological, psychodynamic, interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and humanistic/existential.  Training activities are structured in accordance with a competency-based perspective to ensure development of key competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) in health service 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 preferences, interests, needs and goals.

Focus on Diversity and Individual Differences

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 culture, language, age, ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, religion, and socioeconomic status.  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 internship program subscribes to the Emory University School of Medicine Psychology Program Diversity and Inclusiveness Guidance document, which can be found on the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences website. The internship program also subscribes to the Emory University School of Medicine Policy on Diversity

Interns also have the option to participate in program-affiliated initiatives and committees that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Examples include the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee and the Atlanta Behavioral Health Advocates.

Training Experience

As a leading center for scientific inquiry, Emory University, including the School of Medicine, offers a rich training context for psychology interns to explore innovative state-of-the-art approaches to science-practice integration. All aspects of training integrate experiential, theoretical, and evidence-based learning activities associated with both the science and practice of health service psychology. The training program is structured to ensure that the faculty have the time and support to make a major commitment to supervision and teaching of interns. Consistent with the program philosophy, a primary focus on experiential learning via direct clinical service activities during the internship year is regarded as essential for interns to achieve competency in effectively applying scientifically derived psychological knowledge. Interns have opportunities for supervised experience in individual, couple/family, and group psychotherapy as well as case management, and consultation. Interns also learn about key systemic aspects of professional functioning. For instance, interns gain experience in interprofessional 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. Didactic learning in seminars centers on clinically relevant content areas as well as professional development topics. Additionally, faculty members model a range of professional role functions (e.g., clinical, teaching/training, scholarship/research, community engagement, professional/public interest advocacy) from which interns can draw as reference points for informing their own professional role development. This broad-based 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.

Required Hours for Internship Completion and Workload Expectations

The internship is structured as a 1-year full-time training experience.  Interns are required to complete a minimum of 2,000 hours over 52 weeks.  The typical workload that an intern can expect is 45–50 hours per week.

Internship Training in the Context of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

While the training rotation structures and experiences described in this brochure remain essentially intact, the internship training program has adapted the training experience in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Psychology interns are regarded as essential employees which means that they are expected to conduct their clinical roles and responsibilities in accordance with institutional policies and safety protocols of the University and clinical settings in which they are completing their training. On-site face-to-face clinical activities are continuing in specific rotation sites (e.g., inpatient settings) or training activities (e.g., hospital-based consultation-liaison work). Where feasible and practical, clinical training activities (e.g., outpatient intervention and assessment) are being conducted via remote telehealth and video conference modalities, as are clinical supervision and didactic activities. Therefore, interns can expect to participate in a combination of on-site and remote training activities. When working on-site, interns are required to adhere strictly to the safety policies and protocols of the clinical sites where they are completing their rotation and are provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment to conduct their work. Decisions about on-site versus remote training via telehealth are subject to change during the training year as institutional policies and safety protocols evolve in response to changes in local COVID-19 pandemic conditions and indicators.