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Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship Program

The Wyoming State Hospital Pre-Doctoral Internship program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and is a member of the Association of Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral Internship Centers (APPIC). Committed to training generalist practitioners, the WSH internship encourages trainees to acquire and consolidate scholarly and scientific knowledge while focusing training on working with adults with severe mental illness. Our interns further refine and develop their clinical skills through working from multiple treatment modalities and with varied client populations within an inpatient setting.

Internship training at WSH is based on the scholar-practitioner model, built upon the assumption that excellent psychological services are based upon the best available science of psychology and are consistent with current and evolving professional and ethical standards of care. All WSH psychologists are expected to be aware of the current scientific literature in their areas of expertise, to discuss and apply that knowledge with interns both in supervision and didactic seminars, and to model ongoing professional development.

Internship training progresses based on a developmental model. At the beginning of the year, supervisors and interns determine each trainee’s strengths and training needs and develop training goals based upon these and our six core competencies, which are discussed below. At the beginning of the internship year, interns shadow their supervisors, co-facilitate groups with supervisors and as the year progresses, they facilitate groups independently and take more responsibility for very challenging treatment and assessment cases. Interns gain experience and expertise and work more independently as the year progresses, with the goal of preparing interns to function as entry-level practitioners in a variety of settings.

Letter from the WSH Psychology Training Director (click here)

Complete Program Information

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Program Overview:
The Wyoming State Hospital (WSH) offers two one-year, full-time pre-doctoral internship training positions in professional psychology. The program is committed to providing interns with opportunities to achieve increasing autonomy and clinical responsibility appropriate with their education, training, and professional competence. Our goal is to assist interns in becoming well-rounded entry level professionals, prepared to function as psychologists in a variety of settings and with persons presenting a wide range of diagnoses. Interns at WSH have opportunities to work with individuals diagnosed with a broad range of emotional, behavioral, and thought disturbances, particularly severe and persistent mental illness. Through primary and secondary rotation experiences, interns receive both depth and breadth of training in order to achieve our training goals of producing well-rounded professionals with the breadth of experience necessary for rural practice and depth of experience with adults with SPMI.

Interns spend about 20 hours per week in direct patient care activities, usually dividing this time about equally between assessment and treatment (individual and group). Interns primary experience involves working with severely mentally ill individuals with complex problems, including major mental illness often co-occurring with substance abuse or dependence, personality disorders, medical problems, and/or intellectual or developmental disabilities. Interns also have the opportunity to work with geriatric and forensic patients.

We believe that excellent psychological services come from empirically-based methods modified based on family, individual, and cultural preferences. We value a diverse staff, with regard to both professional and personal backgrounds, as it enriches our department and in turn, our contribution to patient care.

Primary Rotation Experiences (Overview):
Primary Rotations are full-year training experiences.

Primary Rotation Descriptions:

Adult, Inpatient Acute Care primary rotation:
This is a year-long primary rotation on the Adult Psychiatric Services (APS) unit at the Wyoming State Hospital. The supervisors for this rotation are Drs. Klotzbach, Kay, and Merkey (see above regarding assignment of supervision). Adult Psychiatric Services facility consists of three wings and approximately 42 beds. Length of stay is typically 30-90 days although longer stays are possible when necessary. People admitted to APS carry a wide range of diagnoses including psychotic disorders such as Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder, mood disorders such as Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often complicated by substance abuse or dependence, personality disorders, particularly Borderline Personality Disorder, intellectual disabilities, and dementias.    Multiple disorders present unique treatment challenges. As patients become more psychiatrically stable, they are discharged to community settings. Those who have difficulty stabilizing may be transitioned to a 25 bed longer-term unit that is also part of APS, providing opportunities for longer-term therapy.

Part of the intern’s role is to serve on the multidisciplinary treatment team, providing diagnostic screening, psychological assessment, individual and group psychotherapy, and consultation services. The interns provide individual and group treatment (process and psycho-educational groups), and may also develop behavioral treatment programs for individual patients. Interns also provide assessment services addressing a variety of referral questions (e.g., diagnostic clarification, cognitive functioning, independent functioning, psychological functioning, disability evaluation). The intern on APS will experience working with a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses and levels of functioning, severe psychopathology, and persons with multiple diagnoses. A significant number of patients seen on APS have co-occurring substance abuse problems in addition to other mental illness and/or personality disorders. Some patients have co-occurring intellectual disabilities or serious medical problems that must be addressed as part of their treatment. This rotation offers an opportunity to hone brief therapy skills, develop expertise in rapidly determining diagnoses, experience working with individuals who are acutely psychotic, manic, depressed, have cognitive limitations, and/or at risk for suicide, and work intensively with a multidisciplinary team.  Interns will also have the opportunity to practice longer-therapy in the inpatient setting.

Interns who match with this position will spend about four days per week working on their primary rotation unit.  They will select a secondary rotation to complete one day per week.  Interns may choose two secondary rotations, each lasting six month, or depending on availability of assignments, one secondary rotation that lasts throughout the year.  Secondary rotations may be completed in forensics, geriatrics (treatment and assessment), substance abuse (treatment and assessment), or cognitive assessment.

Interns can expect to complete at least 15 intake assessments and at least 10 psychological assessment batteries during their year-long primary rotation on APS.  Individual therapy caseloads typically include at least 4 clients who are usually seen at least twice per week.  Interns can expect 4-6 hours of group therapy experience per week.  Most interns participate in creating and implementing behavior management programs.  Interns will obtain additional experience with assessment, individual therapy and group therapy as part of their secondary rotations. 

Forensic Emphasis/Adult SPMI primary rotation:
This position will provide more in-depth training and experience with forensic assessment and treatment than an intern would obtain completing a secondary rotation in forensics. Forensic assessments are primarily focused on competency to stand trial and mental status at the time of offense with some opportunity to observe or conduct risk assessments. Within their forensic assessments, the intern will often conduct objective personality assessments such as the PAI and MMPI-2, intelligence tests such as the WAIS-IV, and cognitive tests such as the RBANS. The intern will also provide treatment to the forensic population (often, individuals adjudicated Not Guilty By Reason of Mental illness or incarcerated individuals in need of psychiatric treatment or competency restoration) including individual and group psychotherapy. Interns will learn the Forensic Specialty Guidelines and Wyoming law related to forensic issues.

The intern who matches with this position will spend about three days per week working with the forensic population and two days per week working with the adult SPMI, civilly committed population. The intern will provide individual and group psychotherapy, diagnostic screening, and psychological assessment with the civilly committed population. We aim to provide a balance between assessment and treatment experiences such that half of the intern’s direct service hours are devoted to assessment (with the forensic or non-forensic populations) and half are devoted to treatment (with the forensic and non-forensic populations.) The primary supervisor for the forensic portion of this experience will be Dr. Rogers and the primary supervisor for the adult SPMI portion will be Drs. Kay, Klotzbach, or Merkey.

Interns who match with the Forensic Emphasis/Adult SPMI position can expect to complete 12-18 forensic assessments, 3-5 clinical assessments, and 6-10 intakes during the training year. The intern will also provide individual and group psychotherapy with both the forensically-committed and civilly committed populations at WSH. We will strive to maintain a balance of psychotherapy and assessment between the various experiences so that the intern can expect to spend about 50% of their direct service time in assessment-related activities (forensic and clinical assessment) and 50% of their time in treatment-related activities.

Assignment of Supervisors: Supervisors are assigned depending on several factors, including the match between the intern’s interests and training goals and supervisor’s expertise and WSH assignment. Drs. Kay, Klotzbach, and Merkey are primary supervisors on the Adult Acute Inpatient program and Dr. Rogers is the primary supervisor in the Forensic Emphasis primary rotation.

Program Philosophy, Training Model and Core Competencies:
The philosophy of the Internship Training Program flows from the mission and vision of the Wyoming State Hospital. That mission and vision are centered on improving the lives of persons served by WSH and promoting a sense of empowerment and inclusion for persons with mental illness. Consistent with that mission and vision, the department and the training program are dedicated to excellent service delivery, high quality intern training to enable delivery of such services, and assistance to treatment teams in delivering services. Briefly stated, the Internship Training Program operates within a scholar-practitioner model of training. Supervisors are concerned primarily with training interns to function as independently practicing clinicians in a wide variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient, residential or private practice settings. The training experiences are built upon the idea of understanding intern's strengths and training needs, then building proficiency in a set of “core competency” areas that are central to ethical and effective practice in a variety of settings. These core areas include proficiency in:

    • Individual therapy
    • Group psychotherapy
    • Diagnosis and assessment (administration, scoring, interpretation, and report writing)
    • Functioning in a multi-disciplinary environment
    • Professionalism (ethical practice, development of one's personal identity as a professional)
    • Understanding of individual differences and diversity issues.


GENERAL INFORMATION

Start & End Dates:
The internship year begins on July 27, 2015 and ends on July 22, 2016. This is a full-time internship (52 weeks, 2000 hours).

Selection Process:
The WSH Psychology Internship adheres to the selection policies and procedures outlined in the APPIC Guidelines. A full listing of APPIC Match Policies is available at www.appic.org.

Interns are selected based on their goodness of fit with their rotation interests. Interns who have coursework, practicum experience, and interest in the populations served by WSH are considered good matches for our program. We also consider writing skills, and thus require a work sample as part of the application process. We prefer interns have completed their comprehensive exams and have proposed their dissertations prior to the beginning of the internship. We seek interns who are responsible, eager to learn, and self-motivated. As we work in a multidisciplinary team setting, we prefer interns who work well with others and respect the contributions of all disciplines to client care. As noted above, we value diversity among our staff and interns. Individuals from diverse personal backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Stipend & Benefits:
The WSH offers a one-year, full-time predoctoral internship with a stipend of $20,425.60 (see also Cost of Living information on the Community page). The cost of living is relatively low in Evanston, making this a living (though thrifty) wage. Health and dental benefits are also available, with additional information provided upon request.

Offices, Workspace & Computer Access:
Interns have office space near their primary supervisor’s office, and a private office with a personal computer within the Psychological Services area. Interns also have a desk in the staff area of Adult Acute Inpatient Unit.

Summary of Training Hours:
The amount of time per week in experiential and scholarly learning can vary each week depending on training interests and needs. WSH interns can expect that their clinical and training responsibilities will be approximately 40 to 50 hours per week. These time estimates account for clinical service, supervision, seminars and didactic experiences, as well as administration, scoring, and writing psychological assessments, progress notes, etc. See the primary descriptions for estimates of training hours in various assessment and therapy activities above for a full explanation of training hours expectations. 

Interns spend 2 hours per week in individual supervision with their primary supervisors, 1 hour per week of individual supervision with their secondary supervisor and one hour per week of group supervision. Interns have the opportunity to work alongside their supervisors on treatment units and in group therapy. Supervisors are readily available for informal consultation. The approach to supervision is developmental and aimed at assisting the intern in developing clinical skills, their own theoretical orientation, and sense of identity as a professional psychologist.

Guidelines Regarding Outside Professional Activities:
As a Psychology Intern at WSH, your training experiences and responsibilities are to be the highest priority. Given the priority of training, the training director determines whether its training needs are compatible with outside activities. The Training Director must approve any outside employment during internship.


APPLICATION INFORMATION

Information Applicable to: Class of 2015-2016

Applications:
WSH accepts applications beginning in September 2014 for the internship year 2015-2016. Applicants must submit their application materials online. We require the AAPI, vita, graduate transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation, and a de-identified psychological report to be submitted.

Receiving Materials:
Application materials are to be submitted no later than November 21, 2014.

Reviewing Materials:
Completed applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, beginning in October of the application year.

Application Requirements:

  • Enrollment in APA-approved program
  • 400 hours direct client contact (assessment and intervention hours), minimum of 300 hours with adults
  • Experience (assessment or intervention) with at least 20 individuals with SPMI
  • Assessment experience: at least 4 WAIS-III or IV administrations; at least 6 MMPI-2 and/or PAI
  • Interest in populations served at WSH
  • Completed comprehensive exams by application deadline
  • Strongly preferred: applicants who have defended their dissertation proposals by the time of application
  • If matched with WSH, applicant must pass a criminal background check to be eligible for state employment during internship
  • In order to be considered for the Forensic Emphasis/Adult SPMI primary rotation, applicants must have forensic coursework and/or experience with or exposure to forensic assessment and the population.  Experience with forensic and risk assessments is preferred.

Interview Invitations:
Invitations for interview are offered on or before December 15.

Interviews: (telephone, in-person)
The WSH offers either in-person or teleconference interviews. Interviews are held in January and are completed one to two weeks before the deadline for submitting ranking information to the Match. In-person interviews are held during open house days and include orientation to the facility, individual interviews with staff, hospital tour, lunch with current interns and informal question and answer periods. Interviews follow a standardized set of questions regarding the applicant’s interest in the position, experience, and goals for internship.

Persons selecting a telephone interview have the opportunity to speak with the interns. Email addresses of staff are also listed under the Staff section.

Please note that inclement weather is always a possibility during the winter months of Wyoming. While we make every effort to proceed with interviews as planned, there may be occasions in which this becomes impossible or during which applicants are unable to maintain travel arrangements. In the event of bad weather or difficulty maintaining travel arrangements, you may call the Psychology Office (307-789-3464, ext. 675) to make alternate plans (e.g., schedule a telephone interview) and/or reschedule your interview.

APPIC Policies and Information:
Submit application materials to WSH selection portal. The current edition of the APPIC Application for Psychology Internship (AAPI) and APPIC Match Policies can be accessed at the APPIC Web site (www.appic.org). The Wyoming State Hospital Internship in Psychology is an APA Approved Internship program and member of APPIC. The APPIC Match Policies are available at http://www.appic.org. WSH participates in the National Matching Services program for intern matching.

APPIC Internship Matching Information:

Program Code #

Program Description

# of Positions

164216

Adult Acute Inpatient Care.

2

(for more detailed Primary Rotation Assignment information, click the rotation title)

Submit all information online to the WSH Selection Portal:

Wyoming State Hospital
Department of Psychological Services
Denise DeBarre, PhD, Training Coordinator
denise.debarre@wyo.gov
Psychology Internship Program
Wyoming State Hospital
P.O. Box 177
Evanston, WY 82931

APA and APPIC Contact Information:

  • American Psychological Association
    Office of Accreditation
    750 First Street
    Washington DC 20002-4242
    Phone: (202) 336-5979
    TDD: (202) 336-6123
    Web address: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation
  • Association of Psychology Postdoctoral & Internship Centers (APPIC)
    17225 El Camino Real, Suite #170
    Houston Tx 77058-2748
    P: 832.284.4080
    F: 832.284.4079
    Web address: http://www.appic.org/

TRAINING ROTATIONS

Supervision & Consultation:
Interns receive four hours of supervision per week. Two hours are spent in individual supervision with their primary supervisors, 1 hour per week in group supervision, and 1 hour spent with the secondary supervisor. At mid-year, interns on the Adult SPMI program switch primary supervisors in order to experience a different perspective. Supervisors and psychology staff are also available for informal consultation on an as-needed basis. At the beginning of the year, training often includes the intern observing the supervisor conducting an interview or group therapy, or the supervisor observing an intern providing these services. As the year progresses, interns become more independent, usually facilitating groups independently or as the group leader, treating highly challenging individuals and providing assessment and consultation for complex referral questions.

Training Rotations:
Primary Rotation Assignments: Adult Acute Inpatient Care, Forensic Emphasis/Adult SPMI

(for more detailed Primary Rotation Assignment information, click the rotation title)

 

Additional Training Opportunities:
Interns may request or be given assessment or therapy cases to complete on units throughout the WSH, in order to broaden their experience in working with individuals with varied presenting problems. Such arrangements are typically made informally with the assistance of the intern's primary supervisor. In addition, interns may have opportunities to provide supervision to psychology students and other trainees at WSH.

Training Activities:
Direct experience with WSH patients through assessment and individual and group therapy is the primary training experience. Interns also have several projects to complete during the internship year to demonstrate their growing expertise. These include completing 2 assessment reports with limited supervisory consultation, receiving feedback from all training committee members, 2 case presentations (a diversity case and a therapy case), an ethical issue presentation, developing and implementing a group, and presenting a training seminar for WSH staff. These assignments are spaced throughout the year and often presented to the internship class and training committee.

 

SEMINARS & RESOURCES

Didactic Seminars:
The Psychology Department offers a range of training seminars on Psychological Assessment, Individual and Group Therapy, Individual and Cultural Diversity Issues, Theory and Conceptualization, Ethics and Professionalism, and areas and issues of professional practice. Early seminars focus on basic issues and skills used on the majority of units at the Wyoming State Hospital and/or client populations in general (e.g., risk assessment, test interpretation, cultural diversity, individual & group therapies). In addition to seminars offered by Psychology Department Staff and Affiliated Staff, interns present a seminar on a topic related to their training toward the end of the internship year.

The WSH Knowledge Development Center offers compressed video and occasionally live training on a range of topics, particularly pharmacology.

Additional training seminars may be available by attending seminars at Mountain Regional Services, Inc. (MRSI). MRSI provides services to intellectually disabled individuals and mental health and substance abuse outpatient services, that also offers an accredited internship program.

Anticipated Didactic Seminars, 2014-2015:
Most of the listed seminar topics are presented in the weekly two-hour didactic seminar (currently held every Wednesday), with the remaining topics presented either in departmental training meetings or during orientation. While some variation of topics and presenters occurs each year, a core set of topics in assessment, therapy, and diversity issues is maintained from year-to-year.

      • Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment
      • Personality Assessment Inventory
      • Psychometrics and Report Writing
      • Memory Assessment
      • Dementia Assessment
      • Forensic Assessment
      • Parental Competency Assessment 
      • Suicide Risk Assessment & Management
      • Malingering
      • Assessment and Rehabilitation of Executive Functioning

Conceptualization & Empirically-Based Treatment

        • Dual Diagnosis Treatment (substance abuse & mental illness)
        • Group Therapy
        • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
        • Motivational Interviewing
        • Psychopharmacology
        • Personality Disorders
        • Psychopathy
        • Psychotic Disorders
        • Trauma & PTSD
      • Diversity Seminars
        • African Americans In Wyoming 
        • Church of Latter Day Saints
        • Spirituality, Healing & APA Guidelines
        • Self-Awareness
        • LGBT
      • Practice Settings & Professional Development
        • Preparing for the EPPP
        • Finding Jobs and Post-docs
        • Supervision
        • Consultation
        • Program Evaluation
      • APA Ethics & Practice Guidelines Overview
      • APA Ethics & Coping with Ethical Dilemmas
      • Dual Relationships & Other Ethical Issues in Rural Mental Health
      • Mandated Reporting & Practice Laws (general issues, Wyoming statutes)
      • Roundtable discussion with WSH disciplines (Occupational therapy, recreation therapy, social work, vocational therapy, nursing)

Training Resources:

  • Articles and Textbooks:
    The Psychology Department and the WSH maintain a small number of journals and practice related texts, selected electronic journal and PsycInfo access, as well as the satellite training programs. Interlibrary loan may be used either through Western Wyoming Community College, the local library, or the WSH library.

    In addition, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University are within 90 minutes of the WSH campus, in Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah, respectively. These universities have a wealth of resources in Psychology and related mental health fields. Utah State University is about two hours northwest of Evanston in Logan, Utah.

  • Assessment, Testing and Other Resources
    The Psychology Department maintains a strong collection of cognitive, personality, and specialized instruments.

CONTACT INFORMATION

For more specific information about the Wyoming State Hospital Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship Program, please call/email:

Denise DeBarre, PhD
Wyoming State Hospital Psychology Dept. Training Coordinator
831 Highway 150 South
Evanston, WY 82930
Phone: 307-789-3464, ext 675
Fax: 307-789-5277
E-mail: denise.debarre@wyo.gov