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Providing Clinical Training for Doctoral Interns

The Doctoral Internship Program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). In preparation for the role of clinical psychologist, the program’s goal is to provide an organized training and educational experience in clinical psychology to doctoral interns and to assist participants in developing proficiencies in the provision of psychological services to adults, children, families, and persons who are legally-involved.

All services and modes of training are responsive to the cultural, racial, and ethnic differences of the population served. The primary goal of service delivery is to address the emotional, behavioral, and developmental needs of clients to obtain and maintain enhanced levels of functioning at home, in the school, at work, and in the community.

Aims Statement

The Aim of the Clinical Training Program for the Will County Health Department is to prepare doctoral interns to become competent and ethical psychologists who practice within a holistic and integrative model of behavioral health service delivery that enhances collaboration and partnerships within the community.

Training Model

The Doctoral Internship Program is grounded in a scholar-practitioner model and is designed to provide a broad-based professional training experience in psychological service delivery. The internship is designed to provide excellent training and supervision in the various activities and responsibilities practiced by a professional psychologist. The training staff is highly committed to an internship program that encourages participants to gain a broad exposure to a variety of professional activities and services with diverse populations that exist in a community setting. At the completion of the internship, interns will be prepared to assume positions of responsibility within the profession.

Program Philosophy

The program utilizes a developmental approach wherein the internship is organized in a cumulative and sequential manner advancing to increased degrees of complexity as the year progresses. This developmental approach is followed in both the didactic trainings as well as in experiential activities. In following the developmental approach, doctoral interns first undergo a comprehensive and thorough orientation to the agency over a 4-week period. Fundamental skills and knowledge are initially emphasized as a foundation for more complex skills and clinical issues and applications. The intent of this approach is to foster and maintain doctoral interns’ continued growth and development within a safe learning environment.

Program Goals

The Doctoral Internship Program has three training goals grounded in the scholar-practitioner model:

  • Doctoral interns will demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills to function as ethical and competent entry-level psychologists.
  • Doctoral interns will demonstrate the ability to integrate science and practice of psychology to diverse, multicultural populations within community mental health settings.
  • Doctoral interns demonstrate knowledge and skill in the ability to effectively interact on a treatment team.

Each goal is further delineated by specific objectives and additional competencies, or specific skills. Specific program objectives aim to assess demonstration of knowledge and skill in assessment, psychotherapy, professionalism, ethics, diversity, application of scientific knowledge, evaluation of treatment outcomes, and multidisciplinary collaboration and communication.

Required Training Activities

Experiential activities include but are not limited to clinical psycho-diagnostic assessment, direct face-to-face interventions in the forms of group, individual and family therapy, crisis intervention, integration with primary care, and case management services. These are accomplished while utilizing multiple theoretical orientations such as cognitive therapy, behavior modification, solution-focused and others. Other experiential components of the program include formal face-to-face individual and group supervision by licensed clinical psychologists, didactic trainings, interdisciplinary staffings, division staff meetings, agency seminars and trainings, and supervision of practicum students. Administrative and paperwork components include psycho-diagnostic assessment reports, mental health assessments, clinical evaluations, progress notes, treatment plans and other clinical documentation.

Requirements for Completion

Completion of 2000 hours onsite as documented on a training log signed off by the Licensed Supervising Clinical Psychologist.

  • A rating of three or above for all individual competency domains on the Doctoral Intern Evaluation Form
  • A grade of Pass on all didactic training competency demonstrations
  • Doctoral Intern Evaluation Forms, academic institutions evaluation forms, and all clinical documentation.
  • Completion of an exit interview within the last week of the doctoral internship.
  • Return of all equipment, keys, and identification badges.

Clinical Training Activities

Clinical Services
Interns maintain a caseload of 20-25 clients and provide the following services: mental health assessments, person centered planning, individual therapy, case management, transition and discharge, and referral and linkage to other services. Doctoral interns are expected to engage in ongoing consultation with psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, case managers, and language translators as well as participate in monthly staff Division and weekly program meetings.

Behavioral Health Services in Primary Care
Doctoral interns are expected to provide mental health screenings, mental health assessments, crisis response services and referral and linkage. In addition, doctoral interns work collaboratively within a multidisciplinary treatment team to develop treatment plans which may include: individual and family therapy, medication monitoring, and case management services. In this setting, doctoral interns are expected to engage in ongoing consultation with primary care providers and participate in monthly multidisciplinary staff meetings.

Psycho-diagnostic Testing
Doctoral interns are expected to complete a minimum of four comprehensive psychological evaluations and psychological reports. Doctoral Interns will conduct testing for individuals who have been referred from the following programs: Adult Behavioral Health, Forensics, Addictions, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health and the Community Health Center.

Peer Supervision
Doctoral interns are expected to develop their skills in providing supervision of psycho-diagnostic and therapy externs. Supervision tasks include but are not limited to the following:

  • Assisting in the administration, scoring, and data integration.
  • Reviewing drafts of psychological reports
  • Collaborating on case consultation
  • Assisting with diagnostic formulation
  • Developing Interventions/treatment plans


Clerical Support
The WCHD Clinical Training Program is supported by a number of staff members who provide clerical support to the clinical staff as well as the doctoral interns and externs in the program. The members of clerical support consist of the following full time positions: office supervisor, administrative and registration clerks, medical secretaries, reimbursement specialists, translators and human resources personnel.

Office Supervisor’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Distributing, collecting and processing initial paperwork, such as background checks, fingerprinting and the actual application, as well as any contracts (if applicable)
  • Setting up the network access – Custom Information System (CIS) and email addresses
  • Importing electronic signatures into CIS
  • Keeping a roster of all students in the Clinical Training Program (CTP) and updating it regularly for monthly CTP committee meetings
  • Collecting and processing interns’ time sheets, payroll and distributing paychecks
  • Facilitating reimbursement for mileage
  • Upon completion of the training, off-boarding interns and training staff, collecting ID badges and terminating their access to CIS/email
  • Informing doctoral interns about upcoming trainings and assisting with registration
  • Ensuring that all office and other supplies are ordered and available
    • Providing additional administrative assistance as needed

Administrative and Registration Staff responsibilities include the following:

  • Greeting clients and notifying doctoral interns of their arrival
  • Assisting clients with completing initial paperwork
  • Scheduling appointments and making reminder phone call
  • Data entry
  • Accepting payments
  • Creating clients’ charts
  • Assisting doctoral interns with CIS functions

Medical Secretaries’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Overseeing the storage and distribution of clients’ charts
  • Assisting with medical records releases
  • Retrieving closed charts

Reimbursement Specialists’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Training students on CIS
  • Training students on coding functions
  • Meeting with clients for financial registration
  • Assisting with enrolling clients for the Affordable Care Act
  • Submitting billing for all transactions

Translators’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Providing translation services

Human Resources Personnel’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Processing initial on-boarding paperwork
  • Conducting background checks and fingerprinting
  • Processing applications and contracts
  • Maintaining and storing interns’ records
  • Providing ID badges

Technical Support Team’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Providing access to computers, internet, word processing, and the electronic charting system
  • Maintaining and providing technical support for computer and telecommunication resources
  • Providing e-mail accounts to all doctoral interns, externs, and all training staff

Financial Assistance

The Division of Behavioral Health’s financial base is supported by revenues from the tax levy of Will County and supplemented by additional funding from the Department of Mental Health/Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, and State and Federal grants. From these revenue sources the Director of the Division of Behavioral Health creates an annual budget that provides the following line items in support of the Clinical Training Program:

  • Doctoral interns’ stipends ($25,000 per 2000 hour training year)
  • Supervisors’ salaries
  • Materials and supplies
  • Trainings / In-services / Workshops / Conferences

Long range strategic planning by the Will County Board, the Board of Health and the organization’s executive administrators maintain the institution’s financial stability.

Diversity and Multicultural Awareness

The Clinical Training Program is committed to recruiting and retaining diverse clinical supervisors and interns to foster a climate of inclusion, promote socially responsible practice, and cultivate healthier local and global communities. To uphold that commitment, candidates from diverse ethnic, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, and religious backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Doctoral interns are expected to enhance their understanding and appreciation for multicultural approaches to treatment and persons served. Cultural competency is one of the main factors in closing the disparities gap in behavioral health service delivery.

The Clinical Training Program promotes services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse clients with the goal of positive health outcomes. Culture specific value orientations determine how individuals relate to and understand their world, themselves, and others. Cultural factors can influence how individuals manifest symptoms, how they cope, the extent of family and community support, as well as whether or not to seek treatment.

Admission Criteria

Applicants with the following qualifications are eligible for interview consideration with the Clinical Training Program Committee.

Practica and Academic Preparation Requirements:

  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a mental health or equivalent field obtained by the start of doctoral internship.
  • Three years (or equivalent) of graduate school at an APA accredited, degree-granting clinical or counseling doctoral psychology program.
  • Completion of all relevant coursework and successfully passed all comprehensive or qualifying exams.
  • 1200 hours of supervised Practicum training that includes both psychodiagnostic testing and intervention in the form of direct face-to-face delivery of psychological services.
  • All applicants must be approved for internship status by the Director of Training of their graduate program.

Application and Selection Process

The doctoral internship demands maturity and motivation, as well as interests, skills and prior academic and practicum experiences that match the program’s aims, goals and objectives. The Clinical Training Program Committee shall select doctoral interns from among eligible applicants on the basis of their preparedness, academic credentials, strong work ethic, cultural competency, clinical experiences, and ability to perform independently as well as within a multidisciplinary team. No individual at the Will County Health Department will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any doctoral intern applicant. In addition, the following precepts will be given strong consideration in the doctoral intern selection process.

The Clinical Training Program Precepts

  • Master’s Degree in psychology, counseling, or social work
  • Licensure as an LCPC, LCSW or LMFT
  • Bilingual competency in Spanish
  • Certification in substance abuse counseling
  • Military background
  • Practicum/work experience with Substance Use Disorders
  • Practicum/work experience with chronic and persistent mental illness
  • Practicum/work experience with Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention
  • Practicum/work experience with Behavioral Health and Primary Care
  • Practicum/work experience with the Criminal Justice System
  • Practicum/work experience with Community Mental Health/Public Health
  • Advanced practicum experience

Selection Process:

  • The committee convenes to review all applications submitted through the APPIC selection portal
  • The committee uses the doctoral intern selection criteria to determine which applicants will be selected for an interview
  • All applicants will be notified of their interview status via email by the established deadline
  • Selected candidates are interviewed by the Clinical Training Program Committee
  • The Clinical Training Program Committee convenes to rank the applicants
  • The rank order list is submitted online to APPIC by the established deadline
  • In accordance with the Will County Health Department policy and procedures, candidates who match for internship must successfully complete a background check, including fingerprinting, prior to being appointed for internship. Candidates will be approved for internship upon clearing the background check
  • The program shall participate in Phase 2 of the National Matching Services and/or Clearinghouse if needed
  • The Clinical Training Program’s Policies and Procedures are available from the Training Director upon request

Clinical Training Program Doctoral Internships Materials

Doctoral Internship Brochure

Internship Handbook