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Philosophy and Goals

The goal of the internship program at Children’s National Hospital is to train professional psychologists who have a particular interest in child clinical and/or pediatric psychology. The program is designed to encourage the development of clinical competence with children and families, with sensitivity to, and facility with, cultural differences, ethical issues, interdisciplinary relationships and the changing environment of healthcare, including funding issues.

The internship adheres to the nine profession-wide competencies set out by the American Psychological Association’s Standards of Accreditation for Health Services Psychologists. These standards are essential for performing all services in the field of psychology. These competencies include:

  • Research
  • Ethical and legal standards
  • Individual and cultural diversity
  • Professional values, attitudes and behaviors
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills

Objectives of Training

Interns develop these competencies through the well-rounded curriculum and by achieving the specific objectives for our program, as outlined below.

  • Interns will develop facility with a range of diagnostic skills, including: interviews, history taking, risk assessment, child protective issues, diagnostic formulation, triage, disposition and referral.
  • Interns will develop skills in psychological intervention, including: environmental interventions, crisis intervention, short-term and long-term individual psychotherapy, group and family psychotherapy and behavioral medicine techniques.
  • Interns will develop facility with a range of assessment techniques, including electives in: developmental testing, cognitive testing, achievement testing, assessment of behavior/emotional functioning, assessment of parent-child relationships and family systems, and neuropsychological evaluation.
  • Interns will develop facility with psychological consultation, through individual cases and participation in multidisciplinary teams, including consultation to: parents, mental health staff (e.g., psychiatrists, social workers) medical staff (e.g., physicians, nurses, PT, OT, etc.), school systems and the legal system. Consultation training occurs in both the inpatient and outpatient setting, both downtown and in the suburbs, and ranges from primary to tertiary care.
  • Interns will learn the clinical, legal and ethical issues involved in documentation of mental health services within a medical setting.
  • Interns will integrate science and practice in assessment, intervention and consultation. Interns are trained in empirically-supported treatments, behavioral medicine protocols and empirically-supported assessment techniques. Interns are exposed to research in many of these areas in their work with psychology faculty.
  • Interns will develop assessment batteries, treatment goals and consultative relationships based on the clinical issues at hand, while also considering potential limitations imposed by managed care and health policy and other issues of third party or family payment for mental health services. Interns will appreciate the range of vehicles for service delivery (e.g., primary care versus specialty clinics), which allow access to a variety of populations with social, financial and other obstacles to mental health.

Former Interns

Initial positions of the 96 interns who have completed the program since 1997:

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowships: 82
  • Return to University to Complete Dissertation: 10
  • Research Position: 7
  • Clinical Position: 3
  • Teaching Position: 2