Internship Philosophy

The Mission Statement of Fulton State Hospital is as follows:

"Fulton State Hospital is a community of caring, skilled people, partnering with individuals challenged by mental illness to inspire healing and recovery. Partnership and Recovery."

Consistent with this, our model for preparing professional psychologists is based on four key values.  These include our: (1) conceptual model regarding the relationship between science and practice, (2) developmental, individualized approach to training,  (3) commitment to preparing psychologists to provide services to the seriously mentally ill, and (4) commitment to preparing psychologists for ethical practice.

The integration of psychological science and practice is central to our training model.  We conceptualize science and practice as complementary and interdependent such that psychological science informs practice and scientific inquiry is guided by professional practice.  In essence, we view psychological practice as an applied science.  In pragmatic terms, our integration of science and practice takes multiple forms. Building upon their doctoral education, interns receive experientially-based training in empirically-validated treatment programs and evidence-based approaches, as well as in formal methods of scientific inquiry.  We emphasize using objective assessment data from multiple sources to inform individual treatment planning, evaluate client outcomes, and to modify and improve interventions at the individual and programmatic level.

We view the internship year within the overall context of doctoral psychological training and emphasize professional growth and development.  Building upon interns’ prior learning, we facilitate their transition from the role of student to that of professional psychologist.  An initial, collaborative assessment between supervisor and intern regarding intern strengths, weaknesses, existing knowledge/skill bases, specific training needs, and areas of professional interest leads to the development of an individualized training plan, which  helps tailor the specific content of training experiences within each rotation and throughout the year.  Assessment of intern competencies and progress is ongoing throughout the year.  All training experiences are planned and coordinated such that as interns demonstrate increased competency they are given increased autonomy in professional service delivery and assigned increasingly complex learning tasks.  Thus, our training approach is sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity.

We are committed to preparing psychologists for high quality work with individuals who have serious mental disorders.  In our view, this is important for several reasons:  (1) this population is underserved, (2) professional psychology is underutilized with regard to treatment design and implementation for this population, and (3) more training opportunities with this emphasis are needed.  We provide training in empirically-validated treatment with the goal of helping severely disabled clients develop as much autonomy as possible.  Further, we emphasize the identification and application of clients’ strengths to facilitate successful outcomes.  Our approach is also collaborative in nature, as we invite clients to assert their own goals related to the treatment/rehabilitation process.

Finally, we are committed to preparing psychologists for ethical practice in general, with a particular emphasis on ethical practice in a forensic setting.  Many of our clients interface with the legal system in some way.  As our setting includes the only maximum and intermediate security inpatient psychiatric units operated by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, many of our clients share a common history of engaging in behavior that endangers themselves or others.  Practice in this setting necessitates frequent attention to legal and ethical issues related to preserving clients’ rights, freedoms, and autonomy as much as possible in the context of ensuring individual and public safety.

Training Goals, Objectives, and Expected Competencies

Three primary goals follow from this training model.

  1. To produce graduates who are prepared to enter into the professional practice of psychology.
  2. To produce graduates who are skilled in the interface among the science, theory, and practice to professional psychology.
  3. To produce graduates who are aware of and sensitive to individual differences and cultural diversity within areas of professional practice and scholarly inquiry.

Goal 1. To produce graduates who are prepared to enter into the professional  practice of psychology.

Objective A) Development of knowledge & skills in the theory & methods of diagnosis, assessment, and evidence-based intervention.

Competencies

Objective B) Development of knowledge & skills in professional consultation, evaluation, & supervision.

Competencies

Objective C) Development of knowledge & skills in application of legal issues, ethical principles, & standards of conduct in professional practice.

Competencies

Goal 2. To produce graduates who are skilled in the interface among the science, theory, and practice of professional psychology.

 Objective A) Development of knowledge & skills in strategies of scholarly inquiry.

Competencies

Objective B) Development of knowledge & skills in applying legal & ethical issues to scholarly inquiry.

Competencies

Goal 3. To produce graduates who are aware of and sensitive to individual differences and cultural diversity within areas of professional practice and scholarly inquiry.

Objective A) Development of knowledge & skill in applying issues of individual differences & cultural diversity to assessment & treatment.

               

Competencies

Objective B) Development of knowledge & skill in applying issues of individual differences & cultural diversity to consultation, evaluation, & supervision.

Competencies

Objective C) Development of knowledge & skill in applying issues of individual & cultural diversity to scholarly inquiry.

Competencies

Proficient in applying issues of individual and cultural diversity in collaborative research and integration of science with professional practice.