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-program learning, 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 base, 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 clientele to develop as much autonomy as possible. Further, we emphasize the identification and application of clients’ strengths to facilitate successful outcomes. We believe this is particularly important in working with individuals with serious mental disorders, because society has typically focused on their disabilities, and they have often learned to overlook their own assets. 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

  1. Proficient in conducting psychological evaluation, formulating diagnoses, and communicating findings and recommendations.
  2. Competent in conceptualizing group dynamics and selection and practice of evidence-based group intervention.
  3. Competent in conceptualizing individual cases and formulating and performing evidence-based individual interventions.
  4. Proficient in evidence-based assessment & treatment for severe mental illness.

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

Competencies

  1. Proficient in providing professional psychological consultation.
  2. Proficient in evaluation of treatment programs as well as individual and group interventions.
  3. Demonstrates understanding of theoretical models, practices, and issues related to providing professional supervision.

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

Competencies

  1. Demonstrates understanding of legal issues, ethical principles, and standards of conduct related to practice of professional psychology.
  2. Demonstrates ability to apply legal issues, ethical principles, and standards of conduct in professional psychological practice.

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

  1. Demonstrates understanding of research methods relevant to professional psychological practice.
  2. Competent in applying empirical evidence in psychological practice.
  3. Demonstrates ability to effectively collaborate with other professionals on research projects.

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

Competencies

  1. Demonstrates understanding of legal issues and ethical principles relevant to scholarly inquiry.
  2. Competent in applying legal issues, ethical principles, and code of conduct to strategies of scholarly inquiry.

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

  1. Demonstrates awareness of and sensitivity to issues of individual and cultural diversity in conducting assessment and treatment.
  2. Proficient in providing assessment and treatment services to individuals with diverse backgrounds and personal variables.

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

Competencies

  1. Demonstrates understanding and sensitivity to individual and cultural diversity in professional consultation, evaluation, and supervision.
  2. Competent in providing consultation and evaluation for individuals with diverse backgrounds and personal variables.

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

Competencies

  1. Demonstrates awareness and sensitivity to issues of individual and cultural diversity as they relate to strategies of scholarly inquiry.
  2. Proficient in applying issues of individual and cultural diversity in collaborative research and integration of science with professional practice.