Doctoral Internship Program
Our internship is for doctoral candidates seeking a broadly-based training experience that will prepare them for postdoctoral training and careers in academic medical centers or other integrated care settings. The vast majority of our interns go on to do postdoctoral fellowships in specialty areas in health psychology and/or integrated mental healthcare.
About the Clinical Psychology Program
The internship in clinical psychology is a 12-month, full-time appointment in the Division of Psychology of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The internship is directed toward fulfilling the internship portion of American Psychological Association (APA)-accredited doctoral degree programs in clinical and counseling psychology. The internship is fully accredited by the APA. There are six positions available for the 2024-25 academic year.
Mission and Aim
The mission of the internship is to provide the opportunity for interns to develop competence in the practical application of the knowledge base of clinical psychology to diverse clinical populations seen in a broad variety of interdisciplinary programs at this academic medical center and affiliated clinics.
Our specific aim is to foster the development of (a) well-rounded professionals who (b) relate to others in positive, constructive, and effective ways, (c) integrating all relevant information, (d) in order to evaluate and treat patients in evidence-based approaches (e) within a broad range of interdisciplinary contexts, (f) while practicing in an ethical, professional manner.
Our approach is intended to develop interns who will emerge from this experience in route to becoming clinical psychologists -- independent professionals possessing the ability to assess and treat the clinical psychological aspects of patients with a wide range of common mental disorders and psychological aspects of physical conditions. The successful intern will achieve the core competencies expected at entry level into the profession. Moreover, we hope to develop professionals who can assume leadership roles in a range of professional activities including clinical care, education, research, and advocacy.
The successful intern will achieve the ability to utilize psychological principles to develop and carry out essential plans of clinical psychological treatment. We believe that these clinical abilities are fundamental, regardless of the ultimate career trajectory, whether clinical, education, research or any other area of clinical psychology.
The program's philosophy begins with the understanding that the clinical psychological needs of patients can be determined by appropriate individualized assessment, based on the body of scientific knowledge in psychology, and on the basis of a positive, supportive clinician-patient relationship. Such a method takes into account the full humanity of individual with their unique individual identities, culture, and particular life circumstances.
Empirical knowledge informs the clinician of appropriate approaches to use in developing and implementing a formulation and treatment plan for the identified clinical problems in the individual patient and communicating those findings effectively to the patient and others within an interdisciplinary context. The goal of intervention in all cases is to alleviate psychological and/or physical suffering or distress, and/or to alter problematic or unhealthy behavioral patterns which may contribute to distress or to disease. This understanding of the meaning of providing clinical psychological care is the basis for our approach to training the interns.
The program values training the interns to implement, in a practical and flexible manner, specific assessment methods and interventions based on empirically supported knowledge as these fit the needs of the given individual. Interns learn to work with specialized populations through faculty who emphasize areas such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Substance dependence disorders
- Disorders of childhood and adolescence
- Neuropsychological dysfunction
- Neurorehabilitation psychology
- Health psychology
- Telemedicine and telehealth
- Integrated primary care
Many specific approaches to patient care are represented among our faculty, within these areas, including cognitive-behavior therapy, including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CBT), Behavior Therapies such Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Contextual Behavior Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing, to name a few.
The program has a longstanding commitment to improve mental health care for underserved populations and includes training for clinicians to treat persons who have cultural, economic and geographic barriers to health care. We strive to teach the clinical skills, knowledge-base and cultural sensitivity to be effective in working with such vulnerable people. The program has been successful in receiving several federal and regional grants and well as specific financial support from the department that enable us to continue our efforts.
The internship training program at the University of Kansas Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Division of Psychology, is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The APA contact information is:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Important information about our program!
Learn more about our clinical psychology internship program by reviewing these resources.
"We think our program is kind of unique in the country in the sense that we have so much diversity to offer interns…we tend to have lots of different points of view, and we assume people come in and want to learn different ways of working with different kinds of patients and becoming very effective. We find that working with interns is really something very special. I always enjoy it. It’s amazing that the interns bring us something as well as we bring something to the interns."- Elizabeth Penick, Ph.D., ABPP, professor