Inside CCSP Internship Years

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
the 2018-19 CCSP intern cohort

Each year, students in their fourth year of doctoral studies in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology compete nationally for APA-accredited predoctoral internships to complete the applied portion of their degrees. As in years past, 2018-2019 was extremely competitive with over 4,000 students vying for positions nationwide. “The CCSP students consistently obtain high-quality, competitive internships," Associate Professor Erin Dowdy, Director of Clinical Training, notes. "They are an extremely talented group of students who will continue to represent our program well. More importantly, they will continue to do good work with the clients they will serve in communities across the country.” We caught up with four of the thirteen students currently working in their internship placements in Baltimore, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Austin, respectively, to see how things are going.

Kathryn Moffa: VA Maryland HCS/University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD

GGSE: What does your internship position entail?
Moffa: My internship includes an awesome mix of clinical practice, research, and policy work within the context of expanded school-based mental health services. As an intern at the University of Maryland School Mental Health Track, I spend three days per week as a member of a multidisciplinary treatment team in a Baltimore City elementary/middle school providing the full continuum of mental health care to students and their families. One day per week, I conduct comprehensive diagnostic assessments for children in the Baltimore area through the Maryland Psychological Assessment and Consultation Clinic. One day per week, I have the opportunity to engage in exciting research and policy work at the National Center for School Mental Health. Finally, I receive weekly individual and group supervision.

GGSE: Has this experience informed your research going forward?
Moffa: This experience has solidified my passion for improving access to quality, culturally responsive mental health services for youth and families, and I continue to feel strongly about this being done through school and community mental health initiatives. I would love to continue this work in an academic medical setting that affords the opportunity to conduct research and practice within interdisciplinary teams, and I'm looking forward to doing this in a post-doc position with Boston Children's Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships next year.

Evelyn Plumb: Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO

GGSE: Are you enjoying your internship placement?
Plumb: I am loving my placement (at Denver Health Medical Center)! They do a great job of supporting us here in terms of work/life balance, and I'm really enjoying having access to so many professional development opportunities within the hospital's interdisciplinary team. Denver is also just a really fun city, and I have an awesome and very social cohort with whom to go explore it.

GGSE: What does your internship position entail?
Plumb: My primary rotation is in Outpatient Behavioral Health Services, and since my position is funded by a HRSA grant for children and families affected by the Opioid Crisis, I get priority assignment for cases that fit that profile, while also getting to work with a pretty wide range of populations across my caseload. Then I also have quarterly rotations in the Child & Adolescent Inpatient Unit, Psychiatric Emergency Services, and Oncology, and I work one day a week at a school-based clinic providing SUDs treatment for students who are on Parole or Diversion. It can get a little overwhelming sometimes to work across so many settings, but it is an amazing opportunity to learn a lot in a short time both about specific populations and about the organizational culture of different healthcare settings, which has been fascinating.

GGSE: Has this experience informed your research going forward?
Plumb: Absolutely. One especially exciting part of my position (per my grant funding) is to help assemble and implement an evidence-based group curriculum for families struggling with substance use, homelessness, and DV, and one of our biggest challenges so far has been recruitment. It's a population that has historically been alienated pretty aggressively from institutional healthcare systems, so it's been a tough pitch getting them in for the groups (though feedback so far suggests that they really like it once they get started). I am really hopeful that I will get to continue the research in post-doc that I've started here in finding ways to more effectively outreach this population and help retain them in MH services that reflect their goals for their families, as well as finding better ways to identify vulnerable children in these families and set them up with relevant, accessible, proactive services. Fingers crossed for funding!

Andrew Choi: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI

GGSE: Are you enjoying your internship placement?
Choi: I am completing my Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa Counseling and Student Development Center. We serve a predominantly Asian and Pacific Islander American postsecondary population that is highly diverse culturally and clinically. Our students present with a wide range of psychological concerns spanning developmentally normative adjustment difficulties to chronic and severe mental illness.

The position is full-time where approximately half of my hours involve direct clinical services comprised of the following activities listed in alphabetical order: career assessment and counseling; clinical supervision of practicum students; crisis intervention; intake evaluation; interprofessional consultation (e.g., to faculty and staff); prevention, psychoeducational, and outreach programming; process-oriented group psychotherapy (e.g., LGBTQ Pride; Understanding Self and Others); and short- and long-term individual psychotherapy. Supporting activities include individual and group clinical supervision and various didactic and experiential training seminars. Finally, I am collaborating on grant-writing and empirical research to enhance multiculturally-responsive disaster mental health assessment and services in the Asia-Pacific region.

My interest in culture-bound issues relevant to intervention and psychotherapy process and outcome research has grown. Specific topics include collectivist cultural values; gender norms; indigenous healing practices; intergenerational trauma and internalized oppression; mental health and help-seeking stigma; and the therapeutic relationship.

Jordan Ko: UCLA – Semel Institute, Los Angeles, CA

GGSE: Are you enjoying your internship placement?
Ko: I am really enjoying internship year. At UCLA, I’ve been able to provide care in a variety of different settings, as well as work closely with a range of health care providers (e.g. physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists). It was a new experience and a steep learning curve for me to work in a hospital/medical setting but definitely rewarding. One of the best parts has been having a supportive group of co-interns to go through the year with. There are 16 of us and someone is always down for happy hour, game night, or going to the beach (all necessary activities for surviving internship).

GGSE: What does your internship position entail?
Ko: My internship position provides breadth in experiences focusing on children and adolescents, as well as depth in a specialty area, which in my case is autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Half of my time is spent at the Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental Clinic providing evidence-based treatment and conducting diagnostic evaluations as part of an interdisciplinary team. The other half of my time I am rotating through different services, such as a child and adolescent inpatient unit, a partial hospitalization program, and in a pediatric/children’s hospital setting.

GGSE: Has this experience informed your research going forward?
Ko: My research interests are broadly focused on evaluating and implementing interventions for individuals with ASD. An area I have been exposed to in graduate school, and even more during internship, is evidence-based interventions that have a strong parent component. Moving forward, I am interested in how to most effectively train others (e.g. parents, peers, teachers, community providers) to deliver these interventions, as they are key figures in a child’s daily life and I believe this can have a significant impact on promoting positive outcomes for individuals with ASD.

Kelly Edyburn: Travis County Juvenile Probation Department, Austin, TX

GGSE: Are you enjoying your internship placement?
Edyburn: I’m doing really well! Internship is going great. It’s been really fun to be back in a city I love and to have this kind of transitional period in between grad school and formally starting this new career. I’m really enjoying my internship placement, which is at Travis County Juvenile Probation Department. As I had only worked in schools prior to this year, it’s been challenging to be in a totally different setting; however, I was looking forward to having a different clinical experience for internship. I’ve learned a lot of new skills and gained some really helpful perspective about how schools/juvenile justice/other social systems interface and overlap, marginalize certain populations of children, could better collaborate to promote children’s healthy development, etc.

GGSE: What does your internship position entail?
Edyburn: My internship position involves two 6-month rotations, one conducting assessments for youth at various stages of involvement in the juvenile justice system and one providing individual, family, and group therapy for post-adjudicated youth in a secure residential placement. As we work in a government agency, we also have opportunities for lots of multidisciplinary collaboration and consultation, as well as systems-level intervention to improve practices and programs in the department—all of which I’ve also really enjoyed. :)

GGSE: Has this experience informed your research going forward?
Edyburn: My work in this system has pushed me to engage in a lot of self-reflection, as well as examination of my conceptualizations of prevention, systems change, and issues of equity and justice. I feel like I still have a lot to process about the experience, but I think my experiences and these reflections will help inform the lens and methodology of my research moving forward. Additionally, in light of hearing kids’ own stories of their pathways to juvenile justice involvement and observing systemic patterns while serving this population, a few new directions for my research have emerged: understanding the relation between language and literacy trajectories and social-emotional development (from early childhood to adolescence) among dual language learners with disabilities, examining the validity evidence of assessments used to make high-stakes decisions about youth involved in juvenile justice systems, and exploring school-based prevention programs/models. I’m excited to continue reflecting and helping support equity-centered research.