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CAPS Internship Training Program

Training Model

A Practitioner Model Informed by Theory and Research guides the CAPS Internship. Interns are trained to ground their practice of psychology in theory and research. This model is accomplished in an intensive, supervised university counseling center experience working with a multicultural group of interdisciplinary professionals. Imbued in this model are service provision, didactic and experiential instruction, and the use of psychological theory/research.

Internship is seen as the culmination of training for entry-level professional practitioners. CAPS provides a setting in which interns increase and strengthen their abilities to practice psychology throughout their year at our agency. Interns successfully complete internship when they reach a skill level of competent practice defined by having sufficient ability to practice core skills independently without the necessity of ongoing supervision. Internship training involves developing both core skills and a positive professional identity essential for the work of an entry-level psychologist providing services in:

  • Long- and short-term therapy
  • Assessment and Diagnostic Interviewing
  • Relationship-based Outreach and Programming
  • Consultation
  • Training and Supervision

CAPS recruits students from scientist-practitioner and scholar-practitioner departments so that they come with a foundation of theoretical and research-based knowledge, and with a readiness for intensive training in practice. CAPS continues interns' training in integrating practice and theory and research as these provide the underpinnings of the practice of psychology. A part of competent practice includes being informed about the seminal and current theoretical and research-bases of psychology. CAPS accomplishes integration through:

  • Therapy, seminar, supervision, and area of concentration
  • Generating clinical hypotheses to explore in supervision
  • Learning the empirical bases that guide the use of comprehensive assessment
  • Attending and presenting at professional conferences
  • Participating in in-service training programs on best current practices in clinical practice, (e.g., training, supervision, crisis response, clinical ethics).

The Mentor/Apprenticeship Work Environment is encouraged and developed. It is designed to provide a collaborative milieu for training. This is operationalized in a variety of ways including:

  • Interns are matched with their supervisors for goodness-of-fit.
  • Staff provide clinical and professional identity role modeling, i.e. case conference.
  • Staff co-facilitate group therapy with interns.
  • Staff work to create an environment respectful of interns: honoring their cultural identities, valuing their positive self-growth, and establishing a strong work ethic.

This model is guided by seven philosophical tenets, which describe the basic values of the CAPS internship:

Training Philosophy

1. Interns are primarily in training.

The primary purpose of the internship is to train interns in the practice of psychology. Intensive supervision is the primary vehicle for training and evaluation.

2. Mentorship is the cornerstone of professional development.

Interns are always under the direct supervision and guidance of several staff members. The CAPS Internship is founded on the belief that individuals grow primarily as the product of significant collaborative relationships. The intern-supervisor relationship provides the foundation for growth in core skill areas and in professional identity development.

3. Interns are in training to develop positive professional identities.

CAPS staff provide opportunities for interns to work with culturally diverse professionals from various university and health center disciplines. Interns are provided time to process and reflect on their experiences in order to promote growth and integration of their professional confidence. This is promoted via relationships with supervisors, with a seminar on professional identity development, peer process group, and a bi-weekly meeting with the Training Coordinator to negotiate the personal and professional challenges of the year. Interns are respected as full members of the CAPS staff.

4. The growth of a professional identity occurs developmentally.

The CAPS Internship provides higher levels of direction and structure initially, with movement towards greater autonomy and responsibility. High levels of structure assist intern transition into a new system by providing guidance and direction. Interns have multiple opportunities to be increasingly autonomous and self-directing in all aspects of their functioning at CAPS as the year unfolds.

5. Training needs are met through the expertise of CAPS staff and other campus professionals.

CAPS provides exposure to a broad range of experiences during the year, both internally and externally. This allows interns to seek their own areas of interest within different venues such as clinical intervention, programming, consultation, psycho-pharmacology, alcohol and other drug work, psychological testing, multiculturalism, scholarly inquiry, and supervision provision. Opportunities are available for interns to work outside of CAPS by interacting with a variety of campus professionals.

6. Individuals learn in individual ways.

The CAPS Internship uses various learning methods including practical experiences, modeling, process-based activities, group, didactic, experiential, and self-guided learning. CAPS provides an environment that is supportive and challenging and based, in part, on an intern's self-assessment. Time is spent initially working with interns to assist them in defining their goals and desires for training. CAPS provides an array of training experiences, venues, and modalities so interns are provided opportunity to learn based on their individual styles.

7. Psychologists are informed through the integration of science and practice.

Theory, research, and practice mutually inform each other. Interns are guided and encouraged in their pursuit of observing, inferring, formulating, and evaluating clinical hypotheses. Interns generate clinical hypotheses based on theory and research.

Weekly Schedule

A typical intern week

The schedules listed below reflect the variability and range of time spent during peak and off times of internship in training, direct, and indirect service. One of the important goals of internships is developing case and time management skills to address this typical ebb and flow. In order to reach the 2000 hour requirement, which allows you the most flexibility with regard to future licensure, the work week should average 40-45 hours.

Activity Hours per Week

Direct Clinical Service

Individual/Couples Therapy 10-15
Initial Appointments/Intakes 2-3
Group Therapy 1.5
Outreach Programming and Consultation0-2
Walk-In Coverage3
Life Skills Class (1st 8 weeks of Fall Semester) 2


Individual Supervision 2
Group Supervision/Process 1
Area of Concentration Supervision 1 (bi-weekly)
Training Coordinator Meeting 1 (bi-weekly)
Provision of Supervision (Fall or Spring) 0-1
Supervision of Supervision (Fall or Spring) 0-1
Intern Peer Process Group 1 (bi-weekly)

Other Training

Weekly Intern Seminars 2
Area of Concentration4
Case Conference 1
Agency/Team Meetings 1-2
Case Management/Administrative Time 4

Activity Hours per Week

Direct Clinical Service

Individual/Couples Therapy 5-10
Initial Appointments/Intakes 2-3
Group Therapy 0-1.5
Walk-In Coverage4
Outreach Programming and Consultation 0-2


Individual Supervision2
Group Supervision/Process0-1
Training Coordinator Meeting1 (bi-weekly)
Area of Concentration Supervision1 (bi-weekly)
Intern Peer Process Group1 (bi-weekly)

Other Training

Weekly Intern Seminars 2
Area of Concentration4
Case Conference 1
Professional Development 2-5
Case Management/Administrative Time 4

Direct Services

Individual and couples therapy

CAPS approaches therapy using a time-limited therapy model. The number of sessions required for the therapeutic work that a particular student completes is determined by the therapist and the student during their work together. Partners and spouses of clients who are not students will be seen only as part of couples therapy sessions.

Every student enrolled full time or part-time will receive an initial consultation at no charge during the academic semesters or summer modules in which they are enrolled to determine on-going therapy and/or medication needs. Individual therapy also involves assessing and conceptualizing from a theoretical frame-of-reference presenting problems, providing disposition on cases, and formalized treatment planning and implementation.

Group co-therapy: Therapy, support, and psycho-educational groups

Interns are involved with co-leading one of the various groups that are facilitated through CAPS. Interns may be involved with therapy and/or support groups which are focused primarily on the more clinical aspects of clients' presenting problems. Interns may also be involved with workshops and seminars which can be single sessions or multiple sessions and are focused on the more psycho-educational aspects of clients' presenting problems. For a current listing of CAPS group offerings, visit the Group Listings / Times page on the CAPS Web Site

Walk-In Coverage

Initial contact with CAPS and crisis services are available each day to students. Each intern is scheduled for and provides 3 hours of walk-in coverage on a weekly basis throughout the semester. Interns are provided training on conducting a 30 minute consultation to help the student define their presenting problem and to determine how CAPS may assist the student with their concerns. The intern will gather information to assess urgency and risk, and to facilitate the matching of services based on individual need. The intern will discuss therapy options and resources available based on the issues discussed. Interns have back-up and stand-by supervision in crisis situations.

Psycho-educational programming and outreach

CAPS engages in a wide range of programming and outreach including invited presentations to departments, classes, and residence halls. CAPS is involved with the Residence Hall Liaison Program where each staff member is assigned to a residence hall to assist with programming requests, crisis events, and questions when they arise. CAPS staff also provides relationship-based consultation to the cultural houses on Purdue’s campus including the LGBTQ Center, the Veterans Success Center, the Black Cultural Center, the Latino Cultural Center and the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center. Interns can sign up to be on a liaison team to one of these centers which entails spending 1-2 hours at the center every few weeks.

Supervision of masters/doctoral level practicum students

Interns can gain experience in the one-to-one supervision of doctoral-level practicum students who are in clinical or counseling psychology programs. Interns receive didactic and experiential training in supervision and participate in weekly supervision of supervision meetings. This opportunity is always contingent on the availability of practicum students.

Teaching a Life Skills class

CAPS staff teach an eight week class to first year undergraduate Purdue students with a predominant number of those students being first year student-athletes. The class is focused on issues pertinent to being a new college student. Interns teach one section of this class and are responsible for lectures, group discussions, and evaluation. Interns participate in weekly training meetings to prepare for each class.

Training Activities

Individual one-on-one supervision

Primary supervision of interns is conducted on a regularly scheduled, individual basis by psychologists licensed in the State of Indiana. Each intern has a primary supervisor and two secondary supervisors throughout the year. Interns are with their primary supervisor for the entirety of the year. Interns are with their first secondary supervisor from August to December and with their second secondary supervisor from January to July. Interns interview available supervisory staff to rank their preferences for their supervisors for the year. Individual supervision occurs two hours each week with additional supervision provided on an as needed basis.

In accordance with the 2010 APA Ethical Guidelines, CAPS does not require the disclosure of personal information within the supervisory relationship. We do believe it is useful to share information about how CAPS views self-disclosure in the supervisory experience so candidates are fully informed about the CAPS Supervision Model:

  • With awareness that professional activities may be impacted by personal experiences, beliefs, and values, interns may choose to disclose and are encouraged to do so as long as the intern feels the information has a bearing on their professional functioning.
  • Supervisors may notice significant incidents or patterns in intern professional behaviors that suggests behaviors may be influenced by personal experiences, beliefs, and values. Supervisors may ask interns to reflect on this in the defined context of encouraging professional growth.
  • Interns choose how much and what to disclose. Interns are not penalized for the choice not to share personal information. Supervision is never viewed as psychotherapy.

Interns are expected to be prepared each week for individual supervision. Preparation can involve reviewing digitally recorded clinical sessions, organizing cases, preparing questions, and reviewing goals to set directions for each supervisory meeting.

Weekly intern seminars

Intern seminars are 2 hours each week and involve the interns meeting with either members of the CAPS Staff, other staff and faculty at Purdue, or psychologists from the community.

Seminar goals are:

  1. to provide interns with theoretical and research-based information on key aspects of clinical practice such as empirically validated treatments, drug and alcohol assessment and treatment, brief model therapy, practice ethics, diagnostics, multiculturalism, treatment planning, and supervision.
  2. to provide time for interns to discuss issues important to them in their development as professionals.
  3. to provide structured time for interns to apply the knowledge they gain in seminar to their direct clinical work at CAPS.

Additionally, interns travel with the Training Coordinator 3-4 times during the year to share day-long seminars with the other Indiana University Counseling Center Internships. Past seminars have focused on early career concerns, social class, religion/spirituality, and Latina/o concerns.

Case presentation

Interns develop and present a formal case presentation to the CAPS staff summarizing their work with a selected client. The purpose of the case presentation is two-fold: to facilitate comfort and strength when delivering professional job interview presentations and to demonstrate the ability to integrate theory, research, and practice.

Intern peer professional developmental/process group

This group meets every other week and serves as an opportunity for interns to have a "safe place" in which to address and process the issues with which they may be struggling during their internship year. Struggles may include identity development, cultural issues, post internship concerns, and interpersonal issues between interns/staff. This group's facilitator is someone who is not otherwise involved in training at CAPS to assure intern confidentiality.

Conference attendance

Each year, interns may be able to attend conferences specifically oriented around the university counseling center environment, including: The Big Ten Counseling Center Conference and a regional conference on diversity issues. Interns are encouraged to attend one or more conferences during their internship year and funding may be available to assist in this. Interns are also encouraged to develop a program and present at one or more of these conferences.

Areas of Concentration

At the beginning of the training year interns are asked to rank their preferences for a year-long area of concentration. These require a 4-5 hour per week commitment where interns develop expertise with a specialized skill-set. For any given year, the concentrations offered are dependent on staff resources. Similar to matchings for supervisors, interns negotiate with each other regarding their preferences and then they submit rankings of their preferences which are considered when matching interns to their concentration areas. Areas of concentration are:

Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Assessment and Intervention

If the intern is matched with the Alcohol and Other Drug concentration, s/he works with the CAPS Alcohol and Other Drug Program receiving training in and providing alcohol and other substance abuse assessments and intervention. The intern will actively participate in AOD Team meetings and will provide psychoeducational interventions to students mandated for assessment and treatment at CAPS. This concentration involves training in motivational interviewing and harm reduction approaches.

Eating Disorders

The Eating Disorders concentration will provide an opportunity to build increased skills and comfort in the treatment of Eating Disorders and body image issues. The intern participates in a variety of activities including: monthly team meetings with staff and nutritionist; outreach activities; and supervision with one of CAPS' therapists who specializes in the treatment of these issues. Primary responsibilities include co-leading one of the Eating Disorders/Body Image Support Groups, conducting initial eating disorder assessments, and working with individual clients struggling with eating disorders and body image issues.

Outreach and Consultation

The intern matched with this concentration area will be exposed to the theoretical and functional skills necessary to lead counseling center efforts to reach out to the campus community. This intern will participate in campus outreach presentations requested through the cultural centers, residential life, athletics, the Greek system, and other campus agencies. An emphasis will be on relationship building with CAPS and other university departments.

Psychological Testing

If the intern is matched to the Psychological Testing concentration, s/he will receive supervision and training in the assessment of developmental disorders. An intern will administer, score, interpret, and write integrated reports and participate in weekly Testing Team meetings. These meetings include in-depth interpretation of results, case conceptualization/diagnosis, coordination with psychiatry, legal issues regarding disabilities, and ethical considerations.

Administrative Activities

Case management

With the support of their supervisory team, interns are responsible for managing their own schedules so that they consistently have a full caseload. In addition to this, administrative time is provided each week to write client reports and case notes, professional letters and e-mails, return telephone calls, consult with other staff, and engage in treatment planning.

Intern selection

Towards the end of the Fall Semester, and the beginning of the Spring Semester interns participate in the intern selection process. Interns review applicant files, participate in interviewing applicants, make recommendations, and actively engage in all committee meetings, which relate to the selection process.

Staff meetings

The purpose of the weekly staff meeting is for staff to have a set time to share office and university-wide information, process staff issues as they arise, and to share colleagueship. Interns are strongly encouraged to participate in these meetings as full staff members.

Evaluation Procedures

Evaluations are designed for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they are instrumental in facilitating intern development and growth. The supervisor and intern create a common dialogue during this process that examines competency and formulates a strengths based approach to clinical development. Evaluation examines all experiences including clinical work, outreach and programming, assessment, diversity work, and areas of concentration. Interns are provided a formal opportunity with their supervisors to respond to any evaluation they receive.

Interns evaluate all supervisors from whom they receive evaluation. Interns also provide evaluation of their orientation period, of the seminars they receive, and on the overall CAPS Internship experience.

Evaluation occurs three times during the course of the internship year:


  • To set baseline for each intern's skill level and to decide goals for the first half of the internship year. This meeting occurs with the Training Coordinator and the intern's primary supervisors.


  • This meeting is a summary of the individual evaluations provided to the intern from their supervisory team and the Training Coordinator. Feedback is discussed with the intern at this midpoint of the internship year, and the intern is assisted in generating methods by which to meet their ongoing training goals.


  • This meeting entails the assessment of progress at the end of the regular academic year and involves setting any final goals for the summer. This is a summary of the individual evaluations provided to the intern from their supervisory team and the Training Coordinator. The intern receives feedback and is assisted in generating methods by which to meet any final training goals.

A note regarding academic department requests for training contracts and evaluations

Interns at Purdue University receive written evaluative feedback at three points during the training year as noted above. These evaluations are comprehensive in nature and are based on our program's training model, philosophy, goals & objectives, and competencies. At the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, the Training Coordinator sends the Academic Training Director a letter which summarizes the intern's performance. Upon request of the intern, copies of evaluations can also be sent to an academic department. As such, if you are enrolled in an academic training program that requires additional training contracts and/or evaluations, these will not be completed by the Purdue University training staff. Your program may choose to use the data from the Purdue University evaluations to complete their own forms. You are strongly encouraged to consult with your Director of Clinical Training prior to your application or the Training Coordinator at Purdue University if you have questions about this policy.

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