CAPS Internship Training Program

Training Model

A Practitioner Model Informed by Theory and Research 

The CAPS internship is guided by a practitioner model that is informed by both theory and research. 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.

The 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 internships 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:

  • Time-limited and some longer-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 and case conceptualization.
  • Attending professional conferences.
  • Participating in in-service training programs on best current practices in clinical practice, (e.g., recent staff trainings have included group therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, multicultural and relational supervision, and crisis response).

The Mentor/Apprenticeship Work Environment 

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 provides clinical and professional identity role modeling.
  • Staff often co-facilitate group therapy with interns.
  • Staff works 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, described below, which explain the basic values of the CAPS internship.

Training Philosophy

The Seven Principles of our Training Values

  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, a 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 toward 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.
Training Aims and Professional-Wide Competencies

CAPS Training Aim

The central aim of the CAPS internship is to provide a training experience that prepares interns to meet the demands of a health service psychologist serving diverse young adult and adult populations in a comprehensive university counseling center or a related setting. The competencies developed are applicable to other community settings working with adults such as outpatient mental health programs, employee assistance programs and private practice.   

Profession-Wide Competencies

In accordance with the Standards of Accreditation in Health Service Psychology, interns are required to achieve profession-wide competencies in the following areas: 1) Research, 2) Ethical and Legal Standards, 3) Individual and Cultural Diversity, 4) Professional Values, Attitudes and Behaviors, 5) Communication and Interpersonal Skills, 6) Assessment, 7) Intervention, 8) Supervision, and 9) Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills. 

These competencies are achieved and operationalized through the following two overarching training goals at CAPS:

Goal One: Interns will demonstrate service-oriented competencies as an entry-level health service psychologist.  These competencies will be evidenced by:

  1. Evidence Based Assessment: Conducting initial assessment, psychosocial assessment, crisis assessment, diagnostic assessment and conceptualization of presenting concerns.  
  2. Evidence Based Intervention: Demonstrating requisite skills in short-term individual and group intervention.
  3. Campus Consultation Skills: Engaging in relationship-based outreach, sharing knowledge through preventive and psychoeducational programming and providing expert guidance or professional assistance in response to the needs of consultees.
  4. Entry-Level Clinical Supervision Skills: Demonstrating knowledge, skills and attitudes consistent with the supervisory role. 

Goal Two:  Interns will espouse a solid professional identity as a health service psychologist as evidenced by:

  1. Ethical and Legal Standards: Demonstrating the knowledge and behaviors consistent with ethical and legal integrity as applied to all professional roles and activities.
  2. Respect for Individual and Cultural Diversity:  Integrating awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences (related to self and others) in the conduct of all professional roles and activities.
  3. Professional Values, Attitudes and Behaviors: Establishing positive professional role functioning, engaging in reflective practice, valuing life-long learning, growing/maintaining self-awareness, growing/maintaining multicultural competence.
  4. Use of Research: Demonstrating the independent ability to critically evaluate and integrate research into clinical practice, accessing scientific literature related to practice and disseminating research or other scholarly work for the benefit of contributing to others’ knowledge.
  5. Interprofessional and Interdisciplinary Skills: Collaborating effectively with other professionals and demonstrating knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.
  6. Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrating strong written and verbal skills, fostering positive working relationships with others and managing difficult communication.

These goals are accomplished by a comprehensive supervised experience in a large university counseling center gaining in-depth practice in the following direct service activities and other internship training opportunities.

Direct Service Activities

Direct Service Activities

Interns are scheduled for 15-20 hours of direct clinical service each week. As is typical of university counseling centers, the demand for clinical services is heavier in the fall and spring semesters as compared to summer semesters and this is reflected in the service delivery estimations noted above. 

Individual 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. Although Purdue students are limited to 12 individual sessions per academic year, longer-term therapy is available through groups. Further, interns may choose one client at a time to pursue longer-term therapy with throughout the year if this reflects their training goals. The most common presenting concerns which Purdue students seek services for include anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, trauma, relationship concerns and adjustment difficulties.  

Group Co-Therapy: Therapy, Support and Psychoeducational Groups

Interns are involved with co-leading at least one of the various groups that are facilitated through CAPS. Interns may be involved with therapy and/or support groups that 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 psychoeducational aspects of clients' presenting problems. For a current listing of CAPS group offerings, visit the Group Listing page.

Initial Consultation and Therapist On Duty (On-Call) Coverage

Initial contact with CAPS and crisis services are available each day to Purdue students. Each intern is scheduled for and provides on-call and initial assessment overflow coverage on a bi-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 always have backup and stand-by supervision in crisis situations.  Emergency services are covered by CAPS staff between 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and staff is not required to provide 24-hour crisis coverage.

Psychoeducational 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 centers on Purdue’s campus including the LGBTQ Center, the Veterans Success Center, the Black Cultural Center, the Latino Cultural Center, the Asian American and Asian Resource and Cultural Center, and the Native American Educational and Cultural Center. Interns are expected to 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 and occasionally involves outreach programming.

Psychological Testing

Please note that training in full-battery psychological assessments is not offered at this internship site.  Training in assessment is provided in comprehensive intake assessment, diagnostic assessment, comprehensive risk assessment, personality assessment, and in the use of the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS).

Areas of Concentration

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 competency 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. Current areas of concentration are:

Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Assessment and Intervention

If the intern is matched with the Alcohol and Other Drug concentration, they work 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.

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, the fraternity, sorority and cooperative life system and other campus agencies. An emphasis will be on relationship-building with CAPS and other university departments.

Group Therapy

If the intern is matched with the Group Therapy concentration, they will receive supervision and training in a variety of group therapy interventions that range from psychoeducational groups to CBT/DBT skills-based groups, in addition to process groups. This concentration also provides experience and insight into the administrative aspects of creating/running an overall group therapy program in a large university counseling center.

Provision of Supervision

Supervision of Practicum Students

Interns gain experience in providing individual supervision to 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. In both the fall and spring semesters, interns are engaged in providing group supervision individual supervision to practicum students. This opportunity is always contingent on the availability of practicum students. If practicum students are not available for any reason, then a peer supervision experiential approach is used to attain this competency. 

Other Training Activities

Other Training Activities

Individual Supervision

Primary supervision of interns is conducted on a regularly scheduled, individual basis by psychologists licensed in the State of Indiana. Each intern has two clinical supervisors throughout the year. Interns are with each clinical supervisor for half of the year. Primary supervision switches between supervisors at mid-year in January. Interns interview available supervisory staff to rank their preferences for their supervisors for the year. Individual supervision occurs two hours each week with additional individual 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 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 suggest 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 not viewed as psychotherapy.

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

Weekly Intern Seminars

Intern seminars are two hours each week and involve the interns meeting with 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 assistant director for training 3-4 times during the year to share day-long seminars with the other Indiana University Counseling Center Internships.

Case and Clinical Presentations

At midyear, 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. At the end of the year in the summer, interns also provide an empirically informed presentation to staff on a clinical topic that is relevant to our work with the college student population.

Intern Peer Professional Development/Process Group

This group meets every other week and serves as an opportunity for interns to have a confidential space in which to address and process the issues with which they may be struggling during their internship year. Struggles may include adjustment to internship, identity development, cultural issues, post-internship concerns, and interpersonal issues.

Conference Attendance

Interns attend conferences specifically oriented around the university counseling center environment, including: The Big 10 Counseling Center Conference and a regional conference on diversity issues. Interns typically choose to attend both of these conferences during their internship year and funding is  available to assist this.

Administration Activities

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 two-hour 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 expressing their ideas, experiences and opinions. The second half of staff meetings rotate with supervisors' consultation, group therapy case conference and diversity awareness education and discussion.

Evaluation Procedures

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. Interns are provided a formal opportunity with their supervisors to respond to any evaluation they receive. Evaluation measures and due process policies may be reviewed by contacting the assistant director for training at nlbadger@purdue.edu.

Interns also evaluate all supervisors from whom they receive evaluation. Interns also provide evaluation of their orientation period, the seminars they receive, and on the overall CAPS Internship experience.
Evaluation of interns occurs three times during the course of the internship year.


To set a baseline for each intern's skill level and to decide goals for the first half of the internship year. This meeting occurs with the assistant director for training and the intern's primary supervisor.


This meeting is a summary of the individual evaluations provided to the intern by their supervisory team and the assistant director for training. 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 and competency attainment at the end of the internship year. This is a summary of the individual evaluations provided to the intern by their supervisory team and the assistant director for training. The intern receives feedback and is assisted in generating methods by which to meet any final training goals.
Minimum Requirements for Internship Completion

Minimum Requirements for Internship Completion

If interns' supervisors and the assistant director for training agree that the following minimum expectations have been met, then the intern satisfactorily passes the internship and will be granted a completion certificate.

  1. 2,000 total internship hours (both direct and indirect hours).
  2. 500 Direct Service Hours (25% of total hours).
  3. Demonstrated expected competencies through evaluations
  4. Two formal presentations to staff:
    • Case presentation in January/February.
    • Clinical topic presentation in June.
  5. Completion of all hours having conducted oneself in line with APA's Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct.
  6. Completion of all clinical and administrative paperwork including termination summaries. 

Typical Weekly Schedule

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 of internship completion, which allows you the most flexibility with regard to future licensure, the work week should average 40-45 hours.

Fall and Spring Internship Schedule


Hours per Week

Direct Clinical Service

  Individual Therapy 10-13
  Intake Assessments 2-3
  Group Therapy 1.5
  Outreach Programming and Consultation 0-2
  On-Call/Initial Assessment Coverage (bi-weekly) 4


  Individual Supervision 2
  Group Supervision/Process 1
  Area of Concentration Supervision 1 (bi-weekly)
  Training Director/Professional Development Supervision 1 (bi-weekly)
  Provision of Supervision 1
  Supervision of Supervision 1-1.5
  Intern Peer Process Group 1 (bi-weekly)

Other Training

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