Core Values in Training

The Augusta University/Medical College of Georgia-Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center Psychology Internship (AU/MCG-CNVAMC Psychology Internship) was formed with the guiding principle that synergy could be achieved by pooling resources and interrelating the respective institutional education efforts in regard to psychology internship training with a focus on interdisciplinary health care settings. Our training model focuses on three primary facets of training in the development of professional psychologists: 

  • Training in the implementation of essential practice skills in key field settings; 
  • Training in an empirical approach to practice (fostering attitudes of empiricism and reflection),
  • Training in the provision of care for underserved populations and areas.

The distinguishing characteristic of our training efforts is our focus on producing psychologists prepared for careers directed toward integrated approaches to health care issues. Our goal is to help foster aspirations to greater cultural awareness and humility in their practice.

The AU/MCG-CNVAMC Psychology Internship combines a solid grounding in core clinical psychology skills with emphasis training in the areas of integrated health psychology and health behavior care.  All interns complete three 4-month clinical rotations, including an Integrated Health Psychology rotation, a General Practice rotation, and an Emphasis Track rotation.  We match interns according to their Emphasis Track interest, allowing them to accumulate a specific expertise that is consistent with their long-range career interests. We find that this enhances marketability for postdoctoral training experiences for our interns.

Integral to all required rotations are joint educational and clinical service activities with primary care physicians, psychiatrists and other physician specialists, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, social workers, and other allied health professionals. Core competencies include skills specifically relevant to the provision of mental health care in medical settings:

  • Application of clinical assessment and treatment in medical settings; 
  • Ability to function effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary team,
  • Development of consultation strategies in medical contexts.

Core Values in Training: 

The AU/MCG-CNVAMC Psychology Internship supports the foundational value of the scientist-practitioner model of training for the professional psychologist. Scientific methods can both inform us of the human experience and guide in the development and implementation of therapeutic responses to life problems. We believe this is a core endeavor for the development of today’s professional psychologist.

We aspire to a training model that we identify as The Empirical Clinician model of training. This model focuses on two primary facets of training in the development of professional psychologists: (1) Training in the implementation of essential practice skills in key field settings; (2) Training in an empirical approach to practice.

Training in the implementation of essential practice skills in key field settings: 

Our internship emphasizes the training of professional psychologists to practice their skills in medical settings as well as more traditional mental health contexts. Incoming Interns should demonstrate the basic component skills of practice.  Broadening the training in the implementation of essential practice skills has been a traditional role fulfilled by internship sites.  Consequently, our training efforts seek not only to instruct and train interns in critical assessment and treatment skills but also to ensure that interns learn to adapt these skills in diverse interdisciplinary health care settings. Finally, we endeavor to prepare professional psychologists to provide quality services to underserved and minoritized populations.

Training in an empirical approach to practice: We view research skills as integral to the success of the Empirical Clinician Model of training. Demonstration of these skills by a completed, or at least a proposed data-based dissertation is a prerequisite for entry into our training program. Also, participation in research/scholarship activities are required and facilitated for Interns throughout the training year.

The AU/MCG-CNVAMC Internship also incorporates recovery-oriented principles of care into training experiences. Instead of focusing solely on symptom reduction, our training model endeavors to promote collaborative approaches to care that prioritize the following recovery-oriented principles (Leamy, et al., 2011):

  • Connectedness (e.g., being a part of a community, having relationships, receiving support from others),
  • Hope and optimism about the future,
  • Identity (e.g., rebuilding/redefining positive sense of identity, overcoming stigma),
  • Meaning in life (e.g., meaningful life goals and social roles, quality of life), and
  • Empowerment (e.g., personal responsibility, control over life, and focusing on strengths).

 

Reference:

Leamy, M., Bird, V., Le Boutillier, C., Williams, J., & Slade, M. (2011). Conceptual framework for personal recovery in mental health: systematic review and narrative synthesis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 199(6), 445-452.