Purpose: The psychology internship year is often a time when psychology trainees seek to consolidate their clinical skills and pursue specialization in an area consistent with their career goals. The purpose of the Psychology of Women Track is to produce professional and racially/ethnically diverse psychologists who are well prepared for and seek out careers that serve the mental health needs of women and advance the knowledge base in the psychology of women.  This track experience provides emphasis training in the recognition of psychological, social, and cultural issues unique to women and the provision of culturally competent psychological services to women from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, racial, and ethnic populations.  Special emphasis is given to training experiences in women’s health psychology in multidisciplinary settings, and to experiences with women who typically have limited access to mental health and medical services.  There are three internship positions. All three positions involve a mix of experiences at both the VAMC and MCG/AU.

Settings:  Augusta University Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Psychology of Women Faculty:  

  • Amy House, Ph.D., MCG/AU Track Director
  • Rebecca Jump, Ph.D., CNVAMC Track Director
  • Lorraine Braswell, Ph.D.
  • Christian Lemmon, Ph.D.
  • Sarah Rowland, Ph.D.
  • Shannon Rogers, Ph.D.

Primary Goals/Objectives of the Psychology of Women Track:

1)      To train Interns to recognize and understand cultural and societal influences on women and their contribution to women’s experiences of both psychopathology and normal psychological development, including such phenomena as:

  • Sexual trauma                                          
  • Eating disorders
  • Chronic illness/chronic pain
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Life stage transitions

2)      To help Interns develop a working knowledge of basic theories in the literature on the psychology of women, including a working knowledge of feminist psychology.

3)      To train Interns to function effectively in interdisciplinary healthcare settings.

4)      To train Interns in consultation assessment strategies in medical contexts to include developing understandings of the key patient, family, social/cultural, and system issues.

5)      To help Interns develop a working knowledge of common medical complaints and conditions among women and their associated psychosocial issues.

6)      To train Interns to become proficient in the implementation of interventions that address problems that are over-represented by women in clinical populations (e.g., eating disorders, sexual trauma).

7)      To train Interns to provide education to both consumers and other medical/mental healthcare professionals on issues related to women’s mental health.

Measurable Outcomes of the Rotation:

1)      Interns will demonstrate knowledge of cultural/psychological issues unique to women.  This will be determined by the quality of their case conceptualizations and treatment recommendations including a consideration of these issues.

2)      Interns will demonstrate proficiency in implementing effective interventions for both 1) disorders that are more likely to be found among women and 2) disorders whose psychosocial implications are different for women than for men.  These may include, but are not limited to, interventions for PTSD secondary to sexual trauma and/or combat trauma, eating disorders, substance use disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder and chronic illness.  Proficiency will be demonstrated by supervisor ratings of video-recorded sessions and live observation in group psychotherapy settings.

3)      Interns will demonstrate proficiency and professionalism in consultation strategies by participating as a consultant/liaison to an interdisciplinary medical clinic for women.  The quality of the consultation will be judged by the responsible clinical supervisor on the basis of the accuracy of the consultation and the effectiveness of communication with the patient and the consulting team.

4)      Interns will plan and implement one major or two to three minor educational/outreach presentations on topics related to women’s mental health for the community and/or other medical/mental healthcare students, trainees, or professionals.  The quality of the presentations will be assessed by faculty supervisors.

Educational Implementation Plan: The Psychology of Women Track makes use of the following educational components in efforts to achieve the identified Goals/Objectives of the Rotation:

1) Clinical Service: Interns will spend one four-month rotation plus one full day per week throughout the year in the Psychology of Women Track.  Settings and activities for the provision of psychological services are as follows:

a) MCG/AU Outpatient Clinic and VAMC Trauma Recovery Clinic Services

Ø  Outpatient intake evaluations

Ø  Psychological assessment

Ø  Individual psychotherapy with women presenting with a broad range of problems including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating Disorders
  • PTSD/Sexual Trauma
  • Chronic Illness/Pain
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Substance abuse issues

Ø  Group psychotherapy opportunities include (schedule permitting):

  • DBT Skills Training Group
  • Trauma Orientation Class
  • CPT-C  for Military Sexual Trauma Survivors
  • Trauma Recovery Skills Group

b.) VA Primary Care Clinic for Women: The Intern will spend one full day per week for a minimum of one four month rotation providing consultation/liaison services to patients in the Women's Primary Care Clinic of the CNVAMC using a patient-centered model of consultation. Patients will be screened for mental and behavioral health concerns.  Interns will make recommendations regarding appropriate referrals to treatment teams within the VAMC, intervention, and follow-up. Interns will work with physicians, nursing staff and health care providers throughout the healthcare system on the care of the patient. 

c). VA Suicide Risk Prevention Team: The intern will spend one day per week during one four month rotation working with the Suicide Prevention Team at the VAMC providing follow-up for Veterans who have called the Crisis Line, conducting comprehensive risk assessments and evaluations of risk for veterans admitted to the inpatient psychiatric clinic. The intern works in an interdisciplinary setting and is responsible for determining follow-up and treatment recommendations for veterans who are flagged for suicide risk.

d). Psychology of Women Reading Seminar: The Intern will participate in a Psychology of Women reading/discussion seminar comprised of the track faculty, the VAMC postdoctoral fellows and the three Psychology of Women interns. This group will meet twice per month throughout the year.  The group will engage in discussions relevant to the psychology of women using assigned readings, selected videos, current events/topics of interest and case presentations. There is no evaluative process for this seminar; it is designed to provide an enriching forum for exploration discussion and learning.

2). Educational Presentations: The intern will coordinate with one or more of the Psychology of Women faculty to develop and present one major or two to three minor educational presentations on topics related to women’s mental health for the community and/or other medical/mental healthcare students, trainees, or professionals at either MCG/AU or the VAMC.

Optional Experiences:

Ø Inpatient consultation/assessment/treatment: As available, interns may participate in inpatient consultation

Ø Assessment and treatment of eating disorder patients

Ø VA staff education; The intern may participate in education for staff regarding issues related to women and behavioral interventions.

3). Research: The intern will participate 4 hours per week in activities that fulfill the research requirement for the internship.  This may involve a data-based research project, analysis of an existing data base, writing a critical review, conducting a program evaluation project, or a policy evaluation project.  The intern’s research project will be relevant to the psychology of women.  The Intern will discuss with the Psychology of Women faculty their plans for this project and opportunities for collaboration that are available.