From the Augusta University Training Director, Christopher Drescher, PhDOur faculty share a deep commitment to educating our future health care professionals,
striving for compassionate and excellent clinical service, and advancing science.
We are excited to support trainees as they progress to careers of accomplishment and
meaning. Integral to our internship training are joint educational and clinical service
activities with primary care physicians, psychiatrists and other physician specialists,
nurses, social workers, and other allied health professionals.
Note: This webpage focuses primarily on training experiences for Augusta University paid
interns (HIV and LGBTQ Health Disparities, Child and Family, Forensic, and AU Clinical
Health Psychology tracks). For more details on the Charlie Norwood VAMC positions,
Training Model: 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
- Training in the provision of care for underserved populations and areas;
Overview of the Organization of the Internship: Two required 4-month rotations:
- The General Practice Rotation – Clinical training sites include the AU/MCG, AU Summerville
campus, or East Central Regional Hospital. This rotation focuses on opportunities
for development of psychological assessment skills, and individual and group psychotherapies.
- The Integrated Health Psychology Rotation – Clinical training occurs at AU/MCG sites.
Located in various inpatient and outpatient medical settings spread across AU/MCG
hospital, outpatient clinics, and the AU/MCG Children’s Hospital of Georgia, this
rotation focuses on acquiring skills that will enable psychology interns to apply
fundamental psychological assessment and treatment principles to health care settings
with a goal of training interns to function independently in interdisciplinary health
One 4-month Emphasis Track Rotation:
Selected prior to entry into the internship program, the Emphasis Track Rotations
allow interns to experience more focused training opportunities that are consistent
with their long-range career interests. At present there are four Track choices available
at Augusta University, including:
- Child & Family Track
- Forensic Psychology Track
- HIV & LGBTQ Health Disparities Track
- AU Clinical Health Psychology Track
In addition to the 4-month Emphasis Track Rotation, one day of each week for the entire
year is also devoted to emphasis training within your chosen track rotation thereby
facilitating more depth and continuity in this aspect of your training experience.
Seminars & Other Educational Opportunities:
There are three required seminars that meet on Thursdays:
The Diagnostic/Treatment Seminar meets weekly and includes application of a “Problem-Based
Learning” (PBL) model. The PBL approach to learning employs a clinical case/problem
as the vehicle of learning and demands development of clinical/scientific reasoning.
- The Psychotherapy Process Seminar meets weekly and provides a laboratory to develop
skills of empiricism and reflection in the nonparticipant mode of peer supervision
and in the participant mode of a live therapy session presentation. Each Intern, along
with the faculty/seminar directors, take turns presenting a live psychotherapy case.
Didactics for the seminar focus upon: (a) Common factors in psychotherapy; (b) Supervision,
and; (c) Therapy termination.
Note: This seminar also facilitates a 10-week course (two hours per week) that reviews
Cognitive Behavior Therapy and provides an introduction to Acceptance and Commitment
- The Professional Issues Seminar is devoted to didactics and discussions related to
the professional development of the Intern. The seminar primarily focuses on the non-therapy
aspects of being a psychologist and meets once per month.
Other Educational Opportunities:
- Psychiatry Grand Rounds are held twice per month and are part of AU/MCG Department
of Psychiatry & Health Behavior’s Grand Rounds series that features guest speakers
of prominence from the region and nation providing continuing education reviews of
important clinical topics germane to the fields of psychiatry and psychology.
- Half to full day workshops are typically provided several times each year on topics
including objective assessment techniques, empirically validated psychotherapy, trauma
related therapies, cultural diversity issues in psychology, ethics, etc.
- Intern Research/Scholarly time is facilitated by providing 4 hours of dedicated time
each week for scholarly activities. This time can be used for dissertation efforts,
if not yet completed. Interns must produce a scholarly paper, either from the dissertation
or other research activities, that is of publishable quality by May of the internship
- Diversity training is embedded in all internship training activities. This is done
overtly in seminar topics (i.e., race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity,
religion, class, age, political party, region, and military/veteran status), patient
populations (e.g., HIV-positive patients, adolescents and children, patients with
serious mental illness, forensic patients, persons of color, sexual and gender minorities),
and supervision. Commitment to discussions of privilege, power, and intersectionality,
including the role and influence of sociopolitical factors, is a training priority,
and a value that underlies all training program activities.
- Overall Supervisor - Due to the complexity of internship training and the diverse interests and educational
needs of interns entering internship training, the internship provides an Overall
Supervisor (OS) for each intern prior to the beginning of the internship. The OS is
charged with the duty to develop an understanding of the unique educational needs
and interests of the Intern and to develop and monitor a year-long strategy to maximize
the training experiences available.
- Practicum Experiences and Supervision - The Rotational/Track supervisors are responsible for establishing and communicating
clear educational goals for the rotational/track experience, identifying and delegating
appropriate clinical assessment/treatment cases for the Intern, supervising all clinical/professional
activities on the rotation/track, maintaining on-site presence during all Intern clinical
encounters, verifying the accuracy and timeliness of all clinical documentation, and
providing routine verbal and written feedback regarding the Intern’s rotation/track
- Case Supervisor - If special expertise is needed on a particular case, or if the Intern has a special
interest in working with a faculty person, a Case Supervisor can be added to the intern’s
supervisory experiences at any time.
- Mentor - After the Intern gets to know the faculty, we encourage, but do not require, the Intern
to seek a personal mentor relationship with a faculty person that does NOT have an
evaluative role with them. This faculty mentor functions as an informal counselor,
advisor, ombudsman, role model, advocate and ally for the intern.
Strengths of the Program:
- Faculty Committed to Training - Over 20 licensed psychologists that serve as supervisors
or other training contributors. Additionally, nearly all supervisors are also working
as practicing clinicians who are regularly implementing similar empirically validated
treatment strategies to those also being utilized by the interns.
- Availability of diverse clinical experiences across multiple interdisciplinary care
- Augusta University/Medical College of Georgia: Adult Infectious Disease Clinic, Georgia Cancer Center (inpatient and outpatient),
Family Medicine Clinic, Pediatric Enhanced Primary Care, Developmental-Behavioral
Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Health Behavior Outpatient Clinic, Augusta University Employee
and Faculty Assistance Program, and Neurology Clinic.
- Augusta University Student Counseling & Psychological Services(SCAPS)
- East Central Georgia Regional Hospital (ECRH): Forensic Unit
- High Intern Ratings for Training Experience - 10-year data collected from post-intern
graduates indicate consistently high ratings of the quality of the training experience:
- Intern Scholarly Productivity – interns have protected research time and often present
and publish during the internship year.
- Intern success in getting postdoctoral positions – Interns regularly secure postdoctoral
positions and jobs in their chosen settings following completion of internship.
- Diverse Career Paths - internship graduates have embarked on diverse career paths
in settings including:
- Academic medical centers, VA medical centers, Independent practice, Graduate schools,
Primary care psychology, State hospitals, and Research settings.
Augusta, Georgia – Augusta is a city with very affordable housing, mild winters, numerous
outdoor recreational activities, relatively low crime rates, a variety of good restaurants,
close proximity to Atlanta, the northern Georgia mountains, Asheville, and the Beaches
of South Carolina and Georgia and virtually no traffic problems.
Assoc. Professor, Psychiatry & Health Behavior, MCG
Director, Psychology Internship Training