Practica and Internships

As a central part of the Doctoral Program, each student is expected to acquire a broad range of supervised clinical experiences in the form of practica and an internship. These are planned, integrated, and supervised professional activities which ensure that over the course of their doctoral training, students are exposed to diverse roles, populations, settings, and types of interventions. Antioch University New England requires practica during the second and third years as well as a predoctoral internship. Most students also elect to take an advanced practicum during their fourth year.

What follows is a condensed version of the Practicum and Internship policies. The complete version of these policies is found in the Clinical Psychology Handbook.

The clinical training sequence is designed to complement the coursework aspect of the program. Clinical training experiences give the student opportunities for supervised practice in the areas of clinical psychology that are studied in courses, seminars, and workshops. Students are required to arrange practica at practicum settings affiliated with the program. Affiliated service agencies consider training one of their major functions and provide students with a high degree of access to professional psychologists who serve as supervisors and role models. The department has formal affiliation agreements with a variety of agencies throughout New England, which are experienced at training doctoral students in clinical psychology. Under the leadership of the Doctoral Program’s Director of Practica, the program offers guidance to students in arranging appropriate training sites.

There are two required practicum experiences concurrent with coursework:

  • The Second Year Practicum includes experiences in a variety of intervention modalities and also provides the student with opportunities to develop psychological testing skills.
  • The Third Year Practicum has as its central focus the practice of psychotherapeutic interventions and development of case conceptualization abilities. It allows students to continue developing the clinical skills begun during the previous practicum, and to engage in other supervised experiences increasing their repertoire of professional skills.
  • In the fourth year, students may elect or be required to do an Advanced Practicum or Special Proficiency Practicum in order to sharpen and/or broaden their clinical skills.

The student’s Professional Seminar/Case Conference leader and the director of practica monitor the practicum and approve the three-way training contractsamong Antioch University New England, the student, and the affiliated agencyspecifying the content of the training experience, and the supervisors.

Time. There is a minimum requirement of 600 hours (approximately 14 to 18 hours per week) of practicum for each of the second and third years, usually completed over a nine-month academic period.

Distance. Practica must be located within a four-hour drive from Antioch University New England, in order for it to be feasible for our faculty and the practicum field site supervisors to have a viable working relationship.

Supervision. There is a minimum requirement of two hours of face-to-face supervision each week, at least one of which must be individual. Beyond these two hours of supervision, additional learning experiences such as Case Conferences, staff meetings, seminars, colloquia, and in-service training programs should be available to the student. Normally, both weekly supervisory hours are conducted by doctoral level psychologists.

Practicum and a Paid Professional Position at the Same Site. Students are expected to do their practica at agencies and organizations other than the ones in which they are employed or have been employed in the past. This avoids possible dual relationships with colleagues and potential confusion of roles, and increases the student’s breadth of experience. A student may not be employed at the same agency where he or she is doing a practicum. This applies to all situations, even to those when the employment is begun at the same time or subsequent to the start of the practicum. Exceptions are only made in the unusual circumstance in which an agency is so large that no possibility of a dual role exists. Students may, however, receive a stipend for their work as a trainee.

Private Practice as a Practicum. In accordance with accreditation standards, independent private practice cannot be used as a practicum. However, a group practice that truly functions as an integrated health care system and meets all of our other requirements may be used as a practicum.

The predoctoral internship occurs in an organized health care setting away from Antioch University New England and requires another application process that has been systematized across the country. It is overseen by the director of internships. It is an integral component of the Doctoral Program and the final experience in the clinical training sequence. During the internship, the student is expected to assume significant responsibilities and to perform major professional functions under the supervision of qualified psychologists. As the culminating clinical training experience, the internship is expected to provide the student with a variety of appropriate role models, as well as intensive and diverse supervised opportunities to function in the various roles performed by a clinical psychologist.

Time. There is a minimum requirement of 1,800 hours for the internship. (Some shorter APA-accredited internships also qualify.) This requirement is most often met through the successful completion of a full-time experience for one calendar year during the fifth year or, at times, through two consecutive years of half-time experience.

Program of Training. Students are strongly encouraged to seek internships that are accredited by the APA, or that, at least, are active members of the Association of Psychology and Postdoctoral Internship Centers (APPIC). Internship programs which are neither APA-accredited nor APPIC-listed must meet the criteria found in the APPIC guidelines and in the guidelines used by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology to define an internship, and must complete a process of formal affiliation with the Doctoral Program.