Internship News

Message from the Director of Clinical Training, Sharleen O’Brien, PsyD

Greetings students! As you all know, students in our program are required to complete a one year, full-time predoctoral internship (or two years of half-time internship) to graduate. Internship provides students with the opportunity to enter fully into the role of a clinical therapist in the community, working as part of a team  with the mission of serving those struggling with psychological pain. As interns, students often find their identities as colleagues in a larger community of helping professionals and begin to see more clearly their emerging role as a psychologist-in-training.

Indeed, the process of applying for, interviewing, selecting, and beginning an internship comes with both intense stressors and great rewards. Nonetheless, there are some things you could be doing right now, no matter what level you are in the program, to make the process easier on yourself. Please read more in “Internship Advice.”


What Internship Means to Me by Martha Ruiz, MA, 5th Year PsyD Candidate

I was fortunate to obtain a predoctoral internship at Santa Barbara County Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services in the Juvenile Justice Unit. The unit’s primary focus is conducting court-ordered psychological evaluations for juveniles on probation and parents involved with Child Welfare Services. Evaluations consist of assessing for mental health issues, substance abuse disorders, evaluating parent competencies, and recommending appropriate treatment interventions. Prior to applying to internship sites, I was cognizant that one of my main areas of growth was conducting and interpreting psychological assessments. While I was already exposed to them during course work, I wanted a more elaborate understanding.

I am very pleased to share that this site has been a perfect match. I’ve significantly expanded my knowledge in a variety of psychological assessments. These include cognitive (WAIS-IV, WISC-IV), projective (RCS, TEMAS, TAT), personality (MCMI, MACI), substance abuse (PADDI, SASSI), and memory (WMS-III, TOMAL). I have gained experience in conducting psychological assessments, interviews, and writing evaluation for both Probation and Child Welfare Services in Spanish. It has been a privilege to work with a great team, consisting of two predoctoral interns and two practicum students, as well as a passionate supervisor. We each share different styles of testing, theoretical orientation, and approaches during case conceptualization. Although differences arise, rich discussions are formed, which have greatly contributed to my professional growth. My internship has instilled a strong interest in continuing in the forensic field. As a result, I hope to obtain a postdoctoral internship at another forensic setting.


Internship Advice

Stay On Top of Practicum Paperwork
With all of the myriad elements of the internship applications and pieces of information that you’ll need to gather, you don’t want to be wasting your time and energy chasing down supervisors to complete your practicum logs and evaluations.

Use Your Summers Wisely
While rest and recreation should be a part of your summer breaks, do not  put off work on your dissertation, internship applications, or practicum hours.

Conceptually Consolidate Your Academic and Clinical Training
Remember that internship is a time of identity synthesis; by the time you reach your fourth year in the program, you should be at the point of refining your theoretical orientation, integrating your academic training into your clinical practice, and proactively thinking about the development of your professional identity. Not only will you have to write about this in the internship application, but you will be asked about it in the interviews.

Consult With The Faculty
At the top of our priority list is ensuring that students have successful experiences educationally and professionally. Ask for feedback, guidance, and support as needed.