APA-Accredited Internship In Health Service Psychology
APPIC Match Program Code #158211
The University of Houston Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers a twelve-month, 2000 hour, APA-accredited* doctoral internship in health service psychology open to counseling and clinical psychology doctoral candidates. There are 4 internship positions available each year. These are full-time, paid positions offered solely through the APPIC Match. The internship year begins on the first Monday of August and ends one calendar year later. If after reading these materials you have questions about the internship, please e-mail Dr. Cecilia Sun, Training Director.
*The CAPS internship in health service psychology has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1988. The term “accredited” provides public notification that the CAPS internship program meets standards of quality set forth by the APA Commission on Accreditation.
Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Houston
The University of Houston System is a group of six public institutions of higher learning in the Houston area that share common goals and are governed by a Board of Regents. The University of Houston (UH) is the largest and most comprehensive institution of the System. Founded in 1927, UH is the leading public research university in the vibrant international city of Houston. In 2011, it earned the Tier One research university distinction from the Carnegie Foundation. It is the second most ethnically diverse major research university in the United States. It is only one of three Tier One public research institutions in the nation designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, and also designated as an Asian-American Serving Institution.In Fall 2016, we welcomed 43,777 students.
The mission of the University of Houston is to discover and disseminate knowledge through the education of a diverse population of traditional and non-traditional students, and through research, artistic and scholarly endeavors, as it becomes the nation’s premier public university in an urban setting. In accordance with its mission, UH aims to strive for academic excellence, provide broad access to higher education opportunities, recruit and retain faculty, staff, administration and students that reflect the diversity of Houston, and partner with business, industry, government, the community and alumni.
UH is the second most ethnically diverse major research university in the United States. About 11% of the student population comes from outside of Texas, both from across the United States and from over 130 nations. In Fall 2016, the distribution of UH students by ethnicity was 9.7% African-American, 20.7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 29.1% Hispanic, 9.1% International, 0.1% Native American, 26.8% Caucasian/White, and 3.0% Biracial/Multiracial. The majority of UH’s international students come from China, India, Vietnam, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. The mean age of undergraduate students is 22.4. The average student lives in the city of Houston, within 25 miles of the campus. Currently, the majority of UH students commute, although there has been a steady increase in the number of residential students, which is a goal of the university. Commuters are often characterized by attending school part-time, being older in age, and having additional work and family responsibilities. They are also more likely to be first-generation university students and students of color. UH is also one of the most accessible campuses in the country for students with disabilities. The diversity of the clientele seen at CAPS parallels the unique diversity of the UH student population.
Houston and Environs
UH is located in Houston, Texas, the nation’s fourth-largest city and an international destination. Known as the energy capital of the world, the city is home to 19 Fortune 500 companies and the world's largest medical center. It is multiculturally diverse, with over 90 languages spoken. Houston's quality of life, relatively low cost of living for a major city, and proximity to research partners in business and government also make the city attractive to UH students, employees, and their families.
Houston boasts more than 500 cultural, visual and performing arts organizations, the fourth largest shopping center in the country, the oldest African-American theater in the Southwest, and the home of the nation's human space flight programs. Houston has professional teams representing every major sport. Biking and jogging trails weave through central Houston, and golf courses, parks, nature centers, and arboreta are scattered throughout the city. "A mouth-watering destination for foodies," according to USA Today, Houston offers dining options from barbecue to seafood, and from Tex-Mex to Vietnamese. As the New York Times stated in a recent feature, "Maybe that's what makes Houston such an unusual and wonderful place--there are so many different Houstons to see."
Gulf Coast beaches are just an hour's drive away, and Houston's warm climate allows residents to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year. It is three hours to the Texas hill country, and there are regularly scheduled shuttle flights between all Texas cities. It is also a reasonable drive to both New Orleans and the Mexican border.
Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services
The CAPS Director reports to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs – Health and Wellness. CAPS staff and interns work closely with many university partners, including: the Center for Students with DisABILITIES, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Dean of Students Office, Health Center, International Student and Scholar Services, LAUNCH, University of Houston Wellness, Student Housing and Residential Life, and University Career Services.
Counseling and Psychological Services
The role of CAPS within the university is comparable to that of a community mental health center. Adult and adolescent clients with any type of problem that might be found in a general outpatient mental health setting may present at CAPS. As part of its role in higher education, CAPS also contributes to the advancement of the mental health field through the training of advanced graduate psychology trainees. The mission of CAPS is as follows:
CAPS promotes the well-being of the diverse campus community by balancing high quality mental health services and clinical training with accessibility to foster student success through self-discovery, learning and interpersonal engagement.
CAPS is committed to the promotion and affirmation of diversity through a safe and welcoming environment. Our declared mission in providing mental health services emphasizes that people representing the rich diversity of our campus who use our services receive respectful treatment. As one of the most diverse campuses in the country, we have a particular responsibility and opportunity to promote and live up to these convictions.
CAPS values the diversity among its staff and within the University of Houston community. We share the high value placed by the professional ethics and standards of the various mental health disciplines represented at CAPS on the dignity and worth of the individual. We seek to promote awareness of and sensitivity toward differences in gender, ethnicity, culture, race, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, religious/spiritual beliefs, class, socioeconomic status, as well as other types of diversity. All staff members at CAPS affirm their respect for the dignity and worth of each individual who seek services here and strive for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights.
We recognize that issues related to diversity influence other typical developmental processes such as relationships, identity development, acculturation, the maintenance of stereotypes, the concept of oppression, the behaviors of discrimination, and the beliefs of prejudice. Consequently, the CAPS staff members regularly address issues of diversity with students, faculty and staff, through training, programming and consultation, and staff development. Our goal is the acceptance and celebration of differences rather than mere tolerance. Through these efforts, we hope to create and maintain an environment free from bias and harassment, and through mutual respect and trust explore our attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors that will ultimately contribute to the growth and development of each member of the University of Houston community.
A full list of CAPS agency staff and trainees is available here.
The University of Houston Counseling and Psychological Services internship program philosophically supports the development of well-rounded, generalist psychologists. There is no prevailing theoretical orientation among the staff at CAPS, and thus no expectation that an intern will have to adhere to any particular orientation to be successful here. Instead we strive to support and engender in the intern a wide repertoire of skills, simultaneously incorporating both breadth and depth. We believe that the complex array of concerns that exist within this diverse university community can best be met by a generalist psychologist who has at his/her disposal a wide range of conceptual tools and interventions. Our overall aim is to develop competent, multiculturally aware, ethical and professional psychologists who have acquired the knowledge, skills and perspectives of professional practice with adults that can be applied in a variety of psychology employment settings.
Interns have attained basic skills from their academic training programs and are here as "psychologists-in-training" practicing under intensive supervision. It is important to meet interns where they are developmentally in each clinical and professional skill area, and provide them with both appropriate support and challenge. Interns are expected to progress in their skill development over the course of the year, and concomitantly to be given more responsibility and autonomy.
Interns are treated as members of the CAPS professional team; this implies a parity of status in terms of working collaboration and respect. Interns’ input regarding CAPS operations and the internship program are actively and regularly solicited by the staff. As less experienced professionals, they are provided with the necessary training, supervision and mentoring to develop personally and professionally. Staff interact with interns both formally, through supervision and other training activities, and informally, through an open door policy that promotes a productive working alliance between staff and interns.
Didactic and Experiential Learning
We believe that competent psychologists integrate knowledge of clinical theory and applied research into their practice, and are open to lifelong continuing education which blends intellectual and experiential learning. Therefore, the internship presents regular opportunities for discussion of theory, empirically supported treatments, and suggestions for reading. Staff share knowledge with interns via both didactic and experiential interactions, e.g., seminars, co-therapy, supervision and consultation, and interns are encouraged to formulate and evaluate their own clinical hypotheses. Interns are taught the importance of becoming lifelong learners.
Sensitivity to Diversity
We believe that multiculturally aware psychologists understand the impact of cultural issues and individual differences on their therapeutic and professional relationships, and continuously explore their own beliefs and assumptions regarding diversity. Therefore, the internship presents regular opportunities not only for reading and discussing professional literature related to diversity, but for engaging in facilitated exploration and "stretching" of one’s multicultural lens.
Ethical Conduct and Professionalism
We believe that ethical psychologists who conduct themselves professionally have awareness of ethical/legal/professional standards of practice and the ability to work collaboratively within systems. Therefore, the internship presents ongoing opportunities for learning and applying professional standards, and interns receive regular feedback regarding their professional interactions.
Professional Identity Development
Internship training is not just about the acquisition of skills, nor merely learning how to apply theory. At the highest level, the purpose of the internship experience is to encourage the establishment of professional identity. Therefore, interns are provided with opportunities and support for continuous development of one’s areas of competence and professional interests. As interns become increasingly aware of their strengths and limitations, they develop the ability to function at increasing levels of autonomy, confidence and self-initiative, making the transition from intern to professional colleague.
The program provides training opportunities for skill development and integration of science and research into practice in the areas of initial consultation, individual therapy, group therapy, crisis intervention, assessment, outreach and consultation, and supervision.
The program promotes the development of the intern’s knowledge, awareness and skills in working with diverse clients and colleagues.
The program facilitates the development of interns’ ethical behavior, professionalism, and sensitivity to ethical and legal issues.
High quality, intensive supervision is the cornerstone of our training program. The quality of the training program rests not only upon the opportunity to participate in a variety of professional activities, but also upon the certainty that each activity will be processed. In this context, to process is to review events in a reflective, exploratory manner with the intent of putting judgments and behaviors into an integrated frame of reference. Supervision is an enabling process which helps the intern to assimilate experience, and leads to the development of professional identity.
Professional training can be a stressful experience, and we believe that interns will best assimilate their learning if they are given support, close monitoring of their experience, and as much autonomy as appears appropriate. There is a developmental orientation to the internship, and the supervisor will provide explanation, demonstrate skills, and observe the intern in a context which both supports and challenges him or her as the situation merits.
There exists a variety of techniques by which interns may be supervised. Supervisors read case notes and test reports, listen to the supervisee describe the process that occurred with a client or clients, review video recordings of sessions, and/or participate as co-therapists. Each mode brings more data and greater immediacy and is thus a more satisfactory means of supervision. A blend of these supervision techniques is seen as desirable.
Cohort supervision is also provided for interns, with an emphasis on shared conceptualization, treatment planning and professional development. When providing supervision to practicum trainees, interns meet together for supervision of supervision. Interns also participate in psychiatry training meetings, case conferences and seminars, all of which present interns with regular opportunities for discussion of theory, empirically supported practice, and psychological literature.
CAPS does not use any distance education technologies for training and supervision.
CAPS houses 22 individual offices, a group room and two conference rooms. Each intern has his/her own office and is provided a computer with scheduling, record keeping, e-mail, Internet, word processing, and digital video recording capabilities. Soundproofing white noise machines and panic buttons are also provided in each office. Intern offices have telephones with electronic voicemail and long distance service. Interns have access to a laser printer/photocopier, color printer, fax machine, laptop computers, and portable projector. CAPS maintains a library of books and videos/DVDs, and a television and DVD player. Interns have access to clerical and technical support. University library holdings and computer services are also available to interns.
A standard core training program is required of all interns. An intern’s typical week includes approximately 22-24 hours of direct service activities. Direct service activities include 12 (estimated) individual client hours, 6 hours of Consultant on Duty, 1.5 – 3 hours of group therapy, and/or 1 hour of provision of clinical supervision to a practicum trainee. Recurring but not weekly activities include outreach workshops and tabling events.
Interns frequently also choose to conduct couples therapy as available. An 8 hour per week external or internal rotation in an area of the intern’s interest is also required in the summer semester and any service delivery provided within the rotation counts.
Weekly supervision is comprised of a minimum of 2 hours of individual supervision, 1.5 hours of cohort supervision and/or supervision of supervision (depending on the semester), and 30 minutes of group therapy supervision per group. Interns may also receive additional case supervision, outreach supervision, rotation supervision, or intern project supervision by a staff member other than their primary supervisor.
Weekly seminars focus on clinical, multicultural, and professional issues. As well, interns attend local seminars/networking events for psychology interns sponsored by CHATS (Council of Houston Area Training Sites) 6 times per year.
An additional 3 hours per week are provided for paperwork and administrative responsibilities, intern project, case review, preparation time, research, professional development, or other duties as assigned.
Interns average 40-43 hours per week, with some weeks requiring longer hours due to the service demand fluctuations of the university schedule. Some weeks may also include scheduled evening hours for clinical or outreach activities. While there are also less busy weeks, interns are required to be in the office 40 hours per week.
Interns participate in an extensive orientation during their first week at CAPS. The orientation covers all major services, policies and procedures of the agency. Tours of affiliated departments are provided over the first few weeks. The training program is reviewed in detail, acquainting interns with their assignments and options for the year. Time is built in to allow relationship-building with each other as a cohort, and with other staff with whom they will be working. Interns also attend the mandatory University of Houston orientation session for new employees, typically on the first Monday of the internship.
The internship requires a minimum of 2000 hours for completion; at least 25% of these hours must be spent in direct service. By the end of the internship year, competency evaluation ratings at the element level must all be E (Expected Level) or above.
All policies and procedures related to the internship program can be found in the CAPS Training Manual, available here.
The internship appointment period is from August 6, 2018 to August 5, 2019, and carries a stipend of $24,918 for 12 months. Interns receive their salary in monthly increments on the first working day of each month. A criminal history background check will be performed for each intern matched to our program. Final internship offers for matched applicants are contingent upon successfully passing these background checks.
Interns are full-time (40 hours per week), benefits-eligible university employees. Interns are provided with the same basic benefits as other University of Houston staff, currently:
|Sick Leave||accrued at a rate of 8 hours per month (totaling 13 days - August to August), available immediately|
|Vacation Leave||accrued at a rate of 8 hours per month (totaling 13 days - August to August). Vacation leave is available after 6 months. Interns are expected to use all of their vacation time during the internship year. Five of those days are preferably taken on the last five working days of the internship.|
|University Holidays||approximately 14 days annually|
|Basic Health Insurance: N.B.||this coverage becomes effective the first day of the month after 60 days from the date of hire.|
|Basic Life Insurance: N.B.||this coverage becomes effective the first day of the month after 60 days from the date of hire.|
|Teacher Retirement System of Texas||participation in this retirement plan is required (employee contributions can be withdrawn at the end of internship)|
|Social Security||required participation|
More information about UH employee benefits is available at /human-resources/
Interns are eligible to participate in the following optional insurance programs at their own expense:
Interns can also purchase the following at applicable university rates:
Interns may also be approved for Professional Development Time by request, for dissertation preparation or defense, EPPP, job interviews and professional conferences.
Intern selection is based on degree of fit. We look for interns whose interests and goals are consistent with our training philosophy and the experiences we can provide. We do not require prior practicum experience specifically in a university counseling center but applicants should have experience working with adults in an outpatient setting. Although we do not expect applicants to have had academic and practical training in all areas addressed by our training program, we do assign scores for coursework and supervised experience in group therapy, and multicultural/diversity work. If those areas are met, experience with outreach and consultation, crisis intervention, providing supervision, and/or couples therapy are a plus. Reviewers also evaluate the applicant’s level of clinical development, multicultural commitment, self-awareness, motivation for growth, professional conduct, and communication skills.
Applicants must access the AAPI Online to create and submit their internship applications. Go to http://www.appic.org, and click on "AAPI Online". All materials must be complete and available for review online by November 3, 2017. Updated Nov 1, 2017: The application deadline has now been extended to Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 11:59pm. No paper application materials will be accepted. In order to be considered, applicants must submit / upload:
If you have questions, please email the Training Director.
Internship applications are first reviewed by the Training Director. Applicants who do not meet the qualifications listed above, or who are not suited for our program are removed from consideration. The training staff and the current interns are then assigned the remaining applications to review and score; these scores are a primary factor in determining which applicants will be invited for interview. Interns are fully involved in the selection process and their input is considered in the final rankings.
All applicants will be notified by email of their application / interview status no later than December 15, 2017.
Individual 90-minute interviews will be available on the following dates: December 20, 21, January 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, with start times between 9am and 4pm Central Time. These can be conducted via Skype, phone, or in-person, according to the candidate's preference. The interview is comprised of: 50 mins with a 2-3 person team, a 10 min break, and 30 mins with Dr. Sun. Applicants who interview on-site are invited to stay for an additional 30 minutes to visit informally with a current intern and to take a short tour of the center. Applicants who interview via Skype or phone are encouraged to contact a current intern via email or phone to visit informally, at any point between their interview and the ranking deadline.
The interviews are designed for the internship to further assess the candidate’s prior experience, case conceptualization and intervention skills, ethical decision-making, training goals, multicultural commitment, self-awareness, motivation for growth, professional conduct, interpersonal style, and communication skills. Following the interviews, the training staff and current interns meet again to discuss interview scores, and to determine final rankings.
All candidates are welcome to speak with current interns and staff at any time during this process. Following the interview day, except in rare cases when additional information is needed, CAPS staff and interns do not contact applicants. We also do not consider continued contact by applicants as a factor in our final rankings. Applicants should therefore feel free to contact CAPS if they have questions, but not feel obligated to do so.
Interns will be ranked and will rank sites according to the guidelines set by the APPIC Match. Instructions and forms for the matching service can be found at http://www.natmatch.com/psychint.
The University of Houston Counseling and Psychological Services is a member of APPIC and follows APPIC guidelines and policies regarding internship offers and acceptances. Visit the APPIC website for a copy of the current "APPIC Match Policies". This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant.
THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON IS AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION / EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.