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 2 internship positions available each year. These are full-time, paid positions offered solely through the APPIC Match. The internship year begins on the last Monday of July 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:
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 2021, we welcomed 47,031 students.
UH is the second most ethnically diverse major research university in the United States. About 10% of the student population comes from outside of Texas, both from across the United States and from over 135 nations. In Fall 2021, the distribution of UH students by ethnicity was 10.7% African American, 22.0% Asian/Pacific Islander, 33.3% Hispanic, 7.7% International, 3.0% Multiracial, 0.1% Native American, and 21.6% White. The majority of UH’s international students come from India, China, Vietnam, Nigeria, Mexico, and Pakistan.
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.
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. We utilize a stepped care model to match clients with a service that will most effectively address their needs. This can include assigning clients to a workshop, a therapy group, or a single session before, or in lieu of, brief individual therapy services. We also provide crisis intervention and referrals for longer-term therapy. At CAPS, our philosophy is that life is the greatest teacher, and that therapy should always be a stepping stone and not a holding place.
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.
Internship Training Staff
Philosophy, Aim, and Competencies
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.
CAPS internship training is guided by several principles:
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 the 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.
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 the 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 a professional colleague.
The program provides training opportunities for skill development in the nine competency areas identified by APA.
Quality and Methods of Supervision
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 that 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 an 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, 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 case conferences, and seminars, all of which present interns with regular opportunities for discussion of theory, empirically supported practice and psychological literature.
CAPS uses a combination of in-person and video conferencing technology for training and supervision.
Facilities and Resources
CAPS is physically located in 2 buildings on the UH Central Campus: Health 2 (H2) and Student Service Center 1 (SSC1). They are 0.4 miles apart, approximately an 8 minute walk. Interns, along with the majority of the staff, have dedicated offices at SSC1. Clinicians are expected to go to the H2 location at a regularly scheduled time once per week to conduct triages. SSC1 houses 22 individual offices, a group room, and two conference rooms. Each intern has their own office and is provided a computer with software for appointment scheduling, record keeping, e-mail, Internet, secure video conferencing and digital video recording. A web camera, air purifier, soundproofing white noise machine, and emergency panic button are also provided in each office. Interns have access to printers / photocopiers / scanners / faxes in both locations. 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.
Internship Training Activities
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 and Single Session Therapy as available. Development of a “specialty concentration” during the internship year is also encouraged, in order for interns to round out their experience in a customizable way. Examples of specialty concentrations are provided below. Any service delivery provided as part of the specialty concentration counts toward the interns direct service total.
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, triage supervision, outreach supervision, specialty concentration 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. Virtual 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.
Experiential Learning Activities
Consultant on Duty
Interns work a 4-hour shift each week as the Consultant on Duty at our H2 location. During that time they are the “go-to” person for triages, consultation requests, crisis intervention, and inquiries about services that support staff cannot answer.
CAPS provides strong training in short-term psychotherapy skills. All sessions are video recorded. Interns are able to build caseloads that are diverse both in terms of client concerns and client demographics. As mentioned previously, there is no prevailing theoretical orientation at CAPS. We strive to provide training that the intern can integrate into their own therapeutic style.
Group therapy plays a prominent role in service delivery to clients and in the training of interns. Interns co-facilitate at least one general interpersonal process group each semester. Interns particularly interested in leading groups may choose to emphasize this area as a specialty concentration.
Couples Therapy (optional)
Conducting couples therapy is not a required component of the internship. Given a student population in which a significant portion of students are married or partnered however, interns who are interested in couples therapy have ample opportunities to gain experience here. Utilizing staff and trainees as co-therapists is the primary model employed at CAPS for training in couples therapy.
Single Session Therapy (optional)
Conducting single session therapy is not a required component of the internship. However, many students prefer therapy to be short and action-oriented. Interns who are interested in gaining experience with this solution-focused approach can engage in this activity.
Specialty Concentration (optional)
Note: this category replaces the Intern Project and Summer Rotation requirements from previous years
Interns have the opportunity to identify an area of more concentrated focus during the internship year that aligns with CAPS mission and goals. This could be a clinical concentration (e.g., couples therapy, working with international students), an outreach emphasis (e.g., joining in liaison meetings between CAPS and Athletics, developing a workshop series), a training focus (e.g., developing supervision/training resources), administrative exposure (e.g., assisting with clinical services management, outcome assessment, accreditation data) or work related to CAPS/UH initiatives (e.g., suicide prevention; becoming a Health Promoting University). A staff supervisor with experience in the concentration area will be assigned to mentor and support the intern in their concentration goals and activities. The time allotment for the activities is flexible, and considers factors such as intern progress in other expected competency areas, and optimal timeframe / time of year for the specific concentration activities. It is possible for the concentration to occur over multiple semesters.
In the summer, there is more flexibility with time (up to 8 hours/week) and the potential for supervised direct service in the area of concentration outside of CAPS/UH (e.g., couples / poly relationship therapy in a local private practice; riding along with Mobile Crisis Unit). Off-site work (in-person or telehealth) needs to be with a mental health service agency, practitioner, or campus department that has been visited and approved by the Training Director. There must be an on-site supervisor who is a licensed mental health practitioner. Any service delivery provided as part of the specialty concentration counts toward the interns direct service total.
Provision of Supervision
Each qualified intern may be assigned as the primary supervisor for a practicum trainee. The supervisee is typically a masters or doctoral student in Counseling or Clinical Psychology. All supervision sessions are to be video recorded.
Interns receive crisis intervention training during orientation and are responsible for crisis intervention during their CoD shift.
Outreach and Consultation
Interns gain experience with outreach services, which include: presentations delivered to a group outside of CAPS, recorded presentations to be used for website or social media, and media interview responses. The Assistant Director for Outreach provides outreach training during orientation and subsequently supports each trainee individually with preparation for their outreach activities. For trainee presentations, the ADO or a staff delegate also attends to provide support and feedback. Trainees begin by observing staff outreaches.
Interns are expected to conduct 2 outreaches in the Fall semester, 2 outreaches in the Spring semester, and 1 in the Summer. Additionally, interns are expected to observe one QPR (suicide prevention) training, but not to deliver one. Interns are also expected to provide Let’s Talk consultation at least 2 times during the academic year.
Case Management, Paperwork
Regular time is allocated for interns to write case notes, return phone calls, contact other treatment providers, talk to other staff about policies/procedures, etc.
Supervision Preparation and Planning
One hour per week is allocated for interns to review their recorded clinical work, consult, read articles, and prepare for supervision. If an intern is supervising a practicum student, an additional hour per week is allocated for review of their supervisee's recordings, notes, and other supervision preparation.
- Intern Support
Interns meet for one hour weekly throughout the year without staff for support and to process their internship experience.
- Individual Supervision
Each intern receives two hours per week of regularly scheduled supervision from a licensed psychologist. Additional unscheduled supervision and consultation with the supervisor and other staff members is available and encouraged. Although individual supervision may focus primarily on an intern's clinical skills and practical applications of theory, regular consideration of ethics and professional identity issues are seen as valuable. Individual supervisors change mid-year so that interns will have an opportunity to experience different supervisory styles. Supervision typically occurs in-person, with the option to use a secure video call when needed.
- Cohort Supervision
Interns meet as a cohort with a staff member for 1.5 hours each week to discuss selected client cases and professional development issues. Video recordings are shared and feedback is provided by the facilitator and intern colleagues.
- Supervision of Consultant on Duty (CoD)
Interns are paired with senior staff for 2 weeks at the beginning of the fall semester. Interns first observe their supervisors to learn the CAPS system and then are observed by their supervisors. They are provided with written feedback during this period.
- Group Therapy Supervision
Interns are assigned as co-facilitators with senior staff who serve as group therapy supervisors. In addition to 30 minutes of weekly supervision provided by the group supervisor, interns participate in a regularly scheduled Group Therapy Case Conference.
- Couples Therapy Supervision
An intern may see a couple as part of a co-therapy team with a senior staff member, and typically meets for 15-30 minutes of supervision per session. Based on the senior staff co-therapist’s assessment of this first case, an intern may conduct subsequent couples work without a staff co-therapist.
- Single Session Therapy Supervision
Interested interns first observe a staff member conduct SST and then are video recorded providing SST. Feedback is provided by their primary supervisor.
- Specialty Concentration Supervision
A staff supervisor with experience in the concentration area will be assigned to mentor and support the intern in their concentration goals and activities. Supervision occurs at a mutually agreed upon frequency.
- Supervision of Supervision
When serving as supervisors to practicum trainees, CAPS interns meet as a group for 1.5 hours each week with a staff member for Supervision of Supervision. Part didactic and part experiential, these meetings cover supervision theory and techniques and provide supervision of the interns’ clinical supervision work.
- Clinical and Professional Issues Seminars
Among the emphasized topics are professionalism, ethical and legal standards, crisis intervention, multicultural growth, group therapy, couples therapy, brief therapy, working with specific disorders, job search, and professional identity issues. Guest presenters from within CAPS, from the campus community, and national webinars enrich the training experience.
- Staff Meetings
The agency has biweekly staff meetings. The meetings provide an opportunity for input regarding the operation of CAPS. Time is also allocated for other discussion topics. Occasionally, guests are invited to provide information to the staff.
- Group Case Conference
The agency meets biweekly to consult regarding group therapy cases.
- Case Conference
The agency meets biweekly to consult regarding individual therapy cases.
Interns are expected to attend the Council of Houston Area Training Sites (CHATS) meetings 6 times per year, for topical seminars and networking. CHATS is comprised of the APA-accredited internship training programs in Houston—currently, Baylor College of Medicine, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Texas Children’s Hospital, VA Medical Center, UH Clear Lake Counseling Center, and CAPS.
- Professional Development / Release Time
CAPS maintains an active interest in professional development. Interns may request release time for dissertation meetings, job search activities, and conferences.
Interns are pre-approved to attend the annual Texas Association of Counseling Centers Intern Conference (typically 2 days in the spring semester).
- Intern Selection
All interns are involved in intern selection for the coming year. Interns rate applications and participate in interview teams, and are available to provide informal information to applicants. The selection process takes place from mid-November to mid-January.
- Evaluation and Feedback
Interns and their supervisors are involved in mutual formal and informal evaluations throughout the year. They are encouraged to discuss goals for supervision, progress being made toward those goals and areas of supervision needing attention. Each evaluation period, supervisors and interns complete a formal written evaluation of each other and the supervisory experience. Interns are also asked to evaluate the training program itself. Information gathered from evaluations is used to assess interns' progress and to make needed changes in the supervision process and/or the internship program.
Requirements For Completion
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.
Internship Dates, Stipend, and Benefits
The internship appointment period is from Monday, July 31, 2023 to Monday, July 29, 2024, and carries a stipend of $35,568 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. There are no additional requirements for employment. For the university’s policies related to COVID-19, please see visit the UH COVID-19 website.
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, available immediately|
|Vacation Leave||accrued at a rate of 8 hours per month. 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. You may wish to extend your current insurance to cover this gap.|
|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:
- Medical Coverage for Dependents
- Term Life
- Dependent Life
- Long-term Disability
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment
- Flex Health Care Reimbursement
- Flex Dependent Care Reimbursement
Interns can also purchase the following at applicable university rates:
- Staff Parking Permit (Zones D and E are closest to the CAPS buildings)
- Membership at the Campus Recreation Center
Interns may also be approved for Professional Development Time by request, for dissertation preparation or defense, EPPP, job interviews, and professional conferences.
Qualifications of Applicants
- Applicants must be enrolled in an APA or CPA accredited doctoral program in Counseling, Clinical, or School Psychology and have completed a minimum of 3 years of graduate training.
- Applicants must have a minimum of 400 Intervention Hours (i.e., supervised direct client contact) at the time of application in November. These may include Masters practicum hours.
- Applicants must pass all doctoral comprehensive examinations by the APPIC Match ranking deadline.
- Applicants must have their dissertation proposal approved by the APPIC Match ranking deadline.
- Applicants must complete all appropriate coursework prior to beginning the internship.
Intern selection is based on the 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.
Applicants must access the AAPI to create and submit their internship applications. All materials must be completed and available for review online by November 11, 2022, 11:59 pm Eastern Time. In order to be considered, applicants must submit / upload:
- APPIC Application for Psychology Internship (AAPI) General Application
- Cover Letter
- Curriculum Vitae
- Graduate transcripts
- Three letters of recommendation -- two must be from practicum supervisors or other professionals who have observed and can comment on the applicant's clinical skills.
If you have questions, please email the Training Director.
Selection Process and Timeline
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 an 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, 2022.
Individual 1.5 hour interviews will be available weekdays between January 3-13. Additional dates/times in December or January may be requested. These will be conducted via Zoom video call. The interview is comprised of: 50 mins with a 2-3 person team, a 10 min break, 30 mins with Dr. Sun. Candidates are also invited to sign up for an informal visit with a current intern at their convenience following the interview.
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 Internship Matching Program.
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.