All interns are required to participate in a core curriculum and develop a set of training experiences that aligns with the nine profession-wide competencies; however, they are also guided to select specific training opportunities that reflect their own professional interests and areas of desired specialization. Our training model provides a great deal of flexibility due to the focus on developing an individualized training plan.
Development of Individualized Plans
Development of individualized training plans occur in the first few weeks of the program, during which interns select clinical research and clinical practice rotations with the facilitation of the Director of Psychology Training. Interns meet with and discuss rotations with faculty, observe clinics and clinical research projects, and read relevant literature related to the rotations. Discussions of opportunities occur primarily in a group format to encourage collaboration among interns and shared responsibility for program assignments. The process of consensus and collaboration that is required for this selection sets a positive tone for the year by the identification of shared interests and interdependent activities among interns and faculty. Effort is made to match year-long commitments to interns’ individual career objectives and graduate school experiences.
Year-long core experiences afford interns opportunities to make significant contributions to research and clinical projects, often earning publication status, while also receiving intensive instruction in the development and implementation of clinical methods and procedures. Interns’ participation in faculty-directed research avoids frustrations often experienced by interns who attempt to initiate research projects during their internship year. For example, interns often do not have the time to develop high quality clinical research projects while also maintaining a clinical caseload consistent with a full-time clinical internship. Additional barriers to clinical research productivity on the internship year are the time needed to obtain university IRB approval and difficulties in subject recruitment. Involving interns in faculty-initiated clinical research projects avoids these problems, by minimizing start-up time and enhancing the quality of the clinical research experience. To ensure that interns' contributions are substantially different from graduate student roles, interns and the supervising faculty member develop an educational plan specifying the intern's roles and contributions to that project. The intern, the faculty mentor, and the Director of Internship Training review this plan semi-annually and at the end of the year.
Individuals will apply to and be accepted into either the Adult or the Child Track, but they can select experiences from either track as part of their program. Applicants should indicate the track (either child or adult) that they are applying to, and their preferences as to area of concentration. This information is requested in the cover letter as part of the application procedure.
Composition of Individualized Training Plans
Individualized training plans typically include year-long rotations (20% time each) in a clinical research project and a clinical placement. Clinical research is defined broadly as patient-oriented research for which an investigator directly interacts with human subjects. This might include (but is not limited to) studies focused on mechanisms of human disease, therapeutic interventions, clinical trials, development of new technologies, epidemiological and behavioral studies, and outcomes and health services research. Clinical practice involves direct service provision in a clinic setting, in the UIC hospital, or within the parameters of a clinical research project. Many clinic-based experiences involve intervention and/or treatment services research. Interns are expected to spend 12 hours a week in clinical work.
Year-long clinical research and clinical practice rotations are supplemented by four 6-month rotations (20% time each) in clinical research or clinical practice opportunities. These rotations can be combined in a variety of ways to offer experiences that correspond to specific clinical or research interests and/or to provide breadth and exposure to clinical and research experiences.
The year is rounded out by didactic experiences (20% time total), consisting of a core curriculum for all interns. In addition, specialized seminars and experiences that correspond to specific clinical or research rotations are included depending upon the intern's individualized curriculum plan for the year.