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Michael Johnston with CAPS interns

Three APA doctoral interns complete 12-month, full-time internships with CAPS each year. Training Director Michael Johnston (second from left) is pictured with 2010-11 interns Landon Berger, Shira Sarabi and Galatia Cepeda.

Spotlight on CAPS Doctoral Internship Program

Every fall, graduate students seeking an internship in clinical or counseling psychology participate in a national search for a doctoral internship position. Internships begin after graduate students receive a master’s degree, complete all doctoral coursework, pass comprehensive exams and complete clinical practicum training. To obtain the doctoral degree and a license to practice, students must complete a 2,000 hour internship and defend their dissertation research.

Since 1985, the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services has offered three such internships each year through its Doctoral Internship Training Program. The internship program at CAPS was accredited by the American Psychological Association in 1987 and is re-accredited every seven years.

Each fall, CAPS receives as many as 130 applications for its three positions. Over the years, graduate students selected for internships at CAPS have come from such diverse universities as Indiana University, Ohio State University, University of Minnesota, University of California-Santa Barbara, Fordham University, Pepperdine University and the University of Notre Dame, to name a few. Interns also may come from independent professional schools of clinical psychology. Similar to the internship, these graduate programs are accredited by the APA.

In addition to a schedule of intensive clinical supervision, interns participate in all aspects of the services provided by the psychologists of CAPS. Interns provide students with individual and group counseling as well as crisis intervention services and they provide outreach programs and peer advisor training to student organizations and offices throughout the Student Services Division. Interns frequently are invited to speak on various mental health topics in the classroom and at campus-wide programs.

Students often are intrigued by the work of CAPS interns as they ponder their own career paths and ask questions about the possibility of graduate school. CAPS interns are often viewed by students as role models who emulate possibilities for a successful future.

After leaving CAPS, most interns find employment in university counseling centers and psychology departments. There also are former CAPS interns at work in private practice, community mental health centers and hospitals.
The doctoral internship at CAPS has become an integral aspect of the mission of CSULB as it provides professional training to future psychologists. Each year, three new interns bring the most recent knowledge and research related to providing psychological services to the diverse CSULB community. This knowledge and energy significantly enhances the services CAPS offers to students.