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Intern Seminars

ABPP Board Certification:
Trainees will have the opportunity to understand the importance of continued professional development and the role that board certification can play in helping them accomplish that.  Trainees will also be given the opportunity to begin the board certification process through registration for the Early-Entry Option.

Trainees will be introduced to understanding how their own professional development through board certification is not just to further their own development but to further the development of competence within the profession, and to serve as role models and mentors to other early career psychologists.

ADHD; ADHD/LD Screening:
We plan to facilitate discussion about ADD/ADHD and the impact it has on clients, especially in the university setting. We plan to highlight trends in diagnosing and treating ADHD and taking into consideration culture and gender as these may impact symptoms. We will demonstrate the ADD screening that the agency uses and interns will have the opportunity to complete the Barsch Learning Style Inventory and utilize interventions specific to their learning style throughout the presentation. We will also highlight interventions for working with clients who have ADD, drawing specifically from a CBT approach.

Co-facilitators will share their personal and professional experience of ADD/ADHD and will invite the interns to do the same. We plan to facilitate discussion to share their experience and knowledge of working with ADD clients and explore their personal selves in relation to topic such as medication and treatment option, clients and/or family members who don’t support ADD/ADHD diagnosis and how to work with unmotivated or resistance clients.

1.  How has your age impacted your client’s perception of your professionalism?
2.  How has your assumptions of age impacted your clinical decisions?
3.  How do you believe age and worldview are connected?

Aggie Culture:
We engage the interns in an interactive game similar to Jeopardy to challenge their knowledge and help them better learn the information presented.

We provide our own experiences and knowledge of the A&M culture and of working with current students in a therapeutic capacity to help them understand how everyone may experience the Aggie culture a bit differently.

Interns will be taught how to safely and efficiently guide a blind person when walking. Numerous opportunities for discussion and questions regarding blindness, assumptions and stereotypes will be provided during the seminar.

This is a process and experientially oriented seminar where self-reflection and personal sharing is encouraged.

Brief Therapy:
One focus will be consideration of the impact cultural factors have on the nature of the counseling process, the nature of the client-therapist relationship and the client’s notion of how long the therapy process will last.  Trainees will consider how to integrate readiness for change factors with client expectations for treatment in determining not only case formulation but also how to determine when the course of treatment is completed as well as when continued treatment is not warranted and would be potentially unethical.

Trainees will engage their own beliefs about the effectiveness of brief therapeutic approaches.  Trainees will be encouraged to consider their own process of change(and length of time involved in that process) as applied to a recent experience of change.  Consideration will be given to trainees’ development of their own conceptual understanding of client-initiated terminations and implications for their beliefs about brief therapeutic approaches and effectiveness.

Change Process I, II, and III:
Every interaction is multicultural (Pederson, 1991).  Trainees will have opportunities to consider how human beings have common needs regardless of culture.  How those needs are expressed will vary from culture to culture and from therapist to therapist.  Trainees will have discussions related to the use of self-disclosure and when/how such disclosures may be therapeutically helpful or potentially harmful.  Trainees may engage in exploration of where their own comfort level resides and how to establish effective boundaries within the use of self-disclosure.  The concept of common factors in counseling will be evidenced through these discussions.  Conceptual models of change will be shared with trainees.  The 3 part process will move from a more didactic experience (Change Process I) to a more integrative understanding of how change process concepts apply to trainees through the discussion of one of their own client cases (Change Process II) and then to a reflective review of a full course of treatment with a client and developing a depth of understanding of how that process unfolded (Change Process III).

Trainees will be introduced to recent developments in the use of online approaches to self-management of anxiety and depression being developed at the University of Florida.  Trainees will have an opportunity to consider how their own responses to clients (given the aforementioned variables of culture and use of self-disclosure) can serve as corrective emotional experiences.

Watching an episode of reality tv to illustrate the stages of consultation: good or bad.  View an episode of Super Nanny.

Consultation Project:
The purpose of this supervised project is to gain experience as internal consultants for the Counseling Center and other university units/departments.  The consultation project will integrate social justice work by identifying a particular social action concern and/or marginalized population on campus that are of interest to you either clinically or culturally.  As a cohort, you will then apply the initial stages of consultation (formal entry, initiation of a consulting relationship, assessment, problem definition and goal setting) as well as provide recommendations for future strategies/actions that could be advanced.

Couple Counseling:
We will explore the unique features of couples in the emerging adult (college) phase of development. We will specifically examine pre-marriage therapy.  We will consider the important distinction between process and content and demonstrate this with role plays. We will highlight key features of the most prominent theoretical orientations in couple therapy.

We will ask interns to reflect on what couple counseling stirs up for them. Are there aspects of this work that make them uncomfortable?

Presentation will include discussion and role playing as well as an opportunity to examine personal response to physical disability.

Highly encourage appropriate risk taking during seminar. Exploring areas of vulnerability is critically important in understanding disability issues.

Eating Disorder:
We will consider the difference between diagnosing versus conceptualizing eating disorders and explore several conceptualization frameworks for working with this presenting concern.  We will discuss various evidence-based interventions and assessment measures (e.g., resilience scales) they can integrate into their work, using case studies to consider their implementation.  Interns will engage in some of the techniques discussed in the seminar, such as a loving kindness meditation, journaling, mindfulness exercise, and art activity.  We will consider the impact of race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and other social identities on the presentation and treatment of eating disorders.  We will discuss some of the ethical and legal issues that may arise in our work with this population, including assessing level of care, hospitalization, and rule 30.  We will consider the holistic, interdisciplinary team approach that is utilized at the SCS and how they can develop effective and collaborative relationships with the EDIT team as well as consult with others, including supervisor, when needed.

Co-facilitators will share personal experiences, including how we obtained an interest and training in the area of eating disorders. We will ask interns to share their experiences working with these clients, including what they have enjoyed, what challenges they have faced, and what concerns they may have in working with this population.  We will explore any myths, assumptions, and biases interns may have about clients with eating disorders. We plan to use a brief survey on these areas to encourage conversation.  We will discuss potential countertransference or triggers they may arise if interns have similar struggles. We will normalize common thoughts and feelings related to body image and eating as we all have bought into some of these ideals at some point to different degrees and with different impact.

Trainees will consider how ethical decision-making is not necessarily a case-by-case implementation, but more a reflection of how trainees, on a daily basis, view their behaviors and the behaviors of their colleagues through an ethical lens.  Ethics I will focus more on development of an understanding and awareness of ethical codes.  The use of case vignettes will be a primary method of learning in Ethics II through the combination of ethical requirements and legal obligations.

Trainees will consider the intersection of their personal and professional identities and implications for decisions in both aspects of their daily lives.  The importance of self-care as a preventative mechanism against the encroachment of unethical behaviors will be discussed.

Gender Issues:
We also intend to incorporate a creative and experiential exercise or activity into our seminar, but we are still deciding on what that would be. Options include showing movie clips or a video from the above resource list.

We will share about tension that we’ve experienced being male and female. Our journeys, our tension. Perhaps even tension between one another surrounding disparate beliefs/values. We will create a space where interns can reflect on their experiences as a person of their gender. How have they experienced their gender within the field of psychology? Within their family? Within their religious affiliations? Within romantic relationships and friendships? Within the SCS? Within their cohort? Within their geographic region? Within their ethnic group? We would like to give interns an opportunity to reflect on and articulate how their ideas about gender came about. What forces influenced their perspectives on gender?

The case leaders discuss specific case experiences as well as experiences from facilitating a grief group as a way of identifying some essential components of grief work. We review components of grief work from current literature.  Through sharing writings and experiences of former clients, seminar leaders discuss the myriad ways grief manifests and resolves.  The main effective component of this seminar is the creation of a safe space in which interns are able to identify and discuss aspects of grief related work with which they may struggle.  Through these discussions and pairings with current literature, we help them to identify a framework within which they may feel comfortable working with clients.

Interns discuss their own experiences related to working with clients with grief issues as well as consider (though not necessarily share openly) how their own grief experiences impact their work with clients.  Seminar leaders model sharing of how their own grief experiences inform their work with clients coping with grief issues as appropriate.

International Students:
This seminar provides an opportunity to explore the unique issues and challenges of working with International students and being a multicultural competent counselor. We will discuss issues such as language barriers, acculturation, religion, gender, sexual orientation, geographic differences and how these issues can impact the counseling process and world view. We will explore cultural awareness, the importance of empathy and appreciation for learning about different cultures. Legal and immigration issues are of concern for International students, so scenarios will be discussed that may arise when working with this population. Common concerns, resources, counseling approaches and treatment suggestions will be discussed. Case studies will be available for processing.

Facilitator(s) will share personal and professional experiences working with International students and invite the interns to share their experiences as well. Within these discussions, we will explore world views and how our own views, values, cultural background, biases and perspectives can influence work with clients and our case conceptualization and challenge us. Opportunity will be given to reflect on personal reactions to the material and how their own feelings and struggles may impact their work with clients.

Job Hunting:
Prior to the seminar, Interns will complete a survey designed to determine where they are in the process and other pertinent facts.  Discussion revolving around their responses and each individual job search will ensue.

The job search process is rife with opportunities to reflect on goals and aspirations for the future.  Interns are encouraged to complete the survey at their leisure and to reflect on the questions therein.  Examination of self continues within the seminar, including goodness of fit with prospective position, needs outside of work, family considerations, etc.

Legal & Board Rules:
Trainees will learn how actions that may be considered culturally acceptable behavior in one culture may be considered criminal behavior in the United States.  This learning will then be translated into implications for working with clients from various cultures. Trainees will consider how to relate their own responsibilities related to reporting potentially criminal behaviors and also the protection of at-risk populations.  The use of case vignettes will be a primary method of learning.

Trainees will consider implications of reporting requirements upon the client-therapist relationship.  Trainees will examine how closely held beliefs might impact their judgment about their responsibility to report.

Trainees will be asked to share their conceptualizations of mindfulness and how they see it in both their personal and professional selves.  Facilitators will also share their experiences and beliefs.  Facilitators will address various ways mindfulness may be utilized in session, both for client and therapist benefit.  Additionally, one or more mindfulness exercises may be utilized.

Trainees will be encouraged to discuss how mindfulness approaches do and do not fit in with their world-views.  They will also be encouraged to consider their estimation of the effectiveness of mindfulness upon client concerns and upon their own effectiveness as clinicians.

Multicultural Counseling Competencies and College Students:
Presenters will utilize the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies Conceptual Framework to encourage interns to consider 1) counselor self-awareness; 2) client worldview; 3) counseling relationship; 4) counseling and advocacy interventions.

Additionally, 1) Counselor self-awareness: Presenters will invite interns to reflect their own cultural backgrounds and strengths that they can bring in their counseling practice.  2) Client worldview: Presenters will invite interns to identify their challenges in working with diverse college populations and ideas or actions in further developing knowledge and skills in these areas.   3) Counseling relationship: Presenters will invite interns to explore how their self-awareness and consideration of the client’s worldview may impact the counseling relationship.  4) Counseling and advocacy interventions: Presenters will invite interns to consider what it means to advocate for clients in a university setting.

Racial Identity:
The premise of this model is that the awareness, sensitivity, and competence do not go far enough in helping healthcare providers develop a more integrated and practical level of cultural awareness for effective service delivery to diverse populations. Our observations of trainees is that many come in with good cognitive understandings of theory and research. But, they lack the integration of  affective/ subjective aspects of what this means for their professional identity.  Through experiential exercises designed to help increase awareness of the intersection of values/identities of the therapist with those of clients, we hope to create more intentional therapeutic responses to issues of race as they may manifest in clinical work.

Our intention with this experiential training is to bridge the realms of cognitive and affective processing, and provide an opportunity for our trainees to integrate these realms in order to facilitate connection further awareness and refinement of their professional identity. Our hope is that the more self-aware and self-empowered trainees are, the more grounded they are in therapeutic interactions.

Sexual Assault:
Presentation on rape kits.

We will discuss issues related to sexual assault on college campuses, including alcohol, date rape, and secondary trauma that may result from poor handling of university charges. We will discuss our personal and professional experiences helping sexual assault survivors, as well as relevant A&M and community resources for clients who have been sexually assaulted.

Sexual Orientation:
We will discuss the conscience clause and its implication for training and the practice of psychology.  Further, we will explore the ethical and legal implications of providing counseling to LGB individuals including (1) identifying our role in therapy, (2) avoiding getting caught up in clients’ urgency for labels, (3) practicing proper record-keeping , and (4) addressing claims that we “make” students gay via counseling.  We will discuss the intersection of sexual orientation with other identities, including gender identity, race/ethnicity, religion, citizenship status, ability, etc., and discuss how we can help clients navigate multiple identities that may be at odds with each other.  We will explore how we can implement the APA guidelines for psychological practice with LGB clients to provide more affirming therapy as well as how the recent changes regarding LGBT visibility and legal rights may impact such work.  Lastly, we will to consider how we can develop collaborative relationships with others providing services to the LGB community, both on campus and in the community (e.g., the GLBT Resource Center, Allies, LGBTQA, Shades of Queer, Student Health Services, multiple religious organizations, Pride Community Center), to further support as well as advocate for our clients and promote social justice.

Co-leaders and interns will share their experiences and understanding of issues related to sexual orientation.  We will trace and reflect on the journeys that have led to our current understanding of this issue (e.g., messages we received growing up about sexuality from multiple sources – e.g., media, family, religious institution; the impact of our intersecting identities on our understanding of sexuality – e.g., gender and religion; meaningful events and relationships, etc.).  We will consider how these journeys have impacted our professional identities and the work we engage in with LGB clients.  Interns will identify their growth edges in working with LGB clients and explore ways to grow in these areas.

Social Class:
We plan to facilitate a discussion of social class variables that can arise in sessions with clients, including impact of aspects of diversity, ethical and legal standards, and the therapeutic relationship. The discussions held in the reflective practice piece will also help inform how interns may handle such issues in practice.

Co-facilitators will share their personal and professional experiences surrounding this subject while inviting interns to do the same. We will facilitate this discussion through various handouts, including “Hidden Rules Among Classes” (a table from A Framework for Understanding Poverty), “Poverty Definitions and Resources” (also from A Framework for Understanding Poverty), and “Examples of Unearned Privileges”.

This training is designed to be experiential.   It works best in the spring semester when the intern cohort has developed a sense of community and safety.  We provide opportunities for interns to share their journeys with spirituality and presenters model this throughout the training using specific questions and reflective writings.  We also explore practical ways to apply the concepts to clinical work by talking through case scenarios together.

Spirituality as an area of diversity can be intimidating for interns because historically they are taught to avoid this area as part of the clinical work in an attempt to separate the personal and professional selves. We use the space of this seminar to create a safe place for interns to reflect on their own practice of spirituality and how it intersects with their work.

Substance Abuse:
We will discuss clinical cases with which we have worked. We will discuss our philosophical approaches to substance abuse work including harm reduction.  We will review more intensive treatment options including intensive outpatient programs and inpatient programs.  We will review the importance of coordinating care with other entities on campus including Alcohol and Drug Education Programs, Student Conflict Resolution Services, Back on Track, Residence Life, and the Athletic Department.  We will discuss the escalating problem of prescription drug abuse.  We will discuss the culture of drinking among college students and its positive and negative effects.

We will ask interns to reflect on their subjective reactions to drugs/alcohol as well as to the common substance abuser. We will encourage them to consider how these ideas and attitudes originated. We will discuss how a therapist might connect with a student client who does not share ones values.

Title IX:
Role Play and Case Discussion of (1) Client questioning regarding mandated reporting and confidentiality and (2) Client disclosure of covered event and subsequent provision of resources to client.

Discussion of previous experiences with Title IX event disclosures by clients, personal reactions and professional concerns regarding recent public Title IX cases and suits, and personal reactions to the concept of “mandated reporting” and any implications related to disempowerment and safety.

Trans and GNC Populations:
We will view and discuss part of the series Transgeneration.  We will explore current events and their implications for the trans community on and off campus.  We will consider details associated with transition process (e.g., hormone therapy, legal name change, preferred gender pronouns) and our role in connecting students to resources.

1.  Explore intern’s understanding and experience of working with trans
2.  Discuss cases that involve gender identity and differential diagnoses
3.  Unique ways to explore gender identity with client
4.  Implications of sexuality

Trauma is a complicated diagnosis to work with, and frequently interns have not had a didactic course in trauma and its treatment implications before beginning internship. This seminar will allow for deeper understanding of trauma diagnoses, symptomology, and treatment options, as well as specific therapeutic interventions. Interns will be given an opportunity to engage in practice of these creative interventions (both for work with a client and self – to manage compassion fatigue) during the seminar. This experiential component will deepen their insight and strengthen their skills with traumatized clients.

Trauma work can be challenging to trainees and can sometimes invoke anxiety. This seminar will allow for reflective discussion and writing related to trainee experience with trauma interventions and clinical practice. This will hopefully help to alleviate anxiety that impairs their ability to engage clinically with trauma related symptoms and presenting concerns. Self-care and compassion fatigue will also be addressed and additional opportunities will be provided in these contexts to integrate professional and personal self-care needs.

Undocumented College Students:
We will consider the protective factors and mental health needs identified by the scant literature in this area as well as the recommendations provided by the interdisciplinary group of authors of such literature.  We will discuss the intersection of undocumented status with other identities, including sexual orientation and gender identity, race/ethnicity, social class, gender, etc., and explore how we can help clients navigate these multiple identities.  We will review the university and local resources available to undocumented students at TAMU and discuss how interns can develop effective relationships with these organizations to increase their knowledge about this population as well as facilitate referral and linkage to resources.  Lastly, we will explore the ethical and legal issues associated with working with this population.

We will reflect on our experiences working with undocumented college students and consider some of the challenges and accomplishments associated with such work.  We will explore myths, stereotypes, and terms associated with the undocumented population in the U.S. and reflect on how we may have bought into some of these biases and how they may affect our work with this population.  We will consider our role as mental health providers in working with this population and how this work fits under a social justice model.  We will view videos of Dreamers and their families in which they share their experiences concerning the psychological impact of being undocumented and a college student and then have interns reflect and process their reactions and consider the potential implication of such experiences on their work with clients.  We will consider privileges associated with our documented status, and interns will explore how they can become an ally (in a professional and/or personal capacity) to this population.

Use of Self within the Personal Multicultural Landscape:
We use authenticity as the vehicle to engage exploration of diversity.  Through authenticity, seminar participants open the door to their individual diversity and they validate themselves/others through the telling of their stories and the listening to of others’ stories.  In our experience, significant diversity maturation requires three separate seminars spaced equally throughout the internship year.  The process begins in August and reaches a level of maturity as the internship year ends in July.  We encourage vulnerability with the understanding that each person is responsible for maintaining his or her own sense of safety.  It has been shown that personal diversity narratives provide a deepening of interpersonal connectivity and relationships with others.

Basically, this three-part diversity seminar has as its central component reflective practice.  Our hope is that by modeling transparency and authenticity in our roles as facilitators, this will greater enable the trainees to do the same in addressing and sharing their own experiences and struggles within the complicated world of personal diversity.

We plan to facilitate discussions of worthiness through the concepts of self-esteem, self-compassion, and imperfection/shame/vulnerability. Within these discussions, we will explore ways to address these issues with clients while being sensitive to gender, culture/ethnicity, and sexuality. We also plan to include activities/interventions for interns to do during the seminar that they can then utilize with clients. These include self-compassion exercises, the self-compassion scale, examples of mindfulness, and a shame/vulnerability worksheet. We will also have case studies available for processing.

Co-facilitators will share their personal and professional experiences surrounding this subject while inviting interns to do the same. We plan to include journal writing exercises, especially for the area of self-esteem, to help interns reflect on their own feelings and struggles and how this may impact their work with clients. We will also challenge them to consider their theoretical orientations and how this could influence their approaches to these issues. We will also show various video clips related to self-esteem, vulnerability, and shame to promote further discussion.