Counseling psychology doctoral students earn coveted internships

Mar 31, 2015 | Education

For the third consecutive year, Louisiana Tech University’s counseling psychology Ph.D. program in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences achieved a 100 percent match rate, with all six of its applicants being placed as part of the Internship Matching Program sponsored by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. Louisiana Tech’s students and their placements are Terri Duck (University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana), Rebecca Granda (Veterans Affairs-New Jersey Health Care System in Lyons, New Jersey), Laura Harris (North Louisiana Psychology Internship Consortium in Shreveport, Louisiana), Devin Merritt (U.S. Air Force/Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas), Jay Middleton (Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas) and Rose Niles (University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.)
Dr. Donna Thomas

Dr. Donna Thomas

“I am so proud of these students from the counseling psychology Ph.D. program for beating the odds of the internship match,” said Dr. Donna Thomas, the George and Jean Baldwin Endowed Professor in Education and department head for physcology and behavioral sciences. “Completing an internship is a requirement for students in APA-accredited programs, but when there are more intern applicants than there are internship sites, it is easy to feel discouraged. The 100 percent match rate demonstrates that the consistent, collaborative efforts of the students, faculty, and department are producing exceptional outcomes.” Commonly known as “The Match,” the internship placement program is highly competitive due to an imbalance of available sites and students. There are as many as 25 percent of applicants in the U.S. and Canada each year that remain unmatched. A 12 month, 2000-hour predoctoral internship is a graduation requirement typically completed in students’ fifth year of study. Doctoral students who do not match with an internship site must reapply the following year. According to Thomas, internship applicants complete a series of in-person and telephone and Skype interviews with some students participating in as many as 16 interviews in a single month. Interviews are expensive in terms of money and time with entire cohorts traversing the country for weeks during winter quarter. Counseling psychology doctoral students enter their program with internship in mind and must make decisions each year about field placements to tailor training to their specific interests and expertise. Formal preparation for internship application begins in the spring quarter of the third year of study when students begin a three-quarter sequence of courses used to assist in site selection, application preparation, and interview proficiency. The internship application includes detailed reporting of clinical hours and experiences, four essays, letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae and transcripts from all higher education institutions attended. To be eligible to apply, students must have completed a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical work, passed comprehensive exams and completed their dissertation proposals. “Internship is a capstone experience that serves as a bridge between being a student and becoming a professional in the psychological community,” Thomas said. “It provides an intensive, but rewarding opportunity to further establish one’s professional identity through supervised clinical work, training, research and service.” Since 2012, a collaborative project within the College of Education between the counseling psychology doctoral program and AROS, the consulting branch of the industrial/organizational psychology doctoral program, has assisted applicants in their preparation for interviews. Core faculty of the counseling psychology doctoral program, led by Dr. Walt Buboltz, director of training and including Dr. Güler Boyraz, Dr. lore dickey, Dr. Tony Young and Thomas, are essential to preparing and mentoring the students throughout the process.