National Asian American Psychology Training Center Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology

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  • National Asian American Psychology Training Center Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology
  • General Information

    NAAPTC began operating in 1979. It was originally funded by the National Institute of Mental Health as the first program in the USA to focus on development of psychologists with expertise in working with Asian and Pacific Islander populations. In 1980, our Doctoral Internship Program first received an APA accreditation, which it has consistently maintained ever since (the last APA re-accreditation site visit occurred in the summer of 2016; the internship has been re-accredited through 2023).

    The clinical internship at RAMS is a full-time, year-long training program beginning the first week of September and ending the last week in August. The stipend for doctoral internship is $34,320. In addition, full health coverage, including medical, visual, dental benefits and life insurance are provided for the interns; spouses and domestic partners are eligible to purchase coverage through RAMS. RAMS also provides interns with access to its EAP, including psychological and legal counseling. The training year includes 192 hours of PTO and 10 paid holidays.

    To verify the APA-accredited status of the NAAPTC Doctoral Psychology Internship, please check the American Psychological Association website: APA Accreditation or contact the APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation.

    Address: 750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242

    Phone: 202-336-5979

    Email: apaaccred@apa.org

    To download the NAAPTC Doctoral Internship Brochure, please click here

    To download the C-27 I Table: “Trainee Admissions, Support, and Outcome Data” for the NAAPTC Doctoral Internship, please click here.

    Training Goals, Model and Philosophy

    The National Asian American Psychology Training Center’s Doctoral Internship is an experience-based training program that provides socialization into the profession of psychology and development of generalist entry-level psychology practice skills: proficiency for the clinical assessment and conduct of psychotherapy (individual, family, group & couples) across the life span, with a variety of patient populations, and in a broad spectrum of clinical settings. The hallmark of our internship training is development of informed clinical sensitivity to diversity (particularly, in regard to Asian American and Russian-speaking minorities) and building a repertoire of assessment/ intervention skills applicable to a wide range of clients, including the more disturbed and chronically troubled patient.

    While receiving didactic and supervisory training, doctoral interns function as integral members of RAMS clinical staff. Our multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and multi-disciplinary treatment team includes mental health peer specialists, vocational counselors, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Because of the rich diversity of the client population and treatment team, doctoral interns have the opportunity to hone their clinical skills while consolidating their professional identity as a psychologist and developing advanced sensitivity to issues of race, culture, ethnic identity, religion, class, disability, gender, and sexual orientation.

    The variety of clinical experiences offered through the RAMS Outpatient Community Mental Health Clinic, low-fee Counseling Center at Asian Family Institute, and the four available Clinical Rotation sites (Comprehensive Crisis Services, Pre-vocational Counseling Services, School-based Satellite Clinic, and Adult Residential Treatment Program) allows our program enough flexibility to accommodate specific learning needs of each intern. Interns have a chance to practice their skills with a wide spectrum of mental disorders, a broad range of clients (e.g. age, marital status, ethnicity, etc.), in various clinical modalities, and in an array of clinical and community settings. The formal training curriculum (didactic seminars, case conferences, individual and group supervision) is designed to parallel and complement this intense clinical exposure and to facilitate the interns’ growth as clinicians and professional psychologists.

    The theoretical orientation of the NAAPTC internship is psychodynamic, with emphasis on the Object Relations, Interpersonal & Contemporary Relational Approaches. We train interns to function as participant observers: to avail themselves to input from clients (both verbal and communicated by impact) and to study it. The patient is viewed as a credible interpreter of the therapist’s experience in the “bi-personal filed” of clinical work. This helps interns to maximize learning from their patients and allows treatment to be conducted as a co-participant inquiry in order to better meet each client’s unique needs.

    The model for training at the NAAPTC Doctoral Internship is that of the Scholar/Practitioner (the Vail model). Consistent with this approach, which underscores preparation for professional psychology practice that is informed by science, our internship emphasizes the development of clinical skills through provision of many diverse types of direct patient care that are rooted in a knowledge-based foundation of theory, empirical data, and informed sensitivity to issues of diversity. Interns’ learning from this intense experiential exposure is supported by focus on the ongoing evaluation of the efficacy of their interventions and continued treatment planning to improve their clinical services. We teach interns to bring their professional knowledge base and scientific attitudes to their clinical work and to deal with each individual treatment as a unique research project that occurs in the context of the consultation room: to explore their own clinical and cultural biases, to generate clinical hypotheses and to verify them by empirical observations, to select interventions on the basis of case formulations, and to track the outcomes of interventions to support/modify clinical hypotheses. Coupled with the recognition of the value of local observations and local solutions to problems, this attitude of informed curiosity and co-participant inquiry enables interns to go beyond the unquestioned use of technique-based or empirically validated approaches to develop treatment strategies that are both rooted in the accumulated body of scientific and clinical knowledge and respectful of clients’ cultural and personal diversity.

  • Training Program Overview

    The variety of clinical training experiences offered through RAMS Child and Adult Outpatient Community Mental Health Clinics, fee-for-service Counseling Center at Asian Family Institute, and the four available External Clinical Rotations (Comprehensive Crisis Services, High School Satellite Clinic, Adult Residential Treatment Program, and Pre-vocational Counseling Services) allows our training program enough flexibility to accommodate specific interests and training needs of each intern. Accordingly, interns have a chance to develop and practice their skills with a wide spectrum of mental disorders, a broad range of clients (e.g. age, marital status, ethnicity, etc.), in various clinical modalities, and in an array of clinical and community settings. Additionally, all internship training placements provide rich exposure multidisciplinary collaboration, which affords interns the opportunity to consolidate their professional identity as a psychologist. The required Scholarly Projects/Presentation of Professional Work are devised to further promote interns socialization into the profession.

    The formal training curriculum (didactic seminars, case conferences, individual and group supervision) is designed to parallel and complement this intense clinical exposure and to facilitate the interns’ growth as clinicians and professional psychologists.

    Whereas predominantly psychodynamic/systems in approach, Clinical Supervision is provided in a number of different formats (individual, group, teamwork meetings, and hands-on mentorship) and with different foci (outpatient psychotherapy cases, psychological assessment, rotation clinical work, and cultural competency projects). These varied supervision experiences establish a venue for didactic instruction that meets the particular needs of the intern group as it faces the unique populations served at RAMS.

    The training year starts with an intensive three-week-long Orientation Program. After that, interns participate in three mandatory ninety-minute long weekly training series: Psychological Assessment Seminar/Group Supervision, Intern and Trainee Seminar, and In-service Training. Additional didactic trainings are provided at the rotation sites. Interns can also join one or both elective one-hour-long weekly consultation groups/seminars: Relational Work with Children and Families and Psychodynamic Conceptualization in Working with Severely Mentally Ill Adults.

    Both supervision and didactic seminars emphasize issues of comprehensive assessment and treatment for complex mental disorders and include a strong emphasis on cultural competency. This, coupled with the rich diversity of the client population and training staff, gives our interns the opportunity to build a repertoire of culturally competent assessment/ intervention skills applicable to a wide range of clients across the life span, including the more disturbed and chronically troubled patient. The hallmark of our internship training program is development of informed clinical sensitivity to and expertise in working with diversity (particularly, in regard to Asian American and Russian-speaking minorities).

  • The psychological assessment training is an integral part of the NAAPTC doctoral internship. It consists of a weekly one and a half hour Assessment Seminar/Group Supervision and a half-hour Individual Supervision on testing cases. This program involves both theoretical learning and practical application of assessment skills, with an emphasis in Cross-Cultural Assessment and Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment. Each intern is required to complete six in depth testing batteries during the training year, and the core didactic curriculum is supplemented with didactic training covering issues that arise as students deal with their assigned assessment cases and/or issues related to students’ particular areas of interest.

    Core Curriculum:

    1. Orientation to the Program
      1. Ethical and Legal Issues in Assessment
      2. Basic Test Psychometrics
      3. Introduction to theory and practice of Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment
        (www.therapeuticassessment.com)
      4. Introduction to Cross-Cultural Assessment
      5. Developing assessment questions, initial interview & assessment
      6. Test administration and scoring of commonly used measures
      7. Written report and feedback letter
      8. Discussion of the interns’ background knowledge and interests in relation to assessment training at the NAAPTC
    2. Introduction to Neuropsychology/ Mental Status Exam and Basic Neurological Screening
    3. Developmental Assessment
    4. Cognitive Assessment
    5. Learning & Memory
    6. Executive Functioning
    7. Emotional Functioning and Personality Assessment
    8. Assessment of Specific Populations
      • Including assessment of children (rapport issues, working with parents and teachers, assessment of Mental Retardation, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc.); geriatric assessment (Dementias, Delirium, psychiatric illnesses, etc.), assessment of substance abusers; assessment of cultural minorities; assessment of severely mentally ill and fragile clients, and other populations of interest to interns.

    Practical Testing Experience:

    The practical part of the training consists of comprehensive collaborative/therapeutic assessment of at least four clients: clarifying the referral questions; collecting historical information; administering and scoring assessment measures; interpreting the data; writing reports and feedback letters; providing feedback to the clients and referral sources. At a minimum, each in-depth assessment battery includes a thorough Mental Status Exam, a basic neuropsychological screening, WAIS-IV/WISC-IV or Ravens’ Coloured Progressive Matrices, RAVLT, RCFT, D-KEFS Trail Making Test and Verbal Fluency, and the Rorschach (R-PAS system) or TAT and MMPI-2 or BAI/BDI. Typically, these assessment techniques are supplemented by other measures pertaining to specific referral questions. Given the diversity of the populations served by RAMS, the trainees have some latitude in selecting their testing cases, including the opportunity to test adults and children with a variety of diagnoses, cultural backgrounds and languages, and to provide consultations on assessment and treatment plan development within the outpatient and residential treatment settings.

    For more information about the Assessment Report Outline, click here.

  • The development of clinical sensitivity to diversity is a hallmark feature of the NAAPTC internship. The NAAPTC understands diversity as all differences related to culture, ethnicity, race, national origin, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and physical condition. It is an aspect of clinical work and professional functioning that permeates the internship’s learning environment.

    Through exposure to a diverse client population, training cohort, and clinical staff, interns are faced with their assumptions about various cultures. This creates an opportunity and demand to address one’s own cultural biases and limitations in tolerating diversity. In this environment, the interns’ cultural sensitivity is demonstrated in the overall context of their professional responsibilities. Clinical aspects of diversity are discussed in supervision, case conferences, and didactic seminars on an ongoing basis. The Intern and Trainee Seminar also includes a focused four-month-long Cultural Self-awareness Module. In addition, interns can utilize the experience and expertise of diverse training cohorts and staff who are not core training faculty. In this way, peers and staff act as cultural consultants to cases with particular diversity issues, and supervisors often encourage interns to seek consultation on those cases.

    A structured part of the NAAPTC diversity training is the required Cultural Competency Project, which is designed to provide structural scaffolding for, and to facilitate the development of, clinical sensitivity to diversity. The project comprises a clinical study that explores an intersection of clinical and cultural/social issues in light of interns’ own cultural biases and predilections. It must be of sufficient scope and depth that four weekly hours allotted to this work over the course of nine months are needed to complete it.

    The director of training supervises interns’ work on their projects during the weekly hour-long Cultural Competency Project Meeting. It is conducted as a combined psychodynamic group supervision/clinical seminar where interns discuss their work, process various aspects of their internship experience, and help each other consider a variety of clinical, systemic, and training phenomena through culturally-informed lenses.

    With help from their peers and supervisor, each intern identifies a specific cultural bias that may be affecting his/her clinical work, and chooses a relevant aspect of psychological functioning in the selected group’s culture on which to focus. As interns plan their individual projects and consider how they want to test their biases, they present their nascent ideas at the meeting and collaboratively ponder relevant clinical, cultural, and professional examples.

    Throughout the course of this work, exploration of cultural biases is informed and shaped not only by feedback from the other members of the group, but also by cultural aspects of the group process. Supervision is focused on enabling interns to draw their own experiential conclusions. The director of training helps interns reflect on their functioning in diverse professional environments; facilitates discussion of cultural issues present in their clinical work and in the group process; assigns readings to bridge interns’ own insights with the accumulated body of professional knowledge; and helps find “cultural consultants.” As such, this forum provides a working model for considering intersections between cultural and clinical issues.

    Staff clinicians and therapists in the community are available to work formally as mentors to interns as well as informally as sources of advice and support. In the summer, interns present their Cultural Competency Projects to the entire staff at the In-service Clinical Training. A written version of their presentation is added to the training library  as a resource for staff and future interns.

    For the list of Cultural Competency Projects conducted by the RAMS interns since 1997, please click here.

    For a paper co-written by a cohort of RAMS internship graduate about their experience of working on Cultural Competency Projects, please click here.

    Dr. Alla Volovich supervises the cultural competency projects during her weekly group meetings with the interns; she also has the responsibility for securing resources that interns need in order to fulfill their learning goal. Staff clinicians are available to work with interns formally as mentors as well as informally to advise and support them in completing their goal. Interns present their projects to the entire staff at our Wednesday In-service Seminar, and they submit a written version of their presentation to be used as a resource for staff and future interns.

  • NAAPTC Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association and a member of the Association of Psychology Post-doctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).

    To verify the APA-accredited status of the NAAPTC Doctoral Psychology Internship, please check the American Psychological Association website: http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation or contact the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation.

    Phone: 202-336-5979
    Email: apaaccred@apa.org
    Address: 750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242

    Students who are preparing for a Ph. D. or Psy. D. in clinical, counseling, or school psychology are eligible to apply.

    APA accreditation of the applicant’s graduate program is not required, but is much preferred; clinical psychology training is preferred.

    In order to be considered, applicants must have a minimum of three years of graduate training and meet all their school’s standards of internship readiness before application deadline. Additionally, by the start of the internship, applicants must possess an equivalent of master’s degree, have comprehensive exams passed and have their dissertation proposal defended and accepted.

    The minimal previous clinical training requirement is 500 hours of Supervised Intervention Experience expected by the start of the internship. Applicants who have higher amount of practical training and those with especially pertinent clinical experiences (similar patient populations, modalities of treatment, theoretical approach, etc.) receive more favorable ratings.

    All applicants are required to register for the APPIC Match and submit their applications online according to the procedures adopted by APPIC.

    In order to be considered, each application should include the following:

    1. A letter of interest and intent (What applicant hopes to learn during internship and what qualifies him or her as a good fit)
    2. Curriculum vitae (Please provide detailed information about all supervised professional experiences, including types of settings, clinical services provided, clinical and cultural populations served, and theoretical orientation of supervision. Additionally, we are asking all applicants who speak languages other than English to provide information on their fluency in these languages – “receptive skills only”; “minor to intermediate conversation skills”; “intermediate to fluent”; “fluent to very fluent”; “native speaker”)
    3. AAPI;
    4. Official Transcript of Courses and Grades (Graduate Transcripts)
    5. Three recent letters of recommendation (Strong preference is given to recommendations from professionals who are familiar with applicants’ clinical work, as opposed to letters that highlight applicants’ academic achievements.)
    6. An integrated psychodiagnostic assessment report on a comprehensive clinical battery of tests. Any complete test battery must include both cognitive and personality tests; the report must include a case formulation of both cognitive and emotional functioning. Strong preference is given to reports conducted on a patient, not a volunteer, as well as to those reports that include projective measures in addition to standardized tests. If you do not have any reports that fit all the above criteria (i.e. you have only done testing of volunteers, cognitive tests only, etc.) please choose one report that showcases your assessment skills at their best. Please submit your report with all identifying data removed.

    For more information on what we are looking for in an assessment report, feel free to consult the Assessment Report Outline at our website at Psychological Assessment Training

    The application deadline is November 1

    INTERVIEW PROCESS

    A typical interview is conducted by two internship faculty members. It takes about an hour, and is rather informal. Interviewers ask applicants about their past training and clinical work, as well as career goals. Experience of working with clients of diversity and applicants’ understanding of the role their own culture plays in the clinical encounter are often discussed. Other topics of the interview may include applicants’ experience in working with the underprivileged and with the severely disturbed as well as applicants’ theoretical orientation and their own ideas about how therapy works. Applicants are expected to be ready to present a clinical case to illustrate their style of work and to demonstrate clinical cultural and theoretical competency.

    SELECTION OF APPLICANTS

    Please note that while we give some preference to applicants who have experience or demonstrated strong interest in working with minority clients and/or are bilingual, the National Asian American Psychology Training Center and RAMS, Inc. are Equal Opportunity Employers and do not discriminate on the basis of race, culture, religion, ethnicity, nationality, class, physical ability, age, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

    We abide by our agreement with APPIC for participation in the APPIC Match, including the APPIC policy that no person at this training will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any intern participant.

    The applicant is notified of acceptance or rejection according to the procedures adopted by the APPIC; the interview notification date is December 15.

    Please note that we do not routinely notify applicants of the receipt and status of their applications and are unable to respond to any inquiries regarding this matter.

    If you are selected for an interview, it is your responsibility to contact the RAMS Front Office at 415-668-5955 to schedule an in-person interview.

    Should you have any questions, please email Dr. Alla Volovich at allavolovich@ramsinc.org

    NAAPTC DOCTORAL INTERNSHIP SELECTION CRITERIA

    The criteria listed below are those that are typically used for rating applicants during the interview and considered in our ranking of the applicants. This information is provided to you in hope that it will help reduce the interview stress. It is not necessary that all areas apply to each applicant.

    APPLICATION REVIEW:

    Previous Training

    • Clinical, Counseling or School Psychology Doctoral Program
    • School’s APA Accreditation
    • Previous Practical Experience (relevance; # of intervention hours, # of assessment reports)
    • Relevant extra-training experiences
    • Interest & skills relevant to our training
    • Experience of psychodynamic supervision/training

    Application Essays

    • Evidence of self-awareness in the essays
    • Evidence of cultural sensitivity in the essays
    • Writing Style and Organization of Essays

    Recommendation Letters

    • Quality of recommendations
    • Relevance in terms of settings, populations, services, & training

    Psychological Assessment Report

    • Case Formulation
    • Writing Style
    • Level of Organization of Material
    • Type of Formulation
    • Test Data Interpretation Accuracy
    • Justification of Diagnostic Impressions
    • Cultural Factors Taken into Account

    INTERVIEW

    Case Presentation

    • Presentation of relevant history & assessment information
    • Ability to diagnose according to the DSM-V
    • Case formulation’s relevance to history and clinical data
    • Integration of cultural factors into case formulation
    • Case formulation’s consistency with theoretical approach
    • Treatment plan’s consistency with case formulation
    • Emotional sensitivity/use of self in clinical work
    • Working knowledge of psychodynamic approach
    • Knowledge of medications and relevant biological issues

    Cultural Sensitivity

    • Awareness of own cultural identity
    • Sensitivity to issues of diversity
    • Knowledge regarding diversity issues
    • Dedication to culturally competent clinical work
    • Commitment to working with Asians & immigrant populations
    • Relevant bilingual skills

    Personal Characteristics

    • Ability to express self and to be direct, self-assertive, candid
    • Self-awareness (including ability to discuss countertransference)
    • Commitment to own personal growth
    • Capacity to tolerate stress and work pressure
    • Commitment to Community Mental Health
    • Unique interests that could be met at a placement here
    • Unique skills that would benefit a placement here

    You can find information about APPIC Match Policies and Schedule as well as the APPI form at https://www.appic.org/Internships/Match/Match-Policies

    A training year at RAMS should be stimulating and exciting, and we look forward to receiving your application.

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