Clinical / Counseling
The Clinical/Counseling program in Psychology is designed to prepare students interested in going into the helping professions and human services.
Course work and related experiences should provide students with a foundation for graduate work, or, in some cases, entry level positions in counseling, school psychology, clinical psychology, child/adolescent assessment and intervention, occupational therapy, rehabilitation psychology, and other areas within the mental health field.
The Clinical/Counseling track helps students to develop an array of skills that are quite useful for a number of post-undergraduate pursuits. Feedback from former students has clearly indicated that transitioning into graduate school, research work, and entry level occupations has been quite easy. This is likely due to the interactive, hands on approach used in many of our classes. Our students learn how to work individually and in groups. They learn how to think critically and to make professional style presentations. They learn research and testing techniques not commonly offered in undergraduate institutions. Specifically within the Clinical/Counseling concentration, students can learn how to use biofeedback equipment and other psychophysiological instrumentation to see how physical measures are affected by psychological variables. Students also have opportunities to learn how to administer a variety of clinical measures in order to assist in diagnosis of psychopathological conditions.
Techniques range from clinical interviewing and paper-and-pencil testing to the use of computerized tests. Students are invited to take a full year of psychopathology which allows for very deep explorations regarding the etiology, symptoms, and treatments of a large variety of abnormal behaviors.
All students work closely with a clinical or counseling faculty member on a senior research project of interest to the student. By graduation, most students have worked on at least one additional project with a faculty member and played a role in presenting the findings at a regional psychology conference.
In its first year (1998-99), there were five psychology majors who graduated with clinical/counseling distinction. By the next academic year, 1999-00, that number had grown to eleven. As of right now, the clinical/counseling program is averaging 24 graduates per year, making it one of the largest specialized concentrations on campus. In the short period of time the Clinical/Counseling psychology program has been in existence, it has helped students get accepted into a number of graduate programs including those in the following human service specializations: clinical psychology, counseling psychology, social work, developmental psychology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. In addition, several students have also gone on to both clinical research positions and careers in child care or teaching.
Please visit the Catalog description to learn more about the academic requirements.
View photos of Melissa Joseph ‘10 during her summer job working with children who have autistic spectrum disorders.
Over the course of the past three and one half years, the Psychology Department’s internship program has helped 74 students in a total of 32 different internship placements. Each student is permitted to take up to two internship classes, so several students participated in at two different settings. The average number of students participating in an internship placement each semester was 10.4.
The most common placements during this most recent time period include:
- Radcliffe Creek school where students work very closely with children up to age 14 with learning disability and/or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Eight students have been placed at Radcliffe Creek School and three currently work there, as a result of the internship exposure, following graduation.
- Elementary Guidance Counselors at local public schools where students work with behavioral concerns that have impact on academic success. Often our students are asked to work with groups on anger management, conflict resolution, and impulse control. Eight students have been placed with local elementary guidance personnel.
- Regional Midshore Mental Health Outpatient Clinic where students shadow a PhD Psychologist working with outpatient psychiatric patients. These students work on treatment planning, psychological testing, team staff development, individual and family counseling sessions, and chart review. Four students have participated at the Regional Midshore Mental Health Outpatient Clinic.
- Crossroads Community Center where students work with primarily post-psychiatric hospital patients in a day-treatment setting. These students participate in direct treatment and patient care, often-leading group counseling sessions and engaging in personal interactions. Eight students have participated at Crossroads Community Center and two are currently employed there as a result of their internship exposure.
- Uppershore Community Mental Health Center Inpatient Units where students shadow a PhD Psychologist working with inpatient psychiatric patients. These students work on direct treatment planning, testing, group therapy activities, and team staff development. Ten students have participated at the Uppershore Community Mental Health Center Inpatient hospital.
Other students have participated in a wide variety of internship experiences. Some include Physical therapy units, inpatient units for children and adolescents (e.g., the Meadowood Program in Delaware, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Health program, & The Jefferson School), college and vocational counseling, and detention centers. Others include drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, residential treatment facilities for developmentally disabled youth, other inpatient psychiatric facilities (e.g., the Veterans Hospital in Baltimore & Sheppard-Pratt Hospital in Baltimore). Still others include working with cancer survivors and their families, working with the elderly, working with learning disabled adolescents at a local middle school, working with children at special summer camps, and working with social/emotional children in school based intervention programs.
The bottom-line is that there are a very large number of experiences relevant to the work of psychology and our students have taken advantage of the opportunity to explore a wide variety of them.
While most of the value of sustaining a viable psychology internship program is for student training, much goodwill and networking is generated in the process. Washington College and the community coexist in a relationship where mutual needs are often met by the resources of the other, and nowhere is this any better exemplified than our psychology internship activity. Countless students have benefited by professional development and countless community agencies have benefited by an influx of our energy and expertise.
Faculty supervisor: Professor Jim Siemen
Any interested Washington College junior or senior student may apply for one of the Psychology Department’s internships. Requirements for internship activity include the following:
- The candidate for an internship should have some experience in psychology and/or sociology coursework.
- When selected, the intern is expected to participate in the day-to-day activities that pertain to psychological delivery systems. Some examples include counseling, testing, education, participation in team meetings, continuing education experiences, interagency consultations, and any other activities that constitute the mechanisms for psychological intervention. In general, a minimum of 140 hours of direct contact is necessary for each section of the internship class. This averages out to about 10 per week in a normal semester calendar.
- During the semester, each student will participate in classroom activity. This activity will entail discussions on the nature and activity of the psychological delivery system consistent with specific placements, and discussions in general on various psychotherapeutic intervention strategies.
- Each student will be required to read material consistent with the intervention strategies used at their placement sites. This onsite reading will be suggested and monitored by the agency supervisor. Also, each student will be given reading material, by the faculty supervisor, on therapy interventions for an area of psychopathology, and report to the class, psychotherapy strategies specific to that one major psychological pathology.
- A journal will be kept to document, much like a diary, all intern activities. This journal should include a running account of the people worked with, training, interactions with colleagues, and any other events that pertain to the placement. At the end of the journal, each intern will be asked to critique the internship placement and outlining ways that the experience could be more enriching.
- Each intern is required to obtain malpractice insurance. See faculty supervisor for information and an application. Typical fee is about $23.00 for one year of coverage.
Some of the placements are rarely used, some are specific for a specific type of candidate, but most are available every semester. This portion of the handout is to recruit students into the course and to demonstrate the wide range of psychological employment, consultation, and activities.
Some recent examples of Psychology Internship placements include:
The Uppershore Community Mental Health Center Inpatient Units
Work includes co-counseling, testing, group therapy participation, team meetings, and other work of clinical psychologists. Adult population.
The Regional Mid-Shore Mental Health Outpatient Clinic
Work includes co-counseling, diagnostic evaluations, testing, team meetings, continuing education, treatment planning, and other work of clinical psychologists. Adult, family, and child populations.
This is a 28-day alcohol and polydrug rehabilitation inpatient unit. Work includes participation in the group education sessions, reading to understand the biological/social basis of substance abuse, and working in the ways of a drug and alcohol counselor. Adult population.
“Reach” Program (Chestertown Middle School)
Interns work in very much the same manner as with the Stepping Stones program; working with an educational treatment plan formulated by teachers and psychological staff. Adolescent population. (Spring placement only)
Carter Juvenile Detention Center
This is a locked facility with 15 beds; 10 male, 5 female. Duties include individual interaction, education, and group activities. Male placement only. Adolescent population.
Kent Youth, Inc
This residential youth facility houses up to 9 male middle and high school aged students. Duties include working closely with staff counselors as they assist in behavioral, academic, and social skill development. Most appropriate for a male placement.
Kent County Adult Day-Care Center
Work within a geriatric day-care facility. Daily activities include interaction with the clients, avocational activities, and case management. Geriatric population.
Radcliffe Creek School
Work with elementary and middle school aged students with a documented learning disability and often comorbid attention deficit issues. This is a fine local private school meeting the needs of this population of students.
St. Benedictine School
Work includes all aspects of institutional care for the severely mentally handicapped (and occasionally multiply handicapped children); testing, treatment planning, residential care activities, education, socialization, behavior modification, and counseling. Child and adolescent populations.
Washington College Career Center: Occupational/career counseling
Assist the professionals in the Career Center as they interact with students. Prepare Life/Work Planning workshop, network with other campus organizations, and assist students in interviewing techniques.
Washington College Study Skills Program: Prerequisite: PSY 433 Child Assessment
The intern will be expected to work closely with the director of the Study Skills Program at Washington College. There will be initial reading on Learning Disabilities. Following training by the director, the student will be expected to work semi-independently with underclassmen on study skill activities. Intended for a two-semester internship. College population.
Crossroad Community, Inc. (in Chestertown)
Work with primarily post-psychiatric hospital patients in a day-treatment setting. An intern would participate in psychosocial services for rehabilitation, occupational and avocational interests, treatment planning, interagency planning, and case management activities. Adult population.
Crossroads Community, Inc, (in Centreville)
Same program as the Chestertown unit with the same administration, just located in Centreville. Adult population.
Work with adult mentally handicapped patients. Each intern would participate in the care and rehabilitation, of such clients, in a day-treatment setting. Adult population.
Kent Center, Inc (residential program)
Working with developmentally disabled adults in residential settings. Several residential placements in Kent County.
Bay Shore Services, Inc.
Bay Shore Services provides services for developmentally disabled (largely mentally retarded) adults. At their Easton Day Care Center, they often have clients in need of behavior modification, education, and support. These internships often can be scheduled for later in the afternoon (2-5PM), but they generally involve frequent interactions. The programs are ongoing during the summer months and can involve nominal reimbursement.
Queen Annes’ Co. Health Department
Room and board in exchange for hours of service as an overnight (11 PM - 7 AM) worker in a supported living apartment for developmentally disabled adults. New program starting January 1999. Contact person: Emma Shivers.
Camp Fairlee Manor
(largely summer placement, but activities also occur throughout the year on the weekends)
Work with multiply handicapped patients (mentally and physically) in a specialized summer or weekend program. Generally, monetary stipend is offered for the summer and interns/counselors are expected to room and board at the facility. Physical and psychological intervention activities are part of the program. Full age range.
Kent County Guidance counselors at elementary school placements
Working with professional guidance counselors; mostly working with small groups dealing with conflict resolution, character development, and classroom behavior concerns. Children in grades 1-4.
Worton Elementary School Social/Emotional classroom
Internship responsibilities largely involve interacting with elementary aged children in a school based intervention program designed to provide academic advancement within the parameters of children’s fairly severe emotional disabilities. Children in grades 1-4.
Bethany House, Inc. Cordova, Maryland
Work with adolescent males in a family residential treatment facility. A very good experience in gaining exposure to the wide range of treatments and programs available to at risk adolescent males. Total of 24 residents in three homes. Located about 45 minutes from campus.
Other one time placements materialize periodically: e.g., working as a live-in companion for a recovering psychotic patient, Eastern Shore Rape Crisis Hot Line, and the Kent County Mental Health Association’s Summer Internship Program are currently available.
The Psychology Department will consider any legitimate placement with a primary goal of psychotherapeutic intervention; recent examples include work at Sheppard Pratt Psychiatric Hospital in Baltimore, BayHealth Center in Dover, Delaware, Rockford Center in Delaware, and Eastern Shore State Hospital in Cambridge.
Any prospective applicant should discuss the program with Jim Siemen. Selection will be made in consultation with other professors of the Psychology Department and any other relevant faculty members. Selected students may enroll in PSY 490 (140 contact hours for a 1 course credit) or PSY 491 (280 contact hours for a 2 course credit). Students may also enroll in more than one internship placement so long as the total does not exceed 2 course credits. The Internship course carries a grade and can be sued for credit toward the Psychology major and toward Washington College graduation.