Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Predoctoral Internship Training in Canada, Part One: Internship Setting and Supervisory Issues

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Predoctoral Internship Training in Canada, Part One: Internship Setting and Supervisory Issues

Article excerpt

Abstract

Despite recent developments in the training of professional psychologists in Canada, there is a lack of systematic study in this area. In this paper we present the results of our 1992 survey of internship directors and clinical supervisors in Canadian predoctoral internship training programs belonging to the Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs (CCPPP). Twenty - five internship directors and 58 clinical supervisors responded to the survey. On average, individual programs offered 2.28 funded positions, at a stipend of $20,269 per annum. While the number of formal programs increased from 1992 to the present, the stipend and size of programs have remained unchanged. Within the internship programs, a wide range of training opportunities were offered to interns, but limited opportunities existed for training in geriatric psychology, and in custody, competence, and forensic assessments. Over the three years surveyed there was a high degree of stability in terms of the number of applicants, number of interns interviewed, and acceptance rates. Very low remediation and failure rates were indicative of the success of the internship training programs, the interns, and the academic programs from which they came. The majority of the clinical supervisors were well trained clinicians, but had received limited formal training in supervision. The supervisors were flexible in providing supervision in a wide range of training experiences, but with some limitations. Individual sessions were the most frequently employed form of supervision. The majority of supervisors reported no problems in supervision. For those who noted problems the most frequently reported related to interns' personal concerns and stress, and inadequate pre - internship training. The major incentive for providing supervision was learning and enjoyment of teaching, and the major disadvantage was the time consuming nature of supervision. Both internship directors and supervisors reported offering some supervised training in supervision, but this is an area that requires further development.

Over the past 20 - 30 years, there have been significant developments in the training of professional psychologists in Canada. In 1983, the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) adopted accreditation criteria for doctoral and internship programs in professional psychology. The Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs (CCPPP) exists to integrate applied and academic programs with respect to training issues. Today there are 45 internship settings and 25 university programs listed as members of the CCPPP (1996 - 97 Directory). Sixty percent of the internship programs are accredited; 13.3% by CPA, 8.9% by the American Psychological Association (APA), and 37.8% by both CPA and APA.

Professional psychologists work in diverse areas of the health care system (including general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, mental health/community clinics), private practice, universities and colleges, correctional facilities, industry, schools, and research agencies. Given the scope of practice of professional psychologists, rigorous and extensive training is essential to achieve competence. The predoctoral internship is a central component of the training process. Yet a full - year, full - time predoctoral internship is a recent requirement for many university training programs in Canada.

With few exceptions, there has been little systematic study of training in professional psychology in Canada (Conway, 1984; Conway, 1988). In the United States, several studies on internship training have examined factors such as training opportunities, number of supervisors available, number of interns in specific settings, and the intern application process (e.g., Gloria & Robinson, 1994; Kurz, Fuchs, Dabek, Kurtz & Helfrich, 1982). For instance, directors of programs belonging to the Association of Psychology PostDoctoral and Internship Centres (APPIC) reported that understanding of normal and pathological development, and skill in personality assessment were important prerequisites for the internship (Tipton, Watkins, & Ritz, 1991). …

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