Succeeding in Graduate School: The Career Guide for Psychology Students

By Steven Walfish; Allen K. Hess | Go to book overview

unspoken expectation that the completion of the internship and conferring of the degree will dramatically change a candidate's self-image and life setting. This is, of course, unrealistic. An awareness of your feelings about these changes, and their related issues of dependency and self-definition, can assist you in moving toward an integration of your personal and professional development.

Interns may wish to plan activities to facilitate the transition out of the internship and provide further opportunities to say goodbye. Guinee (1998) suggested informal gatherings such as a farewell dinner, party, or a retreat to allow interns to look back on and process the year. It can also help solidify relationships that may last a lifetime. Baird (1999) encouraged interns to write thank-you letters after the internship to supervisors, the training director, staff, and other individuals who may have provided assistance during the year. Providing staff with an intern group picture is also a way of expressing appreciation.

Olson, Downing, Heppner, and Pinkney (1986) found that most training programs do not prepare students for entry into a professional setting, the role demands of professional life, and the personal adjustments required. These authors suggested a number of activities that trainees could pursue to mitigate this “emotional roller coaster, ” including interviewing supervisors about professional transitions they have experienced, inquiring about the availability of mentors during job interviews, making specific plans to maintain contact with graduate-program peers, and making plans to strengthen resources for handling tasks or roles that have been difficult during training.

Personally, as well as professionally, the completion of the internship is a chance to develop a new, but by no means final, sense of one's professional self. It may signal the start of a time of change, exciting and positive in some respects but most likely full of quandaries and reassessment. Levinson (1978) called this stage of one's life “a remarkable gift and burden.” The end of the internship signals not an end to learning or development, but a shift in roles as you continue to learn and develop professionally.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors express their appreciation to Hal Dickman and David Wexler for their contributions in creating an enriching and stimulating internship experience and for their wisdom and friendship.


REFERENCES

American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 47, 1597–1611.

Baird, B. N. (1999). The internship, practicum, and field placement handbook: A guide for the helping professions (2nd ed.), Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Biaggio, M., Paget, T., & Chenoweth, M. (1997). A model for ethical management of faculty-student dual relationships. Professional Psychology Research and Practice, 28, 184–189.

Cole, M., Kolko, D., & Craddick, R. (1981). The quality and process of the internship experience. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 12, 570–577.

Constantine, M., & Gloria, A. (1998). The impact of managed health care on predoctoral internships sites: A national survey. Professional Psychology Research and Practice, 29, 195–199.

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