Valley Health Systems
Doctoral Internship in Psychology

The Doctoral Internship at Valley Health Systems is designed to train future psychologists to work in primary care settings as providers of comprehensive psychological services that collaborate with other disciplines to improve patient care. Interns provide services in integrated primary care clinics, outpatient behavioral health clinics, psychological assessment clinics, and through our Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) for opioid addiction program. The internship is designed to be fulfilled in 2000 hours of training over the course of 12 months. Interns will receive direct supervision from at least three different supervisors during the training year, with ongoing feedback provided regarding progress toward training goals and formative feedback provided each quarter. All supervising psychologists are employees of Valley Health who hold a doctoral degree in psychology and are licensed psychologist in the state of West Virginia. Additionally, they have been approved by the West Virginia Board of Examiners in Psychology to serve as supervisors. We are committed to providing a supportive educational environment to interns as they develop into increasingly independent professionals.

Training Program

Valley Health’s internship program is intended to provide interns a broad experience in a variety of roles in which psychologists serve in primary care settings. Interns have a shared responsibility in planning and shaping their training experience in collaboration with their supervisors and the Director of Training. It is our intent to provide an experience that fulfills each intern’s identified training needs in a progression from basic knowledge and practical clinical skill competencies to preparation for an entry level doctoral psychology position.

Sequence of Training

Orientation

Interns begin the year with orientation to Valley Health systems so that they become familiar with the staff as well as needs and resources of our clinics, community, and patient populations. Interns work with our HR department, office coordinators, supervisors, and the Director of Training throughout this orientation process.

Defining Training Goals

During initial supervision appointments, interns will collaborate with their supervisors to assess competencies and define individualized, specific training goals for the year. This discussion will occur on an ongoing informal basis throughout the training year so that interns and supervisors can shape training experiences to meet interns’ needs and monitor progress and growth. Quarterly formal evaluations will summarize and document the progress and ongoing areas of need.

Shadowing

For the first few weeks of internship, the intern may participate in shadowing the supervising psychologist in order to familiarize themselves with specific service lines, teams, or approaches. In areas where the intern has experience, the intern will take the lead for providing the service while the supervisor observes and provides feedback.

Independent Caseload

As the intern gains experience and demonstrates clinical skills, the intern will take on responsibility for an independent caseload that is closely monitored by the supervisor. The intern will take the lead for the case while communicating often with the supervisor. Supervisors are required to be present for diagnosis and treatment planning with patients. Supervisors will also maintain working knowledge of the intern’s cases through documentation review, live observation, and review of recorded sessions.

Increasing Autonomy in Professional Practice

The supervisor will maintain working knowledge of intern’s cases throughout the training year; and as the year progresses, the intern will assume increasing autonomy for their professional practice. This may take the form of tailoring training experiences to advance training goals or carving out new training experiences of interest.

Training Experiences

For the entire internship year, interns will receive experiential training in four major service areas: Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction, Integrated Primary Care, Outpatient Psychotherapy, and Assessment. Because these services are offered at each of the various Valley Health Sites in the region, the intern will travel between a few (typically three) of the sites to obtain these experiences. As there will be a different supervisor for each of the service areas, this gives interns exposure to various perspectives, specialty skill sets, and professional training opportunities.

Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction (MAT Program)

The MAT program is an interdisciplinary program that involves Valley Health family practice providers, psychiatrists, nurses, nurse-practitioners, pharmacists, psychologists, and other behavioral health providers working together to promote recovery and independence from opioid addiction. The multidisciplinary team also often works collaboratively with community agencies. Interns will work under their supervising psychologist on the team to provide individual and group therapy, provide consultation regarding patients to the team, and collaborate with the community agencies involved.

Supervisor(s): Dave Wolfe, Psy.D., Kellee Boster, Psy.D.
Locations: Highlawn

Integrated Primary Care Clinic

Interns will complete warm hand-offs from primary care providers to establish an initial face-to-face contact between the behavioral health provider and the patients. Interns will be available for consultation to the medical team and will be prepared to provide diagnostic impressions, complete brief interventions, facilitate referrals to treatment, and foster a patient’s readiness for change. Interns will also assist with patients who are experiencing acute distress. Interventions are brief and focused.

Supervisor(s): David Oxley, Psy.D., Britni Ross, Psy.D.
Locations: Hurricane, Huntington

Outpatient Psychotherapy

As a department, we see patients from preschool-aged children to geriatrics for individual outpatient psychotherapy for a variety of presenting concerns. Interns will be providing therapy to patients consistent with their supervisor’s scope of practice. Interns will utilize evidence-based approaches and interventions. Patient referrals come from within our department, from Valley Health providers, and from the community. Collaborating or coordinating care with other health care professionals or other systems (e.g. school) will be done as appropriate for the case. Interns providing these services will have an independent caseload overseen by their supervisor.

Supervisor(s): Rebecca Denning, Psy.D., Kimilee Wilson, Psy.D.
Locations: East Huntington, Huntington

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Valley Health has a dialectical behavioral therapy program, and interns may choose to receive training in this model as their outpatient experience. Interns would then participate in the DBT consultation team, co-lead skills groups, complete phone coaching, and see individual patients using this approach.

Supervisor(s): Martha Fernandez, Psy.D.
Locations: East Huntington, Hurricane

Assessment

Interns will also spend approximately four hours a week completing psychological assessments. The Department of Behavioral Medicine is currently only able to offer a limited range of formal psychological assessments. Interns will have the opportunity to complete assessments for diagnostic clarity, ADHD, developmental disabilities, cognitive capacity, and pre-surgical clearance.

Supervisor(s): Kimilee Wilson, Psy.D., David Oxley, Psy.D.
Locations: Huntington, Hurricane

Didactics

Interns will attend two hours of structured didactics weekly. Regular participation (<90%) in the didactic seminars is required for successful completion of the internship program. Didactics are presented by psychologists within the Department of Behavioral Medicine as well as by other professionals such as pharmacologists, psychiatrists, family medicine physicians, and nursing staff. All didactics will be on topics directly relevant to psychologists’ clinical practice in a primary care setting. Didactics will also generally follow a developmental progression from basic clinical knowledge and skills competencies to increased specificity and specialization. Please see the tentative list of didactics in Appendix B.

Group Supervision

Interns attend one hour of group supervision weekly. During this time, interns will participate in case presentations, lead discussions of articles and other literature, and engage in professional development discussions on topics chosen by the interns (e.g. preventing burnout, preparing for independent practice, applying for post-doc positions).

Individual Supervision

Each week interns will receive a minimum of three hours of individual supervision: one hour of individual supervision for work within the MAT program, thirty minutes of individual supervision and curbside supervision for work within the integrated primary care clinics, thirty minutes of supervision weekly for assessment, and one hour of individual supervision for work in outpatient psychotherapy services. At each of the locations where interns provide services, there will be licensed psychologists available for consultation and supervision as needed throughout the workday as well. During individual supervision, Interns receive feedback about clinical work, documentation, and professional development. The focus during supervision should be on training the Intern rather than simply administrative supervision.

To aid in assessment of Intern’s clinical skills and the determination of whether a case is appropriate for the intern, supervisors will be involved directly in intake appointments. This is also consistent with guidelines for provision of services by supervised psychologists in a FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center). The supervised psychologist (i.e. Psychology Intern) may complete follow-up appointments in support of the diagnosis and treatment plan rendered during the diagnostic assessment. Supervisors will coordinate observation of follow-up appointments and other services through sitting in on sessions, reviewing recordings, and co-therapy/co-leading groups.

Interns are designated on all documentation as “Psychology Intern.” The supervisor will review and sign all documentation that includes diagnostic information or pertains to patient welfare. In terms of billing for services, interns act as supervised psychologists and bill under the license of the supervisor for those services. Throughout the internship year, supervisors remain clinically responsible for all cases under their supervision.

Estimated Weekly Schedule

An approximation of the intern’s weekly training activities is listed below, though variation will may exist. Please see Appendix A for a sample schedule for an intern.

Intern’s Estimated Weekly Schedule

Service Activities Hours/Week
MAT Program 6
Integrated Primary Care 8
Outpatient Psychotherapy 14
Assessment 4
Total 32
Training Activities Hours/Week
Didactic Seminar 2
Individual Supervision 3+
Group Supervision 1
Total 6+
Other Activities Hours/Week
Documentation 5
Total Hours/Week 43

Internship Application Process

We participate as a member in the APPIC match. Applications require a completed APPI, verification of eligibility by your Director of Training, three recommendation letters, a current CV, and an official transcript. Valley Health’s match number is 242411.

The application deadline for the Valley Health Doctoral Internship is December 15. The Director of Training coordinates the interview and selection process. All applications are screened by members of the Internship Training Committee, which includes the Director of Training and the supervisors within the internship. If selected to interview, the applicant is invited for a half-day visit to our facility for interviews with training staff. Arrangements may be made for interviews to be conducted over the phone if needed. Applicants are notified by email whether they are selected. Committee members will conduct interviews and will provide ratings and feedback to the Director of Training and other Committee members. Final rankings are made by consensus during a Committee review of interviewees. The Director of Training will submit the rankings to the National Matching Service.

Once interns are matched to the site, a letter of agreement is sent to the selected interns within 48 hours. This letter includes information about start and end dates, intern salary, contact information for the Director of Training, and other relevant information about the internship. Interns will also receive requests from Valley’s HR department for required pre-employment screening measures, including drug screening and background checks. Interns must complete these requirements in order to start internship.

Every effort will be made to ensure diversity in selected trainees. Selections are non-discriminatory on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status.

Requirement for Selection

An applicant must have completed all on-campus requirements in degree granting clinical or counseling psychology doctoral program in the United States by the time the internship is scheduled to begin. The applicant must also have been awarded a Master’s Degree in Psychology during their training. The applicant must have successfully completed supervised practicum experiences and graduate coursework in clinical psychology and health psychology.

Start and End Dates

The internship begins on July 6, 2020 and ends on July 2, 2021.

Employment Eligibility Requirements

Interns must complete pre-employment screening and drug testing through Valley Health. Interns are also subject to the Human Resources policy on criminal background checks. Once interns have been matched to Valley Health, it is important that they remain in touch with Director of Training and be prompt in responding to information requests and updates. Trainees must obtain a Gold Card through the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists and the Director of Training will assist in navigating this process. It is essential that the application for the Gold Card be completed in a timely fashion so as to avoid a delay in clinical work. Trainees must submit to the Director of Training a copy of their master’s degree, CV, and Gold Card prior to beginning internship. Interns will also need to monitor their email for updates from Valley Health’s Human Resources to begin the pre-employment process, including completing a physical and drug screen as well as a background check. Interns will need to attend an orientation day to include meeting with HR, completing required paperwork, and learning how to navigate the EHR system.

Failure to pass these requirements prior to the start of internship may prevent the Intern from being able to complete the program.

Salary and Benefits

Interns receive a salary of $28,000 annually. Additionally Interns are eligible for the supplemental compensation because they are full time employees regularly scheduled to work. This compensation is equal to 10.35% of their salary that can either be contributed into a 403(b) plan set up by the employee or be received as taxable income.

Interns will also have access to 2 days (16 hours) of leave for CEU as well as $500. This can be used toward conferences, trainings, or educational materials.

Interns will also accrue Paid Time Off (PTO) at a rate of 6.15 hours biweekly, totaling 160 hours or 20 days annually. PTO may only be used as it is accrued. Additionally, time off is subject to prior approval of your clinical supervisors and the Director of Training and will not be approved for the last two weeks of internship training without extenuating circumstances. Unused PTO will be paid out at the end of the internship year. Plan your use of PTO carefully and in consideration of anticipated needs for leave such as graduation, dissertation defense, and conferences. Valley Health is closed 6 days each year for holidays (Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Christmas, Independence Day, New Years). PTO must be applied to these holidays.

Interns will also accumulate time in an Extended Illness Bank. This time is used for necessary absence caused by illness, injury, pregnancy, or absence from work to receive medical, dental, or psychological evaluation and treatment. EIB is accrued at a rate of 2.46 hours biweekly. Employees have access to two personal days annually to cover any illnesses, doctor appointments, and other medical needs.

Interns are eligible for health insurance through Valley Health. Additional information will be provided by the HR department prior to the start of the internship year.

Internship Handbook

Contact Information

Rebecca Denning, Psy.D. ABPP
Section Chief and Director of Training
Valley Health Systems, Inc.
304-399-3310
rdenning@valleyhealth.org