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Program Philosophy and Training Goals

Program Philosophy

The Mississippi State Hospital (MSH) Doctoral Internship in Health Services Psychology strives to provide a coordinated series of training experiences which expose interns to a wide variety of professional roles. Through a strong commitment to the Clinician-Scholar model of training in health services psychology, the program emphasizes the integration of evidence-based practice, personal and interpersonal development, and a trauma-informed, recovery-based approach to inpatient care. Interns are encouraged to approach clinical practice from a person-centered stance, to utilize current professional literature when selecting and implementing the most efficacious clinical procedures, and to objectively assess treatment outcomes.

The MSH Doctoral Internship adheres to a developmental, competency-based approach to training, as consistent with the Benchmarks Model for evaluation of professional competencies. Recognizing that the yearlong internship training represents a critical period of transition from graduate student to entry-level psychologist, the MSH faculty is dedicated to supporting interns through a diversity of professional and clinical experiences. Within each rotation, and as supplemented by adjunctive responsibilities, competency development is approached in a sequential manner with regard to complexity and level of independence.

Throughout their training, interns are considered colleagues in training, and are therefore held to standards commensurate with such an advanced role. Through a tiered supervisory structure which is grounded in the dynamic exchange of ideas and theoretical philosophies, the goal is to support interns toward incremental growth in areas of professional and clinical practice. Collaborative interaction with professionals from other clinical disciplines is essential in such an interdisciplinary setting, as this promotes intellectual stimulation, mutual respect, and the necessity of a multi-faceted view of patient care.

We strive to provide interns with appropriate professional and personal growth experiences, constructive feedback, and quality supervision in all areas of professional practice, consistent with the overarching goal of training culturally competent psychologists who can assume professional roles in a multitude of settings.

Training Goals

The following five competency clusters have been adopted from the Benchmarks Model of professional competencies and represent the primary training objectives for the MSH Doctoral Internship in Health Services Psychology.

  1. Interns consistently demonstrate professionalism. They should maintain behavior and comportment that reflect a high level of integrity, as well as professional values and attitudes. Interns should demonstrate an understanding of professional, ethical, and MSH legal standards and act in accordance with these standards. They maintain an awareness and sensitivity to individual and cultural diversity and demonstrate skill in working with members of minority groups. Interns’ professional activities are conducted with self-awareness and reflection, including engagement in appropriate self-care.
  2. Interns develop meaningful and effective interpersonal relationships with individuals and groups. They should communicate effectively through verbal, nonverbal, and written means, with a wide range of patients and colleagues.
  3. Interns demonstrate a capacity to independently engage in the clinical activities of professional psychologists. They effectively integrate scientific theory and research into their clinical practice. Interns also demonstrate assessment and diagnostic skills and they independently utilize assessment findings and diagnoses to plan effective interventions. They implement evidence-based, best-practices to alleviate suffering, promote the quality of life of their patients, and demonstrate effective evaluation of treatment progress. Interns demonstrate the ability to provide expert consultation in response to patients' needs. 
  4. Interns are skilled educators of the information and skills of professional psychology. As such, they should be effective teachers, presenters, and providers of didactic instruction. They will also be skilled, ethical, and self-aware purveyors of clinical supervision to less advanced students or professionals.
  5. Interns are active members of interdisciplinary systems, developing and maintaining effective collaborative relationships with members of multiple professional disciplines. Interns demonstrate an understanding of and sensitivity to differing perspectives and worldviews. Interns choosing to receive training in administration will also demonstrate emerging abilities to manage the administration of organizations, programs, or agencies, and to participate in the facilitation of systemic and/or organizational change.

Mississippi State Hospital

Psychology Internship Program

PO Box 157-A 

Building 51

Whitfield, MS 39193

(601) 351-8528