Mental Health Training Opportunities
We are pleased to offer several training opportunities at the Colonial Health Center (CHC). Please note that in order to maintain appropriate boundaries and adhere to our ethical obligations, former and current clients are not eligible for training opportunities. Similarly, former and current trainees are not eligible for clinical services at the CHC. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].
We currently are offering two doctoral externship positions in Assessment and an APA-Accredited doctoral internship in professional psychology for the 2020-2021 academic year. In alternate years, we offer a Master's level externship and Doctoral level therapy externship. Please check back on availability for these in the 2021-2020 school year; changes will be posted here in Spring of 2021.
Philosophy of Training
Our training program is consistent with the overall mission of the CHC, i.e., to promote students’ mental health and personal development to overcome challenges that may interfere with their academic, emotional, and personal success through individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, assessments, outreach, and consultation. We operate from a practitioner-scholar model of training, emphasizing observing, learning, and practicing while consulting scholarly research.
Overall, we offer a comprehensive and structured training program with the flexibility to address the individual learning needs of each trainee.
Our training philosophy emphasizes six domains:
We recognize that the field of professional psychology demands a flexible repertoire of well integrated skills (e.g., intake assessments, crisis intervention, psychotherapy, consultation and outreach) applicable to a variety of contexts. Our training program encourages trainees to engage and continually assess their participation in a variety of clinical roles (e.g., clinician, community liaison).
It encompasses the broad range of clinical services offered by a university counseling center. Trainees apply their repertoire of skills across different contexts, target populations, and theoretical paradigms. We acknowledge an increasing level of theoretical and cultural diversity in the field of professional psychology, and we strive to reflect that diversity in our staffing. We value the opportunities to discuss and play a role in increasing trainees’ awareness of diversity issues and ability to adapt theoretical perspectives to individual differences. Trainees learn these principles through training activities, observation, and collaboration with senior staff.
A guiding training principle of Mental Health Services is enhancing multicultural clinical competence. Our center honors "culture" with a broad lens, inclusive of social locations and cultural identities including:
- race and racial identities,
- ethnicity and ethnic identities,
- social class,
- acculturation experiences,
- sexual identity,
- gender and gender identity, and
This perspective promotes our philosophy that all counseling and therapeutic interactions are multicultural and crosscultural, to the extent that there are similarities and differences across clinicians' and clients' backgrounds and experiences of power. Our training program strives to sharpen trainees’ knowledge of mental health experiences across these domains, encouraging reflection on their self-awareness of these facets of human experience in the service of building and expanding upon clinical competence.
Our staff members place a high value on our training program and consider our trainees a vital part of our center. Our training program adheres to an open-door policy with all staff, including trainees. Trainees are encouraged to interact with staff who function in a variety of roles such as mentor, supervisor, consultant, teacher, advocate, and administrator. We afford trainees numerous opportunities to work closely and in consultation with staff members across the range of Mental Health Services.
We prioritize establishing supervisory relationships quickly so that trainees develop a secure relationship with their mentors. We believe that supervision is integral in fostering trainees' development of the self-awareness necessary to function as independent professionals. In addition to teaching pertinent clinical skills, our model underscores the importance of the highest ethical, legal, professional, and culturally competent standards, and emphasizes the development of the trainees’ capacity to work collaboratively with colleagues and other professionals.
We seek trainees who have experience with a variety of clinical populations and presenting concerns. As emerging professionals, trainees are expected to have a high degree of self-motivation and self-direction as their responsibilities increase over the course of the training year. We believe that it is essential for trainees to be self-aware and to reflect upon, discuss, and learn from their experiences. These are key ingredients to the overall goals for our trainees: to increase the depth and complexity of their thinking about clients, self, and clinical/professional issues.
Trainees learn to adapt to a fast paced and busy work environment. Training at the CHC is sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity. From orientation through the unfolding academic year, our program allows for increasing levels of role conceptualization, responsibility and variety of tasks. Trainee progress is monitored with semi-annual evaluations.
Our training program is strongly informed by professional literature, modeling the integration of science and practice in various ways. We emphasize the use of clinical theory as a lens to filter the inherent complexity of clinical observations (Stricker & Trierweiler, 1995). Mental Health Services staff integrate theoretical and clinical readings with the discussion of case material in seminars and in supervision with trainees. Training seminars are designed to parallel closely trainees’ clinical activities.
Our staff is also committed to furthering the scientific body of knowledge by attending and presenting at professional conferences. Trainees are encouraged to attend and present at conferences, and are encouraged to engage in other scholarly activities.
Trainees are expected to follow ethical guidelines and principles as established by their respective governing associations, American Psychological Association (APA) for psychology trainees, American Counseling Association (ACA) for counseling trainees, and National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for social work trainees. They are expected to be aware of and adhere to pertinent District of Columbia laws governing professional practice. Trainees must maintain ALL client information confidential as required by law and the respective ethics codes. Ethical issues are integrated into all discussions regarding service delivery and into all training opportunities, including seminars, individual and group supervision sessions.
The George Washington University is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) employer committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory, diverse work environment. The University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or on any other basis prohibited by applicable law in any of its programs or activities.
- COVID-19: Counseling Updates and Resources
- Stepped Care Counseling
- Suicide Prevention
- Crisis Hotlines and Resources
- Mental Health Assessments
- Off-Campus Counseling Referrals
- Train With Us