Psychology Predoctoral Internship Program: Program Overview

The Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program involves sites situated in a rural area bordered by the Connecticut River which divides New Hampshire and Vermont. Surrounded by scenic New England villages, the location offers easy traveling to Boston and Montreal, as well as some of the finest skiing and hiking in New England. Affiliation with Dartmouth College provides interns with access to libraries, computer and research facilities, a gymnasium, and year round concerts, theater, lectures and galleries.

Internship Program may be directed to:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(202) 336-5979

The Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program offers training opportunities in a variety of settings belonging to or affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry:

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC)
DHMC is located in Lebanon, New Hampshire. DHMC is the regional academic medical center where faculty and trainees at Dartmouth provide direct care to patients from throughout New England. The Department of Psychiatry at DHMC maintains an outpatient practice in child and adult services and manages the hospital’s psychiatric inpatient and partial hospitalization units. Psychiatric emergency services are provided to the hospital’s emergency department. The Department of Psychiatry also runs a sleep lab, a neuropsychology service, and a behavioral medicine service. Approximately 10,000 patients per year receive some type of service from one of the Department’s units at the Medical Center. Approximately 4,000 adults and 1,300 children receive outpatient medication management and psychotherapy per year. Approximately 650 patients are seen per year within the Department’s Neuropsychology service. The Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program intern who is in the Neuropsychology Track position spends a significant amount of the training year providing neuropsychology evaluations within the Neuropsychology service at DHMC.

West Central Behavioral Health (WCBH)
WCBH is the region’s non-profit community mental health center with offices in Lebanon, Claremont, and Newport, New Hampshire. WCBH sees approximately 5,000 clients per year from a two-county catchment area. WCBH offers child and family services, recovery services to the seriously mentally ill, emergency services, and adult counseling services. WCBH is a training site for psychology interns, psychiatry residents, post-doctoral psychology fellows, and child psychiatry fellows from the Department of Psychiatry. The Child and Family Track Interns spend the majority of the experiential portion of their training year within WCBH.

New Hampshire Hospital (NHH)
NHH is located in Concord, New Hampshire. NHH is the State psychiatric facility providing acute stay services, neuropsychiatry services, and transitional housing services to children, youth, adult, and geriatric populations. NHH treats approximately 2,000 admissions annually. The hospital has bed capacity for 160 adults and 20 children for a total daily capacity of 180 patients. The Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program intern who is in the Neuropsychology Track position spends a significant amount of the training year providing a wide variety of mental health services at NHH.

The opportunity to place interns at this wide variety of affiliated sites provides excellent resources to the Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program and helps the program to provide interns with sufficient experiential exposure to meet the program’s training goals.

Training Experiences

The program offers a one year, full-time training experience. Interns are expected to engage in 750 hours of direct service during the internship year. This translates into approximately 15 or 16 hours of direct service delivery per week. This expectation is the result of the program’s goal of providing sufficient exposure and experience to meet the program’s competency expectations while also allowing adequate time for supervision, seminars, record keeping, and literature reviews within a 45 to 50 hour week. While interns are expected to contribute to patient care, it is understood by faculty and staff that the intern’s service provision is secondary to the training received by the intern.

When interns begin the training year with the Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program, each intern is assigned an administrative supervisor who is responsible for integrating the intern into the program and refining the intern’s schedule so that training goals and objectives can be met. The administrative supervisor is located at the intern’s training site and is a constant throughout the year. Administrative supervisors are responsible for the on-going evaluation of the match between the intern’s training goals and objectives and their responsibilities within the program. The program also designates four or five clinical supervisors for the supervision of the psychotherapy and testing activities. At least two of the clinical supervisors will be licensed psychologists.

Interns attend approximately four hours of individual supervision per week. Intensive supervision is the backbone of the internship experience at Dartmouth. These supervisor sessions expose interns to a variety of clinical approaches and help the interns to develop and understand a particular treatment philosophy and style of their own. While the program espouses no single right way to be a psychologist, it does demand that all trainees become thoughtful and knowledgeable about the evolution of their own professional identity and that interns are able to fully conceptualize their own clinical decisions. Supervision offers opportunities for socialization into the profession of psychology and may utilize a wide variety of teaching techniques such as process notes, review of written work, discussion, live or recorded observation, co-therapy, didactic exposure, and mentoring.

Supervisors are highly accessible to the interns and seek to provide the interns with sufficient training, mentoring, and encouragement to allow them to successfully complete the internship. Supervisors help interns to utilize empirical findings and relevant theoretical models as the bases for their thinking about clinical issues.

Seminar series provide another critical component of the program’s efforts to expose interns to the core skills of the profession of psychology. These seminars are held on a weekly basis. The following seminars are offered:

  • The Research Lecture Series is held at the beginning of the training year in July and August and involves senior faculty members in the Department of Psychiatry presenting to the first year psychiatry residents and predoctoral psychology interns on research projects going on in the Department.
  • Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds is held each Tuesday from September to May. Grand Rounds consists of a formal presentation by a visiting speaker or faculty member on a wide variety of topics in the field.
  • The PTSD and Trauma Seminar is held weekly on Tuesdays. This seminar provides in-depth information about the epidemiology of trauma, types of trauma, and methods of assessment and intervention for trauma-related disorders.
  • The Professional Issues Seminar is held monthly on Fridays. This seminar involves faculty presentations on topics in ethics; risk assessment; cultural diversity; psychological testing; evidence-based practice standards; working with specific disorders; and the conduct of clinical supervision, among other topics.

In addition to the educational benefits of the seminars, the seminar series helps to create cohesion in the intern class, and it serves to consolidate the interns’ identities as psychologists.

Program Goals
As with most academic medical centers, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock strives to fulfill the integrated missions of quality patient care, research, and the teaching of future health care professionals. The Department of Psychiatry’s Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program seeks to provide high quality clinical training and research exposure to doctoral level psychologists, and this goal is very much in accord with the tripartite institutional mission of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

The Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program, consistent with the scientist-practitioner model, is designed to help early-career professionals develop solid skills in both clinical practice and research. The internship experience at Dartmouth is primarily geared toward enhancing interns’ clinical knowledge and skill, but, throughout the year, the internship program exposes its trainees to the conduct and use of research in the field and emphasizes the importance of research in clinical decision making. Dartmouth Hitchcock’s Department of Psychiatry is a research rich environment in which interns are able to work with professionals with international reputations in research areas such as neuroscience, post-traumatic stress disorder, and serious and persistent mental illness. Research opportunities are available for interns wishing to gain additional supervised research experience.

The Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program is designed to involve interns in a specified range of core professional experiences. We strive to equip all of our predoctoral psychology interns with basic knowledge and skills in treatment models and interventions, assessment, sensitivity to and understanding of cultural differences, ethics and professional conduct, and research skills. Interns are expected to be able to draw from the research literature to support their clinical actions, and they are expected to see ways in which service delivery issues may identify empirical questions that may be used for subsequent research ventures.

An additional goal of the Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program is to provide focused training in a domain or “track” which the intern specifies as his/her future area of professional specialization. At this time, the program provides focused training in Child and Family Psychology and Neuropsychology.

Intern Evaluation Process
The Dartmouth Psychology Internship Program provides nearly continuous evaluation and feedback to the interns. Specific competencies in treatment interventions, assessment, sensitivity and understanding of cultural differences, ethics and professional conduct, and how science and practice interrelate are assessed through on-going weekly supervision and seminar participation. Intern performance is formally assessed every four months in October, February, and June. Strengths and weaknesses in intern performance are identified and any remedial plans are developed to address areas needing improvement. Interns are expected to participate in evaluations of the program by completing seminar, supervisor, and program evaluations.

Interns receive a stipend of $22,920. The benefits package includes health insurance, two weeks of vacation, and professional leave time. Interns typically do not work on weekends or holidays. Interns typically have their own offices and a computer in the office. Interns have access to various libraries at the College, Medical School, and Medical Center. Affiliation with Dartmouth College provides interns with access to computer and research facilities, a gymnasium, and year round concerts, theater, lectures and galleries.

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