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American Psychological Association, or APA, accredited internship programs are considered the highest level of oversight an internship can achieve, and Auburn’s Student Counseling and Psychological Services has attained this level of recognition.

As of now, Auburn University’s Student Counseling and Psychological Services internship program is the only accredited university counseling center in Alabama. This accreditation not only helps the university to stand out but attracts more permanent staff interest of those who are investing in taking part of a training program.

With the help of the Auburn University’s Mental Health Task Force and years of planning, the internship program was almost ready to be offered as APA accredited.

“We were accredited on contingency by the time our first intern cohort graduated,” Brandy L. Smith, Student Counseling and Psychological Services assistant director of clinical training, said. “But a program has to have distal data from two graduated cohorts before they can apply for full accreditation.”

Students earning a doctoral degree in psychology and are pursuing a state license as a psychologist require a yearlong internship. The year includes specific seminars, along with hands-on experience to best prepare the interns for the range of tasks as a future psychologist.

Participating in an internship through a university counseling center covers a variety of experiences required for this specific setting. According to Smith, experiences include, but are not limited to, individual counseling, group counseling, emergency coverage, supervision of practicum students, outreach programming and intakes. Also, topics such as eating disorders, group, outreach and diversity are offered as additional optional rotations. 

Smith and the Student Counseling and Psychological Services staff also recognizes students may pursue careers outside of a university counseling center. This internship program includes other focuses allowing students to best serve people as a psychologist.

Other focuses include generalist training that fosters personal and professional growth to ensure readiness for increasing independent, ethical functioning in the field of health service psychology; acquisition of sufficient knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to be competent practitioners; a broad understanding of diversity and ability to work within an increasingly diverse world; and active engagement in self-reflection as a means to foster personal and professional development.

One of the benefits of having interns in the office of Student Counseling & Psychological Services is that it allows more people to provide services.

“Having interns allows students access to a wider range of providers,” Smith said. “As well as potential access to providers who represent more diversity and identities and experiences which will hopefully allow us to connect with even more students.”

For more information on Student Counseling & Psychological Services, click here.

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