Training Competencies

By the end of the internship, trainees will demonstrate competence in the following areas:

Required Competencies and Related Expectations

Interns will develop skills and abilities in several realms. Competencies listed are in the order provided in the Standards of Accreditation, and do not imply a priority set by our site.

Interns will develop skills at the intermediate to advanced level in each of the following competency areas. The first nine are required by the Standards of Accreditation, and the tenth is additional and specific to our site. Each will be described more fully, along with information regarding the training experiences assisting the interns in attaining the required level of competency, in the following section. In each of these competency areas, interns are expected to respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence over the course of the internship year.

  1. Research
  2. Ethical and legal standards
  3. Individual and cultural diversity
  4. Professional values and attitudes
  5. Communication and interpersonal skills
  6. Assessment
  7. Intervention
  8. Supervision
  9. Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills
  10. Outreach and prevention
  • Research. Interns “demonstrate the substantially independent ability to critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., case conference, presentation, publications) at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.” Interns will attain and demonstrate this competence through providing appropriate evidence-based care to their clients, by providing case presentations that illustrate the evidence base for their work, and by presenting their dissertation work or other research to the staff.
  • Ethical and Legal Standards. Interns develop and demonstrate this competency by participating in several ethics seminars, by providing care that is in keeping with best ethical practices, and by initiating conversations about potential ethical concerns with supervisors and in consultation groups.
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity. Interns participate in a variety of training experiences that support their growing competency in the area of cultural diversity, broadly defined. Through participating in several didactic seminars, experiential seminars, Diversity Consultation, and all forms of supervision, interns learn and demonstrate knowledge of the relevant evidence base and self-awareness regarding personal history and areas of bias and limitation. Interns are expected to demonstrate increasing competence in working with a broad range of individuals who represent experiences and worldviews different from their own identities. Interns are always expected to demonstrate willingness to learn and grow in this realm.
  • Professional Values and Attitudes. Interns are expected to demonstrate professional behavior that reflect psychology’s values as a field. These values include integrity, deportment, a valuing of lifelong learning, and concern for others’ welfare. They are expected to demonstrate self-awareness and introspection, and to seek out and respond to feedback from supervisors and colleagues. Interns are supported in developing this competency in all forms of supervision at the internship.
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills. Interns are expected to develop and cultivate effective, respectful professional relationships with clients, peers, supervisors, and other colleagues. They are expected to develop their professional communication skills through writing, documentation, and verbal communication.
  • Assessment. Interns are supported in developing skills in assessment through various seminars, access to testing materials, supervision, and consultation available as needed.
  • Intervention. Intervention includes relationship building, evidence based treatment planning, clinical decision making and evaluation of the effectiveness of different strategies, while being mindful of diverse needs and characteristics of populations served. Interns are supported in developing effective intervention skills with various seminars and supervision experiences over the course of the year.
  • Supervision. Interns participate in a supervision seminar, and have an introductory experience in supervising a student Peer Coach. At times, other experiences supervising may be available, for example with USD Peer Advisors. Interns also cultivate supervision skills by providing feedback to peers in group supervision, and to colleagues in the Consultation Groups.
  • Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills. Interns cultivate this skill through participation in our Integrative Care meeting, which includes representatives from the USD Wellness Area, including Student Health Services, Center for Health and Wellness Promotion, Disability and Learning Differences Resource Center, and the Counseling Center. Interns also frequently provide consultation to members of the university community (commonly, the Dean’s Offices of the various schools, Residential Life and the Office of International Students and Scholars) and to family members and students, as well.
  • Outreach and Prevention. This skill is cultivated by providing a minimum of 8 psychoeducational programs to the university community, supported by initial seminars on the topic and topical supervision regularly during the first semester. During the second semester, interns and staff may do less outreach, and supervision will be provided through mid-spring with additional supervision available as needed.