For more than 20 years, Smith College School for Social Work has placed second-year students at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH).
Currently, two students are placed for a 35-hour-per week experience beginning the week before Labor Day until the end of spring semester classes. Each student makes accommodations for time off with their supervisor. There is a stipend with each placement.
The experience includes 8 – 10 clinical hours each week, with participation in family, couples or group therapy. At times, interns work with children, but the predominant client population is college-aged or above. CCPH maintains a 24-hour on-call system, and interns serve on that rotation with their primary supervisor.
Social work interns meet with their primary supervisor for a minimum of two hours each week, and are encouraged to seek consultation from other staff with expertise in the student's area of interest.
The program's multidisciplinary nature is one of its strengths. Interns are assigned to clinical and functional teams which blend social work, nursing, psychiatry and psychology. Social work and psychology trainees also participate together in all but the Diagnostic Testing and Professional Issues seminars.
Social work and psychology trainees participate together in the following core and brief seminars:
The individual psychotherapy seminar is a case-oriented approach to the principles and practice of short term, psychodynamic and multimodal treatments. Major objectives are to develop an understanding of diagnosis and client selection using brief treatment modalities, the importance of active dynamic interpretations and the special considerations of integrating multimodal therapies to fit each client’s unique requests and diagnostic picture. Theoretical and clinical readings provide a basis for the weekly discussion of interns’ ongoing cases. Clinical topic areas for the second semester are chosen by the intern group to elucidate specialized areas of psychotherapy they would like to pursue in depth with senior clinicians.
Crisis Intervention Seminar
Critical aspects of crisis intervention are presented, including a review of general goals and discussion of demographic, historical and diagnostic risk factors for suicidal and homicidal behavior. Other topicsinclude: strategies for de-escalating crisis situations, appropriate use of consultation, differential treatment selection in a crisis context and factors unique to the university setting; documentation and risk management concerns are presented. Basic elements of Critical Incident Stress Management are also taught.
This seminar is designed around intern needs, interests and experience; and addresses group theory, dynamics and practice skills. Topics may include co-leadership, group design, screening techniques, stages of group development, process skills and specialty group topics. This seminar provides an opportunity for group supervision focusing on that semester’s current intern-led groups. Periodic reading assignments provide an in-depth understanding of short-term group therapy.
Biofeedback – Behavioral Medicine
This six-week seminar focuses on the treatment of psychosomatic and stress-related symptoms and dysfunctions, and its integration with psychotherapy. Sessions include clinical theory, assessment procedures and direct supervised experience with computerized EMG, GSR, EEG, and thermoregulation equipment; ongoing weekly supervision is provided by a clinical psychologist with national certification in biofeedback.
Teaches the theory and offers experiential practice in hypnotic induction and therapeutic application.
Brief Seminars offered during the year include:
An overview of our clinic’s most commonly prescribed psychiatric medications, and discussion of the principlesand actions of the agents on client treatment. Collaboration among interns, our psychiatrists and
psychiatric clinical nurse specialist is integral.
This seminar addresses how treatment is conducted while taking the client’s and clinician’s ethnicity and
cultures into consideration.
Criminal Records Check (CORI)
Under University of Massachusetts Amherst requirements, employment is contingent upon a successful Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check. This will be completed by the university's Human Resources department prior to the start of employment.