VANDERBILT PSYCHIATRY- PSYCHOLOGICAL AND COUNSELING CENTER (PCC)
The Vanderbilt University (VU) Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC) is a large, well utilized multidisciplinary counseling center, with a staff of approximately 30 full and part-time mental health professionals. The PCC is part of the VU-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Doctoral Internship in Psychology, a consortium comprised of the Vanderbilt Department of Psychiatry and the VA Tennessee Valley Health Authority. The VU-VA Internship in Professional Psychology is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Programs in Professional Psychology (APPIC) and has been continuously approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1971. An APA site visit was completed in 2013 and the Consortium was approved for the maximum 7 years. For more details on the Consortium, including requirements and application procedures, please visit:
This website gives a comprehensive overview of consortium, including the various agencies that make up the consortium and how to apply for an internship position.
The PCC staff is active and consists of psychologists, psychiatrists, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and psychiatric nurse-practitioners. In addition to psychology interns, graduate level practicum students from a variety of mental health disciplines train at the center, as do psychiatry residents and post-doctoral fellows in psychology. Working in this multidisciplinary setting provides interns with opportunities to cultivate and sharpen clinical consultation skills with a variety of mental health professionals. The overall depth and breadth of training experiences offered make the PCC an excellent fit for those seeking a career in a variety of outpatient settings.
As a training site within the larger consortium, the PCC provides a comprehensive program that involves opportunities in:
• Short-and long-term Individual therapy
• Group therapy
• Support Groups
• Diagnostic interviewing
• Assessment (cognitive and psycho-educational)
• Crisis intervention (triage and on-call)
• Outreach and consultation
The purpose of the Vanderbilt Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC) internship training program is to prepare doctoral level interns to function broadly, effectively, competently and autonomously as professional psychologists in a wide variety of clinical settings. Some specific objectives of the PCC training program include:
- Initial interviewing, diagnostic assessment, treatment planning and case formulation
- Psychological assessment: Administration, scoring, interpreting a variety of cognitive, personality & other assessments to address varied referral questions.
- Ability to write comprehensive integrated reports
- Proficiency in implementing a broad range of psychological interventions including evidence-based approaches (e.g. CBT, DBT, interpersonal) in short and long term individual therapy
- Establishing effectiveness in forming therapeutic relationships and appropriately identifying therapeutic limits
- Working effectively with persons from diverse backgrounds
- Development of a professional identity as a psychologist that includes the integration of science, theory, local evidence and professional ethics into professional practice
- Effectively communicating psychological concepts to non-psychologists through ongoing consultation and collaboration with multidisciplinary staff.
The primary focus for interns includes individual & group psychotherapy and psychological assessment with Vanderbilt University undergraduate and graduate students, and students in professional schools. Psychotherapy training at the PCC is grounded in empirically-supported treatments, including (but not limited to) CBT, DBT, psychodynamic, and interpersonal approaches. PCC clients reflect the diversity of the campus population. They present with a wide range of issues and severity. As such, interns can expect to develop rich caseloads that vary in terms of presenting concern, cultural issues, complexity, and duration of treatment. Decisions regarding treatment modality are determined through needs assessment based on accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. Full-time interns at the PCC can expect to engage in an average of 15 direct client contact hours per week. Additionally, although emphasis is placed on producing skilled generalist-practitioners, opportunities for specialization are made available through participation in various treatment teams (Alcohol/Other Drugs, Trauma, and Eating Disorders), exposure to additional treatment modalities such as biofeedback, and interventions to specific populations through the numerous therapy groups and workshops (e.g. DBT, LGBTQI, Coping Skills, ADHD, Students of Color, graduate process, undergraduate process, women's, Grief , etc.). Interns also have the opportunity to participate in outreach programs and work with various campus partners such as the Student Health Center and Residential Education Office among others.
Interns also participate in a number of structured training/learning activities on and off site. These include a weekly assessment seminar and case conference (on-site), as well as Friday morning case presentations/didactic meetings (off-site). Additional training experiences take place throughout the year and are determined by specific training needs, as well as center and campus requests. The PCC is also engaged in collaborative research with academic programs on campus. Interns experience an educational setting in which there is active learning and curiosity, generating opportunity for dialogue in a challenging learning environment.
Special emphasis is also placed on supervision. Interns are assigned to licensed psychologists with experience in direct client service, supervision, and training. Interns receive two hours of on-site, individual supervision per week and also participate in supervision as part of their group therapy experience. Opportunities to provide ongoing supervision represent one of the distinguishing features of the PCC within the larger consortium. Interns at the PCC are matched with a masters-level practicum student and serve as ancillary supervisors throughout the internship year. This experience provides interns with an opportunity to develop the foundational knowledge and skills associated with being a supervisor, which is facilitated through an additional hour of supervision (i.e., supervision of supervision) by a licensed psychologist in a group format.
All interns participate in structured training activities to ensure development of core competencies.
The required activities include:
• Direct clinical service (individual and group therapy)
• Conducting new client evaluations and generating written reports
• Assessment, including attending assessment seminar
• Receiving and providing individual clinical supervision
• Participating in supervision of supervision
• Attending weekly staff meetings
• Attending weekly case conference meetings
• Participating in on-call service
All full-time PCC interns train at the center Monday through Wednesday during regular work hours (8am-5pm), and are off-site, all day, on Thursday for their secondary placement. Friday mornings are devoted to neuropsychology seminar, case presentation/didactic meetings (off-site) with interns returning to the PCC for the second half of the day.
Secondary Placement Selection
Consistent with the overall structure of the Consortium, interns will be required to select a secondary rotation outside their primary placement at the PCC. Given the focus on outpatient clinical experiences at the PCC, interns are strongly encouraged to seek a secondary rotation that adds to the variety of their training experiences, rather than duplicating experiences included in their primary placement.
We are committed to an ongoing dialogue about individual differences in order to work effectively with the entire student body at Vanderbilt. We offer culturally competent and empirically supported services in a safe and affirming space. Our therapeutic, assessment, and educational programs are delivered in a caring and compassionate manner that recognizes the unique characteristics and experiences of the individual student. We support and challenge each other’s understanding of our own biases and experiences through active reading and dialogue.
As part of the required scholarly project, interns can participate in or create team research relevant to Center operations. The amount and focus of such research varies from year to year. The Center is becoming increasingly involved in research collaborations with academic departments within the University.
Potential for Program Change
There are no foreseeable, significant changes anticipated for this training program. Any significant changes that directly affect the structure and/or training offered at the PCC will be made public when and if they emerge.
Additional Criteria for Acceptance
Only applicants from APA-Accredited Counseling or Clinical Psychology doctoral programs will be considered eligible for internship positions within the Consortium. Applicants must have defended their dissertation proposal by ranking deadline. Consistent with the other agencies within the Consortium, applicants to the PCC must have a minimum of 550 total hours Intervention and Assessment hours, of which at least 130 must be Assessment hours.
Note All interns with primary placements in the Vanderbilt Psychological and Counseling Center must pass a background check. Background checks are performed subsequent to Match Day and Match result selection decisions are contingent on passing the background check.
Number of Positions: 3
Term: July 3, 2017 - June 30, 2018
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions pertaining to our internship program.
Monicah Muhomba, Ph.D., HSP
Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry