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San Juan Internship Program

San Juan Internship Program

The Albizu Clinic Internship Program in Clinical Psychology is an exclusively affiliated internship for Albizu University (AU) doctoral students from the PsyD and PhD in Clinical Psychology programs. The Albizu Clinic (CA, by its Spanish acronym) is an outpatient community mental health treatment facility founded in 1966 in affiliation with AU’s San Juan Campus. CA offers a full-time, doctoral clinical psychology internship to eligible graduate students who are enrolled and in their fourth year or more of the PhD or PsyD clinical psychology programs at AU. These programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The internship is a full-time, 12-month experience that consists of participating in three major programs (General Clinical Program, Domestic Violence Program, and Sexual Abuse Support Program for Victims and Their Families [PAF]). This program structure allows interns to experience diverse clinical experiences as well as various supervisory approaches and styles. Under special circumstances, after interns match the program and specific needs arise (e.g., accommodations for maternity, serious injury, or illness), an internship might be extended beyond the 12-month period. Except for such situations, the internship is a full-time, one-year training experience.

The CA is located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and has been a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) since 2008. In addition, CA has been licensed since 2010 by the Puerto Rico Department of Health to provide mental health services to the community.

There are eight full-time funded intern positions available for the 2018-2019 academic year. The CA internship is committed to providing its trainees with the highest quality clinical, research, and supervisory experiences designed to develop the necessary competencies that will prepare them for challenging psychology careers.

Our training program participates in the APPIC Internship Match Program and adheres to its guidelines. The CA Internship Program in Clinical Psychology is firmly committed to equal opportunity for all students regardless of race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender preference, or disability. The CA Internship Handbook is available for download.

The GCP provides psychological services to a broad population that requests psychological services for a wide variety of reasons. Patients are also referred from public and private agencies, schools, and professional private practices. Parents or legal guardians often request its services to treat their children diagnosed with or suffering from symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), major depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reactive attachment disorder, conduct disorders, eating disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, and learning disorders, among others. The GCP also serves self-referred adults presenting similar diagnoses, as well as other conditions related to family problems; substance abuse; mood, personality, and adjustment disorders; trauma; partner relational problems; and occupational problems, among others. The CA serves a wide-range population except for patients who are involved in legal disputes, those who may be chronically mentally ill, or those with a chronic history of substance abuse.

Interns assigned to the GCP provide individual, couple, family, and group psychotherapy and psychological assessment services. The center provides psychological services to a diverse population such as: preschoolers, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Interns are involved in crisis intervention management; administrative and clinical guidance for practicum students; and provide case consultations to school directors, parents, judicial system, and social workers.

The DVP provides specific psychological services to women and their children that have experienced domestic violence.  These services may include orientation, counseling, consultation, individual, family therapy, psychological assessment, and referrals, among others.

The main purpose of the Program is to provide clients with essential skills for overcoming the trauma of the experience, and enable them to acquire a sense of empowerment on their life conditions and move on from abusive relationships.

Interns assigned to this program will gain competencies in:  understanding the legal concepts required to advocate for those who have experienced domestic violence, crisis intervention, development of strategic safety plans for clients who may be in imminent danger, psychological and psychometric evaluations focused on the emotional traumatic effects domestic violence has had on the victims, play therapy for children secondary victims of domestic violence, therapeutic strategies to work with domestic violence and sexual abuse and individual and family therapy. Interns will also gain competency in providing consultation to other professionals in the area of trauma and psychological effects of domestic violence. Interns participate in clinical case conferences every three weeks with the director of the program, clinical supervisors and practicum students.

The PAF operates under the support of the Puerto Rico Department of Family Affairs. The family preservation grants of the United States government funds this program. This is a specialized program that annually provides individual and group psychotherapy to approximately eight hundred and fifty sexually abused children and adolescents. Its facilities are located in Puerta de Tierra, a mile and a half away from the main CA site.

PAF’s main objectives are to:

  1.         Provide psychotherapeutic services (individual, family, or group) to sexually abused children and their families.
  2.         Perform forensic sexual abuse allegation assessments.
  3.         Provide psychological consultation to social workers and foster parents from the Puerto Rico Department of Family Affairs who are caring for children who have been sexually abused. the police, and prosecutors.
  4.         Promote and develop specialized training to mental health providers in order to determine the best practice for assessing and treating sexually victimized children.
  5.         Develop and promote research in this specialization. Doctoral students at AU regularly conduct research with data from this program. PAF continues to encourage research among doctoral dissertation students, interns, and staff.

The recruited interns will have the opportunity to be trained in forensic assessments, identification of sexually victimized children, consultation with interdisciplinary groups, and effective evidence-based treatments and approaches with this specialized population. If interested, interns will also have the opportunity to engage in research. PAF receives referrals from social workers of the Department of Family Affairs. The process of assessing allegations of sexual abuse is based on a forensic comprehensive model (Kuehnle, 2009, 1996; Cantón Duarte and Cortés, 2008; Faller, 2007, 2003), along with the guidelines of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC, 1997). PAF is involved and collaborates with legal procedures, ensuring that child protection and therapeutic treatment occurs shortly after allegations.

The clinical staff conducts weekly multidisciplinary case conference meetings to review a patient’s psychotherapeutic treatment plans, goals, the forensic evaluation process, and results.

Interns who complete their internship in this specialized program can participate in a forensic scenario, refining their individual, group, and family clinical skills, as well as their forensic assessments and skills.

Interns receive specialized training in the management and treatment of sexual abuse. Some of the areas or topics that are covered in teaching approaches are: child development, assessment of allegations of sexual abuse, and treatment for victims of sexual abuse and their families. They also perform a broad variety of case consultations with social workers, attorneys, physicians, prosecutors, and other professionals related to the legal system, including training and consulting in expert witness dynamics, as well as writing forensic reports. Interns participate in clinical case conferences with an interdisciplinary team every three weeks.

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