Aims, Competencies, and Minimum Levels of Achievement


The aim of the Psychology Internship Program at Essentia Health is to prepare interns to enter post-doctoral training or initial employment as competent, ethical, effective Health Service Psychologists. To achieve this aim, the Psychology Internship Program at Essentia Health structures its program to assist interns in developing the profession-wide competencies identified by the American Psychological Association’s Standards of Accreditation in Health Service Psychology. Successful completion of the internship requires demonstration of each of the competencies below.

Competencies in Research

Seeks Relevant Literature

  • The interns demonstrates the substantially independent ability to seek and obtain scientific literature relevant to clinical work.
  • The intern reads and demonstrates comprehension of the available literature.

Critical Scholarship

  • The intern demonstrates the substantially independent ability to critically evaluate research as demonstrated in discussions with supervisors and/or performance in journal clubs, didactics, and similar opportunities. 

Dissemination of Scholarly Work

  • The intern demonstrates the substantially independent ability to effectively disseminate research or other scholarly work at the local, regional, or national level (e.g. in case consultation meetings, supervision, didactic presentations, or presentations at Grand Rounds or conferences).  

Relevant Training Activities

  • Interns are expected to seek and critically evaluate literature in all clinical activities.
    • Supervisors may assign reading.
  • Interns are required to give one presentation (to peers, behavioral health colleagues, or to Essentia employees at Grand Rounds) of their dissertation work or other area of scholarly inquiry.

Competence in Ethical and Legal Standards

Conformity to Professional Guidelines and Policies

  • The intern is knowledgeable and acts in accordance with the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: the relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, state, regional, and federal levels, as well as any other relevant professional standards and guidelines.
    • This includes adhering to Essentia Health policies that apply to all employees, such as documentation timelines, requests for time away, and dress code.

Recognition and Resolution of Ethical Dilemmas

  • The intern independently recognizes ethical dilemmas as they arise and applies ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas. 

General Ethical Conduct

  • The intern conducts themselves in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

Relevant Training Activities

  • Interns review ethics as applied to clinical situations in supervision.

Competence in Individual and Cultural Diversity

Awareness of Own Culture

  • The interns demonstrates a pursuit of knowledge or expresses understanding of how the intern’s personal/cultural history, privilege, attitudes, and biases may affect how he/she/they understands and interacts with people different than himself/herself/themselves.
    • This understanding is demonstrated through ongoing self-assessment, self-reflection in supervision, experiential exposures, and consulting relevant literature.

Knowledge of Current Professional Standards for Diversity

  • The intern demonstrates a pursuit of knowledge or discussion of current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities.
  • The intern is also knowledgeable about the general principles of the current American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as APA’s 2017 Multicultural Guidelines.

Case Conceptualization and Treatment Planning

  • The intern demonstrates the ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles.
  • The intern demonstrates the ability to apply a theoretical and therapeutic framework to inform case conceptualization for working effectively with multiple areas of individual and cultural diversity, especially those unfamiliar to the intern.
    • The intern discusses these issues and seeks appropriate guidance in applying the framework in supervision.

Direct Clinical Practice

  • The intern demonstrates the ability to apply awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles.
  • The intern demonstrates the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or world views create conflict with the intern’s own.
    • This element may be demonstrated through observation of patient-intern interaction, observation of intern-colleague interaction, and through discussion in supervision and/or consultation.

Relevant Training Activities

  • Interns address diversity issues in the context of their work in outpatient therapy, the partial hospitalization program, and psychological testing cases.
    • Diversity is a focus of Essentia Health for 2022; interns will participate in any training offered by the organization.
  • Diversity is a required module for annual training at Essentia.

Competence in Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors

General Professional Behavior

  • The intern behaves in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others.


  • The intern engages in self-reflection regarding his/her/their personal and professional functioning.
  • The intern engages in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.

Openness to Feedback

  • The intern actively seeks feedback and demonstrates openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.

Relevant Training Activities

  • Interns are expected to demonstrate professionalism, self-reflection, and openness to learning in all training activities.
    • Supervising staff model appropriate professional behavior.
  • Annual training includes training on Just Culture, a method of handling errors in the medical setting.

Competence in Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Effective Relationships

  • The intern develops and maintains effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, support staff, and those receiving professional services.

Effective Communication

  • The intern produces and comprehends oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated.
  • The intern demonstrates a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.

Interpersonal Skills

  • The intern demonstrates effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.

Relevant Training Activities

  • All training activities are relevant to the development of this competency.
  • Interns receive frequent feedback from supervisors about the form and content of communication.
  • Staff are expected to model this area of competency for interns at all times.

Competence in Assessment

Knowledge of DSM-5 Nomenclature

  • The intern demonstrates understanding of DSM-5 diagnostic categories and nomenclature.

Clinical Interviewing

  • The intern demonstrates ability to conduct an appropriate clinical interview to assess a patient’s presenting concerns and pertinent history, and to evaluate for possible psychopathology.

Selection of Assessment Methods

  • The intern demonstrates ability to select assessment methods that draw from the available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics.
  • The intern collets relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment.
  • The service recipient’s diversity characteristics are considered as part of the selection of sources and methods.

Assessment Interpretation

  • The intern appropriately interprets assessment results to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations.
  • The intern guards against decision-making biases and clearly delineates those aspects of the assessment that are objective from those that are subjective.

Communication of Findings

  • The intern communicates orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner appropriate for the target audience.

Relevant Training Activities

  • Interns participate in didactic seminars throughout the year that are focused on topics of diagnostic assessment, interviewing skills, normal development, and testing instruments and practices.
  • Interns complete general psychological testing cases throughout the training year.

Competence in Intervention

Patient Rapport

  • The intern establishes and maintains effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.

Case Conceptualization and Identification of Goals

  • The intern formulates a cogent case conceptualization that draws on theoretical and research knowledge.
  • The intern collaborates with patients to select appropriate goals for services.

Treatment Planning

  • The intern develops evidence-based intervention plans specific to the patient’s goals.

Therapeutic Interventions

  • The intern implements interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.

Integration of Science and Practice

  • The intern demonstrates the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making.

Therapeutic Flexibility

  • The intern modifies and adapts evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence base is lacking.

Evaluation of Intervention Effectiveness

  • The intern evaluates intervention effectiveness and adapts intervention goals and methods as indicated by ongoing evaluation of the patient’s symptoms and improvements.

Relevant Training Experiences

  • Throughout the year, interns engage in service delivery including individual and group psychotherapy.
  • Training on various interventions is also provided through didactic training.
  • Case consultation groups provide an opportunity for interns to hear how others conceptualize cases, plan interventions, and evaluate progress.

Competence in Fundamental Supervision Skills

Understanding of Theories and Methods of Supervision

  • The intern demonstrates knowledge of supervision models and practices acquired from doctoral and internship training as demonstrated through discussion with current supervisors and participation in didactic training.
  • The intern is able to discuss models of supervision in current and past supervision experiences.

Peer Supervision

  • The intern effectively applies knowledge of supervision models and practices peer supervision in group supervision and/or consultation groups.

Relevant Training Experiences

  • Interns engage in small group supervision each week and have the opportunity to practice peer supervision in that context.

Competence in Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

Respect for Other Professions

  • The intern demonstrates knowledge of and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.

Interdisciplinary Communication

  • The intern communicates effectively with professionals across disciplines in oral, written, or informal “doorway” consultation.
  • The intern is able to effectively communicate psychological concepts and principles to individuals outside the field of psychology.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration/Coordination of Care

  • The intern works effectively with interdisciplinary professionals to address referral questions, make treatment recommendations, and coordinate patient care.
  • The intern seeks input from other disciplines when needed and utilizes treatment teams appropriately.

Relevant Training Experiences

  • Interdisciplinary team consultation takes place in all settings in the internship, with collaboration expected with referring primary care providers, members of the partial hospital program treatment team, and colleagues in Outpatient Behavioral Health.
  • Interns observe and participate in collaboration in weekly meetings.

Minimum Levels of Achievement

Interns will be provided with summative evaluation four times per training year at regular intervals. In order to remain in good standing, interns must:

  • Have ratings of “3” or higher (Intermediate competence, should remain a focus of supervision) on all competencies assessed during the first and second evaluations.
  • Have ratings of “4” or higher (High intermediate competence, occasional supervision needed) on all competencies rated.
  • Have displayed ethical behavior at all times.
  • Refrained from any behavior that would lead to termination of employment at Essentia.

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