DBHS is a state government agency charged with providing mental health and substance abuse services for the citizens of Arkansas. The Arkansas State Hospital and Central Administrative offices are located on the Division’s Little Rock campus.
DBHS administration includes the Director, Deputy Director, Assistant Directors, Medical Director, and various program and support staff. Administrative staff members are responsible for the overall direction, coordination, and administrative oversight of state-operated programs. Central Administration also develops and maintains management information systems; initiates and coordinates all state-wide mental health and substance abuse planning and development of services; serves as a liaison with all other Human Services divisions and other state agencies; provides technical assistance and support; and oversees federal grants and state funds channeled through the Division of Behavioral Health Services to many private, non-profit community mental health centers throughout the state.
The Arkansas State Hospital provides several types of services for youth and adults. The hospital houses an adolescent inpatient treatment program for youth ages 13-18, a residential adolescent sex offender treatment program, and an inpatient treatment program for youth dually diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and a developmental disability. The hospital also has several units for adults who need either short-term stabilization or long-term treatment. Finally, the hospital conducts forensic evaluations on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and provides treatment for individuals who are involved with the legal system.
The Division of Behavioral Health Services/Arkansas State Hospital currently employs 10 doctoral-level psychologists, one post-doctoral psychology fellow, and three pre-doctoral psychology interns. Other professional staff with the Division of Behavioral Health Services includes numerous psychiatrists, social workers, and nursing staff. In addition to psychology internship training, the Division participates in the UAMS Psychiatry Residency Program and provides fellowships in child/adolescent and forensic psychiatry and offers social work field placements for graduate level social work students.
The Training Program
The Division of Behavioral Health Services offers a one-year, full-time, pre-doctoral internship in professional psychology at the Arkansas State Hospital. the program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and has been fully re-accredited until 2014 by the American Psychological Association's Commission on Accreditation (CoA).
The CoA can be contacted at:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20001-4242
Phone: (202) 336-5979
TDD/TTY: (202) 336-6123
Fax: (202) 336-5978
The overarching goal of the program is to train a generalist within the context of the scientist-practitioner model. Graduates of our internship program will be adept at integrating science with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of professional clinical practice. At the completion of the training year, our interns are expected to have developed proficiencies in diagnosis, assessment (including forensic evaluation), professional documentation (including report-writing and charting), individual and group therapy, and consultation with peers and related professionals. Our graduates should be competent to effectively work with a variety of patients in different treatment contexts. Interns are also expected to learn function effectively as a member of multidisciplinary teams. The program's generalist approach capitalizes on the variety of training opportunities within the program and prepares graduates to serve as clinicians or researchers in various professional settings.
These opportunities include working with adults and adolescents who present with a range of mental health issues at all levels of severity. Types of problems seen in the inpatient and outpatient populations include acute and chronic psychotic disorders, behavioral disorders, developmental disabilities, and various adjustment reactions.
Primary training takes place at the Arkansas State Hospital and the Counseling Clinic (Benton, AR). Interns also have the opportunity to train up to 16-24 hours per week in other community placements during the Outpatient/Optional rotation. In the past, these placements have included such organizations as the Little Rock VA Hospital, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Professional Counseling Associates, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
The training program consists of a planned sequence of supervised clinical rotations, attendance at a variety of didactic seminars, and other optional training opportunities.
The training year is divided into three, four-month long rotations. During each rotation, the intern has two clinical assignments. Rotation assignments are arranged so that interns can continue following some treatment cases from one rotation to the next, thus providing the opportunity for experience with longer-term treatment.
Inpatient Rotation: Training takes place on the adult inpatient unit and on the forensic services unit. On the adult inpatient unit, the focus is on treatment of more serious psychopathological conditions. An emphasis is placed on psychological assessment and specialized inpatient group therapy techniques. Interns will participate in treatment planning meetings, co-lead group therapy with their supervisor, conduct comprehensive psychological evaluations, and may be called upon to develop individualized behavior modification plans. Interns spend approximately 20 hours per week on this clinical assignment.
On the forensic services unit, the focus is on assessment and treatment planning for individuals that have been court ordered for evaluation. Psychological evaluations are utilized in the assessment of individuals who have been court referred for evaluation. Interns complete forensic assessments in conjunction with their supervisor and participate in milieu programming for patients retained for court ordered treatment. An opportunity to observe expert witness testimony is usually offered. Interns spend approximately 20 hours per week on this clinical assignment.
Adolescent Rotation: Training takes place on the Adolescent Sexual Offenders unit and the Adolescent Inpatient Treatment unit. The Adolescent Sexual Offender program is a residential treatment program that emphasizes long-term treatment of adolescent male sexual offenders. Group therapy based in cognitive-behavior theory is the primary treatment modality; additional rotation experiences can include family therapy, individual therapy, and psychological testing/consultation. Interns will also learn about case management, developmental issues, and a multidisciplinary team approach to treatment. Interns spend approximately 20 hours per week on this clinical assignment.
On the adolescent inpatient unit, interns conduct group therapy and comprehensive psychological assessments. There may also be opportunity for completing evaluations of adolescents ordered by Juvenile Court, which are typically conducted on an outpatient basis. Interns participate in multidisciplinary treatment team meetings and spend approximately 20 hours per week on this clinical assignment.
Outpatient Rotation: Primary training takes place at the Counseling Clinic, Inc. (CCI), in Benton, AR. The Counseling Clinic is a private, non-profit community mental health center serving children, adolescents, and adults. The organization provides a wide range of services including individual group, and family therapy, substance abuse treatment, supportive employment, medication management, etc. Interns work with clients from the initial intake assessment through a specified number of therapy sessions. They complete master treatment plans, participate in weekly staffing, and have the opportunity to co-facilitate groups or develop and facilitate new groups. Interns spend at least 16 hours per week at CCI, but may choose to spend more hours there per week based on their training needs and preferences.
An Assertive Community Treatment Program, GAIN offers a team treatment approach designed to provide comprehensive, community-based psychiatric treatment, community rehabilitation, substance abuse treatment, and support to persons with serious and persistent mental illness. Interns participate in weekly team meetings, conduct individual and group therapy and shadow case managers in order to gain a better understanding of community-based interventions. Interns typically spend 8 hours per week on this clinical assignment.
During the outpatient rotation, interns may also spend up to 16 hours per week pursuing an elective assignment. Interns may choose to go back to a previous clinical assignment and pursue more training in that particular clinical area or may choose to do clinical work in the community. Over the years, interns who have had clinical interests in areas not offered by the internship training program have appreciated the opportunity to train in these community settings. Interns may also wish to receive training on other units of the hospital not included in the main training program. The training director, supervisors, and clinical director work with interns and other agencies to facilitate these opportunities, if desired.
Interns attend a 90-minute didactic seminar three times per month, specifically for interns. Supervisors and other psychology department staff members present to the interns on a wide variety of clinical issues including Ethics, Diversity, and Supervision.
Four times per year, interns from the Arkansas State Hospital, the Little Rock Veteran’s Administration Hospital, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences come together for joint intern seminars. Topics typically include Life after Internship, Ethics, Diversity, and Corporate Compliance/HIPAA. Additionally, the DBHS/ASH psychology department provides in-service trainings for staff and interns on a monthly basis during departmental meetings
To supplement these mandatory didactic seminars, interns are also required to attend an additional 15 seminars during the course of the training year. They may choose from Psychiatry Grand Rounds, held on two Thursdays a month from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Public Health, weekly Psychopharmacology presentations held at the State Hospital on Tuesdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, and weekly Forensic Case Law seminars held on the Forensic Services Unit at the State Hospital on Fridays mornings at 10:00am.
Interns have two supervisors per rotation, depending on the rotation. Interns also will have a primary supervisor (usually the training director) throughout the duration of the internship year; this will usually be the program training director or assistant training director. The intern may expect to receive a minimum of four hours of supervision per week, two of which are spent in scheduled individual supervision and one of which is scheduled group supervision.
The intern spends additional time shadowing and consulting with their supervisors. With their offices located next door to or in the same vicinity as their supervisors, interns have the opportunity for continuous communication with their supervisors. Supervision takes various forms including co-therapy and co-assessment with supervisors, review of test data and written reports, feedback based on observation, and modeling by the supervisor.
Feedback on performance is a continuous part of the supervision process. At the end of each rotation supervisors complete a rating form of the intern’s clinical and professional functioning. The intern also rates the quantity and quality of the experience on each rotation, including the supervision received during the rotation. These ratings are reviewed by the Director of Training and the Chief of Psychology.
Most supervisors are eclectic in orientation. The following link is a list of current psychology supervisors with their areas of special interests and competencies.
Stipends and Benefits
The stipend for the 12-month appointment from 2010-2011 is $26,531. Fringe benefits include twelve holidays, twelve vacation days, up to twelve sick leave days as needed, and optional comprehensive medical and hospitalization plans (PLEASE NOTE: Insurance coverage does not become effective until 30 days after beginning the training program but extends 30 days past the last day of the internship program). A limited number of educational leave days can also be negotiated with the Training Director for dissertation leave time, comprehensive exams, and graduation.
Eligibility and Application
Applicants are doctoral degree candidates from APA-accredited programs in clinical or counseling psychology who have completed clinical practical and all course work by the beginning of the internship year. Applications must be complete by November 20 and only completed applications will be considered on the APPIC Match list deadline.
If an applicant is unable to complete their application by November 20 due to extenuating circumstances, they are invited to call and talk with the training director. Applicants will be notified of their status regarding an interview on or before December 15. On-site visits are not required, but highly encouraged; however, telephone interviews may be arranged as an alternative to personal visits. Interviews are scheduled on a first response basis.
The DBHS Psychology Internship Training Program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. Applications to the program are made using the uniform APPIC application form available on the APPIC website.
Internship applicants should also submit transcripts of all graduate school work, three letters of reference, a curriculum vita, and a redacted psychological evaluation work sample. All of these materials can be uploaded to the APPIC on-line system. The APPIC match number for the DBHS/ASH Internship Program is 1104.
The DBHS internship program makes offers of internship following the computerized match procedures and time table set by APPIC. The internship program follows the Department of Human Services (DHS)policy in offering fair and equal opportunity in acceptance of interns. Applicants are accepted regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, handicap, veteran status, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. All persons selected for new employment or a change in employment within DHS must submit to a drug test as a pre-condition of employment. All hiring decisions are contingent on the applicant successfully passing the drug test.
Additionally, as part of the DHS hiring and employment process, all applicants selected for job offers in designated positions and all incumbent employees in such positions are required to successfully complete the formal process for employee criminal and maltreatment history checks as established in DHS policy. Applicants for psychology internship positions must complete this formal process of criminal and maltreatment history checks.
The training program begins in late July/early August of every year and ends the following year in late July/early August, according to pay period schedules.
Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data
Over the last three years, matched applicants have trained in both Clinical and Counseling Psychology programs, to include Ph.D. and Psy.D. The number of applications has fluctuated from 46 (class of 2009-2010) to 116 (class of 2010-2011), with typically around 30 applicants invited for on-site interviews and ranked in the Match. Graduates of our internship training program have many professional options and opportunities. Recent graduates have pursued post-doctoral fellowships in various agencies, including the Veterans Affairs System, Federal Prisons, Community Mental Health Centers, and private practice. Other graduates choose to work in academic settings or state hospitals. Our newly developed Forensic Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship Training Program at ASH is also an exciting option for interested interns.