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 2021 by the American Psychological Association's Commission on Accreditation (CoA). The CoA can be contacted at:
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 while keeping a mind to both individual and cultural diversity. Interns are also expected to learn to function effectively as a member of interdisciplinary teams. The program’s generalist approach capitalizes on the variety of training opportunities available 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 behavioral and mental health issues at all levels of severity. Common presenting issues at the hospital include acute and chronic psychotic disorders, behavioral disorders, trauma and stressor-related disorders, developmental disabilities, personality disorder, malingering, and various adjustment reactions.
Training primarily occurs at ASH, a facility located within a larger medical community (including the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences- UAMS and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System) in midtown Little Rock. Supplementary training in the form of joint intern seminars with the other local APA-accredited internship training programs, travel with supervisors to observe electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and travel to observe expert witness testimony by supervisors all occur off-site.
The training year is divided into three, four-month rotations. The intern will have one primary training location during each three-month periods, with the exception of Adolescent Services which is divided between the hospital’s two adolescent residential treatment units. During these rotations, supervisors and the training staff will work together to allow interns opportunities to work with identified populations of interest and/or participate in research and program development (i.e., forensic, SMI, adolescent, neuropsychology) as available. 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.
Adult SMI Rotation: Training takes place on the hospital’s adult inpatient units which primarily treat patients civilly committed or voluntarily admitted for psychiatric treatment. The treatment focus on these units is 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 will also have the opportunity to engage in individual therapy, develop treatment groups, and conduct staff training.
Adolescent Rotation: Training takes place on the Adolescent Sexual Offenders unit and the Adolescent Inpatient Treatment unit. The Adolescent Sexual Offender Treatment 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 an interdisciplinary team approach to treatment. Interns spend approximately 20 hours per week on this clinical assignment.
On the adolescent inpatient unit, interns conduct group therapy, comprehensive psychological assessments, individual therapy, and participate in the development and implementation of behavioral support and management plans. 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 interdisciplinary treatment team meetings and spend approximately 20 hours per week on this clinical assignment.
Forensic Evaluation Rotation: The focus of this rotation is on assessment of individuals who have been court ordered for evaluation. Interns have the opportunity to provide forensic evaluations on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, for men and women, ages adolescent to older adult. Types of evaluations include competency to stand trial (fitness to proceed), criminal responsibility, culpable mental state at the time of the offense, violence risk assessment, and evaluation of a defendant’s capacity to be restored to fitness.
Commonly used instruments with which the intern can expect to gain proficiency include, but are not limited to, the following: Competence- Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial- Revised (ECST-R), MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool- Criminal Adjudication (MacCAT-CA), Competence Assessment for Standing Trial for Defendants with Mental Retardation (CAST*MR), and Juvenile Adjudicative Competence Interview (JACI); Malingering- Inventory of Legal Knowledge (ILK), Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), Miller Forensic Assessment of Symptoms Test (M-FAST), Validity Indicator Profile (VIP), and Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS); and Violence Risk Assessment- the Historical Clinical Risk Management-20, Version 3 (HCR-20 V3) and the STATIC risk assessment instruments. Other assessment instruments commonly used during these evaluations include those to assess cognitive and personality functioning and trauma.
By the conclusion of the training rotation, interns can expect to independently administer and score assessment instruments, write their own reports under supervision, and submit the final product to the court. Interns can expect to complete a minimum of 8 evaluations during this rotation, but those who enter the program with more knowledge and proficiency could easily complete 15 or more.
In addition to gaining proficiency in forensic evaluation, interns have multiple opportunities to observe their supervisors provide expert witness testimony statewide. They also have the opportunity to participate in forensic didactic and case-law seminars with fellows in the affiliated forensic post-doctoral fellowship training program and to observe the fellowship mock trial. Former interns have been subpoenaed to court (but have not had been needed to testify). Four out of five of the forensic psychology faculty completed formal post-doctoral fellowship training in forensic psychology. Ongoing forensic research opportunities are available at ASH.
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. These meetings provide more in-depth information on important clinical issues such as Ethics, Diversity, Evidence-Based Treatment, and Supervision.
Monthly psychology department meetings also provide interns with didactic training opportunities. Members of the psychology department present a one-hour seminar on a relevant topic-of-choice on a rotating basis throughout the year. Each intern must present at the psychology department meeting one time during the course of the training year. Many interns choose to use this presentation as an opportunity to prepare for the dissertation defense or to otherwise rehearse presentations slated for local, state, or national conferences.
Five 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. After an initial Meet and Greet seminar, topics for the remaining seminars typically include Life after Internship, Ethics, Diversity, and Corporate Compliance/HIPAA.
Interns participate in department Journal Club meetings a minimum of three times each year. Each intern will be asked to select a journal article relevant to issues of Evidence-Based Treatment, Ethics, or Diversity and lead a discussion among faculty and peers.
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 every other Thursday 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 ASH on Tuesdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, and weekly Forensic Case Law seminars held at ASH on Wednesday afternoons.
Interns are assigned a primary training supervisor on each rotation, with the exception of Adolescent Services where they are supervised by psychologists on each of the two training units. Interns also have a primary, long-term supervisor who they meet with for one hour weekly throughout the internship year. The long-term supervisor, selected by the internship Training Director after thoughtful consideration of the intern’s interests and training needs, provides continuity throughout a training program that is divided into three training rotations with multiple clinical placements. Group supervision is held for 90 minutes each week and follows a course agreed upon by the supervisor and internship class. The intern may expect to receive a minimum of four hours of supervision per week, two of which are spent in scheduled individual 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 mid-point and end of each rotation supervisors complete and review with the intern a rating form assessing 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, and the program is committed to considering feedback and incorporating suggested changes to improve the training quality and internship experience.
Most supervisors are eclectic in orientation. The following link is a list of current psychology supervisors with their areas of special interests and competencies.
For a list of Psychology Supervisors click Psychology Supervisors
Stipends and Benefits
The stipend for the 12-month appointment from 2017-2018 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 the first day of the month following hire and ends on the last day of employment unless the intern elects to have COBRA). 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 13 and only completed applications will be considered on the APPIC Match list deadline.
If an applicant is unable to complete their application by November 13 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, according to pay period schedules.