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Doctoral Psychology Internship

Doctoral Psychology Internships - Minnesota Department of Corrections

INTRODUCTION

The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) was created in 1959 to consolidate state correctional functions within one agency. There are three divisions in the DOC: Facility Division, Community Services Division, and the Operations Support Division. The DOC currently operates 10 correctional facilities - nine for adults and one for juveniles. The adult prisons hold more than 9,000 men and over 600 women.

Minnesota has a national reputation for operating humane, safe correctional institutions that have low levels of violence and are safe for inmates and staff. Although the adult inmate population in Minnesota has been increasing during the past decade, DOC correctional institutions are not confronted with the magnitude of prison crowding that is plaguing most states. Minnesota continually ranks as one of lowest states in the nation in the number of incarcerated individuals per capita. This low rate of incarceration reflects Minnesota's reliance on alternatives to prison for less serious offenders. The system is designed to reserve expensive prison space for only those criminals who are dangerous and need to be incarcerated.

ORGANIZATION OF DOC MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Psychology is part of the Behavioral Health Services Unit, which is part of Health Services. The overall management and direction of mental health services is the responsibility of the MN DOC Behavioral Health Services Director. At the institution level, behavioral health services are under the supervision of Psychology Directors.  

Internships are offered at four MINNESOTA DOC facilities:

The MN DOC Psychology Internship Program is a member of Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). The internship is currently not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).  Applicants can access program information from the MN DOC public website or directly contact the TC.  (https://mn.gov/doc/employment-opportunities/intern-opportunities/intern-positions/mentalhealth/pre-doctoral-psychology-internship/)  The MN DOC Internship Program has established a profile on the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers’ website.  This website exhibits the accreditation status of the Psychology Internship Program.   Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002 Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

MCF-Stillwater

The Stillwater facility is a Close (a security level between Maximum and Medium) custody facility with a population of about 1600 adult male offenders. The facility has been in operation since 1914 and is located 20 miles east of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater (MCF-STW) has a number of special programs including several industry and vocational training programs, education, and a 48—bed long-term chemical dependency treatment unit.  The behavioral health staff include licensed doctoral psychologists, licensed master level social workers, mental health and chemical dependency counselors. Behavioral health staff at this facility provide a wide variety of services including the following: diagnostic testing and assessments, individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and frequent consultation with the numerous disciplines within the facility. An intern at this site can expect a wide diversity of clients and referral issues ranging in complexity and severity of illness.

MCF-Lino Lakes

The Lino Lakes facility is a medium custody "campus" with large chemical dependency and sex offender treatment programs. The facility is located twenty miles north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. One internship slot is available at the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP).  SOTP provides direct services to offenders including the following components: security, assessment, treatment planning, individual and group psychotherapy, psycho educational classes, and release planning. SOTP serves approximately 270 adult male offenders at a given time, many of whom also experience co-morbid mental illness, chemical abuse/dependency, and traumatic brain injury. The program operates with a modified therapeutic community model and consists of five treatment tracks: assessment, chemical dependency, primary sex offender treatment, transitions and aftercare. The mission is to protect the safety of the general public and to reduce recidivism among men who have committed sexual offenses by effectively addressing their complex behavioral health issues. The intern will work with team clinicians, including licensed drug and alcohol counselors, sex offender specific therapists, release planners and Psychologists (who conduct psychosexual assessments and provide ongoing mental health services).

MCF-Shakopee

MCF-Shakopee is the MN DOC’s only adult female facility. MCF-Shakopee currently houses over 600 offenders of all custody levels. The Behavioral Health Department includes a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, therapists, licensed alcohol and drug counselors, and a release planner. The intern will be involved in a full range of services, including: assessments, crisis management, group therapy, and individual therapy.  Additionally, opportunity exists to participate in the chemical dependency treatment program and/or sexual offender treatment program.

MCF-Oak Park Heights

MCF-Oak Park Heights is a maximum security prison, and houses the MN DOC's inpatient, male psychiatric unit, as well as the MN DOC’s medical unit.  The Psychology Department works with both inpatient and outpatient clients, focusing largely on assessment and diagnosis of complex cases involving serious and persistent mental illness, personality disorders, and health concerns, as well as Civil Commitment.  Therapy services typically involve mental health stabilization, and brief, solution focused treatments, although some clients do receive longer term, in-depth therapy.

MISSION

The mission statement of the Minnesota Department of Corrections is as follows:

“Reduce recidivism by promoting offender change through proven strategies during safe and secure incarceration and effective community supervision.

Provide effective correctional services

Hold offenders accountable

Change offender behavior

Provide restorative services for victims

Engage staff and promote workplace safety.” 

The mission of the MN DOC is present in the Psychology Internship Program as demonstrated through the behavioral health staff who provide effective correctional mental health services through assessment and individual/group interventions that are aimed at stabilization and treatment of serious mental health conditions, holding offenders accountable for their actions, and changing behaviors using prosocial, evidence-based interventions.  By tending to the mental health needs of our offenders, safety, for both offender and staff, is promoted by reducing the prevalence of negative behaviors that otherwise may lead to undesirable outcomes in the facility and upon their return to public life. 

The MN DOC Psychology Internship Program’s aim is to provide ample supervision and education within a scholar-practitioner training model that prepares individuals for postdoctoral positions in psychology which, ultimately, would lead to a career as a professional licensed psychologist. While geared toward work in and with correctional populations, the Psychology Internship Program is of sufficient breadth and diversity so that it provides the intern with the experiences necessary to perform as a generalist in a non-correctional/forensic setting.

For nearly two decades, the Minnesota Department of Corrections has relied upon the doctoral internship program to provide the department with uniquely qualified entry-level psychologists. Interns who have shown themselves to be competent clinicians within the correctional setting are often recruited by the department at the end of their internship year.

PHILOSOPHY

The Psychology Internship Program at the Minnesota Department of Corrections emphasizes the practice of clinical psychology in a correctional facility. Correctional facilities are unique institutions, which have their own culture, vocabulary, and social hierarchy. They are also unique for the responsibility and authority given to psychologists. Correctional Psychologists direct mental health services in their facilities; this means that psychologists working in these settings must understand the overall dynamics of corrections as well as develop specialized clinical skills. Therefore, interns in the MN DOC will have experience with diverse issues and clinical problems.

GOALS/EXPECTATIONS

Internships in the MN DOC are twelve months in length, 2000 hours, and typically begin in early September. Interns will spend at least 25% of their time in direct face-to-face clinical service activity. It is the goal of our program that, by the completion of the internship, interns will have developed sufficient competence in the following areas so they can function independently as psychologists:

Assessments:  Interns are expected to develop the skills necessary to complete an assessment. Interns receive training in formal psychological assessments, including neurocognitive testing. Under supervision, interns are expected to work with referral sources to clarify the referral question, select and administer appropriate psychological tests, conduct thorough clinical interviews, integrate the test findings and other data, prepare cogently written reports which can be readily understood by referral sources, and provide follow-up consultation as needed.

Intervention:  Interns are expected to demonstrate competencies in evidenced-based psychotherapies. It is expected that they will be able to develop treatment strategies to address issues that were identified in the assessments, write treatment plans, provide the appropriate group or individual therapy, and modify their treatment based on changes in the client’s condition.   Interns are expected to establish and maintain effective therapeutic relationships with clients.  In working with their clients, intern are to develop and adhere to evidence-based service interventions.

Individual and Cultural Diversity:  Interns are expected to demonstrate an understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect their understanding and interaction with people who are different from themselves.  Interns remain current in theoretical and empirical knowledge as it relates to their professional activities.  As the internship unfolds, interns will demonstrate the ability to independently apply their knowledge and approach in working effectively with the range of diverse population. 

Research:  Interns demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate and disseminate research or scholarly activities to inform their clinical practice, and the professional practice of psychology in corrections specifically

Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills:  Interns are expected to learn the role of the psychologist as a consultant to other professionals. This consultation typically focuses on especially challenging clients with whom the intern may or may not have a client-therapist relationship.  The intern is expected to learn what behaviors are most likely to lead to a consultation, how to prepare for a consultation meeting, what other professionals expect from a psychologist, and how to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Supervision:  As interns become more experienced on internship, the intern will demonstrate proficiency in understanding basic principles of clinical supervision (e.g. building supervisory alliance, providing and accepting effective summative feedback, promoting growth and self-assessment of peer/intern, seeking consultation) and apply these principles as peer supervisors during group supervision and/or with doctoral practicum students if available.

Ethical and Legal Standards:  Interns are expected to be knowledgeable and act in accordance with the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; relevant laws, regulations and rules, and policies governing health service psychology; relevant professional standards and guidelines.  When ethical dilemmas arise, they seek appropriate consultation and supervision. 

Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behavior:  Interns will demonstrate proficiency providing psychological services that are consistent with professional values, beliefs, and practices within the field generally, and within the correctional environment specifically.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills:  Interns are expected to develop and maintain effective relationships with a range of individuals that include colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services. 

INTERNSHIP ACTIVITIES

Given the unique nature of providing mental health services within a correctional facility, the first month of the MN DOC internship is highly geared toward preparing and orienting the intern for work in a correctional setting. Starting with the first day, all interns meet with the director of the department’s internship training program. The director reviews the entire orientation manual with the interns on this first day. This also provides an opportunity for the interns to meet and become acquainted with each other.  Each intern will go through a site-specific orientation during their first week. Also, in the first month, interns will attend more than 45 hours of MN DOC academy, training that is required for all department employees. The academy provides training on a range of topics related to working in a correctional facility (e.g., Avoiding set-ups by inmates, First Aid, Incident Command System, and Security Threat Groups aka gangs).

Upon completion of the first month, a relatively routine schedule of training ensues with the intern getting at least two hours of individual supervision weekly. In addition the individual supervision, all MN DOC interns will meet on a weekly basis throughout the year for didactic training totaling over 100 hours.

There are a total of eight adult correctional facilities in the MN DOC. The interns will have the opportunity to visit each facility for a tour and discussion with the mental health staff on the programming specific to the individual site and the general operation of the psychology unit. Other trainings include seminars in the treatment of sex offenders, personality disorders, and drug and alcohol problems.

Interns will attend MN DOC Mental Health Training Sessions and are encouraged to attend workshops outside of the department. An intern's work and progress are formally evaluated at least twice during the internship year. Evaluations are reviewed with the intern and shared with the MN DOC internship and at the intern's educational institution.

 STIPEND AND BENEFITS

Interns are entitled to an annual stipend of $30,000, and are eligible for health insurance benefits. Psychology interns do not receive holiday, sick or vacation pay. Instead they are allowed up to fifteen Personal/Educational/Dissertation (PED) days away from the facility.

Interns are provided an office, computer, telephone, desk, access to and use of psychological testing instruments and manuals, DSM-5, and general office supplies.

SUPERVISORS FOR PSYCHOLOGY INTERNS

Shannon Juedes, Psy.D., LP, Psychologist 3, MCF-Stillwater

Terry Jorgenson, Psy.D., LP, Psychological Services Director, MCF-Stillwater

Michael Knoll, Ph.D., LP, Psychologist 3, MCF-Lino Lakes SOTP

Charlotte Gerth Haanen, Ph.D., LP, Psychologist 3, MCF-Lino Lakes SOTP

Bonnie Bjorke, Psy.D., LP, Psychologist 3, MCF-Shakopee

Amanda Knoll, Ph.D., LP, Psychologist 3, MCF-Shakopee

Angela Kollmann, Psy.D., LP, Psychologist 3, MCF-Oak Park Heights

Mary Spaniol, Psy.D., LP, Psychologist 3, MCF-Oak Park Heights

ELIGIBILITY

Graduate students pursuing doctorates from regionally-accredited institutions are eligible to apply for an internship at the MN DOC. The MN DOC is committed to fostering diversity in its training program; members of minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants should have the following minimum qualifications:

1. Graduate coursework and practicum training in intellectual and personality assessment.

2. Graduate coursework and practicum training in psychotherapy.

3. Graduate coursework in psychopathology.

4. Verification from the Director of Training of the applicant’s graduate program that he/she has completed all graduate coursework and any comprehensive examinations required by his or her program before the internship start date.

5. Student is in good academic standing at the educational institution in which they are enrolled.

6. The educational institution is regionally accredited.

7. While correctional experience is valued, intern applicants who have a strong foundation and direct clinical training in psychological assessment and psychotherapy, and who have practicum experiences that have allowed for experience and exposure to a broad clinical population will be given strong consideration.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

Applications are only accepted through the APPIC Application for Psychology Internships (AAPI).  Applicants are required to complete the APPIC Application and submit three letters of recommendation and their curriculum vitae.   

Applications for internships starting in 2018 should be completed by December 1, 2018. All applicants will be notified regarding interview status by December 21, 2018, via email.  Interviews will be conducted in-person at the facility to which they applied.  Interviewees will be contacted to obtain the required information to grant them access into the secure perimeters of the facilities. 

Adam Piccolino, Psy.D., ABN, LP

Psychology Internship Director of Clinical Training

Minnesota Department of Corrections

1010 West 6th Avenue

Shakopee, MN 55379

Telephone: (952) 233-3897,  Adam.piccolino@state.mn.us

MN DOC Psychology Internship Handbook

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