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New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University

Areas of Emphasis


Interns will choose two Areas of Emphasis (AoE) they would like to focus on during the internship year (two six month rotations). While the mandatory competencies are reflective of the functions of a generalist psychologist, the areas of emphasis allow each intern the opportunity to tailor the training experience to their professional interests. As stated previously, the scientist-practitioner educational model integrated into the training of interns may help interns choose areas of emphasis. Interns should consult with their individual supervisors as they determine which areas of emphasis they are interested in, as some of the areas have prerequisite requirements (e.g., having attended assessment courses prior to completing the ADHD Assessment AoE or a career theory course prior to taking the Career Counseling AoE).

Two hours a week are devoted to the chosen area of emphasis. The areas of emphasis described below have some flexibility in terms of the required activities depending on individual interests, which will be contracted with the supervising staff member. Interns are welcome to speak with their primary supervisor about any special interests they are passionate about in order to find ways to incorporate those interests into existing areas of emphasis.


Interns interested in the administrative aspect of directing a Counseling Center may choose this AoE and work with the Director of the Center on various projects such as assisting the Center in integrating the recommendations from the Multicultural Consultation Project conducted by a past intern, creating written materials for the Center, speaking about Counseling Center services to various departments, evaluating the services of the Center or examining the clinical data regarding who is using our services, what types of presenting concerns are more predominant, etc.

ADHD Assessment

Interns could receive focused training in conducting the psychological assessments required for students who might be struggling with ADHD and able to benefit from various treatment options (including medications, therapy) and/or from services through the Student Accessibility Services office associated with Counseling and Student Development.

Animal-Human Interactions

This AoE is for interns who are interested in integrating animal-human interactions with their clinical practice and/or research. The NMSU Counseling Center has an Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program that has been incorporated into therapy services (individual, couple, group), crisis intervention, and with outreach/consultation services provided by staff. Interns who want to pursue training in AAT would first need to have their companion animal certified by an appropriate agency (e.g., Delta Society, Therapy Dogs International) prior to integrating the companion animal into any work done at the Center and on campus. Other possible ways an intern can train in this area is by involvement in research (human animal bond, cross-cultural aspects of the human-animal bond, animal abuse, etc) or through Division 17, Human Animal Interactions section.

Behavioral Health and Wellness

There are numerous opportunities within the Behavioral Health and Wellness AoE. Interns could become trained in the use of biofeedback as a technique for stress management and lowering blood pressure. They may also facilitate outreach at the Relaxation Room on campus, which is a satellite office that offers biofeedback and a massage chair to the campus community. Interns who choose this AoE may have the opportunity to co-facilitate with a staff member a mindfulness group utilizing meditation, yoga, and qigong to facilitate stress management and present moment awareness. A number of additional opportunities are available and listed below. Interns are also welcome to create opportunities for themselves within this AoE if approved by the training staff.

Career Counseling

The provision of career counseling is believed to be an important component in increasing many students’ academic success, sense of self and well-being. Additionally, career counseling supports the university’s mission statement to “continue strengthening retention efforts to assist students with transition to college life, career decision making, and progress toward degrees.” Consequently, interns who choose this AoE will be able to provide career counseling and will learn how to integrate career and personal counseling during the internship year. Interns could also choose to conduct structured career groups and might have the option of teaching an 8-week career course for undergraduates.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT)

This AoE will allow the intern to become more familiar with relevant GLBT readings to expand scientific and theoretical knowledge base along with clinical skills. Other learning mediums may include DVDs, role-playing, etc. Additionally, interns will work with clients addressing sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Finally, the intern will have the opportunity to either create or participate in an outreach activity such as presenting to a class, participating in a tabling (e.g., coming out day event), or working with the Sexual and Gender Diversity Resource Center (SGDRC) in some capacity.


This area of emphasis allows for an intern to gain a greater awareness of the purpose and influence of outreach programming for the campus community. An intern will have the opportunity to develop various professional, clinical, administrative, and skills related to facilitation of outreach programming. The intern will work collaboratively with other staff members, as well as other campus offices or community agencies.  Components of advocacy and social justice work will also be emphasized within these areas. Examples of opportunities include: working closely with an office/department on campus to plan and coordinate outreach programming, planning and implementing a large scale outreach event (National Depression Screening Day), creating informational materials, leading a psychoeducational group, and so on.

Relationship Violence and Alcohol Awareness Programming

The WAVE (Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education) program is associated with Counseling and Student Development and provides multiple opportunities for interns to provide outreach services or consultation within these interest areas.


While all interns will have professional development time they can devote to working on their dissertations, this AoE is for the intern who is currently conducting research other than their dissertation, is interested in joining a professional staff member’s current research project, or would like to work with the Director of the Center on a research project associated with Counseling Center data.

Suicide Prevention (not available for the 2014-2015 internship year)

In addition to our crisis walk-in services, the Counseling Center is in a unique position of having a close relationship with The CALL, which is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline. Interns who choose this AoE would first become more intensely involved with the literature in the fields of crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Readings will include history, theory, intervention skills, multicultural issues, gatekeeper training, skills training, law enforcement issues, disaster/trauma response, and current concerns and future directions. The intern will also become involved in providing more direct service and supervision with The CALL. Finally, the intern will participate in local suicide prevention efforts including campus and community events, and campus gatekeeper trainings based on the LivingWorks models.

Therapy:  Individual, Marital/Family, Group or Crisis Intervention

In addition to completing the mandatory competency in individual, couples/family, group counseling and crisis intervention requirements, interns may choose to receive focused training in any of these clinical areas to gain additional experience.  Interns will be able to identify one specific modality (individual, marital/family, group or crisis intervention) they would like to emphasize and may also focus on a particular clinical issue within the AoE.  For example, interns who have an interest in eating disorders, might choose to focus on group therapy for individuals with eating disorders.