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New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University

Training General Overview: Training Philosophy

The mission statement of New Mexico State University, as a land-grant university and Hispanic-serving institution, focuses on “…serving the educational needs of New Mexico’s diverse population through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension education, and public service”. Following this philosophy, the mission of the Counseling Center is to “…assist all students in developing to their fullest potential their academic, social, emotional and interpersonal selves…” The Counseling Center makes every effort to provide clients and the university community with the highest quality service possible.  The Training Program is a valued aspect of the Center and is given the greatest level of agency commitment, secondary only to client service.  As a result, interns are offered training opportunities and didactic instruction in providing quality services to our clientele.  We are dedicated to promoting the development and training of the interns in becoming distinctive, professional service providers.  Through supervision, seminars, and other activities our trainees are encouraged, guided, and supported through self-reflective experiences. The main intent of these experiences is to improve self-awareness of individual strengths and areas of growth with clinical skills, multiculturalism, and other areas of competency which are outlined in this document. The internship year is viewed as a transitional one—from the student role to the professional role.  Interns are encouraged to use their internship year as an opportunity to master and fine-tune those skills necessary for professional practice.

Trainees at our site are guided to develop clinical skills as generalist practitioners, as well as receive training focused in their individual areas of interest. We highly value the mentorship role and as mentors, our goal is to help interns transition into professional roles and be prepared to pass on their knowledge and experiences to the next generation of psychologists. This goal is accomplished through specific, sequential, cumulative, and increasingly complex experiences intended to both challenge and support trainees in their mastery of specific competencies:  psychotherapy (individual, group, couples, and family), psychological assessment, intake interviewing, crisis intervention, outreach, consultation, multicultural awareness, supervision, and professional and ethical behavior.

Our program philosophy is grounded in the scientist-practitioner model of education and training. At the core of this philosophy, our training focuses on delivering services rooted in science-based decision-making and clinical judgment (Hoshmand & Polkinghorne, 1992; Raimy, 1950). In addition to clinical practice based on the science of psychology, interns are also expected to use their practice experiences to influence and contribute to science, which is utilized through a formal seminar and other research opportunities. As such, our program follows the guidelines and recommendations set forth by the American Psychological Association and the scientist-practitioner model to offer experiential training opportunities and supervision in competencies required for professionals in our field that attend to multicultural and ethical issues which we value and fully integrate throughout every facet of our system and training.

Consistent with the mission of our university and the counseling center a strong emphasis on diversity is woven throughout all aspects of our philosophy and training experiences.  Emphasis throughout the training program is placed on the richness of cultural diversity among peoples, particularly NMSU students.  The student body is very diverse in that there is a blending of three predominant cultures—Latino/a, American Indian, and Anglo in addition to other cultures (for example, bicultural, international students, Asian American, African American).  The intern program offers training in exploring cultural diversity from a variety of perspectives—racial, ethnic, age, gender, religious, sexual orientation, and physical to name a few of the perspectives.  Interns are encouraged to examine their own cultural experiences as part of their training, as well as appreciate the similarities and differences among their peers, colleagues, supervisors and clients.  Diversity is not only addressed in the Multicultural Awareness Seminar but is integrated throughout all of the competency areas as it is viewed as the interwoven thread that runs through all of our professional work.  Of equal importance to us is the philosophical belief that it is our responsibility as professionals to encourage an increased awareness in our interns of their social responsibility to become advocates for social justice. Besides raising their awareness of how they can and do facilitate change within the therapy room, interns are expected to create a consultation project during the year that focuses on social action, responsibility, justice, or advocacy in order to address environmental and systemic means of facilitating change within the university setting.

Another philosophical belief underlying the training program is that learning is best accomplished when conducted in a setting that provides both a challenge in terms of the professional experience as well as a warm, supportive atmosphere from which interns can participate in self-reflection, processing and integrating their experience.  This type of learning atmosphere is emphasized in the individual supervision as well as the group supervision and training seminars.  Interns are encouraged to use the internship experience as a vehicle by which they can have the opportunity for personal and professional exploration.  We believe that interns will benefit the most from their internship experience with us if they are willing to share their knowledge and experience while still being willing to grow as a professional and open to obtaining feedback.

References

Hoshmand, L. T., & Polkinghorne, D. E. (1992). Redefining the science-practice relationship and professional training. American Psychologist, 47(1), 55-66. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.47.1.55.

Raimy, V.C. (Ed.). (1950). Training in clinical psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.