Approach to training

WCPIP provides experiences consistent with the Local Clinical Scientist Model (Stricker and Trierweiler, 1995) and gives ongoing attention to diversity. The basic philosophy maintains that effective training is accomplished by providing comprehensive experiential opportunities in diverse settings through application of scientific inquiry to clinical problems, and attention to specific, unique qualities of individuals, cultures, and locations. Adhering to this philosophy requires ongoing respect for what science contributes to practice as well as an appreciation of how practice influences science. Being informed and current with respect to the scientific literature results not only in the application of common practices when appropriate but also the development of unique strategies when required by individual needs or circumstances.

The WCPIP training faculty is committed to assisting interns in identifying, testing, and refining best practices in psychology with respect to empirically supported approaches. Weighing the interpersonal, familial, cultural, regional, economic, and social influences that impact a person's life promotes the "localized" perspective. This process facilitates a match between best practices and the specific needs of the individual.

In keeping with this model, our approach to training is designed to encourage both depth and breadth of knowledge. This is accomplished by providing our interns with ample opportunities to engage in a variety of activities across different settings. Interns spend four days a week at their primary agency and one day at a secondary agency (often referred to as the intern's "switch site"). The primary agency is determined through the APPIC Match, while the secondary agency is chosen by the intern during their first week of internship. This structure ensures that each intern has a unique training experience tailored to their needs and interests while also benefiting from the collegiality and support of the internship cohort.

In addition, this structure yields itself to providing a unique opportunity to treat individuals from diverse populations and backgrounds. Our interns frequently experience rich diversity in their clinical work in regards to race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age. Indeed, a frequent remark made by WCPIP interns is how surprised they were with the diversity they were exposed to during their training with WCPIP.

It is the intent of WCPIP that we produce generalist practitioners who have entry-level skills by the end of the year. This means that as the year ends, primary interns are expected to provide the same range of services as our permanent staff members at their primary site. As faculty, we are aware of the developmental nature of the intern experience, and strive to provide necessary supervision and support. Early in the year, more time might be spent on modeling, observation, taping, reviewing work samples, and/or co-therapy. As the year progresses, however, interns are expected to operate with increasing autonomy. This is evidenced by interns handling greater caseloads and demonstrating expansion of their skills and thinking about cases, self, and professional issues.


WCPIP greatly values diversity and strives to ensure an atmosphere in which inclusivity and diversity are emphasized and celebrated. The program is deeply committed to providing a supportive and encouraging learning environment that is appropriate for training diverse interns, as well as increasing intern’s multicultural awareness and ability to work effectively with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. WCPIP endeavors to achieve this through an atmosphere in which openness, trust, compassion, respect and inclusivity are guiding values.

As such, the program does not discriminate in its programs and activities on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, age, language, culture, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, status as a veteran or disability.

Primary Sites

During the APPIC Matching process, applicants are allowed to apply to up to two primary placements within WCPIP. Interns work within their primary placement four days a week.

These placements are offered within three very different settings: A medical school, a university counseling center, and a behavioral health center/community mental health center. Within each site there is additional variation to the intern experience, depending on training needs and interests. Read more about the specific opportunities available at each site by visiting the links below:

Switch Sites

Interns are encouraged to choose a switch site that either fills a gap in their training, allows them to explore a specialty area, or provides a chance to try something new. They then work at this site one day a week for the entire training year.

Each agency offers at least two switch site opportunities each year. During the first week of internship, interns visit each site and hear about the specific opportunities available. Afterwards, they rank their top three choices and are then assigned to a switch site based off of their rankings. Typically, interns are placed with either their first or second choice.

While switch site opportunities vary each year, examples of recent switch site opportunities include:

  • Prairie View, Inc.

    • Interns will be part of Prairie View’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Team. Unless the intern already has experience in DBT, they will initially observe the Skills Training Group for several sessions, before becoming more actively involved. As the intern gains familiarity with DBT, they will be expected to share responsibilities with the other therapists in facilitating the homework review and teaching new skills to the group. Interns will be encouraged to read Linehan’s DBT text, as well as the new DBT Skills Training Manual (2014). There are other group experiences available to the intern, most of which are in our hospital. In previous years, our switch interns have co-facilitated an Inpatient Process Group. Switch interns who would like to learn more about inpatient treatment are also encouraged to attend inpatient rounds at 9:00 am. The hospital is a great place to gain experience with acutely psychotic and suicidal individuals.

  • University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita

    • The KUSM neuropsychology switch rotation will focus on neuropsychological evaluation of psychiatric and medical inpatients at Via Christi Hospitals. Interns will gain experience in conducting brief neuropsychological evaluations with training in interviewing, test administration, test interpretation, and report writing. The rotation will provide experiences evaluating patients with a wide variety of illnesses and conditions affecting cognitive and psychological functioning, with many consultations involving patients on a geriatric psychiatric unit. Through these experiences, interns will have the opportunity to learn of the impact of various neurodegenerative processes, medical disorders, and psychiatric illnesses on cognition. Additionally, trainees will gain experiences providing consultation in a multidisciplinary environment, collaborating with patients’ medical providers by providing helpful information regarding diagnosis and discharge needs. Additional opportunities are available depending on the intern’s areas of interest and supervision needs. These include participation in inpatient psychological consultations, exposure to adult and/or child outpatient neuropsychological evaluations, and attendance of the Geropsychiatry Multidisciplinary Conference at Via Christi hospital.

  • Wichita State University Counseling and Prevention Services

    • The primary purpose of the Wichita State University Counseling and Prevention Services (WSU CAPS) is to provide mental health treatment, training and prevention in order to support WSU community wellness, while fostering optimal academic and personal growth. The range of services offered gives interns the opportunity to broaden and hone their skills in many areas of general psychological practice. Interns will gain experience with both short and long-term psychotherapy with a variety of clients. Switch interns may see clients for individual, group or couples counseling. There are also limited opportunities to consult with University departments such as Student Health Services and WSU Campus Assessment Response Evaluation Team (CARE Team) as well as participate in outreach programming as well. This is an ideal opportunity for those interns who wish to hone therapy skills, explore the use of various therapeutic approaches, and add to their repertoire of therapeutic interventions while still gaining experience working with multidisciplinary professionals.


Professional identity and development are recognized as integral components of an intern's experience at WCPIP. Interns from all agencies attend weekly didactic seminars together in an effort to foster this. These seminars occur every Thursday afternoon, and are typically two hours in length.

Seminar topics focus on the goals, objectives and competencies of the internship program (see below). While seminar topics vary each year, examples of recent topics include the following:

    • Best Practices in Suicide Risk Assessment & Intervention

    • Working with Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Clients

    • Forensic Psychology

    • Treatment of Survivors of Sexual Abuse

    • Introduction to Military Cultural Competence

    • Psychopharmacology

    • Understanding Race and Privilege

    • Psychology in Correctional Settings

    • Neuropsychology

Once a month, didactic time is designated for peer consultation. During this time, interns are allowed to engage in an activity of their choosing in an effort to foster a sense of community among one another and to provide an opportunity for support and self-care. In the past, interns have used this time to go to local breweries, play laser tag, and tour Wichita museums and landmarks.

In addition to weekly didactics, interns are routinely invited to participate in continuing education opportunities available at agency sponsored workshops and conferences throughout the training year.


In order to facilitate maximal growth and development, each intern receives a minimum of four hours of supervision each week. At least three of those hours are individual supervision. All primary supervisors are licensed psychologists. As might benefit the intern, psychiatrists, social workers and other staff contribute supplementary supervision. Staff meetings, case conferences, and other clinically oriented seminars provide additional learning opportunities.

Core Values

Core Values of the Program are as follows:

    • Individualized Process: An effort is made to be responsive to each individual intern's preference for training activities geared toward long-term professional goals while adhering to the professional standards and ethical guidelines of psychologists.

    • Assessment of Skills and Competencies: Special effort is given to initial evaluation of functioning within key professional areas. Each intern engages in specific goal setting with their supervisory team to establish priorities within the training experience.

    • Breadth of Clinical Experience: The majority of the interns' time is spent engaged in functions at their primary agency. One day per week is spent at another agency within the consortium to ensure training in the experience of diverse local environments.

    • Readiness for Post-Doctoral/Entry Level Practice: As interns progress through the series of evaluation meetings with their supervisory team they are encouraged to increase initiative and assume responsibility for self-direction and professional development.

The above values are implemented via the following specific goals and objectives.

Goals and Objectives

  • To develop interns capable of practicing as entry level health service psychologists in a variety of clinical settings:

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Assessment.

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Intervention.

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Providing Supervision

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills.

  • To develop interns who utilize knowledge of current scholarly information and a scientific attitude and approach to their clinical practice:

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Research.

    • Each graduate will be able to apply the Local Clinical Scientist Model to the practice of health service psychology.

  • To develop interns capable of initiative and responsible for self direction and professional development:

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Ethical and Legal Standards.

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors.

    • Each graduate will have entry level knowledge and skills in Communication and Interpersonal Skills.

  • To empower interns to respect and address cultural diversity and individual differences:

    • Each graduate will have entry level competence and knowledge of Individual and Cultural Diversity, relative to the practice of health service psychology.


    • Provide interns regular, intensive supervision of their activities.

    • Provide breadth of experience in diverse settings.

    • Provide individualized opportunity in addition to the core training experience.

    • Obtain an initial rating (self and supervisors) of intern function in each of the competency areas as part of the goal-setting process.

    • Create a plan for each intern to achieve a rating of at least Entry Level Competency by the end of the internship year in each of the areas evaluated.

    • Provide opportunity to apply scientific inquiry to clinical problems.