Doctoral Internship FAQs

Doctoral Internship FAQs

What are some of the unique aspects of the internship program at UNC-CH CAPS?

A few aspects of our internship stand out:

  • Multicultural issues and the opportunity for dialogue around issues of difference are woven into all of the training activities at CAPS. Whether it is discussing a case in more depth during multicultural mentoring and sharing what is coming up for you as a therapist in regards to diversity issues; or participating in weekly seminar where topics such as sexual orientation; gender identity and gender expression; cultural humility; and social justice issues, to name a few of the seminars that are presented to interns, there is an open environment to discussing multicultural issues as they pertain to the student population and to our work as therapists. There are many ways that CAPS strives to challenge ourselves to continue to grow as therapists and as people in this area.
  • Interns will be able to supervise a practicum student for one semester during the year. Interns will participate in the weekly “supervision of supervision” seminar which runs throughout the entire year and will be able to share tape of supervision and read relevant articles and materials related to supervision issues.
  • Each intern provides triage services throughout the year.  An intern is assigned a half day of triage (the same day) weekly in the fall semester and will meet with students who walk in for an initial consultation. Their triage day will change for the spring semester. This is the first contact students often have with CAPS and the intern will assess their needs and discuss a possible disposition within a 30 minute time frame. Sometimes students present in crisis and the intern will assess for risk and safety and develop a safety plan with the student while having the opportunity to consult with his or her triage team and/or the Clinical Coordinator. Interns participate in weekly triage supervision to discuss in more depth their triage experiences and gain triage skills. Past interns have shared that they have developed confidence in their crisis management skills and feel more prepared to manage triage in future settings.
  • In April/May prior to the interns arriving at CAPS, the Coordinator of Training sends out a self-assessment questionnaire in order to get a better sense of the interest areas and training needs of each intern.  We strive to match interns with their interest areas in terms of groups and supervisors based on their goals.
  • Interns will have the opportunity to participate in professional development trainings provided by UNC, such as:
    • Green Zone which is for faculty and staff that wish to learn more about the military affiliated student experience.
    • Safe Zone which creates a network of allies that people can talk to about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
    • Haven, a three hour training for students, faculty, and staff members at UNC who want to learn skills for supporting survivors of sexual violence, interpersonal (relationship) violence, and stalking. The training also provides information about resources available to support survivors on campus and in the community.

What are you looking for in an intern?

We find that interns who are a good fit at CAPS are ones who embrace a life-long learning perspective and are open to continuing to learn from their peers as well as from staff and their clients. Given CAPS value on diversity, we encourage interns and trainees to continue to explore issues of difference and to reflect and share their experiences in this area. In addition, we appreciate the strength of being open and receptive to feedback. Interns who have had a wide range of clinical experiences and have had practica experiences in hospitals, community mental health centers, VA’s, and in particular college/university counseling centers, are often able to transfer their skills to our busy center.

“I would like to apply to your internship but will not have the 500 intervention hours by the application deadline. Should I still apply?”

Our 500 hours requirement is a minimum and we do prefer interns to have more than that, because we focus more on clinical work than assessment at our center. Unfortunately, we do use this requirement as one of our criteria in our selection process.

“I don’t have college counseling center experience. I have worked at a community mental health center and a hospital where I received quality supervision and training which has prepared me for my internship year. Would my application still be considered?

We prefer interns to have at least one practicum experience at a college counseling center. However, we understand that that may not be possible for all interns and therefore value their experiences at hospitals, VA’s, community mental health centers, etc, that provide transferable skills to college counseling centers.

“I'm wondering if trainees will have the opportunity to conduct and interpret assessments for clients at CAPS.”

We do not offer formal psychological assessment opportunities. The emphasis in our internship program in regards to assessment is more on interns learning and becoming more confident in their safety assessment, suicide prevention, and crisis skills, particularly as it relates to conducting triage. Each intern is part of a triage team (there are 5 teams for each day of the week and three other staff members on the team with the intern). Each intern starts triage at 1PM on their triage day until 5PM (the other three staff members start in the morning). She or he would meet with students walking into CAPS and would rotate with the other members of their team meeting with students. The intern could consult with another team member or anyone else on staff should a question or concern arise. Interns receive training on triage year-long through the triage supervision seminar and discuss dispositions, dealing with a crisis, assessing for safety, various resources available to students, documenting triage visits, etc. Interns do not provide after -hours emergency coverage.

“I am interested in having more experience with couples’ therapy. Would I have the chance to pursue couples therapy at your site?

Couples’ counseling is not a central part of our interns' training. It is possible an intern may see one couple his or her internship year. This is due to not having as many couples seeking treatment at our center as students do for individual brief therapy and group therapy. A one-time seminar is provided on couples’ therapy.

How many students are there at UNC-CH?

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill offers 78 bachelor’s degree programs, 112 master’s degree programs, 68 doctorate degree programs, and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. More than 29,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students learn from a faculty of 3,600. Carolina’s 292,500 alumni live in all 50 states and more than 150 countries.

How diverse is the student body at UNC-CH?

We have some great information about the first-years in Fall 2014 to help you get a better understanding of the diversity at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. For Fall 2014, there were 31,331 individuals applied to start their studies at Carolina and 3,974 enrolled (45% of all students admitted; 62% of NC admits; 21% of out-of-state admits). Demographically, 58% of the first-year class in female and 42% is male with Caucasian/White 73%, Asian/Asian American 15%, Black/African American 11%, Hispanic/Latino/Latina 8%, Native American 2%, and Pacific Islander Less than 1%. We have 94 North Carolina counties, 38 states represented, and 24 countries represented.  Academically, we have 14% of students who graduated first or second in their high school class and 78% of students who graduated in the top 10% of their high school class. Notably, 18% of students are the first generation to go to college while 18% are children of UNC alumni and 13% of the group has qualified for the Carolina Covenant Scholarship http://carolinacovenant.unc.edu/ At CAPS, interns would be have the opportunity to work with students presenting with a wide range of concerns, such as: anxiety, depression, trauma, interpersonal violence, relationship concerns, family issues, academic concerns, adjustment issues, identity issues, disordered eating and body image concerns, to name a few.

What does the group program look like at CAPS?

Counseling and Psychological Services is currently offering many unique groups including:

  • Body Image Group
  • Breaking Free from Your Anxiety
  • Courage to Heal: A Sexual Assault Recovery Group
  • Emotional Wellness
  • Empowering Black Women
  • First in the Family
  • Grief Group: Living with Loss
  • International Student Support Group
  • Koru: An Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation Group
  • Men's Process Group
  • Mindfulness and Meditation Group
  • Personal Exploration Group
  • Returning Students Group
  • Self-Compassion Mindfulness
  • Taming Shame: A Resiliency Skills Group
  • Write On! - Therapeutic Writing Group
  • Yoga for Emotional Wellness

There are multiple opportunities to facilitate these particular groups and there is also an opportunity to create a new group.

In addition, we have an Anxiety 101 & Coping 101 Workshops that we could utilize interns in the facilitator role.

What does a typical day look like for interns?

Although there is not a “typical” day for interns, the time they spend at CAPS is divided up into several different activities that are scheduled throughout the week. Interns have about 14 brief therapy slots in their schedule.  Please see the sample list above for possible group options that interns have the opportunity to co-facilitate.  Interns will each have the opportunity to facilitate the Bounce Back group for students on academic probation.  Interns join the weekly staff meeting for clinical staff.  They participate on a triage team for one half day a week. They also receive two hours of individual supervision per week, and participate in several group supervision experiences weekly, including multicultural mentoring, triage supervision, supervision of supervision, Bounce Back and group therapy supervision. Interns have an hour for lunch, and have some flexibility in terms of scheduling their brief therapy slots during the day. Interns also have some time in their schedule for paperwork/administrative activities. They may also have the opportunity to sit on a consultation team within Campus Health, or provide drop in hours with a department on campus.  Interns meet with the Coordinator of Training bi-monthly to discuss professional development issues and other topics. Lastly, interns are provided two hours of research time each week in which they can devote to finishing their dissertation, writing articles, preparing for a conference presentation, or providing drop in hours to a department on campus.  Please see the sample schedule.

What is the multicultural project?

Interns will each implement a multicultural project designed to assess the needs of, and/or provide services for a minority or underserved population or in some way contribute to the diversity initiatives of the agency. Examples of projects might include: designing a group or outreach targeted to a minority population, creating a liaison relationship with campus organization or division that serves a minority population, or creating psycho-educational materials that address some specific concerns of an underserved group. In recent years, we have had an intern develop and present a workshop series for Residential Advisors (RA’s) focusing on their own multicultural awareness and self-care; assist the LGBTQ Center with providing research and information on their website regarding asexuality; create a blog on interpersonal violence and marginalized populations; develop and provide a two part workshop series for the Carolina Millenial Scholars focusing on stress management as well as building healthy romantic relationships; meeting with sororities of color to assess interest and needs regarding body image concerns and presenting on body image issues and the media, to name a few projects. Interns receive guidance from staff on implementing their project, have flexibility to pursue their interest in a particular population/topic, and have the year to plan and to implement the project. They also have the option of working together with another intern. Interns typically present their project to the training committee in June. Interns often find the project as a useful tool to learn more about a particular minority population at UNC, liaison/consult with other departments, and continue to develop their outreach skills to the student population.

What do interns do after internship?

Interns have taken a wide variety of positions after completing their internship from UNC-CH CAPS. Many of our interns have taken post-docs or staff positions in university counseling centers. We have also had previous interns take faculty/teaching positions, become a staff psychologist at a hospital, work in specialized areas including behavioral health or autism, and also some who have chosen to open a private practice. We believe that the variety of training opportunities our site offers allows interns to be competitive for jobs in numerous settings.

What is the Triangle Area like?

The Triangle area of North Carolina is comprised of three cities that are adjacent to one another; Chapel Hill/Carrboro, Durham, and Raleigh. UNC is located in Chapel Hill itself. Each of these cities has a distinct “vibe” but all have excellent dining options, cultural opportunities and attractions to visit. The Triangle area also has numerous parks and hiking trails locally, but is also about three hours to the nearest beach and four hours to the mountains, which allows for many opportunities to engage in outdoor activities.

Where do interns tend to live?

Over the years, the majority of our interns have chosen to live in Chapel Hill or Carrboro given the shorter distance to UNC and proximity to the free bus lines provided by Chapel Hill Transit. Some interns have opted to live in Durham and many of our staff enjoy living there, as well. 
Learn more about Chapel Hill Carrboro, and Durham