Training Program Goals, Objectives, and Competencies

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) program overall goal is to train competent, ethical and reflective psychologists who have acquired the awareness, knowledge and skills fundamental to the practice of professional psychology. We use a practitioner-scholar model of training that emphasizes an experiential component (“learning by doing”) while consulting and then integrating empirical literature into the practice of psychology. We believe becoming a skilled professional in psychology is a lifelong process that requires self-awareness, desire for personal growth, openness to feedback and change, and a passion for learning.

The following are the core goals, objectives, and competencies for the CAPS training program:

Goal 1: Interns will acquire requisite clinical skills and competencies for entry level practice as professional psychologists.

Objective 1: Interns will develop intermediate to advanced knowledge and skill in the provision of individual therapy.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate clinical intervention and relationship skills
  • Interns will demonstrate skills in gathering pertinent and relevant data to inform clinical decision-making
  • Interns will apply concepts of normal/abnormal behavior to case formulation and diagnosis in the context of human development and diversity
  • Interns will integrate scholarly literature into their clinical work
  • Interns will formulate and conceptualize cases based on theoretical orientation
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to formulate appropriate treatment goals in collaboration with the client and modify these goals when needed
  • Interns will demonstrate the ability to apply useful and effective evidence-based interventions
  • Interns will demonstrate sensitivity and skills in working with diverse clients
  • Interns will evaluate the progress of their provision of therapy and use this information to improve their own effectiveness

Objective 2: Interns will develop knowledge and skills in the provision of group therapy.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate skill in group screening
  • Interns will demonstrate intermediate group counseling skills
  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of group theory and practice
  • Interns will demonstrate and apply knowledge of evidence-based group interventions
  • Interns will facilitate group termination skills
  • Interns will develop an effective working relationship with co-facilitator
  • Interns will demonstrate sensitivity and skills in working with a diverse group of clients

Objective 3: Interns will develop proficiency in triage screening and crisis intervention.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will gather and document relevant data during telephone or in-person sessions
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to conduct a thorough and effective risk assessment
  • Interns will demonstrate the ability to effectively tolerate clients intense feelings, attitudes, or wishes
  • Interns will demonstrate sensitivity and skill in working with diverse clients
  • Interns will make good judgment regarding case disposition
  • Interns will use appropriate and effective interventions during crisis situations
  • Interns will provide appropriate follow-up and case management as needed
  • Interns will seek supervision/consultation appropriately

Objective 4: Interns will develop requisite skills in psychometric assessment.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate skill in accurately selecting, administering, scoring, and interpreting self-report and personality assessment instruments
  • Interns will seek consultation regarding selecting, scoring, interpreting, and report writing
  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of the empirical basis of assessment measures
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to utilize assessment data to inform their treatment goals and interventions
  • Interns will demonstrate consideration of cultural factors in selection and interpretation of assessment materials
  • Interns will demonstrate skill in integrating the clinical intake, behavioral observations, and assessment data into a comprehensive report
  • Interns will demonstrate skill in writing psychological reports and communicating findings in written and oral form to client

Objective 5: Interns will develop knowledge and skills to effectively perform outreach and consultation at a university setting.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate initiative and responsibility in responding to requests from the university community
  • Interns will plan and present content that is appropriate and relevant to the target audience
  • Interns will demonstrate adequate preparation for presentations
  • Interns will utilize current research in presentations when appropriate
  • Interns will demonstrate satisfactory presentation skills that engage the audience
  • Interns will evaluate the effectiveness of outreach programs with appropriate outcome measures
  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of consultant’s role
  • Interns will consult in a professional, helpful, and sensitive manner with other university professionals and departments
  • Interns will demonstrate consideration and understanding of cultural factors when developing and delivering outreach programs

Objective 6: Interns will develop beginning skills in the provision of supervision.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of expectations and roles in supervision
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to apply supervision models/theories in conceptualizing supervisee needs
  • Interns will utilize and critically assess scholarly literature in supervisory practices
  • Interns will develop a supervision contract with supervisee
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to develop an effective and professional supervisory relationship with supervisee
  • Interns will identify and monitor progress toward goals and tasks of supervision in collaboration with supervisee
  • Interns will consider supervisee’s stage of development when using interventions
  • Interns will provide specific, concrete, and actionable feedback to supervisee in a timely manner
  • Interns will demonstrate sensitivity to and skills in addressing diversity issues in the supervisory relationship
  • Interns will provide helpful feedback to peers in group supervision

Objective 7: Interns will pursue concentrated training in one or two of the following areas: diversity, eating disorders, assessment, and substance abuse

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will develop skills in a concentration area(s) of their choice
  • Interns will assume increased responsibility within their concentration area as internship year progresses
  • Interns seek supervision and consultation with supervisor of their concentration area(s)
  • Interns will demonstrate the ability to apply effective evidence-based interventions in concentration area(s)
  • Interns will give a presentation of the knowledge, awareness and skills learned in concentration area(s) at the end-of-year intern meeting
Goal 2: Interns will develop the knowledge, awareness, and attitude needed to demonstrate professional behavior in order to enter the practice of professional psychology.

Objective 1: Interns will demonstrate behavior that reflects the values and attitudes of psychology.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate honesty, personal responsibility and adherence to professional values
  • Interns will conduct self in a professional manner across settings and situations
  • Interns will accept responsibility for own actions
  • Interns will demonstrate concern for the welfare of others
  • Interns will display a consolidation of professional identity as a psychologist
  • Interns will demonstrate timeliness to meetings, sessions, supervision, seminars, and other professional activities

Objective 2: Interns will relate effectively and meaningfully in their professional relationships

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will form and maintain effective relationships with clients, colleagues, professionals from other disciplines and within the university community
  • Interns will demonstrate awareness of the multiple professional roles and worldviews in providing client care
  • Interns will respectfully participate in multidisciplinary meetings
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to negotiate differences and handle conflict effectively
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to provide effective feedback to others
  • Interns will communicate clearly using verbal, nonverbal and written skills in a professional context
  • Interns will demonstrate flexibility and ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • Interns will actively participate in seminars, meetings, and staff retreats

Objective 3: Interns will exhibit behavior and attitudes consistent with personal and professional self-awareness, reflection and self-care.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate reflectivity during and after professional activities
  • Interns will develop and articulate self-awareness in attitudes, values and beliefs towards others
  • Interns will demonstrate accurate self-assessment of competence
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to recognize limits of knowledge and skills
  • Interns will demonstrate consistent practice of self-care

Objective 4: Interns will demonstrate knowledge, awareness, and application of ethical and legal standards/guidelines.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of the ethical, legal and professional standards and guidelines
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to follow agency (e.g., Intern Manual, CAPS, UHC, UNL) policies
  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge and application of ethical decision making
  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of own moral principles and ethical values in discussion with CAPS professionals
  • Interns will demonstrate ability to openly discuss intersection of personal and professional ethical and moral issues
  • Interns will maintain appropriate and timely clinical and professional documentation
  • Interns will maintain appropriate boundaries with clients, trainees, and professional and administrative staff
  • Interns will manage their caseloads effectively

Objective 5: Interns will demonstrate effective and appropriate use of supervision.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will be prepared for supervision
  • Interns will demonstrate the ability to openly and non-defensively accept feedback from supervisor(s)
  • Interns will openly discuss areas of strength and weakness with supervisor(s)
  • Interns will integrate supervisory feedback to improve skills
  • Interns will demonstrate commitment to growth and learning
Goal 3: Interns will acquire the requisite competencies in cultural and individual diversity for entry level practice as professional psychologists.

Objective 1: Interns will demonstrate awareness, sensitivity and skills in working professionally with diverse individuals and groups.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will engage in self-assessment of individual and cultural diversity with recognition of own strengths and areas of growth
  • Interns will demonstrate awareness, knowledge and understanding of self as a cultural being (e.g., race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation, ability status, gender, etc.)
  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of others as cultural beings (e.g, multiple cultural identities; sensitivity and responsiveness to one’s culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, social class, religion, language, country of origin, and ability status)
  • Interns will demonstrate knowledge of the role of culture in interactions of self and others
  • Interns will apply knowledge, sensitivity and understanding of individual and cultural diversity (ICD) issues to work effectively with diverse others

Objective 2: Interns will demonstrate awareness of the impact of social, political, economic, or cultural factors that promote change at the individual and/or systems level.

Competencies Expected:

  • Interns will demonstrate awareness of the social, political, economic, or cultural factors that impact development and functioning
  • Interns will use awareness to effectively intervene with client in promoting action on factors impacting development and functioning
  • Interns will demonstrate awareness of the difference between individual and institutional and system level barriers to change
  • Interns will demonstrate understanding of appropriate boundaries and times to promote change on behalf of client(s)