Training Model, Structure, and Program Aims

General program description

The Doctoral Internship in Psychology at the Danielsen Institute focuses on clinical skills and clinical practice in an outpatient setting. The program integrates relational approaches to psychotherapy, religious/spiritual/existential concerns, cultural humility and social justice commitment, therapist formation and development, and integration of research with clinical training and practice.  Our clinical orientation draws from developmental theory and research (attachment, differentiation, intersubjectivity), psychodynamic perspectives, systems theory, trauma treatment, multicultural and social justice perspectives, and relationally-oriented psychotherapy research. Our approach to spirituality and religion is pluralistic and includes attention to diverse traditions, spiritual dwelling and seeking, spiritual struggles, positive and negative impacts of religion, dialectics, and crucible processes. We seek to provide formative training, that is, training that attends to personal growth, humility, accountability, and support as well as the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Interns will be asked to reflect on their identities and background as relevant for working with identity and diversity in clinical practice. Supervisory staff remain committed to their own on-going formation and growth while seeking to build sturdy and supportive professional relationships with interns.


Training Program Aims

The training program aims to equip interns for competent early career practice in the nine profession wide competencies defined by the American Psychological Association, and one additional program defined area of competence:

  1. Research
  2. Ethics and legal standards
  3. Individual and cultural diversity
  4. Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
  5. Communications and interpersonal skills
  6. Assessment
  7. Treatment
  8. Supervision
  9. Consultation
  10. Spiritual/religious/existential issues in clinical practice.

Additional details regarding training goals and objectives are provided in the Training Goals section.

In terms of broader professional development themes and aims for future practice, we have organized the internship to ensure that interns leave the program with (a) strong skills in outpatient psychotherapy informed by relational approaches (psychodynamic, attachment, and systems), (b) generalist knowledge of psychological testing including assessment for clergy and seminarians, (c) working knowledge of our Relational Spirituality Model (Sandage, S. J., Rupert, D., Stavros, G., & Devor, N. G. (2020). Relational spirituality in psychotherapy: Healing suffering and promoting growth. American Psychological Association), (d) established and on-going engagement with diversity and social justice in professional psychology, (e) foundational skills for engaging spiritual, religious, and existential issues in clinical practice; (f) a strong and growing sense of one’s professional identity and integration of self in professional practice, and (g) professional-level skills in clinical administration.


Training Model

We have chosen the metaphor of “the reflective practitioner” to describe our training model. This is similar to the more familiar or traditional training model of scholar-practitioner. These phrases highlight our emphasis on clinical practice informed by communal learning and reflection. They also represent our primary method or praxis, which is creating dialogue and interaction between practice – with all the complexity and particularity that exists in specific clinical situations – and larger perspectives and resources that might inform that practice. These larger perspectives include

  • professional literature and relevant psychological research, including practice-based research;
  • Individual and cultural diversity, social systems, social justice;
  • spiritual, religious, theological, and existential issues and resources;
  • professional development including consultation with colleagues and use of the self.


An example of a training plan is provided here

Example training plan for interns

An example of a supervision and seminar schedule is provided here:

22-23 Intern Supervision and Seminars