Training Model

Reflective Practitioner Model – Overview

We have chosen the metaphor of “the reflective practitioner” to describe our training model. This phrase highlights our emphasis on clinical practice and professional identity. It also represents 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 which might inform that practice. These larger perspectives include

  • professional literature and the contributions of research;
  • social and cultural identity, diversity, and power;
  • spiritual, religious, theological, and existential issues and resources; and
  • professional identity, professional development, and use of the self.


Areas of Practice

Focus on high quality outpatient clinical practice

We seek to provide top quality training in the following aspects of outpatient clinical practice:

  • diagnostic assessment;
  • risk assessment;
  • individual psychotherapy;
  • couples/family therapy;
  • psychological assessment;
  • awareness of psychopharmacological/medical issues and resources;
  • clinical administration;
  • clinical consultation.


Primary service area and/or constituency

The unique convergence of the Danielsen Institute’s mission and its location and identity in Boston and within Boston University contributes to a multi-layered understanding of a primary service area and/or constituency. Consistent with the Institute’s mission to contribute to the well-being and effectiveness of those in ministry, the Institute serves a large percentage of persons (28%) actively engaged in ministry, studying for the ministry, and family members of those engaged in or studying for the ministry. Consistent with the Institute’s place within Boston University, the Institute serves a large percentage of persons (30%) who are students, faculty, or staff of the university. And consistent with the Institute’s location in the City of Boston, the Institute serves a large percentage of lower income clients (52%), utilizing resources from the Institute’s endowment specifically for this purpose.

Program Description and Emphases

The internship focuses on clinical skills and clinical practice that includes attention to spiritual/existential/religious perspectives. The theoretical orientation of the training program is relational/psychodynamic, and draws from theory and research on attachment, differentiation, intersubjectivity, and other principles of relational psychotherapy. Our Relational Spirituality Model also emphasizes systems dynamics; cultural humility and social justice; religious/spiritual/existential themes, traditions, and issues; neuroscience, trauma frameworks,  and therapist formation. Our approach to spirituality is pluralistic and includes attention to diverse traditions, spiritual dwelling and seeking, positive and negative impacts of religion, dialectics, and crucible processes.

The training program utilizes a reflective-practitioner model of training that seeks to integrate local knowledge, clinical wisdom, and cultural/diversity factors with current research and theory. We value research as an essential resource for learning and clinical accountability.  We also value experiential learning, critical reflection, individual and cultural diversity, collaboration/consultation, deliberate practice, and therapist formation. Formation refers to the personal growth, development, support, and humility of the therapist (and supervisor) alongside the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Interns will be asked to reflect upon their personal history and identity as relevant to developing their capacity to work effectively with issues of identity and diversity.

Staff affirm their commitment to on-going professional growth and development. We seek to build sturdy professional relationships that provide adequate support, feedback, and accountability to promote growth and enable ethical, high-quality service to our clients.