Core Experience

Internship Seminars

A variety of seminars are required for interns in the Summer, Fall, and Spring. They include seminars in multiculturalism, professional development, psychological testing, psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychologists working in primary care, child psychotherapy, family therapy, and working with the severely mentally ill.

Interns also attend weekly clinical case conferences at their clinical sites. The CHA Department of Psychiatry also has an extensive offering of elective seminars and conferences which are available to the interns, with topics such as the treatment of severely disturbed persons from various theoretical orientations, behavioral medicine, trauma, couples and family therapy, treatment of narcissism, cross-cultural issues, and psychopharmacology. Attendance is required at the weekly academic Grand Rounds which draws speakers on current clinical, theoretical, and research issues. Continuing Education courses are offered throughout the year sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry alone, or jointly with the Harvard Medical School. These optional courses include nationally recognized speakers on topics such as Psychotherapy, Substance Abuse, Suicide, Women's and Men's Issues, Spirituality, Couples and Family Treatment, and Psychopharmacology. Interns attend these conferences at a scholarship rate as trainees of Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance. Interns also participate in the Expert Witness Training, a simulated courtroom experience with training offered jointly by the Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Law School.

Psychotherapy Supervision

Interns receive one-to-one supervision of their individual, group, family, child/adolescent, and couples therapy. Supervisors are drawn from all the mental health disciplines, and have staff positions in Cambridge Health Alliance, are on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School appointed through the Cambridge Health Alliance Department of Psychiatry, or both. Each intern receives between 5-7 hours of individual supervision and precepting depending on the rotation. Additional supervision is provided child and adolescent work, adult acute service work, and group, family and couples treatment, and these supplemental supervisions usually include two hours by the secondary site placement. The interns also meet in weekly supervision groups in groups of four.

Testing and Testing Supervision

In addition to psychotherapy, the program emphasizes the development of psychodiagnostic and clinical inference skills. Interns typically administer between three and six batteries per year, for which they ordinarily receive three hours of testing supervision per battery. The high ratio of supervision to testing time provides an opportunity to analyze the data in depth, and to understand the person's psychopathology and adaptive capacities.


The Director of Psychology Internship Training along with the Director of Psychology serve as program preceptors who advise and advocate for the intern within the total program. Interns also have a psychology preceptor at each site who oversees the work of the intern, and makes suggestions to help tailor the program around case assignments and seminars. Interns meet weekly with site preceptors who help coordinate the evaluation of interns at mid year, and at the end of the internship year. Interns also meet regularly with the Director of Psychology.

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