VA Connecticut Psychology Internship Program

Psychology Setting

VA Connecticut Healthcare System - West Haven Campus (VACHS) offers healthcare services to a diverse population of Veterans that are provided in a wide range of healthcare delivery settings. VACHS is a Yale University School of Medicine affiliated education and training institution. VACHS provides primary, secondary, and tertiary care services in multiple areas (e.g., medicine, geriatrics, neurology, surgery, and mental health) and also provides specialized services for specific clinical problems (e.g., blind rehabilitation, psychosocial rehabilitation for seriously mentally ill, geriatric rehabilitation, women’s health care, psychological and pastoral counseling, alcohol and substance abuse treatment and auditory rehabilitation). Several programs have been designated as Centers of Excellence (e.g., National Center for PTSD and the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center). Psychology staff are directly integrated into many of these clinical settings, but also serve these populations on a consultative basis.

Like many other VA settings throughout the nation, our Psychology Service has recently experienced rapid growth. In addition to expanding our expert clinical staff, VACHS hosts an impressive complement of research psychologists supported through VA and other funding sources. Many of these research psychologists serve as clinical and/or research mentors for psychology trainees at VACHS. The credentials of psychologists at VACHS are exceptional and diverse. The majority of psychologists at VACHS hold academic appointments at Yale University and regularly contribute to peer-reviewed scholarly publications. The Psychology Training Program maintains full APA-accreditation and APPIC membership.

Program Structure

Our program structure varies depending on the training track and the interests of the intern. For more detailed information about each of the training tracks and affiliated clinics and faculty, please visit our training program’s website.

1. Clinical Health Psychology

  • Clinical Health Psychology – Primary Care Clinics
  • Interdisciplinary Pain Management
  • MOVE! Weight Management Program
  • Psychosocial Oncology
  • The Interdisciplinary Stroke Clinic
  • Inpatient Consultation–Liaison
  • Health Promotion Activities
  • Audiology Clinic

2. General Mental Health

  • PTSD and Comprehensive Outpatient Mental Health
  • Addictions
  • Serious Mental Illness (SMI)

3. Clinical Neuropsychology

  • Clinical Neuropsychology Consultation Clinic
  • Behavioral Research Assessment and Integrative Neuropsychology (BRAIN) Clinic
  • The Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center
  • Clinical Neuropsychology Seminar

Training Model and Program Philosophy

Our program is most compatible with a scientist-practitioner perspective in all our track programs, though scholar-practitioners may also be successful candidates who find that their goals and interests match well with those of the training staff. Within this framework, our basic learning model is to have each intern work with a wide variety of patients under close supervision in an apprenticeship model with increasing clinical responsibility over the course of the year. Interns participating in the predoctoral psychology internship training program are offered training experiences that encourage the development of professional and scientific skills/competencies, and the conduct of ethical practice and research. Skill development is consistent with state-of-the-art scientific inquiry and scholarship within a perspective that fosters the successful integration of science and practice.

Program Goals & Objectives

The overall goal of our training program is to prepare the predoctoral psychology intern with entry-level skills in Professional Psychology (e.g.,scientists and teachers with strong clinical backgrounds), with generalist skills and competencies that are developed within multiple clinical emphasis areas (i.e., tracks). At the beginning of the training year, students are provided with specific performance criteria for each of their rotations that are reflected in our evaluation form. These core competencies are fully consistent with the goals and purposes of psychologists as identified by the APA and CoA. They include assessment, evaluation, and case conceptualization skills; intervention and consultation skills; supervision, teaching, and presentation skills; scholarly inquiry, knowledge, and research skills and professionalism. At year’s end, interns are expected to have met passing criteria in all competency domains and to be prepared for and competitive in obtaining either further specialized training or an entry-level position.

Training Experiences

Seminars and Didactics
The clinical training activities within each specialty track are buttressed by a combination of formal didactic seminars and informal, one-to-one teaching during the course of regular supervisory meetings. Formal seminars that all interns are required to attend include: an advaced CBT seminar, a core seminar, a journal club, and our monthly Psychology Colloquia. In each training track there are specialty experiences such as a clinical neuropsychology seminar and a clinical health psychology conference and didactics/seminars in each of the general mental health tracks. Frequently, students give clinical and research presentations in these seminars. All students are further encouraged to attend lectures, seminars, and Grand Rounds offered through Yale University (the schedule of offerings is updated and made accessible to all students).

Research Mentorship
In addition to clinical work and supervision, interns will be expected to specify a goal for empirical research or scholarly activity involving collaboration and mentorship with one of our faculty. They will be given up to 4 hours each week to work on this goal. By the end of the training year, each intern will be expected to provide a specific product of this collaboration, such as a formal presentation as part of one of our existing seminars or conferences, a presentation at a regional or national meeting, or a completed draft manuscript for publication (research may include work on the intern’s dissertation). Ongoing research opportunities may exist for interns to become involved.

Application and Eligibility Criteria

For complete eligibility criteria and details on the application process, please see the program’s website.

For More Information

John Beauvais, Ph.D.
Director of Predoctoral Training
Psychology Service/116B
VA Connecticut Healthcare System
950 Campbell Avenue
West Haven, CT 06516
(203) 932-5711; ext 2465

Accreditation Status

The VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven Campus Predoctoral Internship Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. For information regarding APA accreditation of this internship or other accredited internships, please write or call: Office of Program Consultation & Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; 202-336-5979; www.apa.org.