The purpose of our postdoctoral fellowship is to support psychologists during the transition from internship to licensure while helping them continue to hone their skills as a generalist while gaining specialized experience. It is our hope and expectation that postdoctoral fellows exiting our program do so ready to practice autonomously as newly-licensed clinicians in a university counseling center or other mental health setting. While a primary goal for our postdoctoral fellows is to gain supervised clinical experience while working toward licensure, we also recognize that the postdoctoral year is an opportunity to develop more specialized skills. We have developed the fellowship with an emphasis on the provision of supervision and training, and expect that fellows will gain increased competence in this area.
We believe that trainees learn best in a congenial, supportive and yet challenging atmosphere, where they receive consistent supervision of hands-on experience, frequent feedback, and encouragement to move steadily toward greater independent practice. We operate from a developmental framework, recognizing different challenges and training needs may be salient at different times in the fellowship year. Goals are identified early in the year, and activities are focused to help the postdoctoral fellow meet these goals. Staff members serve as mentors and models for the fellow, available to provide instruction, supervision, and feedback as needed. We recognize that the postdoctoral year can be one of navigating different professional identities. While our fellows are still trainees, they are also assuming greater responsibility and autonomy, and balancing roles as members of our staff. It is our expectation that the postdoctoral training will help our fellows successfully navigate this transition from trainee to staff member.
The postdoctoral training program at the Counseling Center emphasizes experiential learning supported by supervision, mentoring, and professional development. We view all of these activities as an integration of practice and scholarship. We define scholarship broadly to include theory, empirically-based research, and analysis of current trends in the profession, and the use of scientific methods and critical thinking in the process of clinical decision making. Our training program also values the “use of self” as an important component of training and professional growth. This approach views self-awareness and openness to self-reflection as useful in the clinical, training, and professional work we do. We also believe that an awareness and appreciation for the rich sources of diversity in oneself and one’s clients is important at every level in our profession. We are committed to helping postdoctoral fellows grow in their abilities to work with clients who bring their own diversity richness based on their cultural, racial, sexual orientation, religious, physical ability, and gender factors.