Doctoral Internship Application Process
The Counseling Center is accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).
The internship program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant.
Western Washington University Counseling Center’s doctoral internship is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). We are excited to report that we submitted our self-study to the APA Commission of Accreditation (CoA) on September 10, 2021. We have been informed that we can expect to undergo a site visit during the 2023 calendar year. Please be advised that we are not able to give a timeline of our accreditation application process and there are no guarantees that we will be successful in our accreditation application. We will have 4 Psychology Intern positions for the 2023-2024 training year.
Questions related to the program’s accreditation status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
To apply, please complete the AAPI (APPIC Application for Psychology Internships) online, including graduate transcripts and three letters of recommendation (two of which should come from clinical supervisors or individuals who are familiar with your clinical work.) Applicants will also need to register for the Intern Match. Application information and deadline for applications for the 2024-2025 training year will be November 20, 2023.
Applicants who advance past the initial screening will be invited to participate in Zoom interviews. Zoom Interviews will occur between 1/8/2024 and 1/22/2024. Offers to candidates matched to the internship are contingent upon successful completion of the University’s required criminal background check. The upcoming WWU CWC Doctoral Internship year begins on 8/1/2024 and ends on 7/31/2025.
During your doctoral internship year, you will be considered an employee of the university. All employees must comply with WWU Immunization policies. Please reach out to HR@wwu.edu if you need information regarding medical or religious exemption and applicable accommodations.
Qualification of Candidates
Candidates must be enrolled in a doctoral program in counseling, clinical psychology, or a closely related area. All of the formal coursework and comprehensive examinations for the doctorate should be completed. Please see below for additional information regarding criteria that guides the intern selection committee.
Intern Selection Criteria
The intern selection committee carefully reads each AAPI to determine if applicants’ experiences appear to align with our program’s goals and objectives (i.e., professionalism, versatility in clinical practice, group counseling, outreach and program development, and cultural competence). Reviewers complete a rating form based on the information in each AAPI. Numeric values (0, 1, 2 or 3) are assigned based on level of experience/interest in the following areas:
- counseling center experience
- expressed intention for counseling center career
- familiarity with brief therapy model
- multidisciplinary work
- group therapy
- breadth of caseload/clientele (indicated by number of unique clients)
We also assign a numeric rating based on quality of applicants’ written communication, based on meeting three criteria: 1) “cover letter reflective of knowledge about WWU” and 2) “all prompts are addressed in essays,” “writing is clear and informative to its audience.”
During the application review process, applicants are rated on their experience/interest in the following areas:
- College/university counseling center experience. Highest rated applicants will have demonstrated practicum (or professional) experience in a college or university counseling center, and a stated desire to pursue a career in that setting. Second ratings are given to applicants who may have practicum experience in a university-based community training clinic. Lowest rated applicants have neither practicum experience, nor interest in college/university counseling center.
- Brief therapy experience. Because the Counseling and Wellness Center operates primarily within a brief counseling model, the highest ratings are given to applicants who have demonstrated practicum experience working within a brief therapy model. Second ratings are given to applicants who may lack practicum experience but express a desire to gain experience using a brief therapy model. The lowest rating is given to applicants who demonstrate neither practicum experience, nor interest.
- Outreach experience. Outreach programming, particularly to underserved populations has become a major point of emphasis for the Counseling and Wellness Center. Highest ratings are given to applicants who have demonstrated experience developing and providing outreach programming. Second ratings are given to applicants who have provided (not developed) programming. Third ratings are given to those who lack experience, but express interest in gaining experience in this domain. The lowest rating is given to applicants with neither experience nor expressed interest.
- Multidisciplinary team experience. The Counseling and Wellness Center is administratively under the same umbrella as the Student Health Center and works closely with the Student Health Center in the coordination of care for students. Thus, the highest ratings are given to applicants who have demonstrated experience working as part of multidisciplinary teams, including medical providers. Second ratings are given to those who have worked as part of multidisciplinary teams that did not include medical providers. The lowest rating is given to applicants with no experience as part of a multidisciplinary team.
- Demonstrated breadth in clinical caseload/clientele. The Counseling and Wellness Center serves students from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of identities, and presenting with a variety of clinical issues. Highest ratings are given to applicants who have seen more than 30 unique individual clients. Second ratings are given to applicants who have seen 15-30 unique individual clients, and the lowest rating is given to applicants who have seen less than 15 unique individual clients.
- Demonstrated group counseling experience. Group counseling is often the preferred mode of treatment, and all interns will be expected to co-facilitate at least one group. The highest ratings are given to applicants who have led/co-facilitated and developed a counseling group. Second ratings are given to applicants who have led or co-facilitated (but not developed) a group. Third ratings are given to applicants who have served as a process observer. Lowest ratings are for applicants who do not have any type of demonstrated group counseling experience.
- Demonstrated strong communication skills. The highest ratings are given to applicants who clearly demonstrate, in the cover letter, knowledge about WWU and the Counseling and Wellness Center; who address all prompts in the AAPI required essays; and who write in a grammatically correct manner with minimal errors. Lower ratings are given to applicants meeting one or two of these criteria. Lowest ratings are given to applicants meeting none of the criteria.
Ratings are summed across domains. Though greater experience yields a higher total score, applicants are not absolutely required to have extensive pre-internship experience in every area. Total scores help guide the discussion about whom to invite for zoom interviews, but we do not employ cutoff scores in this process.
Intern Selection Process
Each November, the Counseling and Wellness Center convenes an intern selection committee of 3-4 staff psychologists (including the training director) and current interns to review applications. After reading the applications, the intern selection committee meets to determine which applicants to invite for zoom interviews.
Zoom interviews last 50 minutes each and are conducted by the selection committee. During the interview, applicants are asked to briefly discuss a clinical case. This is an opportunity for us to hear about their clinical style, approach to case conceptualization, and handling of diversity considerations. Applicants are asked to speak to their decision to apply to our program and about ways the program may fit (or not fit) their goals. Applicants are asked about self-care and invited to share examples of how they have managed stressful professional situations. They are asked to discuss their experience and interest with outreach, especially around engaging underserved populations. We ask them to reflect on which types of clients and clinical issues they are especially interested in working with, and which, if any, they are reluctant to work with. Finally, interviewees are given an opportunity to ask questions of the selection committee. At the end of the interview, applicants are invited to correspond with the training director and current interns if they have any additional questions. We adhere to our prepared questions and occasionally ask follow-up questions for clarification. Interviews have a conversational and friendly tone that reflects the welcoming and respectful culture of our program. In the process of asking and answering questions, phone interviews allow the selection committee to get a feel for an applicant’s interpersonal style.
In general, the program seeks applicants with experience and interest in working in college/university counseling center settings; experience/interest in brief counseling modalities, group counseling, and outreach programming; and a commitment to cultural humility. The program also seeks applicants who convey an openness to learning, who value working collaboratively as team, as well as those who can articulately address how they have navigated professional challenges and demonstrated resiliency in doing so.