Psychology Internship Brochure
2022-2023 Psychology Internship Information
Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology
Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center
Denise Harris, PsyD
Director of Training
Linda Pennington, PsyD
1540 Spring Valley Drive
Huntington, WV 25704
MATCH Number: 217511
19 November 2021
The Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology at the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center (VAMC) is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA). Our next accreditation site visit was anticipated in 2020, but it is not yet scheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Questions related to the program’s accreditation status should be directed to the CoA:
Office of Program Consultation & Accreditation
Application & Selection Procedures
Criteria for acceptance into the program
- U.S. citizenship: The VA is unable to consider applications from anyone who is not currently a U.S. citizen. Verification of citizenship is required following selection.
- Education: Applicants must be doctoral students in good standing at an APA- or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)-accredited graduate program in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined psychology or a Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) accredited program in Clinical Science. Persons with a doctorate in another area of psychology who meet the APA or CPA criteria for specialization training in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined Psychology are also eligible. Applicants must be certified as ready for internship by their Director of Clinical Training. Applicants must also have had a minimum of 450 hours of supervised graduate level practicum experience (350 direct intervention hours and 100 direct assessment hours).
- Registration with Selective Service: Male applicants born after 31 December 1959 must have registered for the draft by age 26 to be eligible for any US government employment, including selection as a paid VA trainee. Male applicants must sign a pre-appointment Certification Statement for Selective Service Registration before they can be processed into a training program.
- Fingerprinting/background checks: Interns are subject to fingerprinting and background checks. Match result and selection decisions are contingent on passing these screens. Please see Section 8 of the Executive Order which established this process: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/10450.html for further information.
- Affiliation Agreements: To comply with federal and VA rules and provide interns with liability protection, a current and valid Affiliation Agreement between VA and the sponsoring doctoral program must be on file before the intern can be appointed. Most APA-approved doctoral programs already have an agreement on file.
- Trainee Qualifications and Credentials Verification Letter (TQCVL): A TQCVL from the intern’s Director of Clinical Training must be submitted to the VA Facility Director through the VA Designated Education Officer (DEO) prior to onboarding. You will receive more information about this letter after you have matched.
- Vaccinations: Interns must document that their vaccinations are up to date and that they have been screened for active tuberculosis prior to starting their training at a VA. This documentation occurs on the TQCVL. Maintaining a current flu vaccination during the training year (or taking additional preventative measures to limit patient exposure to the flu) will be required. As of this writing, maintaining a current COVID-19 vaccination (or taking additional preventative measures to limit patient exposure to the virus) is also required.
Highly regarded candidates will have supervised experience with clinical interviewing, objective psychological assessment, and brief and long-term psychotherapy with varied populations, in additon to sufficient progress on their dissertation. The selection committee will review applications and preference will go to trainees interested in receiving a generalist, rural, interdisciplinary experience consistent with the practitioner-scholar model.
As an equal opportunity training program, our internship is committed to ensuring a range of diversity among interns with respect to Veteran status, members of historically underrepresented groups, sexual orientation and disability status. We welcome and strongly encourage applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other minority status. We are dedicated to providing access and reasonable accommodation to applicants during the interview and selection process and to interns during the training year. To request reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process, please contact Dr. Denise Harris, Director of Training, by telephone or email (contact information is in the next section of this document). Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on an individual basis.
We rely on the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) website for most application materials. Interested individuals who meet eligibility criteria should submit the following application materials using the online AAPI application process:
- A cover letter indicating intent to apply to the internship program and internship training interests
- APPIC Application for Psychology Internship (AAPI)
- Curriculum Vita
- Official graduate transcript(s)
- Minimum of three letters of reference (in addition to the letter of verification from the Training Director)
An electronic file for the online AAPI is available through the APPIC web site at https://www.appic.org/.
We will not be accepting hard copy applications.
Our APPIC Match number is: 217511
Application due date: 19 November 2021
In addition to the information requested by the AAPI, we require applicants who have been invited to interview to submit a sanitized psychological assessment report for review and a ranking of interest for rotations. The DOT must receive this information no later than 17 December 2021.
If you have questions about the application process or the training program, please do not hesitate to contact:
Denise A. Harris, Psy.D.
Director of Training
Phone: 304-429-6755 x2713
Application materials will be reviewed upon receipt. All personal interviews are conducted by invitation only. Intern applicants will be advised of their interview status by 03 December 2021. Please be sure to indicate a daytime telephone number in your application materials so you can be reached to schedule an interview. Due to ongoing uncertainly surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and travel safety, all interviews will be held virtually for this internship class. Interviews will be held in January 2022. We consider interviews to be a two-way process: the opportunity for us to meet you and learn more about you and the opportunity for you to meet us and gain a better understanding of our program. Candidates will interview with the Psychology Section Chief, Director of Training, 4 staff psychologists and our current interns. When we send the interview invitation, we ask candidates to rank order their rotation interests. We will attempt to match applicants with interviewers who are supervisors associated with the applicant’s areas of interest, so interviews can be most productive. The interview process takes a minimum of five hours, but applicants are encouraged to allow more time because interviews can’t always be scheduled consecutively. We adhere strictly to the selection process guidelines established by the APPIC, including the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant.
We follow the match policies established by APPIC. Our program uses one match number for all positions. The only information that we may communicate to applicants prior to the February deadline is whether they are still under consideration for admission. Additional information regarding the match is available through National Matching Services, Inc.
The anticipated stipend is $26,234 for the year, to be paid in equal installments over 26 biweekly pay periods. Interns accrue annual leave (AL) and sick leave (SL) at the rate of four hours per pay period. In addition to AL and SL, interns may be granted Authorized Absence (AA) to attend off-station conferences or seminars related to the profession of psychology or dissertation defense meetings. Interns are also eligible for health insurance. Interns are not required to work on the 11 Federal holidays (New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday, George Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day).
Note: A summary of the admissions process, benefits, and initial post-internship positions of our interns is located at the end of this document for convenience.
The psychology service at the Hershel “Woody” Williams VAMC currently employs 26 full-time psychologists. The psychology service is part of the Mental Health Clinic (MHC). Psychologists and psychology interns work with the following clinics/teams: Gateway Clinic, General Mental Health (GMH), Health Behaviors & Prevention (HB&P), Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Healthcare, Neuropsychology, Pain Psychology, Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI),Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC), PTSD Clinical Team (PCT), and Substance Use Disorders (SUD).
Training Model and Program Philosophy
The primary goal of the internship program is to prepare interns for entry-level generalist practice in health service psychology.
The internship is based on a practitioner-scholar model of training in applied clinical practice with a special emphasis on rural Appalachian culture. It is designed to train generalist interns with self-decided focus areas to function as independent, ethical, and competent professional psychologists. The internship subscribes to the following characteristics most commonly associated with the practitioner-scholar model of training: A scholarly approach to practice via reflection and critical thinking, an application of empirically-based research data to clinical practice, an emphasis on the psychologist as an avid consumer of empirical research, recognition of the importance of generating knowledge through practice, an expectation that interns will attend and become active participants in scheduled weekly academic/didactic activities and development of mentoring relationships.
Thus, our philosophy is to implement and promote established, reliable, valid and effective treatment modalities and protocols to the greatest extent possible and to actively encourage our interns to draw upon the body of empirical literature to enhance the development of their professional skills over time. As practitioner-scholars, we strive to remain abreast of current empirical findings in our chosen areas of professional practice and to further our knowledge of treatment advances to inform clinical decisions. Consistent with the overarching training mission, goals and objectives, the training program has identified objective competencies designed to monitor interns’ progress across rotations and throughout the internship year. These competencies were developed with the goal of being sequential, cumulative and graded in complexity, while also identifying the minimum level of successful achievement necessary to meet the overall goals and objectives for each rotation. The training program works from a developmental model in which interns move from close supervision and instruction to relatively independent practice, assuming increasing levels of professional responsibility over the course of each rotation and the internship year.
Psychology staff take seriously their obligation to contribute to the development of well-rounded, competent clinical psychologists prepared for the independent practice of psychology. They are supportive, highly available for consultation and genuinely interested in the professional development of each intern.
Training Schedule and Rotations
The training schedule includes a combination of required major rotations and elective minor rotations. Interns will participate in three major rotations (up to three days each, actual time depends on training plan), selected from GMH, HBPC, Pain Psychology, PCMHI, PCT, PRRC, or SUD, completing one major rotation each four months. In addition, interns may elect to complete a minor rotation (4 hours a week; actual time depends on training plan) in one of the following areas: Gateway Clinic, HB&P, LGBT Healthcare, Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Neuropsychology (6 months only), or PTSD/SUD. An EBP mentorship program is embedded into the program, as is mental health consultation, training and experience with psychological assessment, training and experience in providing supervision, and assessment, supervision and diversity seminars. Interns will receive training/experience in telemental health. During orientation week interns will meet with the Director of Training to finalize their training plans. Below is a visual representation of the training year.
First 4 months of internship
Second 4 months of internship
Final 4 months of internship
Major Rotation 1
Major Rotation 2
Major Rotation 3
Elective Minor Rotation
Mental Health Consultation
Diversity Journal Club
Intern Case Conference Series
Intern Seminar Series (didactics)
Program Goals and Objectives
Our training goals and objectives are defined by the following ten core competencies that we expect the intern to fully develop by the completion of their internship year. These competencies include the nine profession-wide competencies required by the CoA’s Standards of Accreditation
- Broad-Based Skills in Psychological Assessment: Interns select and implement multiple methods of evaluation that are based in empirical literature. Interns assess a patient’s strengths and needs accurately and develop appropriate diagnostic formulations to inform case conceptualization, diagnosis and effective treatment. Interns communicate assessment findings (reports and verbal feedback) in an accurate an effective manner. Evaluations will provide a diagnostic opinion, discuss both strengths and limitations in the person's overall functioning and offer recommendations relevant to intervention planning.
- Broad-Based Skills in Psychological Interventions: Interns demonstrate a capacity to work effectively with a broad range of patients with diverse treatment needs and concerns. This includes gaining knowledge and experience in providing evidence-based psychotherapies to specific populations. Therapeutic modalities may include individual, group and couples therapy. Interns are expected to develop the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of their clinical interventions and modify intervention strategies as necessary to ensure effective treatment, especially for treatment refractory patients.
- Strategies of Scholarly/Empirical Inquiry: Interns engage in ongoing scholarly/empirical inquiry related to their clinical work. They consult the literature and integrate relevant theories and practices generated from empirically derived research and program evaluation related to mental illness and health into their clinical work. They demonstrate independent critical thinking skills when presenting/discussing research and disseminating research or other scholarly activities (e.g., case conferences, presentations, publications) at the local (including the internship program), regional, or national level.
- Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills: Interns demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professionals. They develop skills in consultation, which include consultations on complex clinical cases. They provide direct consultation to individuals and their families, other healthcare professionals, interdisciplinary teams, and/or interprofessional groups.
- Supervision Skills: Interns demonstrate understanding of the theories, procedures, and practices of supervision and demonstrate this knowledge in direct or simulated supervision (i.e., role-played supervision with others, peer supervision with other trainees).
- Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Interns demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts and produce and comprehend written, oral and nonverbal communications that are informative and well-integrated. They demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees and those receiving professional services. They manage difficult communication effectively.
- Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behavior: Interns’ behavior reflects the attitudes and values of psychology and the ability for self-reflection to promote professional growth. They demonstrate continued professional growth as they move toward independent functioning in the profession of psychology. This includes openness and responsiveness to supervision, participation in professional activities, continual review of scholarly material, involvement in production of scholarly material (when applicable), and progress toward securing a postdoctoral position or job. Interns will respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as their internship year progresses.
- Ethical and Legal Standards: Interns demonstrate knowledge of APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists, APA Code of Conduct, relevant laws, regulations, rules, policies and guidelines governing psychologists, and standards of professional conduct. They rigorously adhere to these standards in all professional activities. Interns recognize ethical dilemmas and apply ethical decision-making processes to resolve them.
- Sensitivity to Individual and Cultural Diversity: Interns develop a breadth of understanding and knowledge of issues pertaining to diversity across the training year and demonstrate understanding of how self and others are shaped by cultural diversity and context. They demonstrate the ability to independently and effectively apply this knowledge in all professional activities (including assessment, treatment and consultation) with a range of diverse individuals and groups during their internship year. Cultural diversity is defined as including, but not limited to, age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.
- Sensitivity to Rural Appalachian Culture: Interns develop understanding and specific knowledge of rural Appalachian culture. They use this knowledge to understand how their patients respond to assessment and treatment and how they can work more effectively within this culture. They demonstrate the ability to independently and effectively apply this knowledge in all professional activities (including assessment, treatment and consultation) during their internship year.
The Hershel “Woody” Williams VAMC in Huntington, WV offers a year-long, full-time, funded doctoral psychology internship. We will have three full-time internship positions for the class of 2022-2023. As mentioned previously, the internship year is divided into three four-month rotations (one major rotation per each four-month period). Rotation assignments are based on consideration of both the intern’s interests and identified training needs. Every effort is made to assign a set of clinical rotations that will balance the intern’s interests with needs to ensure a broad range of clinical experiences.
The required workweek is 40 hours. Clinical activities comprise approximately 75% of the intern’s time each week with the remaining time devoted to didactic training and administrative activities. Interns will have a supervisor from each rotation who is responsible for his/her training experience during that specific rotation. Interns can expect at least four hours of individual supervision and three hours of didactic training per week. Interns will also meet with the Director of Training every other week to address administrative/professional growth issues.
Our program offers an emphasis on rural Appalachian culture. Of the 24 counties served by the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center, 18 are considered rural. The rural Appalachian culture is a fascinating and very old one, with beliefs about psychological care that can present barriers to treatment. Interns will learn ways of overcoming the many obstacles that go with rurality and poverty, as development of such a skill set is the gateway to relieving suffering for many of our Veterans.
Interns will be assigned tasks of increasing difficulty and complexity over the course of their training year. As interns grow and mature into the role of independent professional psychologists, the intensity and scope of supervisory and mentoring roles will change accordingly. By the end of the training year, we anticipate that the interns will use supervisors more as consultants rather than supervisors who must constantly monitor all intern decisions.
Below is a list of rotations that will be available for psychology interns at our internship. The specific program developed by an intern must receive the approval of the Director of Training. The following are major rotations:
- General Mental Health (GMH): The GMH outpatient clinic is divided into 3 Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Programs (BHIPs) which provide a full range of mental health treatment to Veterans diagnosed with various mental health issues, including mood, anxiety, psychotic and personality disorders. Interns completing this rotation will work as part of an interdisciplinary treatment team providing individual psychotherapy, consultation, diagnostic assessment and treatment planning. Interns may also gain experience with group psychotherapy or exposure to evidence-based psychotherapies including cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), cognitive behavioral therapy for depression (CBT-D), cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain (CBT-CP), interpersonal therapy for depression (IPT-D) and acceptance and commitment therapy for depression (ACT-D).
- Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC): The HBPC program provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary, primary care services in the homes of Veterans with complex and chronic disabling disease. The majority of the Veterans served by the HBPC program are geriatric and a large number of these Veterans live in rural areas. Interns rotating in this service will provide a full range of psychological services including assessment, diagnosis and treatment employing individual and family psychotherapy and prevention-oriented services. In addition, interns may provide behavior management education to families of Veterans with dementia to teach them strategies to enhance their effectiveness as caregivers. Interns will provide ongoing consultation services to other HBPC team members (i.e., physician, nurses, pharmacist, dietician, social worker, and physical therapist) to assist in formulating effective care management plans. Interns serving in this rotation may also have the opportunity to work in delivering palliative care services within the home. This rotaton could be impacted by COVID-19 precautions.
- Pain Psychology: Many Veterans suffer from chronic pain and are in need of multidisciplinary pain management. This rotation emphasizes training in clinical assessment and therapy skills and recognizes that clinical work is informed by well-designed research. The interns will receive didactic training, administrative staffing experience, experience working with multiple disciplines (including Primary Care, Specialty Medical Clinics and Mental Health) and experience providing evaluation and individual therapy for Veterans experiencing chronic pain. The supervisor for this rotation will mentor and train the intern in biopsychosocial case conceptualization, pre-operative psychological clearance assessment for implantable pain therapies (such as a spinal cord stimulator) and evidence-based psychotherapy for chronic pain (cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain [CBT-CP], mindfulness-based stress reduction [MBSR], and biofeedback interventions [heart-rate variability-HRV]). Biofeedback may be impacted by COVID-19 precautions regarding direct patient care, but will remain available for interns to learn from via self-training.
- Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PCMHI): PCMHI psychologists provide integrated mental health care in the primary care clinics. Goals include improving early detection and treatment of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, as well as addressing relevant health behaviors including sleep, eating, exercise, and medication adherence in the context of various medical and mental health diagnoses. Interns can expect to work closely with primary care staff to provide screening and brief intervention services in the primary care setting. Opportunities may be present for program development in conjunction with the rotation supervisor.
- Psychosocial Recovery & Rehabilitation Center: PRRCs are transitional educational centers that help inspire and assist Veterans with serious mental illness to reclaim their lives by instilling hope, validating Veteran’s strengths, teaching skills, and facilitating community integration. The PRRC is based on the expectation that all people, including those with serious mental illness and significant functional impairment, have the capacity to learn, change, and develop meaningful self-determined life goals. PRRC programming utilizes the recovery model and is geared toward empowering Veterans to work toward achieving their self-defined goals. Interns completing a rotation in PRRC will receive education about the recovery model and psychosocial rehabilitation, complete initial assessments/treatment plans, and provide group psychotherapy/psychoeducation. Interns have the opportunity to develop their own PRRC group under the guidance of the PRRC psychologist. Limited exposure to individual psychotherapy may also be available, but the main treatment modality in this rotation is group therapy. In addition, interns may assist with other PRRC activities, including PRRC recreational activities and community integration activities.
- PTSD Clinical Team (PCT): This specialized outpatient program provides diagnostic consultation and mental health treatment to Veterans seeking treatment for problems developed because of exposure to traumatic life events. The team treats problems related to combat trauma, military sexual trauma, childhood and complex trauma, and other lifetime experiences of trauma. Treatment modalities focus on evidence-based interventions and include individual and group psychotherapy. Some psychoeducational groups may also be offered in the program. Individual treatment modalities include Prolonged Exposure (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR – this opportunity is observation only), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Patients who need additional support before engaging in trauma processing interventions may focus on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) adapted interventions or Skills Training in Affect Regulation (STAR) to address issues related to safety and emotional regulation. Experience with EBPs in couples work is also available (IBCT, CBCT). Group interventions may include in vivo-exposure or anger management. Interns may be involved in all aspects of treatment including consultation, diagnostic assessment, treatment planning, individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy and interdisciplinary team meetings. Interns will gain knowledge of assessment tools and interview techniques utilized in diagnosing PTSD. The main training goal for this rotation is to help interns gain competence diagnosing PTSD and other trauma-related disorders and to become comfortable and familiar with the evidence-based principles and guiding rationale underlying effective treatment interventions for Veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD.
- SUD Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (RRTP): With the recent upward trends of opioids and other addictive drugs, the city of Huntington and the surrounding tri-state area has touted numbers synonymous with cities twice its size. This translates into higher rates of Veteran substance use disorders than would be expected for such a rural community, and many of these Veterans require residential care to begin their recovery journey. The RRTP provides a multi-disciplinary, whole-Veteran approach to providing this care. Interns who train at the RRTP will gain experience in working with a diverse group of Veterans, as well as a multitude of different substance addictions. The team with which interns will serve includes psychology, psychiatry, social work, recreation therapy, nutrition, clinical pharmacy, Veterans Justice Outreach, and nursing. As a six-week program, the treatment program is longer than what is traditionally seen in most VA rehabilitation facilities, giving interns the chance to engage in brief individual therapy, a multitude of group interventions involving both process and educational groups, the induction or continuation of medically assisted therapy (MAT), and future treatment planning for the next-step interventions that will follow the RRTP. Interns will have the opportunity to engage in evidence-based interventions including the MATRIX model and MI/MET. There will also be ample opportunity for SUD-oriented assessment both in the form of program intakes and through use of the Brief Addiction Monitor, Revised (BAM-R). This rotation could be impacted by COVID-19 precautions.
- Substance Use Disorders (SUD): In recent years, West Virginia made the national news as the epicenter of the opioid epidemic. Opioid and other substance use disorders are highly prevalent in our Veteran population so there is a great need for providers who are skilled in substance use assessment and treatment. Interns who train at our internship will gain unique expertise in the treatment of substance use disorders and this experience will be quite marketable when applying for jobs both within the VA and the private sector. The SUD team offers state of the art treatment for opioid and other substance use disorders in a rural setting. This team currently provides outpatient programming for Veterans diagnosed with a substance use disorder or other addictions, as well as those dually-diagnosed (i.e., SUD and another psychiatric condition, commonly PTSD or depression). Programming includes an intensive outpatient treatment program (IOP; 9 hours of programming a week for 8 weeks), a general outpatient weekly group (3 hours a week for 6 months), aftercare groups (2 hours a week for 6 months) and a Suboxone program (1.5 hours a week for new Veterans, then adjusted programming over time based on time in program and response to treatment). Group programming consists of both psychotherapy support/process groups and psychoeducational groups spanning a wide range of relevant topics. If a Veteran requires a higher level of care, staff will make referrals for detoxification and residential treatment at neighboring facilities. The long-term goal of treatment is abstinence; however, harm reduction is also frequently offered and Veterans are encouraged to engage in treatment at all stages of their recovery. Individual psychotherapy is provided to address substance abuse issues, as well as for treatment for dual diagnoses (individual therapy and/or weekly Seeking Safety Group), and it is often a useful platform for motivational interviewing with Veterans in earlier stages of change. In addition to Buprenorphine, other Medication Assisted Treatment (MATs) are offered such as Vivitrol Injections/Naltrexone for both alcohol and opioid use. Experience with Motivational Enhancement Therapy/Motivational Interviewing (MET/MI) and Contingency Management for stimulant use is also available on this rotation. Interns have the opportunity to assess and treat Veterans in all stages of the recovery process. Interns will also be actively involved in weekly interdisciplinary team meetings and morning team huddles. This rotation could be impacted by COVID-19 precautions.
The following are elective minor rotations:
- Consult-Liaison: This minor rotation occurs in the Gateway Clinic, which is an interdisciplinary clinic that serves as the entry point for outpatient mental health services. Gateway staff receive referrals from a variety of sources and complete intake evaluations to determine the appropriate referral within the Mental Health Clinic. As a result, interns on this rotation gain experience in interviewing and assessing Veterans with issues across the diagnostic spectrum. In addition, the clinic serves as the consultation-liaison service for inpatient mental health consults in the hospital, including the ER and Medical/Surgical units. Consults may relate to suicidal or homicidal thoughts or behaviors, acute psychosis, substance abuse, withdrawal, or intoxication, decision-making capacity, or more routine evaluations (i.e., depression or anxiety). When these evaluations lead to recommendations for inpatient hospitalization, Gateway staff work with the transfer office and medical providers to facilitate the transfer to another appropriate facility. Gateway staff are also responsible for pursuing/completing involuntary psychiatric petitions/applications through the state of West Virginia, which interns would be encouraged to observe. Additional health-related evaluations, such as post-amputation assessments, are an integral part of the rotation. Interns are responsible for direct patient care as well as communicating with physicians, medical residents, and other hospital staff to assist in the care of Veterans.
- Health Behaviors & Prevention (HB&P): This rotation is in a multidisciplinary setting where patients are provided brief solution-focused therapy and cognitive behavioral interventions to improve self-management skills related to their medical conditions. In this minor rotation, interns will work with the Health Behavior Coordinator (HBC) in the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program. The goals are to increase patient involvement in medical care, enhance medical outcomes, and prevent or manage many of the chronic health problems that are typically found in rural or underserved areas. The HBC is a psychologist who teaches health coaching and patient-centered communication skills to medical staff in the Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACTs). Working with medical providers requires familiarity with medical culture and terminology, as well as an understanding of the consultation process. Supervised interns will have opportunities to: 1) teach health coaching skills to medical staff; 2) complete pre-surgical mental health assessments for bariatric surgery and solid organ transplantation; 3) provide prevention and self-management interventions for weight loss, tobacco cessation, and other medical conditions; and 4) participate in the development, implementation, and evaluation of facility prevention programs.
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Healthcare: Interns involved in this minor rotation will function as a member of the Transgender Veterans Interdisciplinary Health Care Team, conduct outreach efforts regarding LGBT Veteran services, conduct interdisciplinary staff training (cultural sensitivity and clinical competency), coordinate care for LGBT identified Veterans and conduct psychoeducational trainings with multidisciplinary staff regarding LGBT patients. They may also conduct group and individual psychotherapy with Veterans diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria and complete pre-operative psychodiagnostic assessments for candidacy for gender-affirming hormone and gender-affirming surgical procedures.
- Neuropsychology (6 months): The Neuropsychology Service is an outpatient clinic that receives referrals from neurology, physiatry, geriatrics, primary care, and mental health. Patients who are referred for neuropsychological examinations present with a range of neurological and psychological disorders, with referral questions often regarding the patient’s cognitive functioning but also involving questions about independent living and decision-making capacity. During this rotation, interns will learn how to conduct a diagnostic clinical interview, correctly administer and score a variety of commonly used neuropsychological measures, select tests most appropriate to answer referral questions, write clear and concise interpretive reports that integrate all relevant data, provide verbal feedback to patients and their families, and consult effectively with referral sources and interdisciplinary treatment teams.
- Military Sexual Trauma (MST): Military sexual trauma is the term that the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was in the military. The MST rotation would afford opportunities in complex trauma work, outreach/education and individual/group therapy modalities for this population. Interns have the opportunity to conduct intakes/consults, provide individual therapy and facilitate or co-facilitate group therapy for military sexual trauma survivors.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorders/Substance Use Disorder (PTSD/SUD): Veterans often present to mental health with multiple comorbid diagnoses and training and expertise in treating these patients from a holistic perspective is in high demand. Specifically, in the VA population, PTSD and Substance Abuse frequently co-occur and this trend is expected to continue to increase in the coming years. The PTSD-SUD minor rotation will provide the intern with exposure to both PTSD and SUD assessment, diagnosis and treatment, with particular emphasis placed on DSM-5 diagnosis, the timing of interventions, motivational interviewing skills and stage of change techniques. Interns will collaborate with two interdisciplinary treatment teams and gain confidence and skills in managing high complexity/high risk patients. Interns will co-lead/lead a weekly Seeking Safety Group, conduct orientation and screening sessions for new referrals to the group and provide individual therapy to Veterans with PTSD/SUD dual diagnosis.
Other learning activities:
This seminar meets once month for one hour and focuses on increasing the interns’ familiarity with administering/scoring assessment instruments. The seminar will also help interns sharpen their critical thinking skills.
Interns will also receive training in consultation services via our Gateway Clinic. Interns will be expected to complete a minimum of five consultations during the training year. Interns who elect to complete the Consult-Liaison minor rotation will receive more extensive training in consultation services.
Diversity Journal Club:
Interns participate in a monthly interdisciplinary Diversity Journal Club. Interns and staff members rotate selecting a current research journal article focused on intervention/assessment with diverse populations (other tan Veterans and rural culture) and leading the discussion of the article. The purpose of this educational club is to discuss and reflect upon current research in psychology and to strengthen the scientific skill of critically analyzing research.
This seminar meets for one hour each month. Staff members lead discussions about aspects of diversity applicable to our current culture.
In-service Training for Mental Health Staff:
Interns will work together to develop/present an in-service for the MHC, focusing on individual and cultural diversity. Interns select the specific topic they would like to present in consultation with the DOT. The in-service will be one hour in length and will be presented during the second 6-month rotation.
Intern Case Conference Series:
Once a month the interns participate in a case conference that provides an opportunity for trainees & psychologists to present challenging cases to their peers and colleagues and receive feedback/ suggestions. Psychology staff and interns facilitate these conferences on a rotating basis.
Intern Seminar Series (didactics):
The Intern Seminar Series meets weekly for two to four hours. VA staff as well as distinguished colleagues from the community will provide seminars on a range of clinical and ethical issues consistent with the internship’s ten core competencies. Below is a sample of our didactics from previous training years:
- Understanding Military Culture
- General Issues in Recovery
- Motivational Interviewing
- Prolonged Exposure Therapy
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
- Assessing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy
- Substance Use Disorders and Differential Diagnosis
- Military Sexual Trauma
- Cognitive Assessment
- Violence Risk Assessment
- Psychology of Rural Women
Patient Education Project:
Each intern will develop a patient education PowerPoint during the internship year. These PowerPoints will play in the MHC waiting rooms to provide education to patients as they await their appointments. The project topic will be chosen in consultation with the DOT. This project provides the intern an opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge about a particular mental health topic over the course of the internship year.
Training and experience in psychological assessment is an important component of the internship experience and is embedded in all rotations. Interns receive in-depth training in psychological assessment and are expected to complete a minimum of 6 assessment batteries during the training year. Assessment assignments are based on clinical interest, training needs, expertise and availability. Interns choosing the neuropsychology minor will focus on neuropsychological assessment for 6 months and other types of assessments for 6 months.
This seminar meets monthly for two hours. Through this seminar, interns will increase their knowledge of various models and methods of clinical supervision and the ethical and diversity implications of each model. They will also have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of clinical supervision via live role-play experiences with observation and feedback from the facilitator and fellow interns.
Interns may have the opportunity to supervise practicum students.
Due to changes secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic, training and experience in telemental health is an integral part of the internship training experience and all interns will be providing services virtually. Telemental health is an alternative to face-to-face visits, typically used to increase access in geographically remote areas where no current services exist, to provide alternative services in areas where it is difficult to recruit staff, to increase efficiency in places where travel time for VHA clinicians would significantly diminish their clinical time, and to provide medication management. Interns will learn to provide mental health services via VA Video Connect (VVC), the VA’s video platform.
Training in Evidence-Based Psychotherapies (EBPs):
The VA is a leader in emphasizing the importance of EBPs. In addition, our program emphasizes training in clinical skills and recognizes that clinical work is informed by well-designed research. As part of our commitment to this model, training in EBPs is a strong focus of our program. All the psychologists in the MHC have training in EBPs, and most are certified through the VA in at least one EBP. Interns will receive both didactic training and in vivo experience providing these therapies as they move through the various rotations. Each intern will also select an EBP in which he/she wants to gain in-depth training and will be paired with a clinician certified in that specific treatment modality. The clinician will serve as a mentor and will train the intern in conceptualization and techniques inherent to the chosen EBP. The EBPs available for training include: ACT-D, CBT-D, CBT-I, CBT-SUD, CPT, Integrated Behavioral Couples Therapy (IBCT), IPTD, and PE.
Requirements for Completion
Interns complete a 2,080 hour internship year. Interns are provided with an evaluation form that reflects the expected clinical competencies. In order to successfully complete the internship, rotation supervisors must assess each intern to have achieved a rating of 5 ("little supervision needed [intern exit/postdoctoral entry level]”) or higher on 100% of the items in each competency area on evaluations completed at the end of the internship year. Interns must also successfully complete two therapy case presentations and two assessment case presentations during the internship year.
Along with developing clinical competencies, interns are expected to appear and conduct themselves as professionals. Veterans, staff and other trainees will be treated with dignity and respect. The APA ethical guidelines and HIPAA regulations will be strictly adhered to, especially with regard to confidentiality of information, non-exploitation of patients, and avoiding conflicts of interest. Interns are responsible for conforming to all other medical center and Office of Personnel Management regulations concerning conduct and behavior.
Facility and Training Resources
Interns are provided with office space and all necessary computer and software support. The MHC has a wide array of psychological, neuropsychological and forensic assessment instruments, as well as related books and software programs. Hospital administration routinely approves requests for new materials. The Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center has a library located on the grounds that is affiliated with the Marshall University School of Medicine. In addition, the MHC has its own library. These libraries provide a wide variety of access to professional books and journals that interns will be encouraged to utilize. Also, computer access to on-line training and journals is readily available to all staff, including interns.
Administrative Policies and Procedures
The Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center’s policy on Authorized Leave is consistent with the national standard. You are welcome to discuss this with the Director of Training.
Due Process: All trainees are afforded the right to due process in matters of problematic behavior and grievances. A due process document is included in the internship manual distributed to every intern and reviewed with them during orientation. A copy of our due process policy is available on request.
Self-Disclosure: We do not require interns to disclose personal information to their clinical supervisors except in cases where personal issues may be adversely affecting an intern's performance and such information is necessary to address these difficulties.
Response to COVID-19
The unique challenges of the pandemic and its unpredictable course have created numerous personal and professional challenges for us, but it has also given staff, trainees, and Veterans an opportunity to work together to provide care in new ways that allow us to remain safe without compromising the quality of that care. Likewise, our supervisors’ dedication to training has ensured that learning experiences maintain the same standards of excellence and commitment as any other time.
One of the specific challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is uncertainty about what will happen next week, next month, or next year. The Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center (HWWVAC) psychology training program prides itself on its transparency; providing detailed and accurate information about our program and training opportunities. Since the landscape is evolving, we cannot definitively predict how the 2022-2023 training experiences will look, however, we expect telehealth to remain part of our work. It is important to note that while the training program is responsible for the training elements itself, any broader policies (e.g., telework) regarding employees are made by national and facility leadership, and may result in operational changes. The training program will provide ongoing, transparent communication with interns and will always advocate on their behalf.
Changes Currently in Effect (July 2021)
Some of the normally face-to-face onboarding procedures may be virtual. We will still have all the normal on-boarding requirements including being up-to-date on immunizations and fingerprinting.
Changes to Training
There have been some unavoidable changes in training/rotations due to COVID-19 restrictions:
- Virtual meetings: Most supervision, treatment teams, and staff meetings are still conducted virtually at this time. This may change before the training year begins.
- Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) major rotation: During the spring of 2020, HPBC staff stopped all home visits for a short period. While HBPC services have resumed and we will offer this rotation, interns need to be aware that there may be a disruption in service if COVID-19 cases spike again. If this happens, the intern on that rotation will pick up additional cases through his/her other training activities to reduce the impact on clinical hours. In addition, interns need to be aware that physical distancing is not always possible on this rotation, as interns and supervisors travel in the same car, at least when the intern is observing the supervisor/providing services in the beginning of the rotation. HBPC staff have additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) since they visit Veteran homes.
- Assessment training: Since the majority of assessment instruments are administered in person, assessment training, including the neuropsychological minor, could be interrupted if there are changes due to COVID-19.
Please note that these changes may or may not be in effect for the 2022-2023 training year.
Telehealth Training and Telework Arrangements
In the spring of 2020, the vast majority of HWWVAMC services, including mental health services, were conducted virtually via VVC or telephone. In the summer of 2020, the hospital began to slowly start face-to-face appointments and psychology staff began to return from telework. This trend continued in the summer of 2021. There is no way to predict whether or not this will change before the 2022-2023 training year begins.
All interns will receive training in telehealth early in the training year and will utilize VVC visits with appropriate clients.
It remains to be determined if interns will be able to telework. During the 2019-2020 training year, some of our interns engaged in telework and some did not. The availability of telework is a fluid situation at this point. If you have special medical needs that impact your need for telework, please advise Dr. Harris as soon as possible.
Facility Safety Procedures
Our facility has enacted a number of safety measures to allow for safety and as much physical distancing as possible. Physical distancing measures include limited use of waiting rooms and allowing use of other offices if a provider’s office is too small to maintain 6-foot distance between the provider and the Veteran. Facility-wide safety measures include the following: Veterans, staff and trainees must wear masks at all times when in VA buildings unless staff/trainees are alone in their office, all individuals entering the medical center are screened before admission, visitors are not permitted in the medical center, all staff and trainees must stay home if they are not feeling well and be cleared by a physician before returning to work if experiencing any COVID symptoms, and staff and trainees will have access to standard surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant spray to sanitize offices.
All staff involved in the training/supervision of interns have protected time for internship activities.
Denise Harris: GMH, Director of Training
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 1992
Graduate School: Indiana State University
Internship: University of Tennessee Clinical Psychology Internship Consortium, 1992
Clinical Interests: SMI treatment and recovery, program development, threat management, psychology training
Linda Pennington: Psychology Section Chief
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2005
Graduate School: Argosy University/Georgia School of Professional Psychology
Internship: W.G. (Bill) Hefner VAMC, 2005
Clinical Interests: PTSD, SUD, group psychotherapy, EBPs, smoking cessation, MST, threat management
Michael Bias: SUD Program, SUD rotation supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2014
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: Federal Medical Center, Lexington, KY, 2013
Clinical Interests: Substance abuse, motivational interviewing, criminality, common factors of psychotherapy, personality disorders
Steven Brown: Neuropsychologist, Neuropsychology rotation supervisor, Training Committee member
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 1994
Graduate School: Biola University, Rosemead School of Psychology
Internship: Wright Patterson USAF Medical Center, 1994
Post-doctoral Fellowship: Clinical Neuropsychology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2000-2002
Specialty Certification: Board-Certified, Clinical Neuropsychology (ABPP/ABCN)
Clinical Interests: Evaluation and treatment of adults with traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, memory disorders, brain tumor, ALS, psychiatric disorders.
Kathryn Conaway: GMH, GMH Supervisor
Degree: PhD, Clinical Psychology, 2013
Graduate School: Miami University
Internship: Washington State University Counseling and Testing Services, 2012
Clinical Interests: Treatment of depression, anxiety, personality disorders, end-of-life concerns, grief, CBT, Third-wave CBT
Lauren Davidson: PCT Team Leader, PCT rotation supervisor, Training Committee member
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2010
Graduate School: Argosy University at Tampa
Internship: Wright State University Consortium, 2010
Clinical Interests: PTSD treatment, CPT, PE, IRT, SMI treatment, Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), CBT-I
Jaimee Everman: PCT, PCT rotation supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2020
Graduate School: Adler University
Internship Hershel “Woody” Williams Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology, 2020
Clinical Interests: PE, combat trauma, co-occurring SUD, behavior addictions, mental health effects of combat
Jason “Jake” Flick: RRTP, RRTP rotation supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2011
Graduate School: Antioch University, New England
Internship: VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 2011
Clinical Interests: Substance use disorders, motivational interviewing, motivational enhancement therapy
Karen Grippo: PTSD-SUD Specialist, PTSD-SUD rotation supervisor, Local EBP Coordinator, Training Committee member
Degree: PhD, Clinical Psychology, 2011
Graduate School: University of Central Florida
Internship: Eastern Virginia Medical School, 2010
Clinical Interests: PTSD and substance abuse co-morbidity, motivational interviewing, integrated care/behavioral medicine, MST, body image/eating disorders
Rachael Hatfield: Consult-Liaison psychologist, Gateway rotation supervisor, assessment supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2014
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center, 2014
Clinical Interests: Forensic, cognitive, and diagnostic assessment, behavioral medicine, consultation, health psychology
Agnieszka Hornich: GMH, GMH rotation supervisor, assessment supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2008
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: Reading Hospital and Medical Center, 2008
Clinical Interests: Psychological assessment, treatment of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders
Christine Kemmner: PCT, PCT rotation supervisor, Training Committee member
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2015
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center, 2015
Clinical Interests: Complex trauma, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, co-occurring SUD, suicidality, crisis intervention, anger management
Ryan Price: Health Behavior Coordinator, HB&P rotation supervisor, assessment supervisor, Training Committee member
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2010
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 2010
Clinical Interests: health psychology, pre-surgical psychological evaluations, geropsychology.
Shelia R. Robinett: Clinical Pain Psychologist, LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator, Pain Psychology rotation supervisor, LGBT Healthcare rotation supervisor, Training Committee member
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2012
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, 2012
Clinical Interests: CBT-CP, MBSR, HRV and EMG biofeedback for chronic pain, pre-operative psychological assessment for implantable pain management devices, psychological assessment and treatment of Gender Dysphoria, Transgender Veterans, LGB Veterans, CPT, PTSD, MST.
Billy Rutherford: PCT, PCT rotation supervisor, Supervision Seminar supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2009
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: W.G. (Bill) Hefner VAMC, 2009
Clinical Interests: CBT, PE, group psychotherapy, assessment of PTSD, clinical supervision, couple therapy
Terra Sanderson: HBPC-Charleston Team, HBPC rotation supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2012
Graduate School: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Internship: Charlie Norwood VAMC/Medical College of Georgia Consortium 2012
Clinical Interests: Geriatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, limb loss, caregiver support
Becca Sullivan: PCT, MST Coordinator, MST rotation supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2015
Graduate School: Spalding University
Internship: Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center, 2015
Clinical Interests: PTSD, complex trauma, MST, SUD, co-occurring disorders
Aaron Upton: Consult-Liaison psychologist, Gateway rotation supervisor, assessment supervisor
Degree: PhD, Clinical Psychology, 2011
Graduate School: University of Toledo
Internship: Lexington, Kentucky VAMC, 2010
Clinical Interests: Diagnostic and personality assessment, multi-method assessment, consultation-liaison mental health, assessment of high risk populations
Chava Urecki: PCMHI, PCMHI rotation supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2018
Graduate School: Xavier University
Internship: Hershel “Woody” Williams Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology, 2018
Clinical Interests: : CBT, health behavior change, motivational interviewing, adapting specialty practice/interventions to PCMHI (e.g., pain management, SUD, PTSD), rural psychology, geriatrics/end of life, and addressing diversity in healthcare.
Brenda Vidal: Consult Liaison psychologist, Gateway rotation supervisor
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2002
Graduate School: Carlos Albizu University, Miami
Internship: Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, 2000
Clinical Interests: Military psychology, CBT, mental health triage, crisis intervention
Jesica Westwright: Palliative Care, PRRC rotation supervisor
Degree: PhD, Clinical Psychology, 2020
Graduate School: University of Miami
Internship: Memphis VAMC, 2020
Clinical Interests: Palliative care, clinical health psychology, complex medical populations, end of live issues, geriatrics.
Other Training Staff:
Amanda Adams-Mock: HBPC - Gallipolis Team
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2006
Graduate School: Marshall University
Internship: East Kentucky Rural Psychology Internship, 2006
Clinical Interests: Community-level interventions, program development, rural psychology, intimate partner violence, severe mental illness
Jessica Damron-Bell: HBPC – Prestonsburg Team
Degree: PhD, Counseling Psychology, 2011
Graduate School: University of Louisville
Internship: East Kentucky Rural Psychology Internship, 2008
Clinical Interests: Geriatrics, caregiver support, end-of-life concerns, CBT
Jonathan Bert Hoopes: PCMHI
Degree: PhD, Counseling Psychology, 2009
Graduate School: University of Texas at Austin
Internship: Bay Pines VAMC, 2009
Clinical Interests: Trauma, health psychology, telemental health delivery
Jeffrey Jenkins: GMH
Degree: PsyD, Clinical Psychology, 2004
Graduate School: Wright State University
Internship: Wright State University Consortium, 2004
Clinical Interests: Crisis intervention, high risk assessment, forensic issues, depressive and anxiety disorders, interpersonal/relational issues
The Hershel "Woody" Williams VAMC is in Huntington, West Virginia. The city of Huntington is the second largest in the state and is nestled along the Ohio River where the boundaries of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio meet. Huntington has become known as a regional medical community as St. Mary's Hospital and Cabell-Huntington Hospital are the largest employers in the city. Huntington is also well known as a university town thanks to the presence of Marshall University and its approximately 16,000 students.
Residents of the area enjoy a low cost and slower pace of living. The median residential rent in the Huntington-Ashland area was $652 for a one bedroom apartment in 2020. Previous interns have enjoyed living in the area and commented that “It’s a relief not to have to fight for a place to live or a place to park” and “It’s so nice not having traffic jams” so common in more urban areas.
Huntington has worked hard to create an inclusive community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, as reflected in its score of 100 on the 100-point Municipal Equality Index scale in 2020. The nationwide average score was only 64. The city of Huntington sponsors a Pride Picnic in mid-June and the city of Charleston hosts the WV Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival the first weekend in June, each event promotes diversity and inclusion of our LGBT residents.
Huntington has a classic theatre, unique downtown shops, a local farmer’s market, an antique district, a thriving music scene (including a symphony orchestra) and a town center which features the largest multiplex in the state. The Marshall Artist Series brings American music legends, Broadway musicals, comedy stars and entertainment to the area. In addition, the metropolitan areas of Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati and Columbus are all within 2-3 hours driving distance of Huntington, making urban events and activities easily accessible.
The area is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Beech Fork State Park, offering some of the best recreational experiences in the southwestern section of the state, is located only 12 miles south of Huntington and is well-known for recreational boating, fishing, and wildlife watching. The state has a great selection of parks and is well-known for its plethora of outdoor activities, including one of the largest ATV trail systems in the country (Hatfield-McCoy system), kayaking, camping, white water rafting, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, zip lining, snow tubing, downhill skiing, geocaching, horseback riding, boating and caving. WV also has four ski resorts; Winterplace, the closest to Huntington, is about a 2.5-hour drive. Huntington is also about a 2-hour drive from the New River Gorge National River Park in West Virginia. This park features world-class whitewater rafting, rock climbing, zip-lining and hiking. Every year on the third Saturday in October, the New River Gorge Bridge hosts Bridge Day. The bridge, the third highest bridge in the US, is closed to traffic and filled with vendors and excited base jumpers. Hundreds of people from around the world base jump 876 feet off the bridge to the river below. Similarly, Red River Gorge in Kentucky, a 2-hour drive from Huntington, is an intricate canyon system of sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and natural bridges that is one of the world’s top rock climbing destinations. Both destinations feature outdoor adventure tourism with guided activities.
The tri-state area is known for its quaint and interesting dining, ranging from casual country cooking, to farm-to-table meals, to fine dining. You can sample traditional Appalachian specialties (biscuits & gravy, pepperoni rolls, baked steak & gravy, homestyle meatloaf, buckwheat pancakes, ramps, homestyle BBQ or fresh-caught rainbow trout), many made from locally grown ingredients. The foodie can also find all other varieties of food in the area, including specialty pizzas, craft beers, locally bottled wines, fine seafood and authentic ethnic food of all types. One local establishment that is a must see, Hillbilly Hotdogs, received national recognition through The Food Network and People magazine. And, a trip to WV is not complete without a stop at Tudor’s Biscuit World, a West Virginia-born institution serving biscuits “that make grown men cry and bring people to their knees” according to The Food Network. WV also has its share of 4-star dining, including The Chop House and Laury’s Restaurant in Charleston and Le Bistro and 21 at The Frederick in Huntington.
West Virginia always has some type of activity to offer including festivals (Poage Landing Days in Ashland, The Pumpkin Festival in Milton, West Virginia Hot Dog Festival in Huntington, Bridge Day in Fayetteville), special events (Ashland’s First Friday), concerts, county/state fairs, etc. There is truly something for every taste.
West Virginia is known for the warmth and hospitality of its residents. Hospital staff and locals are friendly and approachable. It’s unlikely that you will go very far in our area without a stranger saying, “Good morning” or making some other small talk. Previous interns have commented that the interdisciplinary interactions at our facility are especially friendly and supportive.
Huntington itself has multiple rental options, though many of its apartment complexes are geared toward undergraduate students. There are usually quite a few rentals in the Southside neighborhood, and those closer to Ritter Park (the city’s flagship park) are generally better options. Ritter Park Properties (http://ritterparkapartments.com/) has several rental properties in the Southside, and other listings are available on sites like http://Apartments.com/. If looking into the Southside, it is recommended to view the properties in person, as most are older homes that have been converted into units and there can be some variability in what is available. Another easy and safe option, and one that many interns moving to the area choose, is to reside in one of the apartment complexes in Barboursville. These complexes are close to dining and shopping options, 15 minutes away from downtown Huntington, and 20 minutes away from the medical center. Some options to consider in this area are:
-Waterford Village (http://waterfordvillageluxuryapartments.com/)
-Country Club Apartments (http://www.manorcommunities.com/country-club-apartments/home)
-Royal Oaks at Pea Ridge (http://royaloaksatpearidge.com/)
Aside from Huntington and Barboursville, some interns and staff choose to live in nearby towns, such as Ashland, KY. Ashland has a small-town feel, while still having numerous shopping and dining options, a large city park, and multiple cultural offerings (monthly First Friday art walks, events at the historic Paramount Arts Center). A newer apartment complex that is an option in Ashland is Providence Hill Apartments. Ashland is an easy 25-minute drive from the medical center.
For some additional information about the Huntington area, the following websites are recommended:
Internship Admissions, Support, and Initial Placement Data
Date Program Tables were updated: 02 July 2021
Internship Program Admissions
Briefly describe in narrative form important information to assist potential applicants in assessing their likely fit with your program. This description must be consistent with the program’s policies on intern selection and practicum and academic preparation requirements:
1. U.S. citizenship
2. Enrollment in an APA- or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)-accredited clinical or counseling psychology graduate program and certified as ready for internship by their Director of Clinical Training.
3. Registration with Selective Service (if born after 31 December 1959)
4. Negative fingerprinting/background check.
5. Affiliation Agreements between VA and the sponsoring doctoral program.
6. Trainee Qualifications and Credentials Verification Letter (TQCVL) from the intern’s Director of Clinical Training prior to onboarding. You will receive more information about this letter after you have matched.
7. Up to date vaccinations, screening for active tuberculosis, and current flu vaccination during the training year (or taking additional preventative measures to limit patient exposure to the flu). As of this writing, a current COVID-19 vaccine is required (or taking additional preventative measures to limit patient exposure to the virus).
Highly regarded candidates:
1. Supervised experience with clinical interviewing, objective psychological assessment, and brief and long-term psychotherapy with varied populations
2. Sufficient progress on dissertation.
3. Interest a generalist, rural, interdisciplinary experience consistent with the practitioner-scholar model.
As an equal opportunity training program, the Hershel “Woody” Williams VAMC Doctoral Internship in Health Service Psychology welcomes and strongly encourages applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, disability, or other minority status.
Interviews will be held in January 2022. Due to uncertainty about COVID-19 restrictions and the advice from APPIC, we will be conducting all interviews virtually.
Does the program require that applicants have received a minimum number of hours of the following at time of application? If Yes, indicate how many:
Total Direct Contact Intervention Hours
Total Direct Contact Assessment Hours
Describe any other required minimum criteria used to screen applicants:
Financial and Other Benefit Support for Upcoming Training Year*
Annual Stipend/Salary for Full-Time Interns
Annual Stipend/Salary for Half-Time Interns
Program provides access to medical insurance for Interns
If access to medical insurance is provided:
Trainee contribution to cost required?
Coverage of family member(s) available?
Coverage of legally married partner available?
Coverage of domestic partner available?
Hours of Annual Paid Personal Time Off (PTO and/or Vacation)
104 (4 hours/pay period)
Hours of Annual Paid Sick Leave
104 (4 hours/pay period)
In the event of medical conditions and/or family needs that require
extended leave, does the program allow reasonable unpaid leave to interns/residents in excess of personal time off and sick leave?
1. Interns are not required to work on 11 Federal holidays a year (New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday, George Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day).
2. Interns may also be granted Authorized Absence to attend off-station conferences or seminars related to the profession of psychology or dissertation defense meetings.
3. Dental and vision insurance is also available
*Note: Programs are not required by the Commission on Accreditation to provide all benefits listed in this table.
Initial Post Internship Positions
(Aggregate Total for the Preceding 3 Cohorts)
Total # of interns who were in the three cohorts
Total # of interns who did not seek employment because they returned to their doctoral program/are completing doctoral degree
Community Mental Health Center
Federally Qualified Health Center
Independent Primary Care Facility/Clinic
University Counseling Center
Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Military Health Center
Academic Health Center
Other Medical Center or Hospital
Community college or Other Teaching Center
Independent Research Institute
Independent Private Practice
Not Currently Employed
Changed to Another Field
Note: “P“ = Post-doctoral residency position; “EP” = Employed Position. Each individual represented in this table should be counted only one time. For former trainees working in more than one setting, select the setting that represents their primary position.
*These are the three interns from the 2021 training year who had not found employment prior to this brochure being published.