Internships and fellowships
The St. Cloud VA Health Care System provides training programs for students at the college, university, and postgraduate levels. Explore our training programs to find out about how we can help you start your career as a health care professional.
Internships and fellowships
The Doctoral Internship Program at St. Cloud VA Health Care System (VA HCS) is a generalist training program; and it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA). Our next site visit will be in 2024. Questions related to the program's accreditation status should be addressed to: APA, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; 202-336-5979; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation.
The program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). Therefore, our program participates in the annual Match process. 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.
The Psychology Internship Brochure is available to download and print.
The Doctoral Internship Program in Health Service Psychology at St. Cloud VA HCS offers internships to US citizens who are pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical, counseling, or combined psychology from an APA- or CPA-accredited institution; or a Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS)-accredited program in clinical science. The program accepts three interns per year. Applicants must demonstrate completion of at least 4 years of graduate coursework. Potential interns must have a minimum number of supervised graduate level pre-internship practicum experience hours to include 250 intervention and 50 assessment hours. Applicants must have completed their comprehensive examinations, proposed their dissertations (or equivalent), and be certified as ready for internship by their Director of Clinical Training.
Social work Internship
Social work internships are available for 2nd year Masters in Social Work (MSW) students.
There are currently 6 internship opportunities available at the St. Cloud VA Healthcare System; 4 positions in Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (MH RRTP), 1 position in Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program, and 1 position in the Primary Care/Behavioral Recovery Outreach (BRO) program.
In the MH RRTP the assignments would include assessments such as diagnostic evaluations and biopsychosocial assessments. Individual and group evidence-based psychotherapy is used throughout the program and includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (may include groups using Cognitive Processing Therapy, Stages of Change/Motivational Interviewing, Seeking Safety, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and other modalities). Mental health case management services are also an integral part of the services offered by social workers.
The MHRRTP has a service delivery system that is unique not only to the VA Healthcare System, but also the private sector. A continuum of care has been developed that can meet the needs of those suffering from substance use disorders, mental health disorders, or co-occurring disorders (which is the most common subset of admission). The MH RRTP provides an episode of care that is individualized to each veteran to meet their individual needs. The St. Cloud VA HCS "College Model" and "Quadrant Model" of individualized treatment is now being replicated in many private and VA facilities. Social work students will be immersed into the MHRRTP setting which provides a service delivery model that integrates patient-centered practices such as shared decision making and a recovery model focus. Students will co-manage a panel of patients with their clinical supervisor supporting a sustained relationship. This will ensure that continuity will be maintained when the student is not physically present.
As part of the national VA mission to end Veteran homelessness, the St. Cloud VA HCS Homeless Program has the mission of serving Veterans in our area that are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness. The social work intern placed with the Homeless Program will receive the following comprehensive training opportunities, such as mental health biopsychosocial assessments, advanced generalist practice in a community-based setting, assessment of Stages of Change and introduction to corresponding evidence-based therapeutic interventions, including motivational enhancement/interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy and harm reduction, implementation of housing first strategies, clinical and inter-professional case management services. Veterans engaged in the Homeless Program frequently present with complex mental health, substance use and psychosocial issues. This is a challenging and enjoyable opportunity to develop a broad range of skills.
The St Cloud VA Health Care System’s Behavioral Recovery Outreach (BRO) Team serves with advancing dementia which may present unique behavioral challenges and can be disruptive to their care. The BRO team helps stabilize Veterans with dementia related behaviors through short term, inpatient treatment, and six months of outpatient follow up after discharge. The BRO social worker works collaboratively with an interdisciplicnary team to identify Veterans with challenging dementia-related and non-dementia related behaviors and utilizes the use of evidence-based behavioral and non-pharmacological interventions to reduce the frequency and severity of challenging behaviors. Interns would learn how to affectively administer assessment tools (i.e. Saint Louis University Mental Status (SLUMS), COHEN-MANFIELD agitation inventory, and Neuropsychiatry Inventory Questionnaire-NPI-Q) and complete comprehensive assessments such as the biopsychosocial assessments. Other opportunities may include behavioral recovery case management, community outreach, behavior planning, and interdisciplinary approach to treatment planning. Interns would gain experience in working with caregivers and informal psychotherapy supports. Within Primary Care, social workers work with diverse population of Veteran’s experiencing difficulties with social determinants of health (i.e. socioeconomic factors, physical well-being, health related behaviors, and access to health care). Social workers in this setting provide crisis intervention (i.e. suicidal/homicidal ideation, food insecurity, homelessness, intimate partner violence and other safety concerns that arise). Being the catch all for caregiver support, resources, case management, life transitions, disease progression, grief and loss, family counseling, pain management, Advance Directive counseling, and so much more. Case management is provided based on the psychosocial acuity and may be provided intermittently, short-term or even long-term basis. Social workers also assist in outreach with Veteran’s identified as “high utilizers of care,” in the emergency department, high risk for life changing event to occur, or have chronic conditions. Social workers within this role, work to collaborate across the VA system and work closely with community partners to meet the need of Veterans. Common assessment tools used in this setting includes SLUMS, , GAD-7, PHQ-9, Colombia, caregiver burden scale, and the GEC. Interns will learn how to utilize informal Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy therapeutic approaches to care indicated above. Lastly, there would be opportunities to be a part of group psychotherapy sessions.
The students would work with a diverse client population that consists of military Veterans ranging from their early twenties to late eighties. The client population is male and female and represented by a variety of cultures including, but not limited to, African American, Native American, Chicano/Latino, White-Non Hispanic, and Asian. Many of the Veterans are complex patients dealing with physical and mental illnesses. The diagnoses treated includes, but are not limited to, depression, bipolar mood disorder, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, addictive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders, traumatic brain injuries, dementias, and other various psychiatric disorders.
We will provide education for social worker students based on Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, weekly didactics will include overviews of topics such as DSM-5 and Diagnostic Evaluations, Biopsychosocial Assessments, Person-centered treatment planning, therapy modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Stages of Change/Motivational Interviewing and Prolonged Exposure, the Recovery Model, Suicide Prevention, Military Culture, Military Sexual Trauma, and Outcome Research in Mental Health.
This placement is designed for students with confidence in their abilities to learn about a comprehensive and complicated health care system, to engage in providing direct care to Veterans and meet the high expectations of quality services and good clinical documentation, and to participate in the supervisory relationship in an open and collaborative manner.
The MSW Student Handbook is available to download and print.