Internship Interview Prep
As part of the doctoral degree requirements, clinical psychology students have to complete a one year internship preferably at an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited site. I submitted 9 applications (a rather grueling process). Of the 9 sites, 2 called me to set up a internship interviews.
There are two thoughts running through my mind: an article I recently read and the internship preparation meeting at school.
The first is an article that my friend gave me to read entitled The Internship Imbalance and the Impact on Professional Psychology. According this this article, in 2011 there was a record of 4,199 registered applicants. However, there are 3,166 positions even with a 2% increase of internship sites. Not all sites are APA-accredited and clearly, the number of internship slots are limited compared to the number of applicants. So this process and requirement is pretty much left to the luck of the draw. Students go through a number of years of expensive schooling and hard work to inevitably reach this point and hope for the best. What happens when students don't get placed the first year they apply? I assume they do another practicum to accrue more hours and work on their dissertation in the meantime. What if they apply next year and still not get matched? I have no idea what you do by that point. Maybe one of the decisions to make is to toss all that expensive schooling for the soup after your name and live a different kind of life. I'm not sure what will happen for me. It's pretty much left to the powers that be.
The second thought I have as I prepare for the internship interviews (I have my first interview tomorrow) is thinking back on the internship preparation meeting I had at school. There were a few discussions that surfaced that were quite interesting and disturbing. There was a graduate of the program there to give us some helpful advice based on her experience regarding the interview process. She told us that she applied the first time around and wasn't matched. When she applied for the second time the year after, her supervisor at the time told her to consider not wearing her wedding ring. The reasoning for it was that the wedding ring would indicate that the applicant would be more committed to a family rather than a career and that this would be something the site would take note of. So, she chose not to wear her wedding ring to her interviews and was match fr internship. What was even more disturbing was that the students were taking notes on this matter. Maybe they were writing friendly reminders to themselves not to show up to an internship interview wearing a wedding ring ...
Psychology is about discovering the truth of yourself, revealing your unconscious processes, and understanding your psyche to piece together a whole person without judgment and assumptions. However, even within our field, we show judgments and assumptions to our own. We teach that honesty and reality sometimes will not take you where you need to go. At this rate, I wonder how psychology is going to thrive. I also wonder ... if those very same people are passing judgments onto their own, how are they genuinely and effectively treating their clients?
I have been passively enrolled in the doctoral program for a few years now. As I stated in a previous post, after my last year of classes, I took a break from academic work. More accurately, I ran myself into the ground with years of full time schooling and full time working. I didn't have enough "mojo" in me to keep working at the pace I was sustained. For a while it was hard for me to accept that I wasted time and didn't complete the program requirements. My classmates graduated as psychologists and some were licensed. I, on the other hand, still had unfinished work and I felt like I was so behind on life. My perspective is different now.
The years I spent wasting turned out to be the years I needed for my own self discovery. With all the busy work that were in my life, I never had the energy to examine who I was. I never had the time to invest in personal growth. And as ironic as it seems, for someone studying the human mind and psyche, I didn't have a clue of my own. It was only when I stopped doing all the busy work and by luck meeting people who are now my personal advocates that I started emerging as a person. Though parts of me are still fragmented, I am more whole that I ever was. So, during an internship interview, if anyone were to ask me what I do outside of psychology, I have a few answers I can give them. My counterparts, on the other hand, were stricken with anxiety when it was mentioned that this was a possible interview question.
The direction the field of psychology is moving is of great concern. The internship process for students is unnecessarily stressful, the quality of future psychologists that schools are churning out is undeniably questionable, and the idea that people who don't have solid foundations of their own can be effective guides to others is unashamedly ridiculous. Psychology programs should really look into teaching students the basics of life and a true understanding of themselves rather than delving right into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and psychobabble. Shouldn't it be of utmost importance to make sure that future psychologists are going out into the world to teach others accurately?
So many people are emotionally damaged and, frighteningly, many of them seem to seek psychology as a career choice.