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Department of State Hospitals (DSH) - Atascadero: Clinical Psychology Internship Program

Accreditation | Facility | Population | Location | Training | Stipend and Benefits | Housing | Eligibility |
Important Dates | Contract Information

Pre Doctoral Psychology Internship


Accredited by the American Psychological Association


American Psychological Association
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street,
NE Washington, DC 20002-4242

Telephone 202-336-5979
Web address: http://www.apa.org/ed/index.aspx

Department of State Hospitals-Atascadero is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). As an APPIC member, the training program observes the guidelines regarding timing of internship offers and acceptance adopted by 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.


State forensic psychiatric hospital.

Letter from Internship Director:

2016-2017 Internship Brochure:

Patient Population:

Approximately 1000 adult male court-committed and prison transferred patients including those committed as:

  • Incompetent to Stand Trial
  • Not Guilt By Reason of Insanity
  • Mentally Ill Inmates (Prison Transfers)
  • Mentally Disordered Offenders
  • Approximately 50% of patient population consists of culturally diverse patients.


The Hospital is located in central California, 225 miles from San Francisco and Los Angeles and 15 miles from the coastline. Near San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.

Training Program:

This is an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited one-year full time clinical internship with broad-based experience and forensic emphasis.

The internship provides clinical experience with an emphasis in:

  • forensic psychology
  • psychotherapy
  • psychological assessment

After a three-week orientation, interns participate in a full time three-month rotation on an admissions unit with an emphasis on clinical assessment.

Interns subsequently have two four-month rotations, working three days a week on treatment units providing individual and group treatment and participating as members of the interdisciplinary treatment team.

Interns participate in an eight-month forensic rotation, working with the forensic services team 12 hours per week. This rotation involves training in legal issues, forensic evaluation and forensic testimony. The program also includes:

  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • supervision
  • conferences
  • workshops
  • field trips.

The staff of approximately 60 psychologists provide supervision.

Stipend and Benefits:

Approximately $40,000 with Employee Assistance Program benefits, health insurance, sick leave, vacation, and holidays.


Interns typically rent homes or apartments throughout San Luis Obispo County. Some choose to be close to the hospital while others choose to commute from San Luis Obispo or from communities near the beach.

Applicant Eligibility:

Enrolled in doctoral psychology program with at least 3 years of academic work and a minimum of 600 hours supervised doctoral level practicum clinical training.

Important Dates:

  • November 1 - Application deadline
  • January (Friday afternoons) - Applicant Interviews
  • February - APPIC Match Selection
  • First Monday in August- Begin internship

Contact information:

Phylissa Kwartner, Ph.D.
Psychology Internship Director
Department of State Hospitals - Atascadero
 P.O. Box 7001,
Atascadero, CA 93423-7001

Phone: (805) 468-3663
Email: Phylissa.Kwartner@dsh.ca.gov