DSH - Patton: Internships - Program Description

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The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) - Patton Clinical Psychology Internship Program is one of the longest running APA-accredited internship programs in the country.  Our internship is housed within the largest forensic psychiatric hospital in the United States and serves over 1500 psychiatric patients with a variety of legal commitments including Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, Incompetent to Stand Trial, and individuals committed under California’s Mentally Disordered Offender statute.  Our patient population is ethnically, culturally, diagnostically, and socio-economically diverse and our internship has a strong focus on developing culturally competent practitioners.


The American Psychological Association (APA) has continuously accredited DSH - Patton’s internship program since 1964* and 187 interns have completed the program since that time. Former interns hold positions in public, private, and academic settings across the country.

The mission of the Internship Program at the DSH - Patton is to foster the development of well-rounded competent entry level clinical psychologists who can function effectively in a wide variety of settings and who also have developed specialized skills in the areas of forensic psychology, treatment of the severely mentally ill, and working with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Although all interns complete a core curriculum in clinical practice and assessment of individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness, DSH - Patton offers training concentrations in:

  • Forensic Psychology
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • General Clinical Psychology

(See our Internship Brochure for more details about the DSH - Patton's concentration areas). Many of our interns go on to complete postdoctoral fellowships in forensic psychology, clinical neuropsychology, or advanced clinical practice and former interns have attained diplomate status through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in the subfields of clinical psychology, forensic psychology, and clinical neuropsychology. DSH - Patton's Internship Program emphasizes incorporation of the scientific underpinnings of psychology into practice and the delivery of culturally competent services. Throughout the internship year, emphasis is placed on enhancing:

  • Ability to make sound and scientifically informed professional judgments.
  • Ability to extend and expand basic assessment and intervention techniques to meet the needs of diverse settings and problems.
  • Ability to work with clients/patients of diverse backgrounds in a competent manner.
  • Ability to apply ethical and legal principles to practice.
  • Effective interpersonal functioning and the ability to work in collaboration with other professionals.
  • Awareness of personal strengths and limitations and the need for continued supervision, consultation, and education.
  • Ability to conduct applied research in a clinical setting.

Currently, there are 84 psychologists on staff.  Many of our psychologists have postdoctoral training in forensic psychology or clinical neuropsychology and a number of our psychologists are board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in their respective subspecialties.  A wide variety of theoretical orientations are represented among the supervisors including the following approaches to treatment:

  • cognitive-behavioral
  • strategic
  • humanistic
  • feminist
  • sociocultural
  • psychodynamic
  • psychosocial

Each intern is supervised by several psychologists and is exposed to a variety of tasks, assessments, and clinical orientations. Our department has a strong emphasis on training, as we have internship, postdoctoral fellowship, and practicum-level training programs.  In total, between our three training programs, DSH - Patton provides training to approximately 20 trainees per year (we generally train 4 Interns, 4 Postdoctoral Fellows, and 12 Practicum Students each year).  Our Training committee meets monthly and is made up of the Internship Training Director, Coordinating Supervisors, Seminar Leaders, and representatives from DSH - Patton's Neuropsychology Consultation Service. The amount of supervision each week varies depending on the intern's assessment and treatment caseload. Throughout the year, interns meet with their Coordinating Supervisor a minimum of one hour per week. Additionally, interns receive a minimum of two hours of individual supervision and three hours of group supervision per week.

DSH - Patton's internship program has access to a wealth of internal and external training resources including an excellent staff library, computers, voicemail, teleconferencing ability, assessment materials, assessment software, and dictation equipment. During lunch breaks and after hours, interns have access to Patton's on-site employee fitness center, which houses a number of cardiovascular (e.g., treadmills and stair climbers) and weight lifting machines. One unique aspect of the internship is Patton's Mock Court proceeding. At the end of the training year, interns participate in a mock court proceeding intended to facilitate preparation for forensic testimony. Each intern participating in the Mock Court proceeding is videotaped and feedback is provided on his or her performance. There are many in-service and community training conferences/workshops scheduled throughout the year.

DSH - Patton’s application deadline is November 8th (please see the Application Procedure portion of our website for application instructions). The annual salary for the 2014-2015 training year is approximately $40,740. There are no unpaid positions. Interns have the same holidays as other state employees, plus accrued sick leave and two weeks of paid vacation time. The starting date is September 1st. Qualified applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview after the application materials are reviewed. Because we require completion of a work sample as part of the application process, on-site interviews are required. Though internship offers are made in February through the APPIC match, actual employment in September is contingent on passing a physical examination (including a drug-screening) and a security clearance following fingerprinting.


*Commission on Accreditation American Psychological Association
For questions related to the accreditation status of this program, please contact the APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation (contact information below):

APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: (202) 336-5979
Email: apaaccred@apa.org

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