DSH – Patton: Clinical Social Work Internship Program


Thank you for your interest in the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) -Patton Master of Social Work Internship Program. DSH-Patton is a major forensic mental hospital that is operated by the California Department of State Hospitals. It is located in San Bernardino, California.

Due to our large patient population and staff, a field placement at DSH-Patton will offer you a wide variety of valuable clinical experiences including:

  • Work with a DIVERSITY of cultural, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • MEMBERSHIP on a Wellness and Recovery (Interdisciplinary) Team
  • HANDS ON” experience with social casework and individual and group psychotherapy with the possibility of family work
  • EXPOSURE to all major theoretical orientations and practice approaches
  • REPRESENTATION of almost all adult DSM IV-TR diagnostic categories within the patient population
  • The INTERFACE between the judicial and mental health systems
  • SUPPORT and REINFORCEMENT from a large Social Work Service Staff and other allied professionals
A Social Work Internship at Patton is geared to the graduate student who is seeking clinical experience in a setting that is challenging and growth oriented. Ideal candidates are sensitive, caring, and concerned. They must communicate well and focus on detail without losing sight of the “big picture.” They must work well both independently and as team members.


The purpose of the Social Work profession is to promote human and community well-being. Guided by a person and environment construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on scientific inquiry, social work's purpose is actualized through its quest for social and economic justice, the prevention of conditions that limit human rights, the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons.

Program Description

The DSH-Patton Clinical Social Work Internship Program has been running for over 28 years. It meets the CSWE requirements and operates from a Recovery perspective.

The Social Work Internship program at Patton is a direct reflection of its mission by fostering the development of competent social work practitioners who can function effectively in a wide variety of settings. The Internship Program emphasizes incorporating evidence based practice into the delivery of culturally competent services. Throughout the internship year, emphasis is placed on enhancing:

  • Ability to make sound and evidence based 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 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, consultations, and education.
Currently, there are 75 social workers on staff. All social workers are either licensed in California or actively working toward licensure. Interns are exposed to a variety of tasks and clinical orientations. A wide array of theoretical orientations are represented among the staff members, including cognitive-behavioral, strategic, humanistic, existential, feminist, sociocultural, psychodynamic, and psychosocial approaches to treatment.

The Social Work Internship at Patton is set up to prepare students for good clinical practice and licensing as well as providing an opportunity for students to learn about sets of theoretical frameworks and specifically focused clinical interventions in working within the sphere of mental health and more directly in working with those suffering from what is referred to as "chronic mental illness." It will afford students the opportunity to continue clinical growth in moving toward an understanding of the use of strategy, as well as continuing to use intuition. It will provide students with an integrative experience in which knowledge and training from previous Social Work courses such as Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Psychopathology and Social Policy are combined.

This field placement will support and encourage students' exploration of the relationship and impact of primary social considerations such as culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, socio-economic status, religion, age, family and significant others or other populations described/defined as "oppressed." It will bring to focus issues concerning professional social work identity as well as encourage students to explore their own attitudes, values and bias/prejudices as they impact service delivery. Issues involved in practice with diverse clientele/populations are addressed through readings, exemplars, written assignments, group discussion and critical analysis of case studies and practice situations.

Training Philosophy

The Patton Internship strives to train culturally competent practitioners who utilize evidence based practice and can function in a variety of settings. Our training model focuses on the development of micro, mezzo, and macro skills in three core areas:

  1. Assessment
    • Role more directive, crisis intervention
    • Establish rapport with psychotic and non-psychotic individuals
    • 30-day Psychosocial Assessment
    • Informed Consent
    • Confidentiality
    • Advanced Directive
    • Establish family contact
    • Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly Notes
    • Treatment Planning
    • Clinical Case Management
      Long-Term Units
    • Assigned 3 Individuals for Therapy
    • Weekly Sessions
    • Case Management/Family Contacts
    • Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly Charting
    • Annual Psychosocial Assessments
    • Treatment Planning/Relapse Prevention/Discharge Planning
    • Conditional Release Program/Outpatient Interactions
    • Advocate/Broker of services
    • Court Interactions
    • Mock Court Report/Testifying
    • Develop an Evidence Based Group
    • Course Outline
    • 12 week lesson plan
  2. Treatment
    • Provides Individual and Group Treatment
    • Provides Family Therapy as appropriate
    • Works with Individual to develop Discharge Plans
  3. Clinical Case Management
    • Maintains contacts with Individuals’ families and friends
    • Maintains contact with CONREP and/or conservators
  4. Macro Practice
    • Policy Review
    • Policy Development
    • Resource Development
Throughout the internship, emphasis is placed in the development of cultural competence and on considering the biopsychosocialspiritual aspects of assessment and treatment.


Students who have completed their first year field placement or hold Advanced Standing from a CSWE accredited university are eligible to apply for the Social Work Associate (Intern) position.

The application procedure is initiated when the student expresses an interest in DSH-Patton's Social Work Internship Program to their Field Director. The Field Director provides a referral to DSH-Patton’s Social Work Internship Director. Students are asked to submit a copy of their first year field evaluation. Interviews are conducted from March thru May for a start date in September. Because completion of a work sample is part of the application process, on-site interviews are required. Actual acceptance in September is contingent upon passing a physical examination (including a drug-screening) and a security clearance following fingerprinting.

Contact Information

For further information write or call:

Rocio Urbina, MSW, LCSW, Internship Director
Department of State Hospitals - Patton
Social Work Service
3102 E. Highland Ave. Patton, CA 92369
Email: Rocio.Urbina@dsh.ca.gov
Phone: (909) 425-7667 Fax: (909) 425-7768