Psychology Internship Training

Practice and Dissemination Curriculum

Beginning in 2008 with generous funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R25DA026637, PI: Julie A. Schumacher, Program of Excellence in Practice and Dissemination of Motivational Interviewing), the Psychology Internship Training Program began development and implementation of our Practice and Dissemination Curriculum. The curriculum was developed in response to increasing awareness of Program faculty that dissemination and implementation of evidence based behavioral treatments remains a major challenge for researchers, professional organizations, and federal and state agencies.

Despite the discovery of several promising therapeutic interventions for a variety of disorders, the gap between research and practice still exists and many practitioners continue to rely on treatments supported only by anecdotal and idiographic evidence. Further, although many facilities and practitioners base their treatment philosophy on evidence based practices, the treatment provided may bear little to no resemblance to actual evidence-based practices.

We believe that research oriented doctoral training programs, internship programs, and postdoctoral fellowship programs in psychology currently represent an important mechanism through which evidence based behavioral practices are disseminated. However, many of these programs, including our own, specialize in training individuals who seek to become academic psychologists rather than full-time practitioners. Thus, our Practice and Dissemination Curriculum is designed to foster broader dissemination and implementation of evidence based behavioral treatments by these programs.

All interns participate in this four-part curriculum, which unfolds over the course of the training year, and includes: 1) in-depth classroom instruction in an evidence-based behavioral treatment; 2) an intensive competency-based practicum experience in the evidence-based behavioral treatment that continues until a predefined standard of expertise is achieved; 3) in-depth class training in the dissemination of the evidence-based treatment; and 4) a community practicum during which teams of interns provide a workshop and follow-up supervision/consultation to providers at local agencies and facilities under the supervision of Program faculty.

The intent of this curriculum is to foster ongoing dissemination and implementation of evidence based practices in the state of Mississippi and beyond, by: 1) fully integrating the curriculum into our training program, 2) instilling a desire for further dissemination and implementation work in our trainees, and 3) disseminating the curriculum as a model for training.

The focus of this curriculum from 2008-13 was motivational interviewing for substance use disorders, from 2013-2016 it was exposure-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder, and from 2016-19 the focus will be on screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for substance use disorders.