Intern Questions and Answers

1. What are the minor rotation options?

2. What age range in the most common?

You will have a generalist experience, but if there is a specific age range you are most interested in, we will work to more heavily weight your caseload.

3. What are some of the weaknesses in the training program?

Constantly working on doing better to reach black and brown individuals, and individuals who are harder to reach for therapy services because of lack of resources.

4. Strength or skills that interns walk away with?

Will walk out a trauma psychologist (candidate :), experience with the full life span, understand trauma in a new way, our team approach, good self-care skills, learning to work within a family-systems approach to treating trauma.

5. How do we see advocacy fitting in to an intern's role at this site?

We see this as a responsibility for all psychologists to be advocates for all clients. We have grants to ensure that clients can be seen regardless of financial status, reality is that clients have a lot of needs and this might be the first time the client is in therapy. What do we need more of here? We try to identify that and then build it out. This happens at the team level, with team members recognizing the need and then finding a passion area to build out.

6. How has COVID-19 impacted the training experience?

We have provided most services virtually, we have managed to maintain strong connections with one another throughout. This provided the opportunity to learn how effective virtual services can be, and this will likely never go away. Access to services grew, and our population grew to include frontline workers. 

7. Tell more about the populations RH works with

Age: 2 through grandparents; Trauma exposure: sexual assault, dv, homicide, grief & loss, child abuse and neglect, foster care; will see both primary and secondary victims; frontline workers (child protection workers, employees at District Attorney; 25-35% of clients are part of the queer community, ~50% Latinx, 50-60% are medicaid recipients.

Family makeup is varied with single parents, 2 parent households, grandparents raising children, foster families, LGBTQ families. Family sizes range from 2 people to 8 or more. 

Work with racial trauma, disability (primarily around neuro-atypical development)

8. How do we deal with vicarious trauma?

We are a silly and fun group! We laugh a lot, we check in with one another a lot, we take time off personally and as a group, we all have side hobbies that we engage in, getting outside, family, friends, dogs and cats, we give ourselves permission to not be okay sometimes and to rely on one another when we need support. Stay home when you are sick and focus on getting better! We see full time as 30 hours a week, and take that boundary seriously!

9. Anything that stands out that is unique about this site?

Team culture, we are very team centered, we try to take care of one another. We talk self-care, but we also model and practice so that we can bring balance to the work we do. It is a small team you wear multiple hats and get exposure to different roles within running a non-profit. We have lots of partnerships with other agencies that are unique. You will walk away with a new lens for trauma work and the importance of the family system. Lots of opportunities to build confidence and new skills.

10. What does outreach look like?

This changes depending on needs! Currently, we have 2 team members who are at the local Child Advocacy Center (where children have their forensic interviews after disclosing abuse) one day a week to do warm handoffs and help open the door to therapy. We do a lot of trainings around vicarious trauma for helping professionals. Sit on various task forces to support survivors, meetings with law enforcement. Working on building collaborations with schools. Reaching out to different agencies in the community around the needs of our clients.

11. Virtual or in-person?

Currently all virtual, but hoping to be back in person soon! We expect that at least 50% of cases will remain virtual due to client preference.

12. How do you support interns in moving to post-doc and career?

There is a Colorado PostDoc Symposium where past interns from the area who have gone on to postdoc's come back to talk about their experiences in post-doc settings.  RH has unofficial post-doc positions and we encourage interns to apply! Through supervision and didactics, we also support interns in applying to formal post-docs and finding a direction for career.

13. Foster Parent trainings?

Sexual development, trauma informed parenting, self-care

14. How do minor rotations work?

You will have 2 minor rotations that each last for 1/2 of the year. Most people typically match for at least one of your top 2-3 choices. The internship is very intentional around making sure people have well rounded experiences.

15. Are interns ever subpoenaed in court proceedings?

VERY rarely is anyone subpoenaed, though it can happen. If you are subpoenaed, a supervisor will support you through that process.

15. Do clinicians get to pick clients?

We try to make this a collaborative process, with prioritizing both client needs and clinician needs. If you are interested in something specific, we try to coordinate this opportunity.

16. What is the % of primary vs secondary cases?

More secondary victims in the sense that the most recent crime may have occurred to only one person in the family, but typically the majority of the family system has experienced direct victimization. This includes the frontline workers who often have a primary victimization in their history.

17. With Spanish speaking families, can we work with them through an interpreter?

You will work with Spanish speaking family because most of these families are multi-generational and are different family members will be more comfortable in different languages. We always try to provide services in the language of choice for a client, directly with a provider who speaks that language.

18. More about the phase based approach? Is this the main thing that interns would be using?

Yes! This is the model that all team members are required to use. We welcome interns bringing in other orientations to talk through in supervision, and we will help you develop a cross-walk between you orientation and the work we are doing. The phases are: 1. Family Safety and Stabilization, Individual Safety and Stabilization, Trauma Processing, Building Resilience and Social Engagement. You will spend the bulk of your time in the first 2 phases because this part takes the longest given the needs and stressors clients are facing.

19. What qualities help an intern best succeed here?

Initiative is very helpful! You wear a lot of hats, and being interested in learning a wide variety of skills beyond clinical will be helpful. Being a self-starter will give you the widest possibility to learn new skills (grant writing, non-profit budgets, community training, etc.) and will lead to the most happiness. Having good self-care skills, being able to set healthy boundaries. VERY important to be willing to give and receive feedback. We all know a lot about one each of our clinical work because we work with families together, so being open to the feedback will help you grow and feel successful here.

20. How do we approach supervision and building the supervisory relationship?

This is an ongoing process. We start off with connection everyday-as human beings first and then as supervisor/supervisee. We believe that having healthy relationships is the most vital part of growth and that most everything else can be trained. Use a multicultural lens, who are you as a person? Allowing people to be learners, but we recognize and believe that we should all keep learning. Center the relationship above all else, ruptures will happen, but if we have a foundation, then we can come back as we learn and grow together.

21. Talk about how RH does the whole family treatment.

We do not do "drop off and fix" therapy, which means we will not see a child unless there is at least one caregiver involved. We believe that families heal best when they heal together. As a result, the entire family comes in for an intake and we bring in multiple clinicians for that intake, every person is assigned their own individual therapist, and then ideally scheduled at the same appointment time. This allows us to meet for individual therapy, but then as needed, the therapists and clients all come together for co-parenting, sibling, whole family or various subgroups. All sessions include the clients and their respective therapists, allowing us to be the therapists, advocate and coach in the family sessions.

22. How long are clients typically seen?

COVID has elongated the length of treatment, but prior to COVID, families were typically finished with therapy within a one year period. We don't know what timelines will look like moving forward, but we all hope that the world settles a bit so people are better able to achieve safety and stability in shorter periods of time!

23. Talk about how we have incorporated feedback from current or past interns?

We are just now transitioning to a major rotation in part because we received feedback that more time is needed with us than a minor rotation can provide. We believe that each intern brings knowledge and experience that we do not have and encourage interns to talk abtou and push us towards new potential growth. Our Latinx Specialization came out of an intern having an areas of focus here and seeing an area of need, we were lucky to have Dr. Rojas-Araúz join us after his minor internship so he could officially build out that Specialization!

24. What modalities is our model pulled from?

Family systems (specifically Structural Family Therapy) and attachment theory. You will find this model has a lot of crossover with tf-CBT, but a much more robust family systems approach.

25. How does Spanish speaking supervision work?

Dr. Rojas-Araúz takes a Liberation Psychology approach, supervision is 100% in Spanish, always taking a beginners mind and using the collective knowledge that is in the room.

26. What does a typical week look like?

You can expect to work approximately 40 hours a week. At RH, we have long 10 hour days, which means that you will most likely have a half day off (ending early on Friday or coming in late one day). You will spend 24-28 hours at RH, 4 hours at CUSOM Didactic, and 8-12 hours at your minor rotation. You will alternate between child and adult supervision (every other week), and will start and end your day with a group supervision. There is an RH didactic on Tuesdays.

27. What groups are possible?

If you have a passion, we would love for you to start a group! We currently have a drop in coping skills group, a teen boys group and a grief and loss group. We often have a teen girls group, children's trauma informed social skills groups, DV support group, and adult healthy relationships group.

28. What are some of the challenges interns face at RH?

Wearing multiple hats in a short period of time can be taxing, and there is a very high trauma exposure, so navigating healthy boundaries and ways to stay in vicarious resilience can be a learning curve for students (but it is very supported!)

29. How are emergency situations handled and what kind of emergency situations occur?

When working in tele-health, we text one another to stay in contact and a supervisor will join any crisis session. When in the office, we knock on doors to bring a supervisor in to the crisis session. Most "emergency" situations revolve around SI, and occasionally HI. We make a lot of mandated reports, and we provide support around those calls. We work hard to refer out clients who have high risk situations as we want to make sure that clients are receiving the right level of care. While emergency situations happen, these are relatively rare because of our up front screening and the focus we have on safety and stabilization up front.

30. What aspect of this program made you stay beyond internship (for Dr. Rojas-Araúz)?

Built close connection to the team despite COVID, opportunities for creating a specialization in serving the Spanish speaking community. Feels that he has grown in ways that make him a Trauma Psychologist instead of a Psychologist who works with Trauma.

31. Strengths of the program?

We center the community we serve and the community we build within the program

The family focused work is different than the individualistic approach often seen in psychology

A focus on a collective healing

Ability to grow in the ways that you want to, we do not take a cookie cutter approach to training; we take a personalized approach to learning what you most want and need to grow in the ways that are most important to you

This is made up of a team of incredible people who make this work better and who make the hard days still feel good and supported.

Our clients are also incredible humans who are resilient survivors and who give us hope as we watch their journey of discovering how incredible each person and family system is.

32. Do I need to master the RH model before starting?

No! We start you off with a small caseload so you have a chance to get to know us and can learn the model. We also have didactics and an orientation early on to expose you to the model.

33. Are their opportunities to shadow?

You are doing co-therapy with supervisors, other interns and other students all the time. We expect you to learn and grow and as you do, your voice will become more prominent in the co-therapy sessions.

34. How does the intake process work?

We have 1 intake slot on Tuesday mornings where the entire family system comes in and multiple team members run the intake session. We use those as opportunities to assess the entire family system and how they engage with one another, and also to give permission to talk about the really difficult things that have happened. This also allows clients to have a say in who they feel most comfortable working with.

35. Assessment opportunities?

We have these in house sporadically, but there are a couple of minor rotations that are specialty focused on assessment-we encourage you to look at the list linked at the top to see what might fit you the best!

36. What minor rotations are most complimentary?

All of them :) Depending on what you would like to grow in, there are a multitude of opportunities to explore.

37. How are minor rotations determined?

You will rank your top 4 choices and submit those to Dr. Blakely Smith. She tries hard to get everyone their top two choice, but some of this depends on scheduling and availability of the minor rotation. Please note that RH requires that you are with us on Tuesdays, so a minor rotation that requires Tuesday is not possible.

38. How does the Psychologist as Teacher work?

You are teaching medical students how to do motivational interviewing and how to improve bedside manner. It's fun and a great learnign opportunity!

39. Psychologists as Leaders

Helps navigate the ways we can use our skills, knowledge and adcvocacy to create change in the larger systems.

40. What community partners do we have?

Ralston House

Sexual Assault Response Team for the 17th JD

Sex Assault Task Force Brighton / Commerce City

Human Trafficking Task Force

District Attorney's Office

Human Service for Adams, Broomfield and Weld County

41. What outreach opportunities are available?

We would welcome you going to Ralston House! There are ample opportunities to engage in trainings and workshops for the community and if there is an area of passion, we will help you make it happen!

42. What are the team relationships like?

Within our team, it is vital that we have good relationships. We start and end our day together and then check in between all sessions. We do self-care activities together, and are working on getting quarterly outings for the whole team.

For the overall internship, you will have opportunities to build relationships with with the other interns, with Dr. Blakely Smith and with various people who run didactic series.