Two-Year Training Program for Psychological Interns, Psychological Assistants, and MFT Interns
The Saturday Center for Psychotherapy was founded in 1981 by Judith Davenport, Ph.D., Judith Swerling, Ph.D., and Judith Sherwin, Ph.D. who were dedicated to the idea of providing quality-training as well as giving back to the community that had supported them. The Center is thus both a training program for advanced students in psychology and a low-fee clinic operating within a private practice model. It is situated in a suite of offices shared jointly by the Saturday Center itself (two offices specifically for interns) and the private offices of the supervisors.
Private Practice Model
Our goal is to graduate highly qualified professionals who have a basic understanding of how to provide psychotherapeutic services, who know how psychotherapy differs from counseling, and who are prepared to deliver these services in a private practice setting. Trainees are therefore exposed to all aspects of running a private practice.
The clinical training relies heavily on an object-relations based understanding of internal dynamics with an emphasis on transference, countertransference, and the particular interaction between these phenomena, leading to an approach that is now called Intersubjectivity. Trainees learn what it means to work within the transference. They are able to recognize and work with resistance and know how to respond to acting-out and acting-in clients. They experience what it means to act as a container, and to maintain therapeutic neutrality. The program also includes an ongoing focus on theories related to:
- The development of cognitive and psychic structures
- Psychotherapeutic practice
- The interplay of intrapsychic, interpersonal, and environmental factors.
Upon completion of the program trainees should be able to hear their client’s communication in terms of its manifest content and its unconscious meaning. They should have a firm grasp of how a patient’s unconscious communications pertain to the therapist, how projective identification is used to convey meaning, and how evoked counter-transferential reactions can be put to therapeutic use.
While the center provides training in dynamic therapy, we recognize that professional psychologists may need to use other therapeutic approaches. We therefore support the trainee’s efforts to develop additional skills. In this regard, trainees who have specialized knowledge are encouraged to lead seminars in which they share their knowledge with other interns.
On the business side, trainees learn how to work with insurance companies, prepare invoices and keep all appropriate business records. In the process of setting and collecting fees, they learn how financial issues act as a metaphor for themselves and for their clients. As a professional, each therapist is encouraged to develop his or her own referral sources and establish a fee for direct referrals. Interns learn how to make initial contact with potential clients and are encouraged to do community outreach. This might take the form of providing an in-service at another agency, giving a talk, or teaching a class. Upon completion of the second year of the program, therapists are encouraged to continue seeing their clients in their private practices or take them to their next placements.
Clients and The Clinical Caseload
Referrals to the Center come from a variety of sources in the community and comprise a broad clinical population. We do not accept clients who are currently in need of hospitalization (actively suicidal and psychotic patients). We also do not work with children, but are open to working with adolescents on a case-by-case basis. Clients are seen during the week and/or on Saturdays.
Entering trainees are given the first four treatment referrals. After reaching a minimum caseload of four clients, treatment referrals are distributed on a rotational basis. Trainees are expected to maintain a minimum caseload of 12 hours that completes the 20-hour per week internship. The majority of clients are seen in individual psychotherapy; about ten percent are couples. Those trainees wishing to start therapy groups receive full Center support. The use of video or audio tapes allow interns to be observed and to observe other therapists at work.
Applicants must be an intern in a Ph.D./Psy.D. program, or be an MFT intern, be eligible for registration as a psychological assistant/MFT intern, or have a license which allows them to provide psychotherapeutic services. They must also have a minimum of one year of supervised clinical experience and one year of individual psychotherapy. We recommend that trainees be in personal therapy during their time in the program and occasionally make continuation in the program contingent upon such therapy.
Length of Internship and Financial Arrangements
For the first year interns, there is an initial four-month mutual probationary period. A one-year commitment is required from the first year interns. Upon completion of the internship, the trainees in good standing are encouraged to continue for a second year.
Interns are required to carry a minimum caseload of 12 clients during their first year at the Center. Interns at the Saturday Center receive no pay. The Psychological assistants and MFT’s in their second year are paid. The range of how much a trainee might earn depends on factors related to any successful private practice, including, carrying a larger caseload, attracting referrals, and setting and raising fees. Another financial incentive is to finish the second year of the training program with a full practice.