Psychology Externship Program

Counseling and Psychological Services offers a nine-month externship for students who are in a doctoral program in counseling or clinical psychology.


The Psychology Externship Program at Counseling and Psychological Services is based on a practitioner/scholar approach to training in which we emphasize learning through and the integration of science and practice under close clinical supervision. The externship experience at CAPS is designed to provide graduate students in counseling or clinical psychology the opportunity to develop their skills in a clinical setting.  Embedded within a culturally diverse institution and multidisciplinary clinical setting, the Psychology Externship Program provides training and clinical experience to foster growth in providing services to a diverse population through an emphasis on self-awareness, greater understanding of sociocultural contexts, and a focus on the role of culture in all areas of the extern students’ work.  Success in the externship requires the ability to integrate theory, practice, ethics, self-awareness, and professionalism.

To further develop clinical competence and their identity as professionals in psychology, externship students receive intensive training and experience in performing some of the core responsibilities of a psychologist in a multidisciplinary counseling center setting.  They also participate in individual and group supervision, all with the goal of assisting them in the development of the following seven competencies:

I.             Collaboration with Multidisciplinary Professionals                                                        

II.            Diagnosis and Assessment                                         

III.           Multicultural Awareness, Knowledge, and Skills.            

IV.          Individual Counseling/Psychotherapy Skills

V.            Professional/Ethical                                                                      

VI.          Supervision

VII.         Self-Development

When available, externs may also have the opportunity to develop competencies in:

                Group Counseling          

                Outreach Programming

Activities and Responsibilities

Each externship student is assigned to a treatment team that meets once a week. Each team is comprised of a staff member (psychologist, social worker, prescribing clinician) and trainees (post-doctoral fellow, doctoral psychology intern, psychology extern, social work intern). A team leader facilitates the meeting and team leadership rotates among team members, including trainees.  All trainees and senior staff present cases and receive feedback and suggestions from everyone present. The treatment team is also an opportunity for staff who are collaborating on treatment (e.g., a prescribing clinician and therapist or individual and group therapists) to discuss treatment issues. The purpose of the team meeting is twofold: a group process for peer case discussion that can include obtaining treatment recommendations for the case as well as a training activity to hone case presentation, treatment planning, and diagnostic/assessment skills.

Opportunities for group therapy experience, career counseling, and university community outreach activities may also be available for externs who express an interest in pursuing these areas.

Psychology externship students receive two hours of individual supervision per week and one hour of group supervision (case group).  Primary individual supervision is shared between two supervisors (a postdoctoral fellow and a staff psychologist) for an hour each. Case group is led by a senior staff person.  All supervision includes use of video recording.

As optional activities, externs are invited to attend our weekly staff meeting as well as staff case conferences and in-service trainings.


Psychology externship students are expected to have obtained at least two semesters (and preferably three) of previous, supervised, part-time clinical or counseling experience. In addition, we expect all students to have completed some basic coursework in psychotherapy or counseling theory. While it would be advantageous if the previous practical experience was with an adolescent or college age population, this is not a requirement. What we consider most important is an indication that the student is genuinely interested in working with a diverse college student population and exhibits an openness and willingness to learn from our setting.

Application Process

CAPS participates in the Uniform Application and Notification process.

Application deadline: Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5 pm.

A completed application should be :

1) A current resume.

2) A copy (photocopy is fine) of your graduate transcript.

3) A cover letter explaining your interest in the externship program at CAPS, including how it fits with your short- and long-term training goals.

4) Two reference letters. One should be from a current or recent clinical supervisor, and the other can be a faculty member or your advisor in your academic department.

5) Name of your university, department address and phone number, degree program, name of Director of Clinical Training (DCT – or relevant faculty member who oversees clinical placements), DCT’s email, DCT’s phone, current year in program, and expected graduation date.

Please use the PENDELDOT APA Directory ( application portal to upload all relevant information.

If the person writing a letter of recommendation does not want to give it to you to upload, you can have them email it to the Interim Director of Training, Dr. Michele Downie.

Please contact Dr. Michele Downie if you have any further questions.

Michele Downie, PhD
Interim Director of Training and Group Coordinator
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
University of Pennsylvania
3624 Market Street
First Floor West
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2615
Telephone: 215-898-7021