The psychology internship crisis

The psychology internship crisis

This video presents data and personal reactions to the psychology internship crisis, discusses the importance of high quality internship training for APAGS members, and offers a call to the psychology community for greater awareness, advocacy and action to ensure the availability of internships for students in clinical, counseling and school psychology doctoral programs.

Produced July 2014 by APAGS and APA.

Appearances (in alphabetical order):
Mana Ali
Todd Avellar
Jennifer Doran
Matthew FitzGerald
Jasmin Llamas
Emily Voelkel

Script and content support:
Eddy Ameen
Jennifer Doran
Nabil El-Ghoroury
Rhea Farberman
Matthew FitzGerald
Kim Mills
Daniel Riemer

Special thanks to:
Nadine Kaslow

Video filmed and produced by:

Data sources:
View the “Data” tab at


July 24, 2014 / 7 Comments / by / in
  •  I am a psychology undergraduate at the University of Hawaii and I have been unable to find an internship. Not sure even what jobs there will be out there when I graduate. I am interested in health and community psychology.

  • "Accredited internships ensure the highest quality…" is not an evidence-based statement. CMS actually agreed recently that there isn't even any data related to differences in quality for an accredited doctoral program!

    This video is nice, but we also need to advocate for the many who didn't have APA-accredited internships. They should not be automatically excluded from employment or licensure simply because their internship wasn't an APA internship.

  • Come on APAGS, you can do better than this. The issue is the oversupply of students, particularly from free standing professional Psy.D. schools (i.e., Argosy, Alliant, etc.). Until we hold school administrations accountable, these schools will continue to pump out as many students as possible and the internship imbalance will not improve. There is not a market for 4000 psychologists each year, and until we put the pressure on school administrations, nothing will change in a significant way. I support the committee of accreditation in their approach to have internship match and EPPP pass rates as requisites for APA-accreditation.

  • Congratulations on your work to establish APA's $3M internship stimulus program, APAGS! The issue of more students compared to the number of APA-accredited internships has been a complex problem in the field for many years, with no single group, institution, organization, position or policy responsible for the imbalance. As a psychologist, my priorities are simple:

    1. We should only accept the best and brightest students into doctoral training programs, regardless of accreditation status.
    2. We should define, measure and ensure that entry level competencies are consistently demonstrated by all graduate students and interns before they are permitted to advance to the next level of training or practice. 
    3. We should expand the work and impact of psychologists beyond the therapy room, hospital, clinic, classroom and lab — to showcase the value of psychology in nontraditional settings, which will create more internships and jobs.  Psychology is not just science or just practice. It is the science of behavior. The world doesn't care about the internal divides that we as psychologists have created. The world only cares that we can use our knowledge and competencies to help. 
    4. We should recognize that securing an internship and becoming a psychologist is not a right for all graduate students in all programs. Progressing to the next step must be earned by developing a particular skill set and demonstrating adequate knowledge.

    When public protection and maintaining the integrity of the field is at stake, we all share the responsibility of upholding certain professional standards that define what psychologists must, at a minimum, bring to the table.

    Working hard, putting in the hours, paying tuition, attending class and being committed to psychology does not always translate into competence. It shows strength of character for sure. 

    Deserving an internship and being qualified for one are separate matters.  Yes, qualified graduate students deserve an APA-accredited internship. Unqualified students, on the other hand, do not "deserve" or have a "right" to progress to the next level of training. Unqualified accountants don't have the right to practice accounting.  Unqualified surgeons don't have the right to perform surgery. Unqualified teachers don't deserve to teach.  I know that APAGS recognizes this, as we have been talking about this important distinction for years.  Thankfully, you always referred to "qualified students" in your video — my fear is that some may not understand the central importance of this adjective. 

    Healthcare-oriented internships are a great start for the stimulus. My hope for the field is that APA-accredited internships will someday be found in a wide variety of settings where the application of psychological science in non-clinical environments promotes the kind of behavioral and systems-level change that will improve lives and society.  Congrats again and keep up the effective advocacy and student empowerment! You make all of us old-APAGSers proud!

  • The solution to the crisis is the Distributed Clinical Internship.  You stay through year 5 of your doctoral program and take three half-time internship training experiences in the third, fourth and fifth years.  The typical one-year internship now currently offered is very disruptive to the personal lives of students and their research productivity. Now that there is so much stress on practica within programs, and postdoctoral training afterwards, the one-year internship is completely vestigial. 

  • I agree with the fact that there is a critical need for accredited internship. We need to be able to help society ; more mentally ill are going untreated due to lack of funds and Counselors. Turning away people seeking help because they're not sick enough is Outrageous. It endangers the sick as well as society. Just look at the news reports for proof.

  • I had to take an entire course on ethics within the field of MFT, which is completely regulated by AAMFT and APA. This video is a great feel good infomercial and an even better PR ad for APA. The problem still remains that we aren't being told when we start our programs that we may have extreme difficulty getting internships.

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