SAPIC is an APA Accredited Internship Program

Rotation and Program Description

Primary tracks:

  1. Child and Family Services Program (1 intern)
  2. Casa de Vida: Co-occurring Residential Program (1 intern)
  3. Therapy Team Integrated Care: Adult Outpatient site (1 intern)
  4. University of Arizona SALT Center (1 intern)


1) Child and Family Services Program

We accept one primary track psychology intern into the Child and Family Services Program each internship year.  Interns from other tracks can do “secondary” rotations in this Program.  Our Program provides a wide range of services including office services and home-based child and family services, birth to five services, Spanish speaking services, school-based services, adolescent and young adult services, and group therapy services.

The intern will receive clinical supervision from the supervising psychologist, and administrative guidance from the Director of the Child and Family Services Program and/or a Child and Family Unit supervisor. Each intern will develop a self-designed clinical experience that is relevant to their professional goals.  We encourage the intern to pursue a broad range of clinical exposure working with children, adolescents, and their families. We expect this experience to include:  family systems work, clinical work (including assessment and direct services) with varying age ranges and clinical populations (ages 0-21), research and program design, and consultation, training, and supervision opportunities.

Due to the rich professional opportunities available in our Program, in 2012 our Child and Family rotations were identified as being “a strong family psychology training internship” by the APA Division 43 (Society for Family Psychology).

General expectations of our interns:

1. Early in the rotation, if the intern is assigned to work with Department of Child Safety cases, the intern may have the opportunity to attend assigned PPH’s (Preliminary Protective Hearings), and TDM (Team Decision Making) meetings for designated DCS cases.  Later in the rotation, the intern may have the opportunity to provide expert testimony at the Juvenile Court.

2. CFS interns will be encouraged to become family co-therapists with staff clinicians on several cases during the early stages of the Primary rotation.  During the course of the internship, the intern will be expected to provide increasingly independent family therapy services.

3. CFS interns are expected to work late (e.g., to 6-7 p.m.) 1-2 evenings a week to accommodate scheduling of services for children and families.

3) Casa de Vida: Co-occurring Residential Program

Casa de Vida is a 53-bed residential treatment center for people with substance dependence and co-occurring disorders.  Casa de Vida provides a highly structured long-term program; up to 3 months residential followed by aftercare programming.

Casa de Vida residents participate in various recovery groups, gain knowledge about drugs and addiction, and learn ways to improve their mental and physical health.   The intensive structure includes more than 30 hours of treatment weekly, with the goal of providing support to clients in the initial stages of recovery.  Clients also receive support and guidance in securing employment and finding housing to further their ability to live healthy, happy, and productive lives.

During the Primary rotation, the intern will have an opportunity to hone therapeutic skills in diagnosing and treating individuals with substance dependency, co-occurring conditions, and trauma.  The intern is expected to be familiar, if not proficient, with evidenced-based practices such as Motivational Interviewing (must be proficient), Seeking Safety, and SMART Recovery. Familiarity with 12-Step approaches, ACT and other EBPs for the population described above would be advantageous for the intern. The intern is a key player on the multidisciplinary team and provides individual, couples, family, and group therapy. The intern also attends daily (M-W-F) clinical staffings, and weekly and monthly trainings, as well as all-staff meetings. There are opportunities to conduct psychological assessments with individuals in treatment and to provide educational presentations to staff and clients. As Casa de Vida utilizes the strengths of each intern to provide exemplary training experience while meeting the needs of the current clients, the above is not a comprehensive list of the intern’s duties; we welcome your thoughts, creativity, and specific skills!

4) The Adult Therapy Team – Integrated Care

This rotation, new in the 2016-17 internship year, has a focus on clinical health psychology with a culturally and linguistically diverse population of adults with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and General Mental Health (GMH) designations, in a newly integrated community mental health and primary care setting. The position is housed at La Frontera Center’s Main and East Grant Crossroads sites, which offers a wide variety of educational, vocational, skills-based and process groups, to the approximately 2,000 members enrolled at the site.  The intern serves as a supplemental therapist for this team, delivering individual and group therapy, and providing consultation to an interdisciplinary team. They maintain an individual therapy caseload of approximately 12-14 clients per week, and are on site M/W/F. They may also have the opportunity to provide group therapy related to various mental health topics, depending on their interests.

The intern develops both knowledge-based and applied competencies in conducting assessment, intervention, consultation, supervision/training, and management/administration activities in accordance with best practice recommendations from the First Counsel of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs (Masters, France, & Thorn, 2009).  To this end, the intern implements empirically supported individual and group treatment interventions as well health promotion, and prevention interventions appropriate for each client’s physical illness, injury, or disability in the context of an interdisciplinary team (e.g., motivational interviewing for smoking cessation or diabetes treatment adherence, nCPAP desensitization, Stanford CDSMP, CBT for irritable bowel syndrome, ACT for chronic pain, etc.).

The intern is also encouraged to select assessment referrals that include a comprehensive biopsychosocial interview and require evaluation of objective biological and psychosocial findings related to physical health or illness/injury/disability (e.g., presurgical evaluations for bariatric surgery), when referrals are available. The intern interacts with clients of the interdisciplinary team in ways that facilitate improved treatment implementation based on the unique contributions that clinical health psychology can make.  Through the ESTEP project (described later), the intern evaluates the effectiveness and quality of clinical health psychology services (e.g., utilizing a pre-post pain coping strategies questionnaire to evaluate effectiveness of a 12-week CBT for chronic pain group).

The intern has some flexibility in customizing the role to meet specific clinical health psychology training goals that address client needs and align with organizational values.  As the rotation is new and evolving, the focus on clinical health psychology will depend in part, on referrals for clients who need these services, and it is therefore necessary for applicants to be willing to work on behavioral health goals not directly related to health, such as: trauma, substance abuse/co-occurring disorders, anxiety, depression, and more. This is a dynamic and exciting rotation.

5) The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center

The Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center at the University of Arizona is a nationally recognized, academic support program for college students with learning or attention challenges. Since 1980, the SALT Center and has become the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation and has helped thousands of students successfully complete postsecondary education.  Using a comprehensive system of programs and services, the SALT Center serves more than 550 undergraduate and graduate students who come from across the nation and several countries each semester.

Each SALT student is assigned to a Learning Specialist whose role is to provide individual academic support and to assist students as they navigate through the University of Arizona.  Additionally, SALT students receive individualized educational planning and monitoring, assistance from certified tutors with coursework, and an array of workshops geared toward their individual academic needs, as well as other specialized services.  The goal is to promote independence, confidence, and self-advocacy to each student, in addition to teaching students specific learning strategies based on each individual’s challenges.

Psychological Services at the SALT Center provide SALT students the opportunity to receive on-site, individualized outpatient mental health services. Students in need of psychological services at SALT are referred by their Learning Specialist and represent a range of clinical presentations and mental health diagnoses consistent with a university population. The philosophy of Psychological Services is to work within a brief, goal-directed model of psychotherapy to provide the student with the tools needed for greater academic or personal success.  The Primary rotation at SALT offers the SAPIC intern the opportunity to gain in-depth, supervised experience conducting intake interviews, developing treatment plans, providing individual psychotherapy, and consulting with SALT staff and outside professionals.  Over the course of the academic year, the intern will become adept at treating a variety of clinical conditions in tandem with the attention and/or learning challenges specific to each student.  The intern also facilitates referrals for medication evaluations, as needed, to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the University of Arizona or to private providers in the Tucson community.

The Primary rotation at the SALT Center occurs during the academic year (early August through mid-May) or approximately 9 months of the calendar year.  At those times when the University of Arizona is not in session (summer and winter break), the SALT intern will work at La Frontera Center exclusively, providing brief therapy and/or psychological testing (which may exceed the minimum required number of psychological evaluations due to availability at LFC while SALT is closed), curriculum development and intra-agency trainings to clinical teams. Opportunities for consultation, research activities, and providing group therapy may be available upon intern request.

Due to the heavy clinical demands at SALT, the intern initially receives one hour per day of supervision (3 hours per week) at the beginning of the rotation, diminishing to two hours per week after the initial 6 weeks.

Secondary Rotations

Several Secondary rotations are available: these rotations are available for 6 months (i.e. two Secondary rotations per year). Interns will be required to submit their top 3 choices and every effort will be made to match interns to one of their identified choices.  If the intern wishes to self-design a Secondary rotation, a written proposal with clearly defined structure, guidelines and expectations must be submitted by the intern to the faculty for approval.  In either case, interns will participate in their Secondary rotation for 8-10 hours a week, for about 24 weeks (2 rotations/year), to fill out their training experience.

Adult Therapy Team – Integrated CareThe intern will participate as a clinician on the Adult Therapy Team – Integrated Care.  During this Secondary rotation the intern will have opportunities to conduct:

  • One to two groups per week.
  • Individual and/or couple’s therapy.
  • The intern’s caseload can be tailored to interest and request including: specific populations, couples or families, and diagnoses.

Child/Family Systems:  Numerous opportunities (e.g., one intern was a co-therapist with a family therapist) will be further explored and fleshed out.  Interns may serve as co-therapist to various full time therapists, join treatment groups, provide child/family intakes, etc. SAPIC faculty, associated program managers, and interns will continue to discuss options for this Secondary rotation.

The SALT Center:  There is an option for an intern to participate in a Secondary rotation at The University of Arizona’s SALT Center, depending on the intern’s schedule and time constraints, and the needs of the SALT Center.  If the intern is interested in working on alternative activities such as program development or program evaluation within SALT (where program development and evaluation are on-going), that may be arranged depending on intern interest and SALT need.  In other words, a Secondary rotation at SALT is available but must be individually (and creatively!) arranged, and is not necessarily a fixed program.

The Ranch: A 14-bed client-centered residential facility, the Ranch comprises two houses: Thornydale Ranch and Mountain Rose, offering a variety of evidenced-based services to promote the recovery process in a relaxing ranch setting. The Ranch offers a distinct therapeutic modality to clients including equine-assisted psychotherapy (when weather permits). Interns may be trained in the EAGALA model by the Clinician and Equine Care Coordinator. No horse experience is necessary as interns will be co-facilitating sessions with the Equine Care Coordinator who is the horse professional. The Ranch offers interns a rare opportunity of working with staff and to provide training, consultation, and group design to meet the needs of the staff and clients in this unique therapeutic setting.

Assessment Rotation: Each intern will be required to spend one of the two Secondary Rotations conducting Psychological Evaluations. SAPIC’s goal is to meet the agency’s evaluation capacity while minimizing the administrative burden for interns associated with the evaluation process in this busy and complicated public health system, and to provide more focused training experiences. Faculty anticipate that interns will be matched, based on interest, training needs, prior experience and supervision capacity into one of a few primary assessment areas: adult assessments, including Bariatric Surgery Assessment, Autism Spectrum Assessment, and ADHD evaluations. Child Evaluations tend to focus on ASD, ADHD, and differential diagnoses. When not performing assessments, interns may be invited to provide clinical training to new and ongoing staff (i.e., DSM-V, Cultural Competency, Trauma, and Best Practices). Trainings will be based on combining intern interests and areas of competence with requests that come through the training director. This rotation requires the intern and supervisor to identify how many assessments will be completed as part of the rotation.

APA Commission on Accreditation contact information:

American Psychological Association
Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(202) 336-5979




Liz Dampsey, PhD
(520) 306-6922


EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center, La Frontera center, La Frontera Mariachi and La Frontera Partners all are members of La Frontera Arizona