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  • counseling.center@biola.edu

Experiential Learning and Clinical Services

Interns are exposed to and participate in the many functions and service delivery areas common to a university counseling center, as well as a community counseling setting. Please see the list below for additional details.

Intake Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

The BCC considers assessment and diagnosis of incoming clients to be a key part of the first stage of treatment. During these appointments, BCC clinicians meet with clients to develop an initial assessment that clarifies the presenting problem(s), evaluates the severity of the problem(s) and determines the most appropriate, evidence-based interventions. Intake assessment is expected to lead to the development of a working DSM-5 diagnosis, discussion of disposition and treatment options with the client, and treatment planning.

Intake sessions for student clients are 60 minutes, scheduled by appointment, and are mostly conducted by practicum trainees who are supervised by interns or other licensed staff. The exception to this is at the start of the Fall semester when interns complete 3 to 5 intakes over the course of 3 weeks until Practicum students receive training and begin covering floor duty. Intake assessment with community clients can take place over the course of two or three 45 minute sessions. Interns assess symptoms and functioning using clinical interviews, a symptom checklist (OQ-45), and a personality inventory (MMPI-2-RF). In addition, BCC interns evaluate clients’ needs for psychopharmacological interventions and make proper referrals.

Individual Therapy

The BCC specializes in the provision and training of psychotherapy, particularly brief psychodynamic psychotherapy. Training also emphasizes implementing other evidence-based treatments, such as CBT, DBT or relaxation training, whenever appropriate. Interns provide individual therapy to students as well as to community clients. Treatment may be brief and solution-focused or more extensive long-term work, based on the initial intake/clinical assessment and treatment plan. Interns balance their caseload in consultation with their primary supervisor, to ensure the breadth and depth of their psychotherapy experiences.

Couples Therapy

Delivering high quality and in-depth treatment to various patient populations is an essential activity for health service psychologists. Interns can provide conjoint therapy to couples within the student as well as the community client population.  

Group Therapy

Working with the internship training director, interns provide interpersonal process groups as well as psycho-educational groups designed to improve the university students' personal growth, interpersonal relationships, learning, and/or academic success. These groups can include general therapy, structured and theme groups on a variety of topics. Interns are expected to facilitate at least one therapy or psycho-educational group during their internship year, with encouragement and support to do more. Groups facilitated by past interns include: Grieving Well, a structured process group for students struggling after losing someone they love; a Healing from Hurt Experienced in the Church or Christian Communities process group; a Thriving in Ministry & Leadership process group; a Pre-Marital Counseling group for engaged and seriously dating couples; a structured process group for “Global Nomads,” and a Transitions process group for graduating international students.

On-Call Crisis Assessment, Intervention and Case Management

Interns respond to clinically urgent and/or complex client situations (e.g., suicidal or homicidal risk, trauma, acute psychotic decompensation, etc.) in a variety of ways at the BCC. These include crises presented during an initial intake, crises with ongoing clients and crises during drop-in consultations. Interns are on 24-hour call for a one-week period every fourth week. BCC’s orientation process allows interns the opportunity to obtain necessary knowledge and training, familiarize themselves with resources, and adjust to their new professional roles, the counseling center, the university, and the larger community before taking on crisis intervention roles. Supervisory back-up and consultation is always available to support interns whenever they engage in providing these services or handle on-call responsibilities. Interns develop crisis intervention and management skills, and learn to coordinate their efforts with those of other university agencies and health care systems. Additionally, interns develop skills in triaging drop-in clients who are in distress — identifying the core problem and making disposition decisions are key components of these skills.

Outreach Education and Mental Health Promotion

As part of a university community, BCC seeks out and maintains consultative connections with a variety of campus departments. Outreach education meets multiple needs of the Biola campus community including providing primary prevention efforts, identifying students who may benefit from counseling, de-stigmatizing mental health services, and reaching underrepresented and at-risk students. Interns offer a variety of educational presentations on academic, mental health, interpersonal, and wellness topics as well as general information about available counseling services. Interns may also be involved in passive programming for campus-wide events where they interact with students while providing table displays, brochures and handouts. Interns routinely collaborate with staff in residence life (with a dozen or more residence halls and apartment buildings). In order to reach traditionally underserved populations, BCC Interns serve as outreach liaisons and seek to develop strong, collaborative relationships with university offices and organizations such as: the Dwelling (University sponsored organization for LGBTQ students); the Mosaic Cultural Center and Student Enrichment & Intercultural Development (supports ethnic minority and first gen students); the Collegium and Commuter Student Services; University Athletics, and Torrey Honors College, among others.

Drop-In/Behavioral Health Consultation and Referral

BCC interns offer drop-in/behavioral health consultations at the on-campus Biola Health Center (BHC) two hours per week throughout the academic year, allowing them opportunities for interprofessional dialogue and consultation with the BHC physician, registered nurse practitioners, RNs, and part-time psychiatrist.


Interns participate in clinical outcomes research and/or program evaluation and consultation experiences within BCC or in collaboration with/support of other University departments. Although research is encouraged throughout the year, there is additional time for it in the summer months when counseling demands are diminished. Potential projects are discussed and designed at the close of the Spring semester. A sampling of research projects completed by recent interns include: 1) assessing client improvement by analyzing scores on the OQ45 administered at intake and follow-up/termination; 2) comparing improvement in OQ45 scores across levels of training (e.g. first-year practicum, advanced practicum, interns); 3) Examining utilization rates of campus-based Drop-In services and BCC’s on-call crisis phone services; 4) comparing efficacy of MMPI-2 and MMPI-RF for screening new student clients and making therapist assignments. Interns engage in the evaluation process or outcomes research by collecting and analyzing data, preparing a professional write up, and presenting their findings as a means of contributing to ongoing efforts for evaluating and improving program effectiveness and honing their applied research, scholarly inquiry, and professional communication skills.

Psychological Testing, Report Writing and Feedback

Furthering intern skills in psychological assessment is also part of BCC’s internship. Interns develop psycho-educational and psycho-diagnostic assessment skills that will enhance their work as professional health service psychologists in university counseling centers and other settings. Interns are required to complete two multi-battery assessments over the course of the training year. Interns are also encouraged to incorporate the use of single tests wherever clinically useful and appropriate. Interns attend a weekly psychological testing training module that offers didactic instruction, hands-on practice, discussion and feedback for their testing work. Additional individual supervision and consultation is scheduled and provided, as needed.

Supervision of Practicum Students

Training to be a competent clinical supervisor is a major strength of the program at BCC. Interns supervise a clinical psychology doctoral student who is beginning his/her training in a required psychotherapy practicum for the entire academic year. These student therapists maximize the opportunity for interns to develop, refine and deepen their supervision skills. Interns receive training and support regarding their supervision skills in a weekly, one hour, video-supported supervision of supervision.

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