Internship sites' accepted program types ("preferred" vs. "acceptable")

CompleteUnknown

2+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2016
33
14
Status
Psychology Student
Hi all! Sorry if this comes across as whiny, I'm just feeling stymied.

In combing through APPIC database site pages, I'm frustrated by a pattern that has emerged. A site will list "Counseling Psychology" as a "preferred" or "acceptable" program for students to originate from, but then not have accepted a single Counseling Psychology student for the internship.

Is there a bias against Counseling Psychology students? Is it due the the relatively smaller amount of Counseling programs/students? I have several friends in Clinical Psychology programs, and the curriculum and clinical exposure seems largely identical.

Should I bother applying to a site that has never accepted a Counseling Psychology student, despite stating that they are "preferred"? Even if it is a good fit otherwise?

Thanks!
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,800
1,364
Status
Psychology Student
Keep in mind that having never accepted a counseling psychology student COULD just be due to interests/fit. Though the two areas have merged to some degree, there certainly are still "trends" across them. Counseling programs are still far more likely to have students interested in say...LGBT issues and much less likely to have students interested in say...the neurobiology of schizophrenia (just as examples). Yet that doesn't mean a counseling student who did have experience with the latter would be any less competitive for relevant positions.

I say, hedge your bets and definitely make sure you are applying to some places that have taken counseling psychology students. If you like a place and think its a good fit though...apply. What the heck. Yes it costs some money, but nothing bad happens if you roll the dice on a few internships that are somewhat higher-risk.
 

Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2013
1,719
1,475
If they say they accept/consider them, I would go for it if the fit appears good to you. I didn't have any problem interviewing at any places that considered counseling folks, even those that were the big name research spots and did not 'prefer' counseling. This was true across others in my cohort/that I know as well. As Ollie said, I think that the reported 'preference' is because of the historic focus in the fields.

However, there are other programs that refuse to consider folks from the other discipline (particularly when it comes to excluding counseling) and I'm fairly sure that is due to the outdated belief that clinical and counseling somehow follow different training models or that most graduates result in different employment sectors. I had a friend (counseling) interview at a spot who made a point to tell her they had never had another counseling psychology person there. She noted that four of their staff were counseling psychologists. Most people simply don't know our training background if we don't tell them.
 
Nov 4, 2015
266
223
Status
Psychologist
I agree. I came across that same preferred v. acceptable issue for another set of criteria (APA versus CPA) and found that many sites that even listed CPA as not accepted were willing to consider it if the student was otherwise a good fit and qualified. I imagine it'd be similar for other issues as well. Worth a shot, particularly if a site seems like a good fit for your experience/interests!
 

MCParent

Bronze Donor
7+ Year Member
Jan 10, 2012
1,592
1,410
Status
Psychologist
However, there are other programs that refuse to consider folks from the other discipline (particularly when it comes to excluding counseling) and I'm fairly sure that is due to the outdated belief that clinical and counseling somehow follow different training models or that most graduates result in different employment sectors. I had a friend (counseling) interview at a spot who made a point to tell her they had never had another counseling psychology person there. She noted that four of their staff were counseling psychologists. Most people simply don't know our training background if we don't tell them.
Yeah, we run into this sometimes, with the idea still persisting among some training community people that counseling psych folks all spend all their time treating homesickness in counseling centers and helping people pick their majors. ;)
I wouldn't rule out anywhere that says "acceptable" but there are some that still say "not acceptable" for coun.psy. and that would be un uphill battle unless maybe you have a network connection to the site.
They still post the last-three-years data, right? That can often be more useful for seeing if a site actually takes couns.psy, psyd, etc., students (not that there would not be exceptions, of course).
I got hospital interviews being a counseling psych student (and having VA experience and hundreds of assessment hours).
 

Lyra33

7+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2010
45
22
Status
Psychologist
My former internship site (APA-accredited consortium) lists Counseling students as Acceptable, but I know that we had at least one Counseling psych student in our cohort. I definitely agree with what has been said above that if the site seems like a good fit, go for it and apply!