UCS

Training

Dear Prospective Applicant:

Welcome to our site!  Thank you for considering our internship training program.  We realize that applying for internships can be exciting, yet concomitantly overwhelming and stressful (especially during a global pandemic).  Currently, our staff and interns are operating within a hybrid schedule (part remote and part on-site).  While this is subject to change, at any time, depending upon state and university regulations related to COVID-19, presently we anticipate resuming on-site work in the new year (See tab below for more COVID-19 information).

We hope the information provided within our website will enable you to glean the information you need in order to make the best decision for yourself.  We are deeply committed to training culturally-informed psychologists who approach their work with cultural humility. This priority is woven into the fabric of our Training Program and our Center.  It is reflected in the diversity of staff we hire, the lens through which we consider clinical cases, and the way we integrate diversity into all aspects of training.  Our trainings go far beyond scholarly learning, we also encompass meaningful dialogues, culture-sharing, self-reflection, and experiential learning.  Of note, our campus is rich with diversity; therefore, interns routinely have the opportunity to work with diverse clients, including those with cultural complexity and intersecting identities. You might be interested to know that we:

  • Are designated as a “Hispanic Serving Institution
  • Are 2nd in the nation for awarding degrees to Latinx students (Hispanic Outlook Education Magazine)
  • Are ranked 6th in the nation among the "most transformative colleges" in the nation (Money Magazine)
  • Are ranked 4th in the nation in Social Mobility (CollegeNET's 2020 Social Mobility Index)
  • Have a large international student population, representing 107countries
  • Were ranked as one of the 5 best colleges for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students (Best Colleges, College Guide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students)
  • Received 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index (Campus Pride is a national nonprofit organization that works to create safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities)

I would like to underscore several features of our program, that set us apart from other programs.  These include our video group supervision, the supervision interns provide to Peer Educators, the quality and depth of the supervision we provide, our expansive group therapy program, and our in-depth crisis training.  Other areas that may be of interest:  how we manage COVID-19, affordability, and our training environment.  For more information on each, see the tabs below.

I wish you the best throughout the remainder of this stressful process.

Cordially,
Pat
 
Pat Alford-Keating, Ph.D., ABPP
Coordinator of Training
Diplomate, American Board of Professional Psychology
Fellow, American Academy of Counseling Psychology
 

Affordability

I would like to mention that relatively speaking Northridge is more affordable than many other locations in the greater Los Angeles Area.  The campus is well-placed in a nice area where interns have been able to secure safe, affordable housing. Finally, for any “foodies,” rest assured that there are many tasty restaurants within blocks of campus.

COVID-19

Currently, University Counseling Services staff and interns are on a hybrid schedule (part of each week is spent onsite and another part remotely). Most services provided by staff and interns are delivered remotely; this includes clinical services and outreach programs. Further, most meetings are conducted remotely.  Pertaining to training, (supervision, training seminars, training activities, etc.), currently training activities primarily take place over Zoom; however, a few are conducted in person (including primary supervision). Though, we anticipate repopulating our campus before the incoming class of interns arrives, this will depend upon state and university regulations derived in relation to  COVID-19 related risk factors.

Rest assured, however, that despite the fact that some of our trainings and services may continue to be conducted virtually at the present time, interns are nonetheless able to meet all the requirements of our Internship Program.

Vaccination Policy:

We comply with all state, local, and university policies related to COVID-19, including vaccination policies; presently university employees (including interns) are required to attest to having received the recommended doses FDA approved COVID-19 vaccination(s), of their choice. There are exceptions to this requirement based on religious beliefs or medical status. For more information about vaccination requirements, please visit the Matadors Forward - Health and Safety website.

Notification Pertaining to Interviews: 

  • Please note that all applicant interviews will be conducted over Zoom. Given the current impact of COVID-19 on the state of California, we have decided to conduct all interviews over Zoom.
  • We will be offering a virtual Open House for those applicants invited to interview with us. Interviewees will be notified of the date and Zoom IDs.

The University

Founded in 1958, California State University, Northridge (CSUN), is located in the San Fernando Valley, a region in the greater Los Angeles area.  CSUN is considered to be an urban campus.  As one of the 23 campuses that make-up the California State University system, CSUN is one of the largest and most diverse universities in the nation, enrolling just under 39,000 students.  CSUN is a liberal arts institution which also has a strong emphasis on science, technology, and innovation.  CSUN has nine colleges and offers bachelor's degrees in 65 disciplines, master's degrees in 74 fields, and doctorates in educational leadership and physical therapy, as well as 17 credential programs.  CSUN employs over 2,000 faculty members.

The client population served at CSUN's University Counseling Services (UCS) is made up of regularly enrolled CSUN students, representing many aspects of human diversity, including those pertaining to age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, ability, and socioeconomic status.  Approximately 54% of CSUN students identify as Latinx.

Worthy of note, CSUN has been officially designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).  CSUN is considered to be the 5th best university for serving the deaf and hard-of-hearing and is home to the National Center on Deafness (NCOD).  CSUN is an ability affirmative campus committed to creating an accessible environment for all students and employees.  Approximately 70% of CSUN's entering freshman identify as first-generation college students.  Approximately 82% of CSUN's first year students receive financial aid.  Though the exact numbers are unknown, a sizable number of CSUN student suffer "food insecurity."  The campus offers food pantries to address this issue. 

Finally, it should be mentioned that CSUN puts a heavy emphasis on creating a sustainable campus community.

UCS: Role, Mission, and Staff

Role

University Counseling Services (UCS) serves as the community mental health center for the roughly 39,000 students at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).   UCS is a departmental unit within the Division of Student Affairs.  UCS operates under the auspices of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. 

Mission

UCS supports the missions of the University and the Division of Student Affairs by enhancing student well-being and academic success through the provision of a range of high-quality mental health services including initial evaluations, short-term individual and couples psychotherapy, Wellness Workshops, group treatment, psychiatric services, crisis/urgent care services, and case management, and referrals. Students seek services at UCS for a wide array of presenting concerns, ranging from normative developmental issues (transitions, identity, etc.) to relationship problems (romantic, family, friends, roommates, work, professors) to anxiety and depression to abuse, trauma, substance abuse, disordered eating, autism, and psychosis. 

In addition to clinical services, UCS also makes contributions to the campus community through the provision of psychoeducational programs and workshops as well as facilitation of Healing Spaces. These efforts are intended to highlight mental health and wellness practices, eliminate the stigma towards mental health, increase knowledge and helping skills amongst our campus community members, and contribute to the creation of a community of care on our campus.

UCS is an important campus resource providing extensive campus-based outreach and consultation. UCS interns and staff members provide presentations and workshops to various classes, departments, and groups, including prevention and psychoeducation. We also provide mental health consultation to students, faculty, and staff.  Our four (4) Peer Education Programs (The BLUES Project, JADE, Project DATE, and MenCARE) provide prevention programming to classrooms, student clubs and organizations, and various campus communities (e.g., Residential Life, fraternities and sororities, etc.).  Over the course of the year, our Peer Programs host various mental health awareness days, such as Beat the Blues Week, Your Journey Matters, National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and It’s On Us.  Interns are required to participate in several of the outreach and consultation activities that UCS provides to the university community.  Moreover, interns are directly involved in our peer education programs, providing training to advanced peer educators as well as para-professional supervision of Peers and student assistants.

Staff

UCS is comprised of a team of multidisciplinary professional staff including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage and family counselors, and a college counseling and student services professional. Additionally, we have a diverse team of administrative staff.  Our staff represent many communities, including LGBTQIA+, ethnic and racial, and differently-abled; we also have diversity in age and gender. Several members of our staff are multilingual. Our staff adhere to a broad range of theoretical perspectives, including: Interpersonal, Humanistic, ACT, DBT, EMDR, Short-Term Dynamic, Family Systems, Feminist, Integrative, Mindfulness-focused, Motivational Interviewing, Psychodynamic, Relational, Solution-Focused, and Strength-Based, and integrative. At UCS, interns function as professionals-in-training and are considered an integral part of our staff. 

UCS is home to several interdisciplinary, mental health training programs.  These include our APA-Accredited Doctoral Psychology Internship in Health Service Psychology; the our Social Work Internship (for CSUN MSW students), and our Psychiatry Residency Program (which provides a fourth-year rotation for psychiatric residents).  In addition to our formal training programs, we train paraprofessional (student) Peer Educators who participate in one of our four Peer Programs (The BLUES Project, JADE, Project D.A.T.E., and MenCARE). We provide assistantships for CSUN graduate students in College Counseling and Student Service who help coordinate these programs.