The Connections Internship Consortium Program is Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.
CIC Interns are provided training in psychoeducational group therapy and have the opportunity to develop group curriculum throughout the training year. CIC Interns lead or co-lead 3-6 psychoeducational groups weekly with specific groups of students. Specific groups may be classroom (age based) or topic based depending on the group and setting. The evidence based practices and topics include but are not limited: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, psychoeducational focus on teaching and supporting a student’s skill acquisition, behavioral management interventions, social skills and role play, inclusion and acceptance groups, and healthy relationship groups, among others.
All CIC Interns offer and provide family therapy to students and their families on their primary caseload. Interns are provided with comprehensive and individualized clinical training that facilitates the acquisition and refinement of evidence-based family therapy skills. They receive monthly group supervision focused on the review of theories of family therapy and applicability of family therapy theory and interventions to current students and families on their caseloads. In addition, Interns meet individually on a monthly basis with our Family Therapy Consultant in order to further discuss their family therapy cases.
Crisis Intervention/Risk Management
CIC Interns are provided training in response to situations such as threats of suicide, assault, sexually problematic behavior, or severe behavioral disturbances, including Self-Harm Risk Assessments and Violence Risk Assessments.
Effective Management of Behavior
All CIC Interns are provided training on behavioral principles, reinforcement schedules, motivational systems. This also includes sites specific trainings in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Training (CPI), site-based practices, CIC affiliate practices, behavioral management and various data tracking systems.
CIC Interns are provided training around general assessment techniques and psychometrics along with specific case study example review. They also participate in weekly group supervision focused on specific assessment cases. In addition, for students who are referred for 3-year re-evaluations and/or who are a part of the diagnostic program at CAE, CDS, and South Campus; Interns conduct parts of the psychological assessment as deemed appropriate by the team. Under the supervision of a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Interns may select and administer tests, interpret data, and write formal psychological reports for submission to the IEP team. Interns at CAE are required to participate in a minimum of 3 assessment opportunities per training year. The most common tests the Interns will be using include the WISC-V and WAIS-IV (among other cognitive tests including the W-J tests, ADT, WRAML, Decoding Skills Test and others), WIAT-III, VMI, MMPI-A, MACI, APS, RATC, Rorschach, Jessnes, and Incomplete Sentences Blank. The Interns will also become adept at using a variety of behavioral questionnaires including the BRIEF, Conner’s, ABAS, and Checkmate questionnaires. These evaluations can be utilized to support recommendations for special education placement and educational recommendations.
Ethics and Law
All CIC Interns are provided training in the legal and ethical standards in psychology, the state of Illinois, and within the school system. This includes, but is not limited to: special education law and ethics, supervision law and ethics, general law and ethics that impact daily service provision and practice (therapy services, confidentiality, informed consent, risk assessments, etc.). In addition to the structured learning activities around legal and ethical standards, Clinical Supervisors continue reviewing the legal and ethical issues that arise with the Intern's caseload on a weekly basis. Clinical Supervisors engage the Interns in a discussion about the pertinent legal and ethical issues related to the case, as well as help them identify how to navigate these issues.
Autism Specific Focus (NCA & CAE)
At New Connections Academy (NCA) and Connections Academy East (CAE) CIC Interns are provided with specialized training in interventions with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). When working with children on the Autism Spectrum, CAE and NCA utilize the SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support) educational and therapeutic model to determine the students’ developmental level and areas in need for improvement for their Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The students’ SCERTS profile provides the basis for use of successful therapeutic interventions to address the developmental challenges that interfere in the areas of: academic learning, socialization skills, emotional regulation, integration of internal and external sensory information, and restricted/perseverative patterns of thinking or interest. All CIC Interns are provided with specific training about evidence-based intervention practices with individuals with Autism, although there is an intensive focus at NCA and CAE.
Substance Abuse Focus (CDS, SC, and CAE)
At Connections Academy East (CAE), Connections Day School (CDS) and South Campus (SC) the CIC Interns are provided with specialized training in working with individuals with comorbid Substance Abuse concerns and issues. Interns at these schools collaborate closely with the school’s Substance Abuse therapist to deliver effective treatment interventions for the youth. All CIC Interns are provided with specific training about evidence-based practices with individuals impacted by substance abuse, although there is an intensive focus at CAE, CDS, and SC.
Connections Internship Consortium (CIC) training program maintains a required competency in diversity issues, and provides multiple experiences throughout the year to ensure that Interns are both personally supported and well-trained in this area. These training experiences include, but are not limited to, an emphasis on diversity training during initial orientation and within individual and group supervision, provision of treatment to diverse populations, and structured learning activities on diversity related topics. Interns are provided with opportunities to work with a diverse population of high-risk children, adolescents and their families, including individuals struggling with mild to severe: mood, anxiety, behavior, substance-related, psychotic, developmental, and personality disorders. Interns also get an opportunity to work with students ranging in age from 6 to 21 from diverse cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Interns regularly discuss the diversity factors that are at play in each student's life as well as in the therapeutic relationship and process.
Inter-agency & Community Case Management
All CIC Interns are provided training on inter-agency and community case management. CIC Interns are required to reach out to private community providers and must complete monthly progress reports to private services providers including: Psychiatrists, Psychologists, specialists, etc. Additionally, all CIC Interns are required to communicate regularly with the inter-agency educational teams and multidisciplinary service providers across the CIC affiliated sites. The goal of these trainings is to facilitate communication and consultation skills of the CIC Interns.
Related Service Consultation
All CIC Interns are provided training in consulting and collaborating with providers from a variety of disciplines, including: Academic Staff, Occupational Therapy, Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Substance Abuse Therapists, Speech/Language Therapists, Behavior Intervention Specialists, and Psychiatrists. Additionally, there is a focus on learning specific therapeutic strategies and supporting CIC Interns in the best ways to collaborate with students, families and teams, including the related service providers. Interns are active participants in all of the IEP meetings that take place regarding the students on their caseload. During these meetings, Interns are afforded the opportunity to update the IEP team about their students’ progress and to address any questions or concerns that arise regarding their student or their course of treatment within the student’s respective school.
Individual Therapy and Intervention Skills
CIC Interns are provided training in individual therapy and applying evidence-supported clinical interventions with students of various diagnoses. All CIC Interns maintain a primary caseload of 10 -13 students who they provide direct psychological services to on-site on a daily to weekly basis, depending on the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Additionally, Interns are taught to use a variety of data collection tools, including student point sheets, behavioral rating scales, and behavioral observations to monitor their student’s progress and make adjustments to the treatment approach in order to facilitate the student’s success both in and out of school. Interns are exposed to a variety of evidence based interventions across a broad array of conceptual theory including Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Care, Humanistic/Existential viewpoints, and Psychodynamic principles, to name a few. Interns are also trained on the SCERTS model (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and Transitional Supports) and how to use this profile to inform therapy and evaluate student progress towards their social emotional goals.