The Bella Vita has been a provider of treatment to those suffering from eating disorders for over twenty years. During this time, TBV has become a strong supporter in the value of appropriate training for those who wish to practice in this specific area of psychology. The Bella Vita’s Pre-Doctoral Internship Program was developed with this in mind. Our internship program exists for the purpose of providing training for psychology interns interested in a career in the field of eating disorder treatment. The internship focuses on developing the skills necessary to appropriately treat the full spectrum of eating disorder diagnoses, as well as common co-occurring disorders. The Bella Vita Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship is an intensive, comprehensive, and competency-based training program. It is open to all students from an accredited doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology eligible to apply for their pre-doctoral internship.
Overview of The Bella Vita
The Bella Vita provides a full continuum of care ranging from residential treatment to outpatient services. Currently The Bella Vita consists of five separate sites(described in more detail below) in the state of California: Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, La Canada-Flintridge, Thousand Oaks and Santa Clarita. Throughout these five sites, The Bella Vita serves a population of diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic background. The Bella Vita treats both male and female patients, ranging from adolescents to adults. The staff at The Bella Vita is multidisciplinary with psychologists, psychological assistants, counselors, marriage & family therapists, psychiatrists, dietitians, nutritionists, dietary technicians, a physician, and administrative support staff. Services offered at The Bella Vita include intake/clinical assessment, individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, psychoeducational groups, dietary counseling/education, psychiatric consultation, medication management, case management, and discharge planning.
Treatment at The Bella Vita approaches each individual as a unique case, addressing the underlying motivational factors of the eating disorder, as well as the symptoms. We believe that it is necessary to treat the “whole person” through a Bio-Psychosocial Model of treatment. By providing this strong basis in which our interns can build from, we believe that we can help establish a stronger understanding of eating disorders in the psychological community, provide future clinicians with the tools they will need to work within this population, and positively contribute to the future of eating disorder treatment.
Clients seeking our services present with a wide range of clinical concerns including eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, trauma, relational/interpersonal issues, and family issues. Pre-Doctoral Interns will be exposed to a variety of clinical issues and multiple treatment approaches. Some common approaches include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy, Attachment based therapies, and Psychodynamic approaches. Interns will also learn about the physical and medical complications consistent with eating disorders.
The Bella Vita has five sites. Three of the sites (The Bella Vita, Los Angeles, The Bella Vita, Woodland Hills and The Bella Vita, Santa Clarita) are outpatient intensive programs that provide two levels of care for patients. The outpatient intensive program includes an eight-hour seven-day per week PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) and a four-hour, seven-day per week IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) at the Woodland Hills, CA PHP/IOP. The other two PHP/IOP locations in Los Angeles, CA and Santa Claria, CA includes eight-hour six- day per week PHP programs and a four-hour, six-day per week, IOP programs. The other two sites are 24 hour seven-day per week Residential Programs (The Bella Passione Residential, Thousand Oaks, CA and The Bella Speranza Residential, La Canada Flintridge, CA).
The duties of the interns will be the same at each site. These duties are described in include: Clinical Assessment; Individual and Conjoint Therapy; Group Psychotherapy; Psychological Intervention; Psychological assessment; Psychological Education Groups; Supervision-Individual and Group; Didactic Training, Interdisciplinary Treatment Team Meetings, Crisis Intervention; Meal Support; Staff Meetings and Employee Training.
In addition, each site that interns are assigned has the licensed psychologist clinical supervisor available to them during the hours they are on site and by phone in off duty hours. Individual supervision will take place at the intern’s assigned site. The Group Supervision will take place at the Los Angeles and Woodland Hills facility.
The training director will oversee all aspects of the interns training and activities. She will be available to the interns either on site or by phone and travels between sites.
The Bella Vita Training Manual has been edited to reflect the information above.
Training Model and Goals, Objectives, and Competencies
The pre-doctoral internship is a year long opportunity for professional growth and integration of practice. The primary goal of the internship is to provide an environment conducive to growth and learning, allowing interns to develop the clinical and ethical competence, multicultural competence, and professionalism necessary to assist in their transition to entry-level psychologists. The overall goals of the training program are to ensure that interns have met the appropriate developmental milestones expected of an entry level psychologist, and have actively pursued the understanding and mastery of the foundational and functional competencies in professional psychology. Hands-on training, educational activities, experiential learning opportunities, and supervision are provided to promote the acquisition of these competency benchmarks. The training year will provide interns multiple opportunities to develop clinical competence and enhance professionalism.
The primary training objectives of The Bella Vita Training Program are focused on the development of a number of core competencies believed to be pertinent to the practice of professional psychology. The Bella Vita expects interns to have developed competencies in the following areas by the end of the internship year:
- Reflective Practice/Self-Awareness – Interns demonstrate reflectivity in the context of professional practice, as they learn to monitor their internal states and behaviors. Intern will learn to assess their own strengths and weaknesses to enhance the delivery of services and professional practice. Interns will also learn to independently monitor and apply their self-knowledge in assessment, treatment, and consultation.
- Professional Development – Professional development is an integral part of the intern training experience. Interns are expected to be knowledgeable about current issues central to the field of psychology and populations served, and demonstrate an ability to integrate science and practice. Interns will be encouraged to explore various means in which to contribute to The Bella Vita, eating disorder treatment in whole, and their fellow colleagues. Interns will be expected to demonstrate awareness of the impact appropriate/inappropriate behavior has on consumers, professionals, and psychological practice.
- Evidence-Based Practice – Interns will learn the value of scientific knowledge in the practice of psychology. Interns will be expected to review scholarly literature related to their clinical work throughout the internship year, and exhibit knowledge of current issues and/or future directions in their area of specialty. It is essential that interns learn to apply evidenced supported treatments in their practice.
- Scientific Knowledge – Interns demonstrate scientific knowledge and understanding of application of science in the practice of psychology. Interns will be expected to demonstrate an ability to access appropriate scientific and empirical literature as needed to inform their practice, and will acquire the skills necessary to apply such knowledge throughout their internship year.
- Interpersonal Relationships – Interns will demonstrate the ability to develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of clients, colleagues, organizations, and communities. Throughout the internship year it is essential that interns develop the skills necessary to negotiate conflictual, difficult, and complex relationships in all areas of professional psychology. Pertinent to this area of practice is the ability to manage difficult communication and interaction in practice. At the completion of the internship year, interns will be expected to have developed an understanding of diverse viewpoints, an ability to accept and implement feedback from others, and exhibit a proactive nature in seeking clarification of interpersonal communications where warranted.
- Interdisciplinary Relationships – During the internship year at The Bella Vita, interns will be exposed to a multitude of various disciplines in the treatment of our patients. Interns will participate in weekly multidisciplinary treatment team meetings as a means to emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary relationships in the practice of psychology, as well as patient care. Interns will develop a clear understanding of professional boundaries, interdisciplinary treatment, knowledge of various disciplines outside of their own, and will demonstrate an appreciation for individual and groups differences. Consultation across disciplines will be emphasized throughout the internship year. All interns will be expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, despite any differences that might arise.
- Expressive Skills – By the completion of the internship year, interns are expected to demonstrate articulate and eloquent demand of language and ideas. This will be reflected in an ability to communicate clearly and effectively with patients and colleagues. Interns will exhibit these skills in verbal and written communication.
- Cultural Diversity – Cultural diversity is of growing importance in the practice of psychology. Understanding the complex nature of diversity issues in professional work is essential for an entry-level psychologist. Interns will be expected to develop an integrative conceptualization of how diversity impacts patients, self, and others. Interns will demonstrate cultural sensitivity in their work with patients and/or seeks out consultation when necessary.
- Ethical Awareness – Interns will demonstrate routine command and application of the APA Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct, as well as other relevant legal and professional standards. Interns will learn to identify complex ethical and legal issues in their practice, proactively examine these issues, and appropriately address them. All interns are expected to exhibit a commitment to the integration of ethical and legal practice in their professional work.
- Assessment and Diagnosis – Interns will develop effective competence in psychological evaluation skills as they learn to comprehensively assess the nature of an individual’s Biopsychosocial functioning. Interns will be trained in both general assessment tools, as well as assessment tools specific to the population served. Interns will demonstrate the ability to utilize assessment and diagnosis to develop appropriate treatment plans that incorporate relevant developmental features, clinical symptoms, and social needs. By the completion of the internship year interns should be capable of independently conceptualizing the various dimensions of a case, as derived from assessment and diagnosis. All interns are expected to utilize methods and means of evaluation that are responsive and respectful of diverse individuals, groups, and needs.
- Psychological Assessment/Testing– By the completion of the internship year, interns will demonstrate competence in the administration, scoring, interpretation and written summary of a full battery of psychological tests. Interns will demonstrate the ability to utilize these assessment tools to develop appropriate treatment plans that incorporate relevant developmental features, clinical symptoms and social needs.
- Intervention/Progress Evaluation – Interns develop effective psychotherapeutic skills through their experiences during the internship year. Training largely consists of cognitive-behavioral treatments, dialectical-behavioral therapy, crisis intervention, clinical interviewing, motivational interviewing, family therapies, mental status exams, attachment-based therapies, psychoeducation, individual therapy, and group therapy. Interns will demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge of evidenced-based practices in their psychological work. In doing so, they will be able to provide a rationale for intervention and demonstrate sufficient expertise. Interns will learn to evaluate treatment progress and modify interventions as indicated. Interns will develop appropriate clinical skills and judgment, develop effective rapport and relationships with patients, and exhibit appropriate judgment in managing crisis situations.
- Didactic Training/Teaching – Interns will be responsible to attend all in-services and didactic activities throughout their internship year. They will develop and conduct professional presentations on psychological topics for the facility staff throughout the internship. Didactic activities are divided into twelve core competencies, as determined by the needs of The Bella Vita and the population served. Interns will participate in weekly case conferences (2 hours) and in-service training on the core competencies. Core Competencies include: Crisis Intervention, Boundaries, Treatment Planning, Family Systems, Group Dynamics, Medical Implications, Therapeutic Relationship, Co-Morbid/Co-Occurring Disorders, Psychotherapeutic Interventions, APA Guidelines for the Treatment of Eating Disorders, and Case Conceptualization
Pre-doctoral Internship Training Program Structure
Core competencies will be reinforced in all aspects of training throughout the internship year. The Bella Vita strives to create a learning environment which allows interns to develop clinical competencies congruent with the goals and objectives of the training program. Interns will work closely with their supervisor and the Training Coordinator to develop an appropriate clinical case load and a variety of experiences. Interns will be exposed to and will participate in the many functions and services that are offered at The Bella Vita. The Bella Vita is excited to offer interns an environment that allows them to explore professional and personal issues related to their clinical functioning and professional development. We offer an environment for these young clinicians to grow and prosper as they begin their careers in clinical psychology and eating disorder treatment. We expect interns to grow into competent practitioners who will be well prepared to practice in the field of eating disorder treatment effectively and responsibly. Interns will receive a certificate of completion upon successfully completed the internship program.
Throughout the internship year, all interns will participate in both clinical and didactic activities throughout the internship year. The following constitutes the overall structure of what interns can expect from their internship year at The Bella Vita:
- Didactic Training: Interns will participate in didactic training for 2 hours per week. Trainings will be held on Mondays from 9:00 am-11:00 am. Interns will be exposed to various topics related to the twelve areas of competencies. Didactic training will provide interns with the opportunity to further their knowledge and skills as they pertain to the field of psychology. Training will include an emphasis on developing an advanced understanding of eating disorders, common co-occurring disorders in this population, effective treatments and interventions, and other relevant aspects in the treatment of eating disorders.
- Case Conference/Group Supervision: Interns will participate in-group supervision for 2 hours per week. Interns will be expected to provide comprehensive case write-ups that include theoretical formulations and treatment plans. In addition, interns will be assigned a variety of readings throughout the internship year that encompass increasingly complex theoretical issues. Interns will also attend weekly treatment team meetings at which time they will have the opportunity to explore their cases in a multidisciplinary treatment team setting.
- Supervision: Interns will receive 2 hours of clinical supervision per week with a doctoral level licensed psychologist. Supervision is provided with the specific intent of assisting interns in addressing the psychological services rendered throughout the internship year. Supervisors will be clinically responsible for their supervisee’s caseload, and will mentor interns to ensure safe, responsible, and effective treatment. The internship follows a development model, as set forth in the Assessment of Competency Benchmarks Work Group: A Developmental Model for Defining and Measuring Competence in Professional Psychology (2007). All supervisors will have reviewed the guidelines, and will follow the guidelines in their supervisory role.
- Service Breakdown: Full-time interns will serve a minimum of 2000 hours for a twelve-month period and a maximum of 2,080 in a twelve-month period. The Bella Vita will not be offering part-time internships for the 2016-2017 internship year. Interns will contribute 40 hours per week, broken down as follows:
Direct Services (Face-to-Face):
Individual Psychotherapy – 4 hours
(Includes assessment and psychological testing)
Family Counseling/Couples Counseling – 5 hours
Group Psychotherapy – 3 hours
Psychoeducational Groups – 6 hours
Meal Supervision – 2 hours
Interpretive Summaries – 3 hours
Charting/Other Documentation – 4 hours
Treatment Planning – 2 hours
Miscellaneous – .5 hours
Individual Supervision – 2 hours
Group Supervision – 2 hours
Didactic Training – 2 hours
Interdisciplinary Treatment Team Meetings – 2 hours
- Formal Evaluations: The internship program at The Bella Vita is responsible to formally and informally evaluate its interns throughout the internship year. The primary purpose of these evaluations is to monitor intern progress, facilitate professional and personal growth, and assess their competencies in the goals and objectives identified by our internship program. The evaluation process is intended to be a collaborative process. Interns and supervisors will complete written evaluations of one another in a timely, productive, constructive and comprehensive manner. Evaluations include assessment of intern’s strengths and demonstrated competencies, areas in need of further growth, and areas of greater concern. Evaluations also provide interns an opportunity to offer feedback to the internship program for review of its strengths and areas in need of growth. Formal written evaluations will be conducted three times per year: the outset, midpoint, and completion of the internship year. Supervisors will meet with their mutual interns to discuss all written evaluations. In addition, interns will receive written feedback on all assignments pertaining to their didactic training activities. In accordance with the intern’s academic program, all school-specific evaluations will be completed as agreed upon. These evaluations will be in addition to the formal evaluations required by the training program.
All Pre-Doctoral Internship Applications are submitted via the APPIC Pre-doctoral application portal. (APPIC.org)