The Summer Institute: Preparing for a Career in the Armed Forces

Summer Institute: Preparing for a Career in the Armed Forces

Course Overview

The Summer Institute is a five-day course for 2nd, 3rd and 4th-year doctoral students in clinical or counseling psychology who anticipate or are seriously considering applying for a military internship. Military internships refer to the 11 training programs located throughout the US Army, Navy, and Air Force housed on military bases. The Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) is pleased to host The Summer Institute: Preparing for a Military-Psychologist Career in the Armed Forces, 25-29 June 2018.

The Summer Institute was established in 2015 to raise doctoral students’ awareness of what it would be like to serve as a psychologist in the Armed Forces and increase their competitiveness for a military internship. The course offers a wonderful opportunity to explore in depth this career choice prior to applying for an internship. This intensive program will strengthen trainees’ backgrounds in military behavioral health as they gain firsthand knowledge of military culture, the work of uniformed psychologists, and evidence-based strategies to treat military members.

Through didactics, experiential exercises and panel sessions led by CDP faculty and other experts, students will receive training on topics including:

  • Types of clinical and assessment opportunities for military psychologists
  • Deployment cycle stress and common clinical problems
  • Cognitive behavioral treatments including for treating suicidal behavior
  • Ethical dilemmas faced by uniformed providers

Who Should Apply
Students who are planning to apply to or seriously considering a military internship should submit an application to the Summer Institute.

Note: military internships require that the student is able and willing to join the US military and become an officer, serving typically three years after the military internship is completed. Military internships differ from VA internships or other Veterans-affiliated internship programs, which do not require serving in the military. Students on a military internship usually treat Active Duty military members and Reserve or National Guard members who have been activated, while rarely treating Veterans or retirees.

Mission and Course Content 
Nearly 2.8 million US Service members have been deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although most of them have acclimated well since returning, a significant minority experience behavioral health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), insomnia, chronic pain or substance abuse.

As a result, well-trained psychologists are needed to provide care in the US military. However, some doctoral students interested in this specialization may not feel adequately prepared to succeed as an intern at a military treatment facility (this refers to Active Duty military bases, rather than internships at VA hospitals). Others may not be aware of the unique opportunities afforded by a career in military behavioral health, including being deployed with military operations, service in overseas locations, and non-traditional behavioral health roles. The Summer Institute will fill these gaps by preparing students for internships at military treatment facilities and enhancing their awareness of such opportunities through a focused curriculum.

The first phase of the five-day course will provide an overview of military culture and the deployment cycle, as well as the roles and activities unique to military psychologists. In addition, students will become familiar with key assessments used in military clinics. Then the course will highlight the more common clinical conditions experienced by military members. Later, students will explore military culture experientially by touring the war memorials on the National Mall and hearing from a panel of internship training directors from military treatment facilities.

The second phase of the course will explore situations that may expose military psychologists to unique ethical challenges. Trainees will also have the chance to interact with military psychologists representing diverse career paths post internship. The course will conclude with an overview of how to assess and treat PTSD in military patients, followed by a day-long skills-based training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Treating Suicidal Behavior.

Cost
The CDP will offer the course free of charge and will cover hotel costs, excluding parking*. Attendees are responsible for covering all of their travel, transportation, and daily expenses.

*Students living within 50 miles of USU will not be eligible for hotel reimbursement.

Eligibility 
Carefully review the following eligibility requirements. If you do not meet all of them, your application will not be considered. Applicants must be:

  1. Enrolled in a doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology that is APA accredited
  2. In the 2nd, 3rd or 4th-year of their doctoral program when they submit their application to The Summer Institute*
  3. Applying for or seriously considering a military internship in the US Army, Navy or Air Force
  4. A US citizen

* Where all other qualifications are equal, 3rd or 4th year students will receive priority consideration.

Date and Location 
The course will be held 25-29 June 2018 in Bethesda, Maryland on the campus of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where many of the nation’s military medical staff are educated. Students are required to attend all five days in their entirety.

Application Process

The application period for the 2018 session will begin on 28 September 2017.

  1. The application must be submitted online
  2. Applicants are required to write two essays (instructions included in the application)
  3. Applicants are required to provide one academic/professional reference and ensure that the individual identified completes the form online
  4. Applicants must email their curriculum vitae (CV) to the identified CDP staff (see application)
  5. Applications must be received by 22 January 2018.
  6. Students who are accepted to the program will be notified by 23 February 2018.

Click here to be emailed information about the 2018 iteration when it become available. Questions can be submitted to hcampbell@deploymentpsych.org.