Mental Health Professional Experiences

Clinical Experience in a Professional Setting

  • Intensive: A semester-long, 6-credit course with one full day of hands-on experience each week. 
  • Unique: In-depth experience working with mental health professionals in a variety of local clinical and mental health settings.
  • Supported: Weekly courses with a licensed psychologist to reflect on and learn about internship experiences. 
  • Selective: A limited number of students chosen from among Clarkson psychology majors. 

Professional Partnerships

Clinical Experience for Clarkson Psychology Majors

Clarkson has established multiple professional partnerships with local psychiatric and mental health facilities to give our undergraduate students the rare opportunity to observe — and conduct — clinical work and supportive care in professional and community-based settings.

Throughout an entire semester, participating students will spend a full day each week (or the equivalent) at one of our local partner sites, working with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, peer support staff, and other members of mental health teams. These students will encounter a wide range of conditions and concerns, and may have the opportunity to work with children and adolescents, adults, and sexual offenders.

Participating students may observe and be involved in numerous forms of intervention and support, including:

  • Individual and group counseling. 
  • Diagnostic evaluation.
  • Psychological testing.
  • Crisis intervention.
  • Psychopharmacology.
  • Medical evaluation.
  • Vocational assessment. 
  • Education. 
  • Socialization.
  • Task and skill training. 
  • Physical therapy. 
  • Structured learning therapy.
  • Occupational therapy. 
  • Recreational therapy. 
  • Psychosocial support. 
  • Case management.

A Rare Opportunity

Giving Clarkson Students a Tremendous Advantage

At the internship sites, students will not only observe professionals and support staff providing care and discussing treatment and intervention plans; they will also have the opportunity to be directly engaged in clinical and support activities, while receiving support and feedback from professionals and Clarkson faculty.

Few, if any, undergraduate psychology programs offer students this level of professional immersion and clinical experience.

This background is important for successful application to many advanced programs in the health professions, including clinical and counseling psychology, social work, medical school, and physician assistant programs.

Each week, in addition to working at their internship site, students will attend a two-hour, on-campus meeting with Professor Pienkos, a licensed psychologist and faculty member in Clarkson’s Department of Psychology. These meetings give students the opportunity to discuss their experiences at St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center (SLPC), make informal presentations, read and discuss relevant literature, and get critical feedback on professional development and case conceptualization.

Throughout the course, students will also conduct independent research, applying contemporary research findings to their practical experiences during their internships. This culminates in a formal presentation to the class and members of the Clarkson community. This course can fulfill the psychological internship hours toward the Professional Experience required of psychology majors; students who take PY412 can enroll in PY400 to complete the internship paper component of this requirement.

To Apply

Applications must include informal transcripts, a resume and a short essay explaining the student’s interest in the course, how it will advance personal and professional goals, and any prior experiences that indicate readiness for the internship. Please look for announcements about application deadlines and materials the semester before the intended internship.

For more information about the course, contact your academic advisor.

Please note: a University vehicle will be available to students driving between campus and internship sites. Each student is required to pay a set amount to cover the cost of gas and other transportation expenses.

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