Graduate Medical Education > Army Psychology
Overview of the Department of Psychology And Internship Program

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is one of five doctoral internship sites for the United States Army (USA). The Internship Program is designed to train psychology Interns to be competent providers of psychological services in support of individuals, families, and organizational consultant. We prepare each Intern for the dual responsibilities of an Army psychologist, that of military officer and professional psychologist.

Our practitioner-scholar model emphasizes understanding human behavior from a biopsychosocial and developmental life span approach. Our goal is to teach trainees a scientific approach to solving problems of daily living through disciplined inquiry and mastering core clinical skills of adult assessment, psychotherapeutic interventions, and consultation skills across a variety of patient populations. The Interns also gain specialty skills training in cognitive assessment, psychological assessment, health assessment and behavioral medicine interventions, and inpatient evaluation. Our overall objective is for Interns to gain competency in using a recursive, circular model of examination and intervention to link the science of psychology to positive practical outcomes.

The Internship focuses on training Interns to become highly qualified, autonomous professionals. Special emphasis is placed on developing an Intern's ability to provide efficient clinical services to a large and diverse population, including Department of Defense beneficiaries, health professionals, active duty military service members and community organizations. Preparing professional psychologists for the kind of dynamic, complex challenges typical of most Army posts today demands a broad approach to clinical health practice and the exposure of our interns to such demanding situations early in their training. When successful, our training increases both military and professional readiness to think critically, act compassionately, and "move to where the problem is," i.e., where the United States Army might best utilize their unique brand of professional psychological expertise.

Major Components of the Clinical Psychology Internship Program
  1. Assessment Skills: Interns are trained in the evaluation of psychological disorders using diagnostic interviewing, psychometric assessment measures, and behavioral assessment and observation methods. Interns learn to develop clear case conceptualization skills using coherent, empirically-validated theoretical formulations. Interns also develop competence in oral and written communication abilities in order to provide purposeful feedback and recommendations to patients, consultees, commanders, and others as appropriate.
  2. Intervention and Treatment Skills: Interns are trained in a broad array of therapeutic intervention methods with an emphasis on empirically-validated treatment approaches. Brief therapeutic models are emphasized, but longer term models may be used when appropriate. Interns learn to develop measurable treatment goals, monitor treatment goals throughout therapy in collaboration with the patient, and appropriately assess treatment outcome.
  3. Consultation: Interns are trained in providing consultation services to a broad range of consultees to include health professionals, community organizations, and military units. These activities include, among other things, emergent consultations, comprehensive mental health evaluations, consultation for medical patients, and evaluations for personnel actions.
  4. Research: Interns are trained to critically evaluate the relevance of empirical literature to their clinical practice and to have their professional activities guided by relevant research in the field of psychology. Interns acquire treatment and program evaluation skills in order to assess the effectiveness of their professional endeavors. Interns are also supported in pursuing research activities, particularly in completing dissertation research.
  5. Professional Development: Interns are encouraged to develop their own interpersonal and intrapersonal skills and to establish their identity as a professional psychologist. Interns broaden their understanding of a  range of professional and ethical issues and deepen their sensitivity to cultural and individual diversity issues. Interns also establish their role as a military psychologist through training in military unique aspects of psychological service delivery and consultation.
Upon successful completion of the Internship, qualified Interns will have the opportunity to participate in WRNMMC’s one year Post-Doctoral Residency Program.
Training Activities
The Internship is a 12-month program that begins in early to mid-October following completion of the Basic Officer Leadership Course. The Internship focuses upon the interns gaining proficiency in identified core skills: assessment, treatment, and consultation. Currently core skills training occurs through year-long activities including intake interviews, assessment cases, ongoing therapy cases, seminars, case conferences and supervision. Interns also acquire skills in specialty areas, which are the focus of specific rotational experiences.
Interns conduct psychological assessments on  adults and provide individual and group psychotherapy. Direct clinical care is augmented by other extensive training in the form of seminars workshops field trips, grand rounds, case conferences, and supervision. The current structure of the program is described below. However, it should be noted that the structure and specific content, which are designed to meet the goals and objectives of the training program, evolve across time based on feedback from the Interns and systematic program evaluation and are therefore subject to modification. Nonetheless, the integrity of the overall mission, goals, and objectives of the training program are maintained within the context of ongoing structural or specific training activity improvements. Specific training activities include the following:
  1. Outpatient Military Psychology Rotation (four months):  involves diagnostic interviewing and short-term treatment modalities utilizing cognitive-behavioral, short-term psychodynamic, group therapy and other therapeutic strategies.  Interns also learn to conduct a variety of military specific evaluations and empirically supported PTSD treatments.
  2. Psychological Assessment rotation (four months):  consists of objective and projective personality testing for diagnosis, treatment planning and disposition of inpatient and outpatient populations.
  3. Primary Care/Health Psychology Rotation (two months):  embedded within the Hospital’s Internal Medicine Clinic, involves brief evaluations of patients presenting with medical problems with psychosocial contributing factors.  Treatment recommendations and interventions are aimed at physical symptom reduction and functional outcomes.
  4. Basic Elements of Cognitive Evaluation/TBI Rotation (two months):  involves an introduction to cognitive assessment principles, basics of traumatic brain injury evaluation, and training in interpretation of neuropsychological reports.
  5. Trans-rotation experience (year-long):  provides opportunities for individual longer term/complex treatment exposure and didactic training. Didactics range from weekly 3 hour workshops to two-day seminars/workshops that may include Rorschach, MMPI-2, MCMI III, PAI, Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Practice, Psychodynamic Theory and Practice, Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS), Prolonged Exposure Training (PE), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Family Therapy, Models of Group Therapy, Ethics, Operational Psychology, Introduction to Neuropsychology, Cognitive Remediation of Brain Dysfunction, Psychotherapy and Neuroscience, Cultural and Individual Diversity Competence, and Psychopharmacology Series.  The Internship also offers military specific training via the Center for Deployment Psychology which has been established to better meet the deployment-related mental and behavioral health needs of military personnel and their families. The CDP is a tri-service center funded by Congress to train military and civilian psychologists, psychology interns/residents, and other behavioral health professionals to provide high quality deployment-related behavioral health services to military personnel and their families. Each intern completes a week long intensive course at the Center for Deployment Psychology located in Bethesda, MD.
APA and APPIC Affiliations
The Clinical Psychology Internship Program at WRNMMC has been accredited as a doctoral internship in professional psychology by the American Psychological Association (APA)  since 1958. The most recent renewal of accreditation was in 2013 for a five year period. The internship maintains membership in the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). 
Career Opportunities
As Intern with the U.S. Army, you incur an obligation to serve on active duty for three years following licensure as a Psychologist in any of the 50 states. In order to remain on active duty after your initial obligation you must have completed all doctoral degree requirements and have obtained a state license. There is no pressure to make a career commitment to the military in order to attend an Army Internship. The decision to remain on active duty is a personal one, based on professional practice issues and family considerations. For many Army psychologists, a 20-30 year active duty career "evolves" as the rewards and benefits of the military lifestyle consistently outweigh other career options.
In order to be an effective leader, Army psychologists must be flexible, confident, and prepared for events which may challenge the nation. We recognize the importance of your training and strive to provide you with the leadership, management, and supervisory skills that will allow you to successfully accomplish all of your professional endeavors.
Psychology Interns are commissioned officers of the U.S. Army serving on active duty at the rank of Captain. Commissioned officers of the United States military are expected to assume positions of authority, responsibility, and leadership. Promotion to the next grade, Major, normally occurs after about six years, promotion to Lieutenant Colonel normally occurs after about 12 years, and promotion to Colonel after about l8 years. All promotions are competitive. Psychologists compete with other officers for promotion to the next rank. In this respect, a career in the Army is not entirely elective, but must be earned by sustained superior performance.
A normal tour of duty is three to four years, with assignments available in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany, and Korea. Each assignment is unique with a specified "mission". A typical career includes several different types of assignments such as direct support of combat units, chief psychologist at a small community hospital, faculty member or director of training at an Internship program, and assistant chief or chief of a medical center psychology department.
In addition to the variety of assignments which provide a rich diversity of clinical experiences, the Army offers post-doctoral fellowships to active duty psychologists in the areas of Clinical Neuropsychology (offered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Tripler Army Medical Center), Clinical Health Psychology (offered at Tripler Army Medical Center), Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology (offered at Tripler Army Medical Center), and Forensic Psychology (offered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center). Fellowships are available to active duty psychologists who have completed their doctoral degree and obtained their state license; fellows are selected via a "best qualified" process.
Area Information
The National Capital Region is a vibrant, stimulating community with numerous scholastic, cultural, and recreational opportunities. The weather is relatively mild; beaches and mountains are only a short drive away. Washington, DC is the home of the Redskins football team, the Wizards and Mystics basketball teams, the Washington Nationals baseball team, Capitals hockey team and the DC United soccer team; the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards is only an hour away. Georgetown University, American University, Catholic University, the University of Maryland, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Howard University, and the National Institutes of Health are only some of the professional institutions in the area actively contributing to the field of psychology. From the Smithsonian Institution to the Catoctin Mountains to the Maryland shores, there are professional and recreational activities to suit almost any interest. The metropolitan area transit authority assists visitors and residents in the area to make their travel as simple as possible whether traveling to or from Reagan National Airport, Camden Yards or the National Zoo.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
1. Q: If I join the military do I have to live on post?
A: You will be given what is known as BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) which will vary depending on duty station location and whether the service member has dependents. This is a sum of money (tax free) that you will receive each month toward housing. Depending on availability, on-post housing may be an option to those who desire it; however, if you choose to live on post you will not receive BAH.

2. Q: I've never been in the military before. How hard will I find it to fit in?
A: If selected for an Army psychology internship, you will attend a ten-week of Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) in San Antonio, Texas before you begin your internship. This program is designed to fully prepare Army Medical Department healthcare providers for service as an officer in the military. Having no previous military experience will not be a hindrance to your internship experience or your time in service following the internship.
3. Q: Will I be deployed (sent into a combat theater) if I join the military?
A: Our Nation is currently at war. As a member of the U. S. Army, there is a strong likelihood of being deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. You will not be deployed during your internship year, however, at some point during the three years of active duty following your internship year, it is expected you will deploy as a military psychologist (e.g., as part of a combat stress detachment, as a brigade psychologist, etc).
4. Q: You say I can get deployed, where are psychologists likely to get deployed?
A: As noted above, psychologists deploy as a Division asset or as part of a Combat Stress Control Team. They may also deploy in support of strategic/tactical missions (usually reserved for more experienced psychologists). Psychologists remain in consultant or clinical practitioner roles when deployed in support of combat troops. Many find this type of support to our Soldiers to be the most rewarding experiences in their professional careers.
5. Q: Does the military pay for uniforms?
A: Yes and no. When you first enter active duty service you receive an initial uniform allowance of $600.00. After the initial allowance, all other uniform purchases come out-of-pocket.
6. Q: Does the Army internship have a basic theoretical focus?
A: During your internship, you will be exposed to a variety of clinical and theoretical approaches in your conceptualization of cases and delivery of treatment services. The Army does not endorse any one particular approach, although short-term treatment models do lend themselves better to the transient nature of our patient and provider population.

Application Procedures
Only applicants from APA-accredited doctoral programs are considered. Applicants to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Internship Program are encouraged to have a minimum of 500 hours of AAPI Intervention and 150 Assessment hours. Each applicant’s AAPI is further reviewed to determine whether the applicant’s specific experiences are consistent with this program’s training model and goals. The Program Director has the primary responsibility for selecting and ranking potential Interns, but Intern candidates must also meet the requirements for selection as an Army officer (e.g., physical fitness standards , height/weight standards). As Interns in this program are also U.S. Army Officers,  candidates must apply with an Army Health Care Recruiter serving your local area. All applications must be forwarded to the Health Care Recruiter's office for processing. There is no obligation attached to submitting an application. Therefore, if you think you might be interested in this program, you are encouraged to submit an application. Even if selected, you may decline participation in the program.
In addition to applying through your local recruiter, applicants need to submit their application through AAPI online.
U.S. Army internships follow the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) guidelines and use the APPIC Application for Psychology Internship (AAPI) to apply.
For more information regarding application procedures and selection standards, you may also contact: U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) at: (502) 626-0361 or (502) 626-0310.
Applicants must meet the qualifications for commissioning as active duty Army officers and must submit a letter from their DOT certifying proposal approval for dissertation or CRP.
**Please include a de-identified integrated assessment report as supplemental information with your AAPI.**

Questions about the program should be directed to:

Director, Clinical Psychology Internship Program
(301) 400-1917

In accordance with APPIC Match policy, this internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant.


Program Director
Clinical Psychology Internship
(301) 400-1917

Office of Program
Consultation & Accreditation

American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(202) 336-5979
(202) 336-6123 TDD

U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC)
(502) 626-0361
(502) 626-0310