known as "Balboa" Hospital because of its location within beautiful Balboa
Park, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) offers psychology interns
exciting opportunities. You will work with experienced psychologists and
will be a contributing member of a network of physicians, dentists, nurse
practitioners, and many others.
Fully accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1991, the
Naval Medical Center San Diego psychology internship provides exceptional
learning experiences that may not be available in "mono-focused" internships
such as student counseling centers, correctional institutions, or even
community mental health.
In many ways, your NMCSD internship is comparable to a consortium internship
but without being transitioned from one to another organization over the
course of a year.
The NMCSD internship provides varied training experiences in numerous venues
while maintaining a cohesive faculty core and a central training vision.
Contact Internship Director
Clinical Rotations at Naval Medical Center, San Diego
Four unique rotations support Balboa Hospital's overall mission. The head of
each rotation and the Internship training director tailor rotations to each
intern's educational needs.
Adult Outpatient Mental Health Clinic Rotation
Interns provide outpatient assessment and therapy to active duty members,
their dependents, and retirees.
Typically, interns provide assessment, individual psychotherapy, and group
psychotherapy. Also included is a focused "mini-rotation" in psychological
testing with intense exposure to assessment and psychometric interpretation.
Although psychometric testing is a vital part of all four rotations,
instruction and training on the administration and interpretation is
concentrated in this mini-rotation.
Health Psychology and Consultation/Liaison Rotation
Interns respond to health psychology consults from other inpatient and
outpatient services. Consults may be from cardiology, neurology, oncology,
dentistry, among others. The nature of the consults varies. Some of the more
common are sleep disorders, chronic pain, poor adherence to prescribed
medical regimens, and anxiety disorders. Interns treat these problems with
behavioral and health psychology interventions such as biofeedback,
stress-management techniques, and cognitive behavioral strategies.
In addition, interns spend 1-2 days a week responding to crisis-oriented
consults as part of a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, psychiatrists,
social workers, and other mental-health professionals. During these
emergency consults, the intern will learn how to work quickly with emergent
issues and combine data from numerous sources into a well-developed picture
of current client functioning.
Operational Mental Health Clinics
Interns work off-site with active duty Navy and Marine Corps personnel who
are stationed on ships or nearby Navy and Marine Corps bases. The intern
will spend 10 weeks each at the Fleet Mental Health Clinic and at the Marine
Corps Recruit Depot Mental Health Clinic.
Interns experience the working life of a Navy psychologist who operates
outside the traditional hospital setting.
At Naval Station San Diego, active duty members will be seen for problems
ranging from adjustment disorders to active psychosis. At the Marine Corps
Recruit Depot San Diego, Marine recruits are seen for problems that may
range from mild depression to full-scale schizophrenia.
Inpatient Service Rotation
In a psychological inpatient ward with its unique demands, interns work
daily with psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, and hospital corps
Experience is gained with admission, diagnosis, treatment and disposition of
patients with mental health disorders of a severity that requires
The intern will stand an average of one overnight, in-house watch per week
during the Inpatient Rotation. During watch, interns work with a psychiatry
resident in responding to psychiatric emergencies in the Emergency Medical
Department, on the inpatient psychiatric wards, or elsewhere in the
In addition to normal rotation caseloads, interns will follow 2-3
longer-term cases (over 4 months) over the course of the internship year.
Additional NMCSD Opportunities
Several other educational components expose interns to new developments in
psychology and to career opportunities that follow a completed internship.
Each offers a unique opportunity to round-out the internship experience and
help interns achieve their educational goals:
Didactic Training Presentations
Seminars and other workshops present contemporary information and training
relevant to the effective functioning of a psychologist.
The presentations vary in scope and content, however, the focus is primarily
on the issues that would be of concern to a Navy psychologist (such as
post-deployment recovery from PTSD). Frequently, presenters are
distinguished colleagues from the Navy or civilian clinical/academic
Numerous operational experiences are offered to interns such as
participating in Marine Corps Recruit graduation ceremonies, weapons
training, and acting as Officer of the Day (OOD).
The primary operational experience is a "working cruise" aboard a major Navy
combatant vessel (often an aircraft carrier). Interns will interact with
sailors, learn the duties of the ship's psychologist, and develop an
appreciation for the demands on the personnel who maintain and operate these
The secondary operational experience is with the First Marine Division at
Camp Pendleton, CA. Emphasis is placed on gaining familiarity with the
operational plans and stresses unique to the Marine Corps, and, on
developing skills for effective consultation with Marine Corps Commands.
Interns are supervised weekly by the head of their primary rotation and by
the training director.
For trans-rotational cases, interns are supervised by either the training
director or the director's designated psychologist.
At minimum, interns receive 3-4 hours of direct supervision a week. An
"open-door" policy enables supervision or consultation as needed.
David B. Mather, Ph.D
Internship Training Director
Naval Medical Center San Diego
San Diego, California
Phone - (619) 532-6065
Internship Training Director - NMCSD San Diego