Graduate Medical Education > NMCSDInternship
Naval Medical Center San Diego
Psychology Internship

Also 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 staff.

Experience is gained with admission, diagnosis, treatment and disposition of patients with mental health disorders of a severity that requires hospitalization.

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 hospital.

Trans-Rotational Cases

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 communities.

Operational Experiences
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 vessels.

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
Email - Internship Training Director - NMCSD San Diego


Naval Medical Center San Diego
San Diego, California

Main (619) 532-6065