When seeking multicultural internship training, students can think beyond the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers' (APPIC) listings of major and minor rotations in multicultural therapy, according to a study in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (Vol. 36, No. 4, pages 446-450).
Study co-author Jeana Magyar-Moe, PhD, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point assistant counseling psychology professor, and her colleagues surveyed 16 training directors and 42 interns on the extent to which interns work with diverse clients and the number of multicultural training opportunities available to interns.
They found that programs define multicultural rotations differently and therefore students should research each site's definitions.
Based on their results, the researchers urge students seeking multicultural training at internship sites to:
Look beyond the APPIC multicultural listings. When one of the study's co-authors was looking at internship sites, she found one that caught her eye due to its location and resources but did not list multicultural training. After speaking with the staff and current interns, she found that the site's multicultural offerings were on par, and in some cases better, than other sites that listed minor or major multicultural rotations.
Speak with the site's training director-and current interns. Hear firsthand what the training director considers important or relevant multicultural training, advises Magyar-Moe. However, the best information, she says, often comes from current interns, who can speak frankly about their training.
Ask specific questions. The article's appendix offers 14 specific questions to ask both the site's training director and interns, including "What is the site's definition of a 'multicultural rotation'?" and "What assessment strategies and evaluation criteria are used to measure intern multicultural competence upon completion of the training program?"
Magyar-Moe suggests that students develop their own questions too.
"If I could go back and do it again, I would have asked if my site anticipated any changes in their staff," she says. "Because the person in charge of multicultural training left before I got there."