Frequently Asked Questions


1. I understand that UC Santa Cruz is based on the College system. What does this mean and how does this system impact interns and CAPS?

UC Santa Cruz is made up of 10 colleges, each having its own separate residential housing. All undergraduates, whether they live on campus or off campus, are affiliated with one of the UCSC colleges (Cowell, Stevenson, Crown, Merrill, Porter, Kresge, Oakes, Rachel Carson, Nine, and Ten). Although students take classes in any number of colleges and academic departments throughout the campus, core courses within each college provide a common academic base for first-year and transfer students. Graduate students are affiliated with their academic departments and are not affiliated with a specific college.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) at UC Santa Cruz operates in both a centralized and decentralized manner. CAPS has a central office in the Student Health Center Building on campus. This is our main hub for counseling and psychiatry services for students. The services provided in the CAPS central office include appointment scheduling, walk-in crisis services, most initial assessment appointments, case management services, psychiatry services, individual and group therapy, intern training, staff meetings, committee meetings, and case conferences. Interns are housed in our main central office with psychiatry staff and CAPS management. CAPS decentralized services include offices for staff psychologists and therapists and postdoctoral fellows at different satellite locations, including the colleges, the Porter Annex, The Cove, and Family Student Housing. Counseling staff in these satellite offices provide brief individual and couples therapy and outreach and consultation; some groups and workshops are also held in satellite locations, and others are held at the CAPS central office. Walk-in crisis services are not provided in the satellite offices, only in the main CAPS office.

What may be a bit confusing is that the CAPS staff in the satellite offices provide counseling services to students from any college, not just to students from the college where the office is located. This is because our clinical services operate in a centralized fashion: Students call or come into our Central Office to request an appointment and are typically first scheduled with an initial assessment appointment (usually at CAPS Central); subsequent appointments with CAPS staff member, postdoc, or intern are held at their individual clinical office at either CAPS central or a satellite location. CAPS staff also provide consultation and outreach to students and staff/faculty in their satellite location. Interns have the opportunity to work collaboratively conducting programming with any of our CAPS staff in satellite locations.

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Often, intern applicants are concerned about how much contact they will have with the CAPS staff that are in the satellite offices. Even though we have a decentralized (or hybrid) counseling center, an essential component of any APA-accredited training program is having opportunities for socialization with both staff and peers in the profession of psychology. We provide many opportunities for this to occur. Although a bulk of staff are housed in satellite locations, interns and staff get together regularly for meetings and collaboration. The entire CAPS staff (psychotherapists, psychiatrists, case managers, interns, postdoctoral fellows) meets every week on Tuesdays for staff meetings and clinical teams, and committee meetings are held on most Thursdays. Interns meet regularly three times a week for training seminars and group supervision. Interns also meet regularly with different CAPS staff for primary supervision, secondary supervision, group co-facilitation, planning and committee meetings, and general consultation. Interns also have the opportunity to work with their crisis team supervisor throughout the year when conducting their crisis shift.

2. What are you looking for in an intern?

A majority of our interns have previous clinical and practica experience in counseling centers, a strong interest in conducting brief therapy and crisis management, and a commitment to outreach and educational programming and consultation. As a staff and a unit, we value diversity and a community psychology model of intervention. We look for interns who are flexible, work collaboratively in a team setting, and who are committed to lifelong development of multicultural competence. Finally, we are always looking for applicants who would be a good fit for our training program.

3. How are primary supervisors assigned?

During the orientation period, interns have the opportunity to meet with potential primary supervisors in order to learn more about them and their supervisory styles. Interns then rank their preferences and discuss them along with their training needs with the Director of Training, who makes the final assignments taking into consideration intern preferences and training needs for the year. Secondary supervisors are chosen by the intern for winter and spring quarters. Interns choose their secondary supervisor after meeting with and working with different CAPS staff throughout fall quarter.

4. Do I have my own office and computer?

Yes, each intern has a large spacious private office (with window) in the main CAPS office overlooking a redwood forest. You are provided with a desktop computer, printer, telephone, webcam, and flexible up and down desk. Each computer is networked within the center and the University, so you can have access to the Point and Click (PnC) scheduling system and computerized record system, as well as to email and the Internet. Interns can complete clinical documentation through the PnC program from your own office.

5. Do interns get the opportunity to supervise or teach?

UC Santa Cruz does not have a Clinical or Counseling Psychology graduate program on campus, and thus unfortunately there are no opportunities for interns to supervise practicum students. We do provide a 4.5-hour training module on supervision that focuses on both the theories and practice of supervision, and interns have the opportunity to conduct simulated supervision with their peers during this training module. With regard to teaching, interns will have some opportunities to facilitate or co-facilitate educational programs, trainings, or workshops on a variety of topics during the year.

6. What types of groups are offered by Counseling and Psychological Services?

Counseling and Psychological Services offers a variety of therapy and psychoeducational groups throughout the year. Some examples include: Eating Awareness, Grief and Loss, Understanding Myself and Others, Graduate Men’s Group, Graduate Women’s Groups, Undergraduate Women’s Group, Managing Social Anxiety, and Mindfulness Meditation. In addition, interns may develop groups on their own and can also co-facilitate groups with fellow interns or postdoctoral fellows during spring quarter.

7. Are interns required to be on-call on night or weekends?

No. CAPS utilizes an After Hours Crisis Service Program which responds to student in distress on nights, weekends, and holidays. The service also provides consultation to faculty, staff, family, and friends who are concerned about UCSC students in distress. Interns are not required to be on call during their internships for night or weekend on call.

8. Will I have opportunities to specialize in certain clinical areas?

Interns will definitely get the opportunity to specialize in providing brief therapy, crisis intervention and crisis management, and group therapy. Interns will have the opportunity to develop special expertise working with a multiculturally diverse college student population. In order to tailor the internship to each intern, there is flexibility in several components: developing outreach and educational programs in your area of interest, choosing clients with specific clinical presentations for your caseload, therapy group co-facilitation, and collaborating with different units on campus.

9. What opportunities are available in providing outreach and consultation services?

There are several opportunities available to conduct outreach and consultation while on internship here. Prior to fall quarter commencing, staff and interns work together on RA Training teams to provide crisis trainings for residential staff before the students moving into their dorms. CAPS staff also work collaboratively with different campus groups, such as the Women's Center, Educational Opportunities Program, the GLBTIQ Student Office, Disability Resource Center, and Student Ethnic Resource Centers and often provide programs to these different units. Periodically, staff are also requested to provide trainings to different groups on how to work with and identify distressed students, or on different mental health topics as well. Interns are encouraged to consult with different units on campus for program development throughout the year.

10. Are there opportunities for testing or conducting couples therapy?

Formal testing is not a large training component of the CAPS UCSC internship. We utilize the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS) for every session with clients. If appropriate, interns can integrate the PAI into the clinical work if this would benefit diagnosis and treatment planning

Couples therapy is also not a major training component of UCSC internship. Interns may have the opportunity to carry 2-4 couples’ cases throughout the year.

11. I have never provided brief therapy or crisis intervention before. Will I receive training in these areas?

Yes. Interns receive significant training in brief therapy and crisis intervention during intern orientation, training seminars, the crisis seminar, and in individual and group supervision. This is a major training component of the internship program.

12. What is the ethnic makeup of the UC Santa Cruz student population?

Student enrollment at UC Santa Cruz for fall 2019 was 17,719 undergraduates and 1,908 graduate students, for a total of 19,627. Among undergraduates in fall 2019, 50.6% identified as male, 48.4% identified as female, and 1% were unknown. The ethnic/racial/nationality breakdown of the undergraduate student population for fall 2019 was as follows:

African American   1.9%
American Indian/Alaskan Native  .1%
Asian 22.1%
Hispanic/Latino 28.4%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander .2%
White 31.4%
International 4.2%
Unknown/not reported 9.6%

The ethnic/racial/nationality breakdown of the graduate student population for Fall 2019 was as follows:

African American   3.2%
American Indian/Alaskan Native  1.2%
Asian 11%
Hispanic/Latino 10.7%
White 40.4%
International 29.9%
Unknown/not reported 6.5%

In addition, campus estimates are that 10 to 13% of students identify as LGBTQ.

13. Is there support for professional development activities?

Interns are encouraged to pursue professional development activities while on internship. Interns are given five days of professional development during the internship year, and can use the time for conference attendance and professional meetings, dissertation completion, graduation, and job interviewing. Interns regularly attend the annual Northern California Training Directors Conference and the Multicultural Training Day at San Jose State University where they meet trainees from other northern California internship programs. In addition, the Bay Area offers a wide variety of workshops and conferences within an easy commute of Santa Cruz.

14. I am interested in applying to UCSC for internship.  Can I visit the site?

Of course. If you are interested in visiting our site, please contact the Training Director. We do want to be clear though, given the high financial burden applicants incur when interviewing for internship positions, that an in-person visit to our site is not required and will not affect our decision about your ranking when you apply to our site. If you are seeking to visit our site close to the deadline for applications, we encourage you to do so after you have received notification that you have been offered an interview with UCSC. Our primary goal is for you to obtain the necessary information for you to make an informed decision when you send in your ranking list.