Vanderbilt University Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC)

The APA-Accredited doctoral internship in Health Service Psychology at the Vanderbilt University Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC) offers a secondary rotation that provides opportunities in a variety of clinical experiences.


Psychotherapy Track:  Monicah Muhomba, PhD., HSP, & David Sacks PhD., HSP

Biofeedback Track: Adriana Kipper-Smith, Ph.D., HSP (BCIA HRV Certificate)

Location: PCC, 2015 Terrace Place, Nashville TN 37203

Clinical or Research Rotation: Clinical

Number of Positions Available:

The PCC has 2 Tracks: 

  1. Psychotherapy Track:  up to 2 positions
  2. Biofeedback Track: 1 position

Anticipated Number of Face-to-Face Clinical Hours per Week: 5-6 hours for both tracks.  Please note that both tracks are clinical hours.


Psychotherapy Track: Secondary placement interns will have experience in the following areas:

  • Initial interviewing, diagnostic assessment, and treatment planning
  • Evidence based and other psychotherapy  approaches/interventions
  • Short-and long-term Individual therapy
  • Participation in complex case conferences
  • Group psychotherapy

Supervision: Ongoing consultation and collaboration with multidisciplinary staff

Description: This rotation is ideal for interns who are looking to cultivate and sharpen their clinical skills in the areas of diagnosis and psychotherapy, and who are considering building a career in a fast-paced, practice- oriented setting. Primary focus for secondary interns involves the provision of individual psychotherapy to Vanderbilt University undergraduate and graduate students. Psychotherapy training at the PCC is grounded in empirically supported treatments, including (but not limited to) CBT, DBT, psychodynamic, and interpersonal approaches. PCC clients are diverse as reflected in the campus population. As such, interns can expect to develop rich caseloads that vary in terms of presenting concern, cultural issues, complexity, and duration of treatment. Secondary placement interns can expect to engage in an average of 6 direct client contact hours per week. PCC clients are generally seen every other week, so a caseload of approximately 12 clients is considered average.

Decisions regarding type and course of treatment are determined through needs assessment based on accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. Secondary interns have one new client appointment scheduled each week. The PCC uses a three-session assessment approach, which begins with the initial intake session, followed by two additional sessions for the purpose of achieving diagnostic clarity and formulating a treatment plan. In many cases, treatment plans will involve interns keeping the clients they see for intake; however, other services associated with the PCC (or wider Vanderbilt community) may be deemed more appropriate given the clients’ needs. In such instances, individual therapy may be deemed as a secondary modality or not recommended at all. In addition to sharpening clinical skills, the three-session assessment process gives secondary interns an opportunity to become familiar with, and refer to, the many services and treatment modalities associated with the Center and the larger campus. 

Examples of these services include:

  • Process, psychoeducational, support, and skills groups
  • Biofeedback
  • Pharmacotherapy/medical evaluations
  • Psychological testing
  • Time management and study skills
  • Specialty treatment teams (Alcohol/other drug, Trauma, and Eating disorder)

Competency Goals:

  • Initial interviewing, diagnostic assessment, treatment planning and case formulation
  • Proficiency in implementing a broad range of psychological interventions  including empirically supported approaches (e.g. CBT, DBT, interpersonal) in short and long term individual therapy
  • Building therapeutic rapport and appropriate setting of professional boundaries
  • Working effectively with persons from diverse backgrounds and appropriately identifying therapist limits
  • Effectively communicating psychological concepts to non-psychologists  through ongoing consultation and collaboration with multidisciplinary staff


Biofeedback Track: Biofeedback is a process where information about the body is provided to an individual. This information is not readily accessible to our conscious selves. It can reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, PTSD, addictive behaviors, stress and chronic pain.

Brief Description of the Biofeedback Process: Specialized computer programs and sensors are used for this purpose.  Computers are used to collect and display results which are presented visually or by audio. This information is then used to train a new, better or more healthy ways of functioning. The data provides an objective measure showing if you are doing it in a safe and effective way—it eliminates guessing.

The PCC has a 5-session Biofeedback (BF) protocol. The 5-session training focuses on Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Respiration biofeedback. There is a considerable amount of training in psychophysiology and health psychology before the hands on training begins. The BF team meets biweekly to discuss new research in the area and how to apply new knowledge to our protocol. The PCC BF protocol has been presented twice in national biofeedback conferences. The BF team is composed of six mental health clinicians, sees about 214 clients a year with an average of 1300 appointments.

Biofeedback Training: Training and supervision is conducted by a highly experienced PCC psychologist who is certified in Biofeedback and earned a BCIA HRV certificate.

The Secondary placement intern will have a minimum of 2 full days (2 Thursdays) of training before beginning to see clients.  Their first Biofeedback protocol will be supervised in vivo—supervisor in the room during the 5-session protocol. 

Competency Goals:

  • Proficiency in appropriate implementation of the 5-session biofeedback protocol with clients
  • Proficiency in explaining and using  Heart Rate Variability and Respiration biofeedback interventions with clients of diverse backgrounds


Prerequisites: Interest in honing therapeutic skills and interventions in a fast-paced environment
Willingness to work as part of a multidisciplinary team

Supervision: All secondary interns are assigned to a licensed psychologist with experience in direct client service, supervision, and training. Secondary interns receive one hour of on-site, individual supervision per week.  In addition to supervision, structured training/learning activities associated with the Center provide additional opportunities for professional growth and acclimation. As an example, the PCC holds its complex case conference every Thursday at 9am and interns are welcome to join.

Diversity: We are committed to understanding and respecting individual differences in order to work effectively with the entire student body at Vanderbilt. As a training program we adhere to APA’s position that professional psychologists must be prepared to serve a diverse public, thus we devote our time in preparing trainees to be effective in this area.

Contact Information: Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions pertaining to our secondary placement.

Monicah Muhomba, PHD., HSP

Training Director

Phone: 615-322-2571