WSH psychology internship program re-accredited for next seven years

Release Date: 
Feb 16 2017
DSHS Office of Communications
Kathy Spears

LAKEWOOD –The Western State Hospital (WSH) psychology internship program has received the highest standard of accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA).

The hospital’s psychology department is one of the largest in the state. Its internship program provides participants a unique opportunity to work with children, adolescents, adults, and an elder population with a variety of diagnoses, as well as with people with criminal histories and mental health issues, including sex offenders.  

The APA’s Commission on Accreditation (CoA) grants levels of accreditation from three to seven years, with seven years being the highest of standards. The levels granted are based on  the professional judgment and guidelines set by the CoA.

 “The program provides a combination of rare and unique experiences designed to maximize the intern’s academic success and open doors to a variety of clinical practices in the future,” said WSH Psychology Director Michael Rogers, Psy. D. “Essentially, the doctoral students learn treatment skills applicable to a very broad spectrum of patients with mental illness.”

“This highly successful program is a strong testament to our dedicated psychology department and hospital staff. Maintaining the highest of standards, while the hospital is meeting the challenges of the Systems Improvement Agreement is nothing short of amazing,” said hospital CEO Cheryl Strange. “I am very proud of Dr. Rogers and his team for setting the high bar that makes this program so successful.”

Marilyn Ronnei, Ph.D., and Richard W. Yocum, Ph.D. are co-directors of the program.

“Seventy-five percent of Western State Hospital psychology interns have gone on to successfully complete postdoctoral fellowships at many well-regarded institution cross the United States, including Patton State Hospital, Emory University and the Mendota Mental Health Institute,” said Rogers.

The internship program receives an average of 115 highly-qualified applications vying each year for four positions. The interns are required to complete three, four-month rotations at Western State Hospital sites, including the Center for Forensic Services, the Psychiatric Treatment and Recovery Center, the Child Study Treatment Center as well as the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

All graduates of the WSH program have successfully completed state licensure for psychology. The intensive work involved in training future psychologists has benefitted Washington state with more than 35 percent of licensed psychologists at WSH, CSTC and SCC having been trained at WSH. The internship is the only program in the state of Washington with a focus on forensic psychology. This program prepares graduating interns to step into forensic evaluator positions which require highly specialized skills.  

“I extend congratulations to the training staff and interns of this professional psychology program for their achievements,” said Jacqueline Remondet Wall, Ph.D, the director of the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, with the American Psychological Association. “The commission also expresses its appreciation for your personal commitment, and the corresponding support of your administration, to develop and maintain the best possible quality of graduate education and training in psychology.”


DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.