Mental Health

Pre-Doctoral Internship Brochure PDF



The Mental Health Program within the River Valley Detention Center is comprised of a comprehensive mental health team providing services to male and female detained youth ages 10 17.  Almost three quarters of these youth live in Will County, with about one quarter from Kankakee County, and periodically youth are detained from collar counties due to overflow from other detention centers.  A variety of mental health interventions are available for detained youth, including court-ordered psychological evaluations, mental health intake assessments, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, crisis intervention and disciplinary segregation reviews.  Out-of-detention interventions for youth under court supervision or on probation include court supervision or on probation include court-ordered psychological evaluations, behavioral health screenings, individual therapy and family therapy.  Program goals have been to expand our out-of-detention services in both counties to provide continuity of care once youths are released to their communities.  All of the mental health programming is conducted with the use of evidenced-based therapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioral individual therapy and group therapy, reality-oriented therapy, supportive and educational interventions such as used in substance abuse and social skills work.  Family therapy sessions are focused on identifying problems and working on solutions.  Treatment plans are developed with an agreement between the youth and his therapist on measurable outcomes. 


Current Job Openings


River Valley Pre-Doctoral Internship Brochure


River Valley Detention Center is a 102 bed facility located in Joliet, Illinois. Serving both Will and Kankakee Counties, RVDC is a  temporary placement center for male and female juveniles between the ages of ten and seventeen awaiting court decisions on their cases. RVDC emphasizes access to mental and physical health care, education, recreation, and religious services.  While detained in the secure facility, the youth participate in the Juvenile Education Program, as well as a wide variety of programming conducted by the    juvenile detention staff, the Mental Health Team, religious groups, and community social  service groups.  The Mental Health Team at RVDC is comprised of two licensed clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social worker, post-doctoral fellow, two pre-doctoral interns, and several advanced externs and diagnostic externs. The RVDC mental health team provides comprehensive psychological services to remanded youth.  A large portion of the youth served by RVDC have a history of psychological and psychiatric treatment.  Others have been struggling with a mental health disorder that has gone undiagnosed until they obtain a psychological evaluation by the RVDC mental health team.  Common diagnoses include: mood disorders;  Conduct Disorder; Adjustment Disorder; anxiety disorders; and learning disorders. 



The mission of the River Valley Mental Health Team is to promote the emotional, social, and psychological well-being of residents and to facilitate change within a safe, structured,   encouraging environment, while remaining sensitive to cultural and individual diversity.

Pre-Doctoral Internship Program

The River Valley Detention Center Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship Program will accept two, full-time interns for a twelve month internship.  The internship will begin on October 1st and end on September 30th.   Our compensation for the one year, full-time internship is at least $18,000.  During the course of the year, interns will obtain 2000 hours, with a large majority of the time spent face-to-face with clients either through individual therapy, group therapy,   family therapy, psychological assessments, crisis management, and intake assessments.


The overall goals of the training program are intended to help interns transition from trainees to entry level psychologists.  This is accomplished through the provision of clinical services to youth and their families who are involved in the juvenile justice system. Through their experiences, interns receive training and become proficient in the specific domains listed below:

bulletClinical assessment

Clinical intervention




Psychology and juvenile justice


Professional Development


Ethical and professional behavior


Consultation, training, and supervision




Weekly individual and group therapy with youth detained at River Valley


Inpatient family therapy when ordered by the court


Outpatient individual and family therapy for court involved youth and families

bulletCourt ordered psychological testing for youth who are detained

Outpatient psychological testing with court-involved youth

bulletCrisis management for detained youth

Daily assessment of stability for youth on special detention status, such as suicide watch or segregation


Juvenile psychosexual assessments

bulletCompletion of a clinical interview/intake with each detained youth

Training detention staff on mental health related topics



bulletSupervision of students completing their externships at RVDC

Individual supervision with two licensed clinical psychologists


Group supervision twice a week with Mental Health Team



Applicant Qualifications

 Qualified applicants must currently be enrolled in a doctoral program in psychology and have   completed all pre-doctoral coursework.  Experience with the juvenile justice population is preferred, but not mandatory. Prior    experience with adolescents and a desire to continue working with children, adolescents, and families is preferred. Strong writing and clinical interviewing skills are a must. 


Applying for Internship

All prospective interns should submit the following documents to following the APPIC online application process no later than November 15th:

  Letter of Intent

 APPIC Application for Psychology Internships

 Curriculum Vitae

 Copy of Official Transcripts

 Writing Sample

 Three letters of recommendation


Selection and Interview Process 

Applicant materials will be reviewed upon receipt, and a selection of applicants will be invited for interviews by December 10th.  In-person interviews will be conducted in January.  For those out of state, interviews can be conducted via phone upon advanced request.  RVDC agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant . All pre-doctoral interns will be selected through the APPIC match process.  Accepted interns will be subjected to a criminal background check prior to beginning their internship year. 


 Further site-specific questions should be    directed to :

Dr. Kathryn Murphy

Phone:  (815) 730-7053

Email: KMurphy@willcountyillinois.com