Fellowship Curriculum

The Psychology Training Program draws from the numerous clinical, research and teaching programs that comprise the Yale Child Study Center. Psychology fellows are required or electively choose to participate in these programs throughout their fellowship to meet the training goals of the program and individual training needs.

The Yale Child Study Center is located in two connected wings in the Yale University School of Medicine and serves as the primary location for most didactic experiences. The Child Study Center Outpatient Clinic is located nearby. Yale-New Haven Hospital also offers several sites in which training activities occur, including the Pediatric Specialty Clinics, the Pediatric Inpatient Service, and the Children's Psychiatric Inpatient Service. During the second year, fellows are placed on a psychiatric inpatient rotation at the Solnit Center for Children, a state supported facility for children and adolescents, or at the Children's Psychiatric Inpatient Service at Yale New Haven Hospital.

The Child Study Center faculty oversees 15 programs that address the complex needs of children and families, these include general clinical programs, public service and community programs, and programs for the severely disturbed and underserved. The Fellowship Curriculum is designed to take advantage of the strengths of these programs.

The Fellowship Curriculum

The psychology internship training program at the Child Study Center began as an internship in clinical intervention with children and families emphasizing psychological evaluation and treatment. Core training emphasized direct service to a varied patient population within a multidisciplinary medical school setting. Elective placements and didactic seminars permitted trainees to explore other settings and roles. Over the past decade the psychology faculty has developed a more specialized curriculum with focused populations in specific settings, including both hospital-based and community-based treatment and service to medically underserved children and their families. This work continues to be reflected in our integrated two-year program combining the predoctoral internship and a post-graduate fellowship. The first year of training meets the requirements for a general APA accredited internship with the opportunity to conduct some clinical work in one area of specialization. The second year provides the opportunity to meet licensing requirements through providing treatment and service to severely disturbed children and their families through hospital-based work, while providing more opportunities for continued clinical and research experiences within the area of specialization. Currently the four areas of specialization are: Early Childhood, Autism, Children and Trauma, and Pediatrics.

Listed below is the current psychology internship curriculum at the Child Study Center. This curriculum consists of both didactic experiences and clinical practicum.

Predoctoral Internship Didactic Curriculum

Required Psychology Internship Seminars and Conferences

Summer Introductory Training Course (predoctoral)
During the initial two months of training, predoctoral interns are introduced to a variety of topics that serve as an orientation to the fellowship. Although summer seminars are tailored to meet the training needs of each individual internship class, topics generally covered include psychological and neuropsychological instruments and assessment techniques, theories of learning disorders, techniques in psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral intervention, crisis intervention, and ethical issues for clinical psychologists.

Neuropsychology Seminar and Tutorial (predoctoral)
This seminar is conducted weekly during the predoctoral year and offers both group supervision and an introduction to theory and practice in the neuropsychological assessment of children.

Autism Seminar (predoctoral)
The Child Study Center has an extensive program focusing on research and clinical work in the area of Developmental Disabilities. This seminar for predoctoral interns capitalizes on the work that is currently being done at the Center and assures that all psychology fellows will be afforded exposure to the evaluation and treatment of children with social disabilities.

Family Therapy and Cultural Diversity Seminar (predoctoral)
This seminar focusses on learning about family therapy within the context of culture and larger system considerations.  It is focused on helping to further develop family therapy clinical skills in working with diverse populations.  Therapists’ development involves the understanding of the use of self as a primary tool for engagement, assessment and treatment.  Characteristics of the therapist/family relationship will be explored.  A communication and exploratory oriented approach to family therapy will be the foundation for the course.

Evidence-based Treatment
Evidence-based Treatment is infused throughout the curriculum of the Child Study Center. All Fellows are trained in Trauma Focused CBT. In addition, other evidence-based treatments are incorporated into the clinical work in the outpatient clinic and/or in the areas of specialization. Didactic content on evidence-based treatments is also presented through seminars, such as Departmental Conference and Autism Seminar.

Seminar on Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Children (predoctoral)
The seminar will explore psychodynamic perspectives on evaluation, diagnosis, treatment planning and psychotherapy with children and adolescents.

Group Therapy (predoctoral)
During the predoctoral year, each Fellow has the opportunity to serve as a co-leader of a psychotherapy group.  As a co-therapist, the fellow focuses on theories related to group treatment and gains direct knowledge of therapeutic practice in the group context.

Multidisciplinary Seminars and Conferences

Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology (predoctoral)
This multidisciplinary seminar provides interns with the opportunity to learn about diagnosis and treatment of a variety of childhood disorders through presentations by the Child Study Center's seminar faculty.

Psychopharmacology Seminar (predoctoral)
This monthlyseminar, taught by Robert McWilliam, M.D., covers the spectrum of childhood psychiatric disorders and the use of psychopharmacological agents as an adjunct to therapy. Didactic readings and case discussions are important components of the seminar.

Departmental Conference (all Fellows)
Theoretical, research and clinical papers by faculty, trainees, and outside speakers are presented in a Grand Rounds format. All Child Study Center faculty and fellows attend this weekly conference.

Professional Development Curriculum

Fellows Seminar (all Fellows)
Fellows meet weekly with the training director and other faculty to discuss a broad range of clinical and professional issues relevant to the practice of psychology. Professional development, advances in assessment and treatment, diversity, consultation, theories of supervision, and program evaluation are examples of topics recently covered in this seminar. This weekly meeting also serves as a forum to discuss issues related to training and the training program.

Clinical Supervision (all Fellows)
In keeping with the multidisciplinary orientation of training at the Child Study Center, fellows receive supervision from professionals from varied disciplines. Currently, each predoctoral intern receives approximately 3 hours of individual supervision each week. A psychologist supervises ongoing treatment and evaluation of children and families seen through the Outpatient Clinic. For psychological assessment, interns are assigned two clinical psychology supervisors. An additional supervisor is provided for each predoctoral specialty area. Second year fellows electing to continue patient treatment through the outpatient clinic generally continue with 1 supervisor assigned during the predoctoral year. Additional supervisors are assigned for all of the second year clinical placements.

Elective Seminars

Seminar in Social Policy and the Child (predoctoral and postdoctoral)
The Zigler Center in Social Policy and Child Development has primary prevention as a main emphasis. It also focuses on issues surrounding serious mental health problems of children and their families. The Center's primary purpose is to hasten the development of constructive social policy for children. Center activities have two main facets; the training of individuals who will function at the intersection of research and policy, and the development of a public education program that provides information on critical children's issues. Both training and public education efforts are designed to positively affect the formulation and implementation of public policy. Participation in the Zigler Center is limited and may be chosen as an elective training experience.

Applied Curriculum

Required General Clinical Settings

Psychological Assessment Service (PAS) (all Fellows)
Under the direction of Laurie Cardona, Psy.D., psychology fellows conduct comprehensive psychological evaluations of children of all ages referred to the clinic by schools, parents, pediatricians, and other practitioners. Fellows receive intensive weekly supervision during the course of each evaluation. Referrals come from within and outside of Connecticut. A variety of referral questions are addressed including differential diagnosis, need for treatment, and educational planning. Training in the assessment service allows interns to become proficient in educational assessment. Predoctoral interns are required to complete 10 evaluations during the course of the year; Fellows complete up to 5 evaluations during the second year.

Children's Psychiatric Inpatient Service (CPIS) (all Fellows)
In response to concern about the increasing need for services for seriously disturbed children and adolescents, the Child Study Center and Yale-New Haven Hospital opened the Children's Psychiatric Inpatient Service in 1985. The 15-bed unit provides diagnostic evaluations and crisis intervention to children aged 4-16 whose severe psychiatric and developmental problems require 24-hour intensive care. While CPIS primarily serves children from Connecticut and surrounding states. Children with complex disorders requiring specialized diagnostic and treatment resources are referred from around the world. The service utilizes state-of-the-art methods of evaluation and treatment to minimize the length of hospital stay. An over-riding goal of the service is to maintain the child's ties with family and community during hospitalization and to assure close linkages between the inpatient service and the other professionals, agencies and schools with which the child and family are already engaged. Laurie Cardona, Psy.D. is the Chief Psychologist for this service and provides supervision for all work conducted on the unit by psychology predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows. During the predoctoral internship year, interns provide psychological assessments on a rotating basis for all hospitalized patients on CPIS and serve as consultants to the treatment teams and inpatient school. During the second year, fellows placed at CPIS as their psychiatric inpatient placement serve as primary clinicians on the unit. As primary clinicians, fellows develop skills as case managers and behavior consultants and work with unit staff in designing interventions that will generalize to home, school, and community settings.

Child Study Center Outpatient Clinic (predoctoral)
Funded in part by the State of Connecticut, Department of Children and Families (DCF), this clinic is one of the largest child outpatient services in the state. While its patient population is varied, a majority of the families served are publicly assisted, ethnic minorities. Under the direction of Joe Woolston, M.D. and Christine Dauser, Psy.D., multidisciplinary teams comprised of psychology, child psychiatry and social work provide therapeutic services within this clinic. In addition, a specialized young child team focuses on interventions for children under the age of five.

During the predoctoral year, primary experience in outpatient evaluation and treatment is gained in the Child Study Center Outpatient Clinic. Interns are members of a multidisciplinary clinic team and are assigned cases through the team. Typically, each intern carries approximately 4 cases concurrently, encompassing child, parent, and/or family therapy. Additionally, interns actively assist social work and psychiatry team members in determining the appropriateness of psychological evaluation. Continued outpatient work in this clinic is open as an elective in the second year.

Required Areas of Specialized Training

Four areas of specialized training are offered, with one intern selected and assigned to each area through the APPIC match process. During the predoctoral year, the assigned intern will spend approximately 10-15 hours per week engaged in clinical and research activities. During the second year, involvement increases to approximately 2-3 days per week. Specialized training areas include 1) Autism, 2) Early Childhood, 3) Pediatric Psychology, and 4) Trauma and Children.

Autism
Interns matched for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities area of specialization spend a portion of their internship and postgraduate time involved in the clinical and/or research activities of that section. The Yale Child Study Center Developmental Disabilities Clinic offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluations for individuals from preschool through early adulthood. The clinic is highly integrated with the research program, and both involve highly experienced professionals from a variety of disciplines. The Autism Program at the Yale Child Study Center is one of the leading clinical and research sites in the country, with a wide portfolio of federally-funded research. Fred Volkmar, M.D., Director of the Autism Program at Yale, is one of the most respected experts in the field of Autism and developmental disabilities. The Autism researchers at the Child Study Center have a long-standing record of scientific productivity and have pioneered the development of new approaches to understanding these childhood disorders. The autism program of research at the Yale Child Study Center has included studies of the definition and classification of autism, neuropsychology, social cognition, early development and natural course, adaptive skills and outcome, speech-language and communication, social cognition, neuroimaging, neurochemistry and neurobiology, family and molecular genetics, psycho-pharmacological, parent-training and behavioral treatments, and animal models. Training in this area emphasizes clinical assessments of individuals with autism and related conditions from preschool through early adulthood, with a focus on developmental/cognitive and diagnostic evaluations conducted within an interdisciplinary setting. Research involvement may include training in standardized and novel methodologies, the grant-writing process, and integration of research into clinical practice. The fellowship will be individualized to meet the trainee's interests and needs within the constraints of the clinical service and its research priorities. For additional information related to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Program, please see http://www.autism.fm.


Early Childhood

Interns matched for the Early Childhood area of specialization spend a portion of their time involved in the clinical and/or research activities of that section. Infancy and early childhood has been a long-standing focus of clinical services in the Center and the section provides services to pregnant families, parents, and children from infancy through early school age. Fellows provide developmental assessments, individual child and parent psychotherapy, and school based consultation to teachers. They may also provide group based prevention and intervention services for parents. Clinicians in the early childhood section also provide follow-up developmental and medical consultations to families of preterm infants and work collaboratively with pediatricians and early childhood educators.  The clinical training activities for the early childhood section area of specialization focus on early childhood intervention and assessment consultation to pediatric and early care and education settings an individual or group based services for parents of infants and young children. 
  • Research in the section focuses on basic developmental research and on testing the effectiveness of our prevention and intervention programs for parents and infants. Research themes include studies on
    • Research on the quality of early education programs at state, federal and global levels and efforts to improve early education and child care quality
    • Effectiveness of early childhood mental health consultation systems infused into child care settings
    • Impact of substance abuse on parental sensitivity
    • Assessment of High-Risk Families (children born at high risk and/or exposed to cocaine); also opportunity for analysis of existing datasets
    • Electrophysiology/EEG studies of social rejection, reward sensitivity, affect tolerance
    • Minding the Baby (family based intervention using "mentalization" based treatment approaches)

The clinical training activities for the early childhood section area of specialization focus on early childhood intervention and assessment, consultation to pediatric and early care and education settings, and individual or group based services for parents of infants and young children.


Pediatric Psychology
Interns matched for the Pediatrics area of specialization spend a portion of time involved in the clinical activities of that section. Psychology training in Pediatrics includes clinical work in multiple settings. During the predoctoral year, the pediatric intern participates in the Child Study Center Pedi IICAPS program which delivers home-based treatment services to children and families with concurrent medical, psychological, and concrete needs. Specifically, the first year Pediatric Psychology Fellows work with the Pedi IICAPS providing family centered care to children experiencing both medical and psychiatric illness with the goal of moving them to outpatient treatment. IICAPS programs offer a continuum of care including evaluation, assessment, individual psychotherapy, family treatment, parental guidance, medication management and case management and coordination. Program goals are to maintain the child's relationship with his or her primary caregiver whenever possible, reduce the need for out-of-home placements, and assist the family to provide a safe, stable environment for each child.

During the second year, the Pediatrics Fellow will become a member of the Child Study Center's Pediatric Consultation-Liaison Service. The Child Study Center provides all mental health consultations to Yale-New Haven Hospital, Department of Pediatrics. Under the direction of child psychiatry and psychology faculty, the Pediatric psychology fellow, child psychiatry fellows, and developmental pediatricians consult to the inpatient wards, and Pediatric Specialty Clinics. Patients seen by this service are severely disturbed by virtue of their combined medical and psychological disorders. Services provided include staff consultation, diagnostic evaluations, and behavioral and psychotherapeutic interventions. Laurie Cardona, Psy.D. is the Chief Psychologist of this service. Additionally, the fellow participates in several outpatient pediatric clinics (e.g. diabetes, lead, oncology).


Trauma and Children—The Child Development-Community Policing Program (CD-CP) & The National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV)
Interns matched for the Trauma and Children area of specialization spend a portion of their time in the activities of the Trauma section. In 1991, the Yale Child Study Center and the New Haven Department of Police Service (NHPD) began the CD-CP program under the direction of Steven Marans, Ph.D. and leaders from the NHPD. CD-CP represents a unique collaboration between law enforcement, child protection, and mental health professionals on behalf of children and families exposed to violence in their communities. The partnership between the Yale Child Study Center, the NHPD, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) provides opportunities to develop more effective ways for intervening in the lives of traumatized children and families. This work has been supported and developed in partnership with the United States Department of Justice and resulted in the establishment of the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence (NCCEV) at the Child Study Center. Core elements of the CD-CP Program include seminars for clinicians on community policing and law enforcement strategies, seminars for police officers on basic theories of child development, a weekly multidisciplinary case conference, clinician ride-alongs with police, and a Consultation Service staffed by clinicians who respond immediately to homes and community settings where children and families have been exposed to violence.

The psychology specialty area in Childhood Trauma provides strong, multi-faceted training through the Child Development-Community Policing Program and the Childhood Violent Trauma Clinic (CVTC). The CVTC is focused on the development, evaluation, and dissemination of early/acute interventions for children exposed to violence and trauma. During the predoctoral year, the trauma intern participates in acute interventions for children and families exposed to violence. This includes training in the CD-CP Acute Trauma Response Protocol, ride-alongs and joint intervention with New Haven Police Officers, introductory training in police practices, participation in the on-call service for the NHPD, and training and provision of the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (a 4-6 session secondary prevention model for children exposed to violence which was developed at the CVTC).  

Predoctoral interns also provide assessment and longer-term treatment for children exposed to violence, including Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), psychodynamic treatment, and other trauma informed treatments. Interns also participate in a weekly multidisciplinary team meeting with police officers and DCF personnel. They receive individual clinical supervision and attend a weekly clinical team meeting to support these activities. 

In the second year, each fellow continues to provide therapeutic services to children exposed to trauma and to participate in the on-call service for the NHPD. Additionally, the fellow will develop and pursue an individualized professional development plan, in consultation with the faculty mentor.  This plan may include participation in research, clinical teaching, and/or additional clinical training within the specialty area, in line with the fellow’s individual strengths and needs and his/her career goals.  For additional information related to the Trauma and Children Program, please see http://www.nccev.org

Second Year Didactic Curriculum

During the second year, each fellow serves as a primary clinician at either the Solnit Center South or the Yale New Haven Hospital inpatient child psychiatric unit, responds to emergency department calls, conducts comprehensive psychological assessments, and attends a small number of seminars. In addition, each fellow devotes approximately 50% of their time to clinical and research activities within their area of specialization.

Required Psychology Seminars and Conferences

Departmental Conference. (see previous description)
Fellows Seminar. (see previous description)

Applied Curriculum

Required Placements

Solnit Center for Children (postdoctoral)
Solnit Center South, operated by the State of Connecticut's Department of Children and Families (DCF), has had a long affiliation with the Child Study Center. Located approximately 30-miles from the Child Study Center in Middletown, Connecticut, the Solnit Center provides inpatient psychiatric assessment and treatment for children and adolescents. Many of the children referred to this facility have been court ordered for evaluation or long-term treatment. The fellows placed at the Solnit Center as their psychiatric inpatient placement, complete a two day per week year-long rotation on units serving older school ages or adolescents presenting with a variety of diagnostic and treatment concerns. Fellows serve as primary clinicians and share responsibility for psychological evaluations with the staff psychologist assigned to the unit. Clinical duties typically involve twice weekly individual psychotherapy, weekly family therapy, group therapy, and participation in multidisciplinary treatment teams. Staff psychologists provide supervision.

Children's Psychiatric Inpatient Unit (CPIS)
This 15-bed unit of Yale-New Haven Hospital provides diagnostic evaluations and crisis intervention to children aged 4-16 whose severe psychiatric and developmental problems require 24-hour intensive care. CPIS primarily serves children from Connecticut and surrounding states. However, children with complex disorders requiring specialized diagnostic and treatment resources are referred from around the world. The service utilizes state-of-the-art methods of evaluation and treatment to minimize the length of hospital stay. An over-riding goal of the service is to maintain the child's ties with family and community during hospitalization and to assure close linkages between the inpatient service and the other professionals, agencies and schools with which the child and family are already engaged. Fellows placed at CPIS as their psychiatric inpatient placement serve as primary clinicians on the unit during their rotation. As primary clinicians, fellows develop skills as case managers and behavior consultants and work with unit staff in designing interventions that will generalize to home, school, and community settings.

Pediatric Emergency Department Consultation Service (ED Service)
The Child Study Center provides crisis evaluation and consultation to the Pediatric Emergency Department at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Hundreds of children receive psychiatric assessments each year in the Pediatric ED following indications of serious psychiatric impairment, including suicide and homicide. These assessments, conducted in collaboration with hospital social work staff, are the responsibility of psychology postdoctoral fellows and child psychiatry fellows. Fellows provide rotating clinical coverage to the ED and meet with faculty members to discuss their consultation to the pediatric emergency department. Collaboration with medical staff, crisis evaluation, and dispositional planning are topics addressed.

Areas of Specialized Training. (see prior description).
Psychological Assessment Service. (see prior description).

Elective Settings

Zigler Center for Child Development and Social Policy. (see description above)
Child Study Center Outpatient Clinic. (See previous)