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APA Internship and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychology

Overview

The Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) Psychology Fellowship consists of a two-year integrated training sequence: an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited internship and a (non-accredited) postgraduate Fellowship in clinical psychology. Doctoral candidates enrolled in APA Accredited programs in Clinical, Counseling, or School Psychology may apply. All candidates enter the program through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) match process. Successful applicants are appointed as Fellows of Yale Medical School for the two-year training experience, and are required to complete their doctoral degree prior to beginning the second year. Most students matched to our program meet their goals for licensure at the end of the two-year training sequence.

The program’s didactic curriculum and clinical placements emphasize public service to underserved populations, including the urban poor, children and their families impacted by significant biopsychosocial adversity, and children with combined developmental, medical, and psychiatric disorders. Clinical settings include an urban child guidance clinic with multiple community-based intervention programs and a university teaching hospital with medical, surgical, and psychiatric services for children. Interns and second year fellows work with other community agencies, including private and public schools, local law enforcement, and the state child welfare agency.

Internship Year

Interns receive extensive training in the psychological and neuropsychological assessment of children, and therapeutic interventions that embrace multiple theoretical perspectives, including developmental, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and family systems theory. Opportunities are available to assist in clinical research at the Yale Child Study Center, and to lecture about clinically related topics in child psychology.

The internship training year focuses on implementation of clinical services in community and outpatient settings through yearlong placements. In addition, interns spend approximately 10-15 hours per week working in a focused training area selected by them during the APPIC application process.

Areas of focus include:

  1. Autism,
  2. Early Childhood,
  3. Pediatric Psychology,
  4. Trauma and Children.

Fellowship Year

All interns remain with the Psychology Training program for a second year. Approximately 50% of the training focuses on hospital-based evaluation and treatment of children with serious psychiatric illness. Second year fellows work as primary clinicians on a child or adolescent psychiatry inpatient unit and consult to the pediatric emergency department.

The remaining 50% of training is dedicated to the area of focus initiated during the internship year. Continued clinical intervention with children and families, along with opportunities for involvement in ongoing research projects, is highlighted in the focused training area.

Program Model of Training and Education

The mission of the Yale Child Study Center is to improve the mental health of children and families, advance understanding of their psychological and developmental needs, and treat and prevent childhood mental illness through the integration of research, clinical practice, and professional training. The Child Study Center is committed to recruiting, supporting and encouraging the most gifted clinicians, researchers, and leaders in the field today as well those in succeeding generations in the service of its clinical, research, training, policy, and prevention agendas.

The psychology training program of the Yale Child Study Center takes a scientist-practitioner approach to clinical training and is based upon a developmental model of education. Just as we view the competencies and needs of our patients and clients from ecological and developmental perspectives, so too do we organize our curriculum around a developmental sequence of applied, didactic, and mentoring experiences aimed at preparing trainees for eventual independent practice in a range of settings.

Program Aims

The psychology training program seeks to prepares professionals to successfully address the complexities associated with children and families who are psychologically vulnerable. Those trained at the Center work within traditional and nontraditional settings and are trained to embrace diverse roles and responsibilities. An over-riding goal is to demonstrate to interns, through a combination of applied and didactic experiences, that provision of mental health services to children requires intervention at multiple and interacting levels of influence.

The science of psychology provides a foundation on which the Child Study Center psychology training program is built. Opportunities are presented in didactic and clinical experiences to learn about and explore the relationship between the practice and science of psychology. This approach is infused into all aspects of the training program. Examples include seminars in autism and neuropsychology that highlight the interface between science and practice. Ongoing research conducted by the Center provides a unique opportunity for interns to see the importance of the relationship between science and clinical practice.

Program Design

The faculty members responsible for the psychology internship program of the Child Study Center are committed to providing sequential, cumulative experiences that increase in complexity as the year progresses. During the first 6 weeks of the internship year, an intensive summer training period provides a theoretical and practical foundation for the work to be carried out during the year. The summer curriculum is designed to address gaps in training and is tailored to meet the needs of both the individual intern and the group as a whole. Special emphasis is given to psychological assessment and particularly to the assessment of social-emotional and adaptive development.

All interns participate in the core generalist training program, with year-long clinical training as part of the Yale Child Study Center Outpatient Clinical Services, Comprehensive Psychological Assessment, and the Children’s Psychiatric Inpatient Service. In addition, each matched intern is affiliated with an area of focus over the two-year integrated training experience. Our current areas of focus are Pediatrics, Autism, Early Childhood, Children and Trauma; each track involves distinct, specialized additional experiences related to the population served.

Each area of focus also provides a comprehensive orientation to the role of the intern within their track. Typically, interns begin by learning through observation and through modeling of appropriate practices by a faculty mentor. Gradually, interns assume more responsibility as their knowledge base and clinical skills increase. Similar sequential, cumulative, and increasingly complex experiences are provided in both outpatient psychological assessment and outpatient psychotherapy. This approach is consistent across didactic seminars and clinical supervision.

Goals and Objectives

The Child Study Center Psychology Training Program seeks to provide a general clinical program with an emphasis on child clinical psychology. The program prepares professionals to successfully address the complexities associated with children who are psychologically vulnerable. Our program is aimed at candidates in clinical psychology who seek a coordinated two-year program which will meet their requirement for an APA accredited internship as well as provide preparation for licensure.

Evaluation of Competencies

Trainees are provided with feedback throughout the year by their individual supervisors in both formal and informal settings. Regular meetings of core faculty and triennial review meetings (conducted October, February, and June) by all supervisors provide a forum to monitor and evaluate student performance and make recommendation for future trainee goals and objectives, and when necessary, to suggest modifications in the training trajectory of an individual student.

The Review of Fellow’s Progress form assessing each goal area is completed by each supervising faculty member, discussed with the intern, and then given to the Training Director. The student may respond in writing to the faculty member’s evaluations. The Training Director and Associate Training Director meet individually with each trainee after each Fellow’s Review meeting to discuss the evaluations provided by the faculty regarding the trainee’s performance and make recommendations and suggestions that are relevant.

This process is an opportunity for the Training Director to provide integrative feedback regarding the collective experience of others who have had significant interactions with the student. Both parties discuss how the training experience is progressing and the trainee is provided with an opportunity to provide reactions, critiques, and comments about supervision and other aspects of the training program. If it is deemed necessary, modifications to the training program for a particular student may be arranged at this time or at any time that the student or a faculty member deems it necessary.

Competencies:

  1. Treatment and Intervention
  2. Psychological Assessment and Introductory Neuropsychological Assessment
  3. Consultation within Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Systems
  4. Communications and Interpersonal Skills
  5. Research
  6. Ethical and Legal Standards
  7. Individual and Cultural Diversity
  8. Supervision
  9. Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors