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Program Model of Training and Education

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 Clinic, the Psychological Assessment Service, 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.