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Why I Chose Yale

My Background

My name is Kathryn, and I am a soon-to-be graduate of the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at University of Wisconsin Madison, as well as a Psychology Fellow at the Forensic Addiction Services / Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic (ForDD Clinic) at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Prior to my time at Yale, I completed my J.D. at Loyola University Chicago of Law, and I worked at a law firm that focused on criminal appeals for wrongfully convicted clients and civil rights litigation related to police misconduct and violence. My research interests focus on the psychological impacts of incarceration and wrongful conviction, and factors that impact trajectories of recovery upon re-entry. I am committed to research that elevates voices of justice-involved communities and provides evidence to guide criminal justice reform. Following graduation from my PhD program and the Yale Doctoral Internship, I am staying at Yale as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Yale Law School’s Justice Collaboratory and Yale School of Medicine’s SEICHE Center for Health and Justice. In this research position, I will be working on a research project designed to characterize the incidence of COVID-19 disease progression and related outcomes in correctional facilities. Additionally, I will join several research projects with the goal of informing criminal justice reform.

Why I Chose Yale

I chose Yale because of the opportunities to engage in clinical work and research at the intersection of psychology and the criminal justice system. Throughout my PhD program, I developed a passion for forensic psychology and clinical practice with justice-involved populations. When I discovered the Forensic Addiction Services track, I was excited for the opportunity to gain experience and training in forensic assessment through the Division of Law and Psychiatry, engage in therapy with justice-involved clients at the ForDD Clinic, and gain research experience with policy and social justice implications.

My Professional Activities

At the ForDD Clinic, I conduct outpatient psychotherapy with clients with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. I maintained a caseload of 6-10 clients throughout the year, and met with each client on a weekly or twice weekly basis. I also regularly conducted triage assessments with clients who were initiating treatment at the ForDD Clinic. Being placed full-time at the ForDD Clinic allowed for additional clinical research opportunities as a part of the SAMHSA-funded Living Free program. As a part of the Living Free Program, I conducted telehealth recruitment interviews and assessments with incarcerated clients to gather information from clients and discuss treatment at the ForDD Clinic. Following their release from incarceration, I had the opportunity to keep some of these clients on my caseload, and helped connect them with educational, housing, and employment services. Throughout the year, I had several opportunities to conduct clinical and forensic assessments at the ForDD Clinic and under the supervision of Dr. Madelon Baranoski in the Division of Law and Psychiatry. Additionally, I worked on a scholarly project using several publicly available datasets to examine the state-level impact of laws punishing substance use during pregnancy on maternal and infant mortality rates in the United States. Throughout the year, I had four supervisors that I met with weekly for individual supervision. I also attended weekly ForDD treatment team meetings in which we discussed new intakes and clinical issues that arose.

In addition to the core activities at the ForDD Clinic, I attended seminars and weekly grand rounds through the Division of Law and Psychiatry, and I participated in a mock trial in which I acted as an expert witness. I also attended several elective courses through the Department of Psychiatry, including: “Forensic Statement Analysis: Distinguishing Genuine from Deceptive Witness Accounts” with Dr. Charles Morgan III, “The Consequences of Childhood Attachment Trauma on the Development of Adult Psychopathology” with Dr. Ellen Nasper, and “Treating Paraphilias” with Dr. Leslie Lothstein.

My Favorite Things to do in/around New Haven

I have enjoyed exploring the many restaurants in the New Haven area. Some of my favorite restaurants are Geronimo’s, September in Bangkok, York Street Noodle House, J Roos, and Kumo. I also enjoyed the many beautiful hiking trails and paths in and around New Haven, as well as exploring Yale’s campus with friends from my cohort. There are many beautiful beaches in the Connecticut area, and, being from the Midwest, I enjoyed being able to visit several cities and states that are within driving distance. Most importantly, I developed lifelong friendships with several members of my cohort, which has been one of the highlights of the year.

Final Thoughts

I have really enjoyed my time on internship and I’m looking forward to staying at Yale for my post-doc training. I love having a large cohort with a variety of experiences and perspectives. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate and learn from many faculty in the Department of Psychiatry, whom I found to be welcoming and supportive of my professional development. The mentorship I received from several faculty has been extremely meaningful both professionally and personally, and I look forward to staying in touch with faculty and continuing to collaborate on research projects in the future.