Message from the Program Director

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The University of Chicago
Clinical Psychology Pre-Doctoral Internship Program

 

August 15, 2013

Thank you for your interest in the University of Chicago Clinical Psychology Pre-Doctoral Internship Program. We are pleased to provide you with our updated 2014-2015 internship information.

We are a Clinical-Scientist oriented predoctoral internship program and are accredited by the American Psychological Association through 2019.  We are based in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.  The Clinical Psychology Internship has been an important component of Departmental training for many years, and is strongly integrated within the multidisciplinary educational mission of the Department and the Medical Center. As a result, we believe we offer a challenging but highly supportive setting for obtaining predoctoral internship training in Clinical Psychology. Most significantly, our internship is highly individualized and can be tailored to meet our interns’ specific training goals.

We ask that you carefully read this information before deciding on applying to our program, so that you may fully appreciate the structure of our program and what we have to offer. We hope that you will select this internship because you believe it is a “great fit” with your professional goals for training and career development. Should you match with us, we will, in turn, work to provide you with the skills necessary to become a professional clinical psychologist who specializes in science and practice in an academic environment..

The Clinical Psychology Internship at the University of Chicago is comprised of four tracks: Adult/Health Psychology, Adult Neuropsychology, Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology, and Eating Disorders. We will be recruiting and matching with one intern per track. Each track is described below, and more detailed specifics concerning each program track can be found as you further review our information.

Please note that while our program is structured to train interns committed to their specific clinical training track, we encourage all of our interns to participate in either a research and/or clinical rotation outside of their track, to round out their experiences and skills. More detail concerning our training model can be found in the relevant sections below.

The Clinical Psychology Internship Tracks

The University of Chicago’s APA-accredited Clinical Psychology Internship Program is comprised of four tracks: Adult/Health Psychology, Adult Neuropsychology, Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology and Eating Disorders. Applicants to the internship must identify the track to which they are seeking consideration. The program will select one intern per track for the 2014-15 training year. Please keep in mind that once an intern is admitted to the internship, he or she will be expected to complete four rotations over the course of the year, with three of those rotations taking place within the specific training track.

A summary of the four tracks in the training program follows:

The Adult Psychology track emphasizes training in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mood and behavior disorders, and psychosocial contributors to health disorders in adults. This track offers core clinical rotations that develop competencies in the treatment of individuals with Addictive Disorders, Mood and Anxiety Disorders and emotional and behavioral dysregulation using empirically supported treatments, as well as emphases in different areas of health and psychosocial functioning through Psychosocial Oncology/Consultation-Liaison Psychology. Interns have the opportunity to conduct research in such areas as the treatment of addictive disorders compulsive behaviors, and the treatment of mood and emotion regulation disorders. Each rotation is described in greater detail in this brochure, along with a description of faculty interests. Primary faculty involved in the Adult Psychology track include Drs. Andrea King, Jon GrantAmy Siston, Shona Vas, Julia Wernke, Lindsay Brauer, and Lisa Medalie. If you are considering this track for internship, to ensure a good potential match, please carefully read the description about each faculty member's research and clinical interests. 

The Adult Neuropsychology track adheres to APA Division 40 and Houston Conference guidelines for training. The intern spends at least 50 percent of his/her time conducting neuropsychological evaluations and attending weekly didactics related to this specialty. Adults across the age range are evaluated, with a significant geriatric population. There are several clinical rotations available. The Adult Neuropsychology Clinic rotations (which occur on different days of the week) involve evaluations of primarily outpatient referrals presenting with various neurologic and medical conditions, using a flexible battery approach. The Memory Disorders rotation involves working with a multidisciplinary medical team and conducting neurocognitive assessments of individuals presenting with memory complaints. The Adult Neuropsychology Research Rotation involves working closely with a faculty member on either an existing project or new short term project, with a focus on improving knowledge regarding cultural issues and/or geriatrics. A new research rotation examining the neurocognitive abnormalities of psychotic disorders and using EEG and fMRI data is also available. Faculty on the Adult Neuropsychology track are Drs. Joseph FinkMaureen Lacy and Sarah Keedy.

The Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology track emphasizes competencies in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of neurodevelopmental, mood, and behavioral concerns in children and adolescents. The intern on this track divides time between conducting neuropsychological evaluations of outpatient referrals from the broad spectrum of pediatric specialties in the Medical Center, with an emphasis on children with neurological, learning, and developmental disorders; and on developing skill in pediatric consultation-liaison and individual and family psychotherapies. Interns become expert in the application of empirically supported interventions for mood, behavior, and developmental difficulties. The Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology intern also becomes a LEND fellow, through a joint-program with the Institute on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Chicago. A research rotation with the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service, involving either currently existent studies, or a new short-term project, is available during the internship year. Primary faculty on this track are Drs. Scott Hunter, Megan Scott, and Tina Drossos

The Eating Disorders track emphasizes competencies in the assessment and treatment of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Feeding and Eating Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified, and Obesity in children and adolescents. Particular emphasis is placed on utilizing empirically supported treatments for eating disorders, such as Family-Based Treatment (FBT) for Anorexia and Bulimia and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  Available rotations include the Adolescent Eating Disorders Clinic and the Center for Surgical Treatment of Obesity. Research rotations are available with Eating Disorders faculty. Drs. Daniel le Grange and Andrea Goldschmidt are primary faculty for this track.

Along with offering specialized training experiences, we also believe that the internship year should be focused on the broadening and further development of an intern's general clinical psychology skills. To facilitate this objective, interns are required to spend approximately 50% of their time conducting evaluations and providing brief and longer-term individual psychotherapy with outpatients, under the supervision of departmental faculty. This requirement encourages interns to develop competence in providing empirically supported treatment through work with supervisors representing various orientations, including developmental, systems, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, dialectical, and interpersonal models.

Across tracks, we expect that all interns will acquire the following competencies over the course of the training year.

  1. Assessment: Experiences in general clinics and rotation activities will facilitate the acquisition of diagnostic knowledge and assessment skills. Interns will develop a thorough working knowledge of the DSM and learn to use interview, historical, collateral and psychometric data to diagnose appropriately, develop a case formulation and provide treatment recommendations as necessary. 
  2. Evidence-based treatment: Interns will be expected to become familiar with empirically supported treatments including manualized protocols for Axis I and II disorders. This competency includes being able to develop and maintain an appropriate therapeutic relationship, initiate a case conceptualization that guides treatment planning, and implement appropriate therapeutic interventions. Interns have the opportunity to work with adults, children, families, and groups.
  3. Cultural sensitivity: Our program offers a unique setting to develop multicultural competence in working with an ethnically and socially diverse urban population. To this end, interns are encouraged to examine their own cultural background and how it impacts their own approach to assessment, treatment, and research.
  4. Multidisciplinary practice: Our program provides interns with the opportunity to work with different types of medical and mental health providers, such as psychiatrists, social workers, residents, fellows, nurses, medical students, and other physicians. By the end of internship, we expect our trainees to be competent in providing consultation, to work collaboratively as members of a treatment team, and to communicate effectively with professionals from different disciplines.
  5. Acquisition and utilization of current scientific knowledge: Given our clinical-scientist philosophy, we expect our interns to engage in professional activities informed by clinical science. As such, interns are exposed to empirically supported treatments, learn to turn to the literature to answer clinical and research questions, become involved in different aspects of clinical research, and generally demonstrate dedication to expanding their knowledge and skills. Further, interns will recognize the importance of outcome and program evaluation and its value in professional practice.
  6. Professional and ethical interpersonal behavior: We value the interns as members of our Department. We expect that they will engage in appropriate professional behavior, act ethically and responsibly in all professional settings, and become familiar with the operation of a medical center in terms of administration, billing, documentation, and time management. Through clinical service, research, supervision and didactics, interns will be exposed to the process of developing their own identities as clinical psychologists

In addition to developing broad competencies across the major areas of clinical psychology, interns’ professional development is emphasized. Interns are assigned a primary mentor who will help guide them in making rotation choices, monitoring their progress through the program, and assisting with career development and decision-making about the transition from graduate trainee to professional psychologist. Interns attend didactic seminars conducted by senior and junior faculty members addressing their developmental and professional needs. Seminars focus on issues such as updating your CV, creating an effective job talk, finding a postdoctoral fellowship, providing supervision, attaining that “elusive” K-award or R01, and balancing family and career, among other pertinent concerns.

Ultimately, our focus as a faculty is on assisting interns’ development as clinical scientists, through generalized training, specialty rotations, didactics, and research opportunities. Interns interact with various supervisors from diverse backgrounds and orientations, and develop the communication skills, expertise, and confidence required to provide expert feedback to patients, families, and physicians, and to share their knowledge in lectures and more formally, in peer-reviewed venues. Given these goals, we believe we have developed an enriching, exciting, and challenging program. We hope that this description sparks your interest and that you will continue to carefully read our brochure and choose to apply.

On behalf of the training faculty, we look forward to reviewing your application. We appreciate the time you will invest in completing your application and will carefully review your credentials.  The University of Chicago participates in the APPIC Internship Matching Program. Therefore, you must register with APPIC in order to be eligible to match with our program. As an APA accredited internship training site, we also abide by all APA guidelines and principles.

If you have any questions, please contact our Internship Secretary at 773-702-0529. If your questions cannot be answered through such communication, feel free to contact Dr. Shona Vas, the internship training director.  We look forward to the prospect of reviewing your application. We wish you the best of luck during this process and hope to have the opportunity to meet you in the future.

Sincerely,

Shona N. Vas, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience
Director, Clinical Psychology Training Program
svas@yoda.bsd.uchicago.edu