Child Psychology Track

Child Track

The Child Psychology track is oriented towards candidates seeking an internship focused on the interface between hospital-based clinical child psychology and pediatric psychology practice. Emphasis is on diagnostic interviewing and intervention, management of health and psychopathology related difficulties, consultation/liaison, and working with referring medical and psychiatric teams. 

The Child Track intern will provide outpatient assessment and psychotherapy services to children, adolescents, and their families. Our outpatient clinics offer a range of medication management services as well as psychological assessment and intervention including individual, family, and group therapies. Presenting concerns range from more traditional psychiatric problems such as internalizing and externalizing disorders to coping with complex chronic medical illness. Patients are referred by other members of the Department, the general medical center and faculty physicians outside the Department, or self-referred from the surrounding community.  Through specialty rotations, the intern also has the opportunity to develop competency in pediatric psychology in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Interns will learn skills related to assessment, intervention, and consultation for children with comorbid medical and psychological conditions. Thus, our interns have access to diverse patient populations, the full developmental spectrum, a variety of psychiatric and medical conditions, and a wide range of clinical and research settings that emphasize multidisciplinary assessment, consultation, treatment, and research. Supervision is provided by faculty psychologists and psychiatrists representing different orientations including developmental, systems-based, interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, and attachment-related perspectives. 

By the end of the internship year, the Child intern will be able to utilize a broad range of evidence-based assessment and intervention skills with children and youth with developmental, psychiatric, and medical disorders. The intern will be learn to communicate effectively with members of the interdisciplinary treatment team, families, schools, and other providers. Further, the intern serves patients by applying an understanding of psychological principles to promote effective adjustment and reintegration to daily life. 

The Child intern participates in weekly interdisciplinary clinical case conference, where patients are discussed from the perspective of psychiatry, psychology, and other specialties involved in the treatment of children and families. Additional didactics include a series of child mental health seminars, held at the beginning of the academic year; a seminar on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Children and Adolescents; Peds C/L case conference and rounds, and attendance at the relevant rotation-based seminars throughout the year (i.e., the Pediatric Clinical Neuroscience Seminar or the Eating Disorders Seminar); in addition to departmental grand rounds, colloquia, and other didactics for the internship program as a whole.

The Child Track intern will be expected to complete the Pediatric Consultation/Liaison rotation. Interns obtain assessment experience in our outpatient clinics, but are also required to hone these skills in either the Pediatric Neuropsychology or Neurodevelopmental Clinics by minimally completing a half rotation in these areas, described in the Pediatric Neuropsychology Track. In addition, all the rotation experiences involve some combination of assessment intervention and consultation. Rotations for the Child Track are described in more detail below.

The Pediatric Psychosocial Consultation-Liaison Rotation is required and provides the intern with opportunities to participate actively in the assessment and intervention of psychological concerns that accompany medical illness and treatments. Both inpatient and outpatient experiences will be available with this rotation, with an emphasis placed on assessment, diagnosis, consultation, and brief intervention. The intern will attend weekly Consultation-Liaison Rounds while on this rotation. Dr. Tina Drossos directs this rotation, in collaboration with Dr. Khalid Afzal.

The Kovler Diabetes Center Rotation directed by Dr. Tina Drossos,focuses on providing health and wellness psychological screening for patients with diabetes. Interns on this rotation will have the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary (endocrinologists, diabetes educators, residents, medical students, nurses) clinic setting within which they are embedded.  They will work collaboratively with endocrinologists and receive referrals to see patients (children through adults with Type I and Type II diabetes) during their endocrinology clinic visit. Interns then conduct a brief psychological screening for the purpose of identification of any mental health problems that may need further psychological assessment, and helping patients identify potential problems and assisting them with appropriate recommendations and referrals. Interns are expected to provide the endocrinologists with verbal feedback after screening a patient as well as complete a brief written report. There is also an opportunity to provide very brief psychological treatment for patients.  This treatment is time-limited for 3-4 sessions in clinic and for very specific problems (i.e. behavioral activation for depression, relaxation for anxiety, exposure for anxiety or specific phobia, psychoeducation). Patients may still need to be referred after these brief sessions.  Interns  will also be required to attend and present at 2-3 multi-disciplinary case presentations throughout the year.

Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic Rotation: Interns will have the opportunity to work within a multi-disciplinary hematology-oncology clinic along with oncologists, advance practice nurses, social workers, residents, child life specialists and medical students. Interns on this rotation are embedded within the hematology-oncology clinic. This clinic will expose interns to a breadth of hematologic (i.e. aplastic anemia, sickle cell disease etc.) and oncologic (i.e. leukemia, neuroblastoma, solid organ tumors etc.) conditions.  The role of the intern will be to provide psychosocial assessments for the purpose of identifying any psychosocial needs as patients are undergoing treatment.  Patients are seen frequently in this clinic and thus, there will be opportunities for interns to follow and provide brief treatment with patients as they undergo treatment. Specific training opportunities include: provide verbal and written feedback to the members of the treatment team regarding the presence of such issues and recommendations for treatment; provide families with psychoeducation regarding diagnosis and treatment options; administer instruments including behavior rating scales in the context of clinical interviews to gain information and diagnostic clarity; facilitate the provision of treatment services to families; integrate information from previous assessments or treatments within the Department of Psychiatry (i.e., inpatient treatment, prior neuropsychological evaluation, etc.) into the current case conceptualization.  There may also be opportunities for these patients become a part of the intern’s outpatient caseload. Dr. Tina Drossos provides primary supervision for this rotation.


Childhood Cancer Survivor Long-Term Care Clinic Rotation: Survivors of childhood cancer are at risk for complex and long-term health care issues, many of which occur as a consequence of past treatment. The University of Chicago Cancer Survivors Center is an interdisciplinary program for pediatric and adult survivors of childhood cancer, (diagnosed before age 21). The purpose of the program is to engage in assessment, treatment and prevention of long-term issues associated with childhood cancer. The clinic is also focused on providing patients and families with education regarding these potential health issues. The trainee’s role as a member of the LTCC team is to screen for the presence of behavioral, emotional, or neurocognitive issues within the context of a yearly outpatient visit. Specific training opportunities include: provide verbal and written feedback to the LTCC team regarding the presence of such issues and recommendations for treatment; provide families with psychoeducation regarding diagnosis and treatment options; administer instruments including behavior rating scales and brief neurocognitive screeners in the context of clinical interviews to gain information and diagnostic clarity; facilitate the provision of treatment services to families; integrate information from previous assessments or treatments within the Department of Psychiatry (i.e., inpatient treatment, prior neuropsychological evaluation, etc.) into the current case conceptualization. Interns will need to be available on Tuesday mornings from 9-12 if interested in this rotation, which is also supervised by Dr. Tina Drossos.

The MALS Clinic Rotation involves conducting presurgical evaluations. Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS) is a condition that is thought to arise from an increased proximity of the diaphragmatic crura to the celiac vessels. Individuals with MALS often exhibit post-prandial abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. These symptoms can become chronic and may lead to significant weight loss. Treatment of MALS involves the surgical release of the median arcuate ligament.  To our knowledge, our medical center is the only hospital in the country that employs a multidisciplinary treatment approach for this population that includes pre and post-surgical psychological evaluations. The intern working with the MALS team will be responsible for weekly assessments of adolescent and adult candidates for Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome surgery  This 1.5 hour evaluation will consistent of a psychosocial interview, including questions related to quality of life and coping strategies as well as an assessment of DSM-IV diagnoses (e.g. depression, anxiety, eating disorders), and questionnaires.  Interns will also complete weekly follow-up assessments each of approximately 30 minutes duration.  This assessment is also part of an IRB approved protocol and thus, there are research opportunities available to interested trainees. Interns will be required to write up reports summarizing these assessments and present cases at bi-weekly multi-disciplinary rounds with the surgical team (surgeons, nurse practitioners, pain service and psychology). In order to be eligible to participate in this rotation, interns must be available on Tuesday mornings. Dr. Tina Drossos is the supervisor for this rotation.

A rotation in the Disruptive Behavior Disorders Program is offered under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Young.  The focus of this rotation is on intensive training in the assessment and treatment of behavioral problems in children and adolescents.  Interns will have the opportunity to receive training and supervision in a number of evidence-based treatment models include Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), various parent management training (PMT) approaches, and individual cognitive-behavioral therapy focused on anger, emotion regulation, and aggression. 

Interns will develop knowledge about the etiology and development of disruptive behavior disorders and common comorbidities in youth.  Family, developmental, and environmental factors will be reviewed as they relate to treatment response and long-term outcome.  Observation plays an important role in this rotation.  Interns have the opportunity to: observe live sessions in the PCIT Clinic; receive live/video supervision of sessions; and utilize behavioral observation/tracking systems during sessions. 

Interns will also gain experience in consultation with schools.  This may include: phone consultations with parents, teachers, counseling staff, and/or administrators, obtaining behavioral data from schools, making recommendations to the school about academic and behavioral accommodations, or applying components from the outpatient treatment plan in the educational setting (e.g., daily report card). 

The University of Chicago Stress, Trauma and Resilience (U-STAR) Program:  Under the supervision of Dr. Sonya Mathies Dinizuluexterns will receive training in assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents exposed to various traumatic experiences.  Interns will be trained to use evidence-based protocols (e.g., Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and promote positive youth development, provide crisis intervention, consultation, and/or case management services. Interns will have opportunities to participate in local and/or national trauma coalitions/networks to: (1) receive advanced training in trauma assessment and treatment for youth, (2) access additional resources to support trauma-informed care, (3) participate on committees that influence policy, or (4) network and establish professional relationships.


Recovery & Empowerment After Community Trauma (REACT) Clinic: Drs. Sonya Mathies Dinizulu and Seeba Anam  co-direct a weekly trauma-informed interdisciplinary assessment clinic for youth and families affected by community violence. Youth are identified by clinicians and staff within UCM Comer Children’s Hospital, and are referred to the REACT clinic to receive trauma-informed psychiatric and psychological assessments, which are used to inform treatment recommendations.  Youth and families served in this clinic must have at least a history of community violence.  Interns will: (1) administer brief trauma-informed assessments to assess the impact of community violence on youth and families, (2) collaborate with psychiatry and pediatrics to provide trauma-informed case conceptualization and treatment recommendations, (3) provide feedback to youth and their family, (4) assist with developing best practices for REACT screening and assessment. Interns can also elect to participate in on-going research projects

 The International Adoption Clinic Rotation is supervised by Dr. Scott Hunter. The intern joins this care team, which provides initial developmental and adaptive screenings on children adopted internationally after they have arrived in the US with their families, as a consultant on adaptive, behavioral, and school needs.  The intern will generally perform brief screenings and work with the care team and the families to prepare for potential challenges with adaptation and integration into a new community and society.

The Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Rotation is supervised by Dr. Scott Hunter and supported by our child psychiatrists, who work closely with Dr. Michael Msall, a developmental pediatrician. The intern joins the DBP clinical care team on a clinic day, as a consultant on behavioral and adaptive concerns that may present during the evaluation. The intern will learn the scope of DBP practice and will come to serve as a liaison to Child Psychiatry and Child Psychology, providing diagnostic screenings, integrating findings with the DBP evaluation, and referring for, and in some cases conducting brief neuropsychological evaluations.  Feedback to families and short-term intervention are common components of this rotation.

Interns may also obtain training on the Pediatric Neurology rotation which is supervised by Dr. Scott Hunter in collaboration with Dr. James Tonsgard, a pediatric neurologist. The intern joins one of the Pediatric Neurology clinical care teams on their clinic day, seeing the range of medical and developmental issues that present within an active neurological practice.  Consultation regarding cognitive, behavioral, and adaptive needs is provided by the intern to the team.  Referral to Child Psychiatry and Psychology may be made, for individual treatment or consultation.  Involvement in feedback sessions with families and the care team, and short-term intervention are common components of this rotation.

The Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic is directed by Dr. Lisa Medalie. This rotation will include assessment and treatment of patients with Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood and other behaviorally related sleep disorders such as Circadian Rhythm Disorder, Inadequate Sleep Hygiene and Poor CPAP Adherence. Interns will become familiar with interpretation of sleep logs and actigraphy. They will become proficient at providing behavioral treatment for pediatric insomnia and poor CPAP adherence, consulting to medical professionals whose patients have sleep disorders, participating in multidisciplinary clinics and providing referrals as necessary.