Doctoral Internship in Child Psychology
Texas Child Study Center
A collaboration between Dell Children’s Medical Center and University of Texas
The Texas Child Study Center
The Texas Child Study Center was created in response to the need for pediatric mental health services and training for future mental health practitioners in the Austin area. The Center is a collaboration between Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and The University of Texas at Austin Educational Psychology Department. The Center is located in Central Austin, 4 miles from the Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Services at the Center are provided by a multidisciplinary team that includes psychiatry and psychology. Psychology trainees include psychology doctoral interns, postdoctoral fellows, and practicum students. Psychiatry trainees include residents and child psychiatry fellows. The Center considers interdisciplinary collaboration and consultation of primary importance. Further, because youth are embedded within many social contexts, providers work with multiple systems, including families, schools, and communities.
The Center provides evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and developmental disabilities, ranging from adjustment difficulties to more chronic conditions including psychotic, mood, and developmental disorders. The Center uses evidence based treatment programs to address autism spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders (including Social Phobia, Specific Phobias, Separation Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Disruptive Behavior Disorders, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), depression, and disruptive behavior disorders. The Center’s approach includes ongoing assessment to evaluate the impact of treatment on patients’ symptoms and functioning, and feedback to patients and families on their progress.
Providers collaborate with physicians at Dell Children’s Medical Center to provide psychological support to children coping with acute and chronic medical conditions. The Center provides assessment and treatment for children and adolescents presenting with a range of conditions, including epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, obesity, and traumatic injuries to address co-occurring mental health issues, difficulty adjusting to a new medical diagnosis, developmental challenges that result from medical conditions, and/or difficulty coping with pain.
Patients seen at the Center come from all socioeconomic strata and ethnic and racial backgrounds. A portion of trainee and faculty work is done on a charity basis to meet the needs of families who would otherwise not receive treatment.
The Internship Training Program
Philosophy and Training Model
The goal of the Texas Child Study Center doctoral internship training program is to prepare interns for future practice as skilled and ethical child psychologists who provide effective treatment and assessment to populations diverse in presenting issues and cultural background. Consistent with the scientist-practitioner model and the mission statements of University of Texas at Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center, the integration of research and clinical practice is emphasized in the training program. The program aims to provide intensive broad- and evidence-based clinical training in pediatric and child clinical psychology. Following a competency model of training, the goal of the program is to advance the knowledge, skills, and behaviors essential for entry-level practice as a pediatric or child clinical psychologist. The program strives to train interns to provide the highest quality of care to pediatric populations by using evidence-based treatment and assessment and integrating knowledge from the scientific literature into clinical work. The program also aims to train interns to work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams of providers in diverse settings (outpatient mental health, inpatient children’s hospital, and pediatric specialty services and clinics). Consistent with the scientist-practitioner model, the program also encourages interns to formulate research questions related to their clinical interests, and to lead or assist with research studies that are clinically meaningful. Significant consideration is placed on the developmental stage of the intern with goals to increase autonomy, assist with emerging professional identity, and prepare interns for postdoctoral specialization.
- Develop and refine skills in psychological assessment.
- Develop and refine skills in psychological intervention.
- Demonstrate behavior and comportment that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology.
- Demonstrate awareness, sensitivity and skills in working professionally with diverse individuals, groups and communities who represent various cultural and personal background and characteristics.
- Apply ethical concepts and awareness of legal issues regarding professional activities with individuals, groups, and organizations.
- Conduct practice with personal and professional self-awareness and reflection.
- Develop and apply understanding of biological bases of behavior, cognitive-affective bases of behavior, and development across the lifespan to clinical work and research projects.
- Provide expert guidance or professional assistance to other systems (e.g. schools, medical team, community program) in response to a client’s needs or goals.
- Develop skills in the assessment and treatment of children with acute and chronic medical illness.
- Develop skills in risk assessment and intervention.
- Develop skills in the supervision and training of others.
The internship program includes a range of activities including diagnostic evaluations, individual, group, and family therapy, psychological assessment, and multidisciplinary consultation. The core of the program is outpatient service units (described below) in order to expose the intern to a range of children and families, treatment modalities, and assessment experiences.
The training program begins July 1st and is a 12 month training program designed to occupy 40 hours per week of an intern’s time, although actual time may vary due to extra time needed to complete reports and other paperwork, make telephone contacts, attend special meetings such as school meetings, or provide home-based interventions. The completion of at least 2,000 total hours is required to complete the internship program. At least 25% of interns’ time is spent providing direct (face-to-face) psychological services to patients. The internship precedes the granting of a doctoral degree and is post-practicum/post-externship. Training time is credited as post-practicum/post-externship.
The internship program at the Texas Child Study Center holds itself to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct, as outlined in the APA “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.” Internship program staff and supervisors are considered professional role models, and interns are entitled to fair treatment and due process, should grievances arise.
The intern’s weekly activities are roughly as follows:
|Major Rotation: Outpatient Therapy||12-15 hours|
|Major Rotation: Outpatient Assessment||8-10 hours|
|Minor Rotation: (Pediatric Rotation)||8 hours|
|Staff Meeting||1 hour|
Sample training grid:
|Intern||First 6 months||Second 6 months|
|Intern A||Outpatient Therapy
General Clinic-all year
Med Coping (6 months) / Internalizing (6 months)
|Psychology Consult Service||Obesity|
|Intern B||Outpatient Therapy
General Clinic-all year
Internalizing (6 months) / Behavioral (6 months)
|Obesity||Psychology Consult Service|
|Intern C||Outpatient Therapy
General Clinic (all year)
Behavioral(6 months)/Internalizing(6 months)
|Concussion/CRCST Group||Psychology Consult Service|
|Intern D||Outpatient Therapy
General Clinic (all year)
Behavioral (6 months) / Med Coping (6 months)
|Psychology Consult Service||Concussion/CRCST Group|
NOTE: this is a sample training grid. Interns will have the opportunity to state their preferences for outpatient clinics (internalizing, behavioral, and medical coping) and specialty pediatric rotations (concussion/CRT group and obesity). Thus, the actual training plans for interns may vary slightly from this example.
Description of Training Activities
Major Rotation: Outpatient Therapy Program
Through the Outpatient Therapy Program, interns will gain experience in providing diagnostic evaluations and providing intervention to a diverse caseload. Interns get experience in both broad based outpatient treatment and specific evidence based protocols. Each intern will carry a general outpatient caseload that includes children with a wide range of presenting issues that range from adjustment disorders to autism and eating disorders, and children with complex comorbidities and psychosocial stressors. Interns will learn to develop comprehensive case conceptualizations and integrative treatment plans. Additionally, interns will rotate through two of the evidence-based specialty clinics (6 month rotations, two specialty clinics total for year):
Behavioral Disorders Clinic: In the behavioral disorders clinic, interns will use a variety of evidence based parent training programs, including but not limited to Barkley’s Defiant Child, Collaborative Problem Solving (Ross Greene) and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Interns will participate in PCIT didactic training, carry a PCIT caseload, and receive live supervision for each session.
Internalizing Disorders Clinic: This specialty clinic is designed for youth presenting with an anxiety or depressive disorder as a primary diagnosis. The program uses time-limited cognitive behavioral protocols that have been empirically supported. Interns will learn to use a variety of evidence based protocols including cognitive behavioral therapy for depression and exposure therapy for anxiety, including exposure and response prevention and trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy.
Medical Coping Clinic: In the medical coping clinic, interns will provide therapeutic support for youth coping with a newly diagnosed illness, acute illness, or ongoing chronic illness. Referrals come primarily from the Dell Children’s Medical Center. Primarily based in cognitive-behavioral approach, interventions will focus on adjustment to possible stressors as well as provide different coping strategies to manage and adjust to ongoing illness medical regimens, complications, acute inflammations, or developmental stressors. Treatment plans may include pain management, medical adherence plans, school consultation, stress management, and parent coaching.
Major Rotation: Outpatient Assessment ProgramThrough the Outpatient Assessment Program, interns will develop and refine skills in both psychological and neuropsychological assessment. Interns are expected to complete one assessment per month. Referrals for the assessment program originate from a variety of sources, including internal referrals from other TCSC clinicians, physicians in the Seton Family of Hospitals, schools, and other community agencies and practitioners. Referral questions include diagnostic clarification, assessment of learning disorders, and questions about executive functioning. Interns will interview, observe behavior, administer, score and interpret a variety of measures, formulate diagnoses and recommendations, write a comprehensive report based on their findings, and provide oral feedback to patients and families. Assessment sessions will be scheduled on an individual basis in each intern’s schedule.
Minor Rotation: Pediatric ServicesFinally, interns will have the opportunity to participate in two of the pediatric psychological services offered through Dell Children’s Medical Center, including the psychology consultation service and a specialty outpatient service (6 month rotations):
Psychology Consultation Service:
The Psychology Consultation Service providing mental health consultation and liaison to medical teams at DCMC, primarily the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. This experience provides training in assessment and consultation, including the management of psychiatric emergencies. Psychology interns will also engage in therapeutic interventions such as behavioral medicine techniques, coping skill building, and family support as needed within the hospital setting. The experience in the Consultation Service includes both direct service to patients and the development of hospital protocols to assist physicians, patients, and staff.
In addition to the psychology consultation service, interns will choose one of the following rotations:
Obesity Program: Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity (TCPTCO)
TCPTCO offers interdisciplinary evaluation and treatment for children presenting with obesity and associated medical and psychiatric comorbidities. The interdisciplinary team includes experts in pediatrics, nutrition, physical therapy, social work, and psychology. The program includes an interdisciplinary clinic and group programs. Interns become an integral member of the interdisciplinary team and participate in weekly interdisciplinary clinics to assist with assessing and addressing emotional and behavioral needs of clinic patients. Interns have the opportunity to learn obesity-specific cognitive behavioral intervention, provide individual and family therapy to children and families, and participate in multidisciplinary team meetings and trainings. In addition, interns learn and co-lead a group intervention for overweight teens and their parents implementing dialectical-behavioral, cognitive behavioral, and family therapy strategies.
Concussion Program/Cognitive Remediation Therapy Group
The Concussion Program at Dell Children’s Medical Center is an interdisciplinary team of specialists consisting of practitioners from neurosurgery, neurology, neuropsychology, and physical therapy. When indicated, patients are referred for mental health services at TCSC, which can include comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, psychotherapy, and/or psychiatric medical care. The intern will have the opportunity to participate in weekly concussion clinic reviewing cases with the multidisciplinary team. The intern will then provide individual and family therapy for children and families identified as needing psychotherapy services. This intern will also have the opportunity to co-lead the Cognitive Remediation Therapy Group, which is designed to target skill deficits surrounding the late cognitive effects of children who have undergone chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment for cancer.
Interns will participate in approximately four hours of didactics per week, including seminars in assessment, advanced clinical topics, and pediatric psychology. These seminars serve the purpose of integrating clinical case material, theory, research, cultural diversity, and professional issues. Some didactics are open to trainees from other disciplines (e.g. psychiatry) and levels of trainings (e.g. practicum students and postdoctoral fellows). Additionally, interns are provided with the opportunity to attend the Dell Children’s Medical Center Psychiatry Rounds, Psychiatry Journal Club, and a monthly neuropsychology seminar held at the Austin State Hospital.
Interns receive supervision for all clinical activities. Supervisory hours are adjusted to meet the intern’s needs, with the following being an estimate of weekly supervision:
|Major Rotation: Outpatient Therapy||2 hours (1 individual, 1 group)|
|Major Rotation: Outpatient Assessment||1 hour individual|
|Minor Rotation: (Pediatric Rotation)||1-2 hours (1 individual and/or 1 group)|
The majority of supervision is provided by licensed psychologists, with at least 2 hours of individual therapy being provided by psychologists licensed in Texas. Note that for the consultation service, live supervision by attending psychologists or psychiatrists supplements the group or individual supervision provided.
Interns are expected to come to supervision prepared with case conceptualizations and a biopsychosocial formulation. The framework for supervision takes environmental, cultural, developmental, and family systems factors into account in case conceptualization.
The focus of the internship year is on clinical training; however, research training and supervision are available to interns on an individualized basis. There are many ongoing intervention research projects at the Texas Child Study Center, many of which are collaborations with physicians at Dell Children’s Medical Center. Most interns will be involved in these research projects by providing the clinical services being evaluated. Interns may also have the opportunity to work directly on these projects (data collection and analysis, writing). Interns may spend approximately 5 hours per week on research by participating in ongoing research projects and/or completing dissertation research and writing.
Salary and Benefits
The yearly stipend for the internship program is $26,000. Health benefits are offered through the University of Texas. Interns receive three weeks of vacation, 1 day of sick leave per month (accrued monthly), and 3 days of professional development/dissertation release time. Interns have access to the University of Texas library (online and on campus), Dell Children’s Medical Center technological support, and Texas Child Study Center administrative staff. Interns have a designated work space with a desk with lockable cabinets and drawers, a computer, and access to a phone. Ample space is available for therapy and assessment through a sign-out system.
Requirements for Completion of Internship:
Interns will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the internship year upon satisfaction of the following:
- Completion of 2000 hours (12 months full time) during the internship year.
- Satisfactory performance and progress in clinical work and professional conduct as measured by bi-yearly evaluations.
- Attendance in seminar programs and clinical staff meetings.
The Texas Child Study Center Internship program is not currently accredited by the American Psychological Association. The program is seeking accreditation. The training team is currently writing the self study document to be submitted to APA by the fall of 2013. The hope is for the program to have a site visit scheduled during the 2013-2014 training year. If accreditation is awarded, it will be retroactive to the date of the second day of the site visit.
Questions about TCSC’s training may be emailed to the Training Director, Dr. Jane Gray;however questions specifically related to the program’s accreditation status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
APPIC Membership Status:
The Texas Child Study Center Internship program is a participating member of APPIC.
The Texas Child Study Center doctoral internship program currently offers four full time positions. The program is a member of APPIC, participates in the APPIC Match, and adheres to APPIC Match Policies. The Texas Child Study Center adheres to a policy of nondiscrimination in the recruitment of employees or trainees. Applicants are expected to have completed basic coursework in psychodiagnostics, psychopathology, and psychotherapeutic interventions prior to internship training. Applicants must use the Online APPI to apply to the program. The application deadline is November 1, 2013.
A complete application consists of the following materials:
1. A completed Online APPI (APPIC's standard application)
2. Curriculum Vitae (as part of the online AAPI)
3. Official transcript(s) of all graduate work
4. Three letters of recommendation, two of which must be from persons who have directly supervised your clinical work (as part of the online AAPI).
5. Sample assessment report (be sure to delete all identifying information)
All application materials must be submitted through the AAPI online portal and received by November 1 in order to be considered. If applicants are invited to interview, they will be notified by email by Monday, Dec. 2nd. In person interviews are required in order for applicants to be considered and will be held during the month of January.
Texas Child Study Center will base its selection process on the entire application package noted above; however, applicants who have met the following qualifications prior to beginning internship will be considered preferred:
1) A minimum of 500 intervention hours
2) A minimum of 200 assessment hours
3) Dissertation proposal defended
4) Practicum experience working with children and adolescents
5) Coursework in child development, developmental psychopathology, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
6) Enrolled in an APA accredited doctoral program in Clinical, School, or Counseling Psychology
Questions regarding the application or interview process may be directed to the Training Director.
INTERNSHIP TRAINING FACULTY
Black, Janie, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Pediatric Consultation and Liaison, Eating Disorders, bilingual therapy
DeLeon, Rosario, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Neuropsychology; Chronic Illness, Oncology, Traumatic Brain Injury, Epilepsy, Learning Disorders, bilingual assessment
Gray, Jane Simpson, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Director of Psychology Training
Pediatric Obesity, Depression, Anxiety, Behavioral Disorders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Greenspahn, Emily, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Director of Neuropsychological Services
Chronic Illness, Oncology, Traumatic Brain Injury, Epilepsy, Learning Disorders
Levine, Ann, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Director of Assessment Services
Neuropsychology; Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Monnat, Lynn Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Patel, Puja, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Pediatric Oncology, Pediatric Consultation and Liaison, Gastroenterology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Stark, Kevin D., Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist (Texas)
Co-founder, Director of Psychological Services
Pediatric Consultation and Liaison, Treatment Evaluation, Depression, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy