Training Methods

Experiential Practice

Sarah A. Reed Children's Center internship adheres to and emphasizes an experiential/practitioner oriented approach to training.  The integration of clinical practice, which includes psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation, is achieved through direct clinical experience, supervision, role modeling, and mentorship by psychologists and other professionals who advocate for practice based on the scientific literature as well as best practice approaches, didactic instruction in seminar and supervision, and additional assigned reading materials.  In order to accomplish the critical tasks of training interns to become competent professionals, we employ a variety of instruction and training processes. 

Interns will be able to gain direct clinical and assessment experience with children and adolescents across multiple settings.  The interns will be exposed to children who are functioning at a variety of cognitive, emotional, social, and environmental levels.  Direct experience will include individual psychotherapy, family counseling/therapy, parent-child interactional therapy, parent management, psycho-educational assessment, classroom observations, functional behavioral assessments, and crisis intervention.  Direct clinical experience is guided, processed, and integrated with information about best practices through supervision, didactic instruction in seminars and conferences, collateral consultation with a multidisciplinary team and their intern peers, in-service presentations on relevant topics, and by reading supplementary materials. 

Supervision

High quality, effective, and consistent supervision is the cornerstone of good practice.  We believe that the best supervision is conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.  While each supervisor's style is different, a common thread throughout the supervision process is to enhance intern functioning by emphasizing best practices, utilization of evidence-supported interventions and encouraging the use of common factors underlying empirically supported relationships.  While we recognize that supervision entails an evaluative component and is a hierarchical relationship, we strive to promote and maintain a collegial atmosphere.  We expect our interns to be active participants in the supervisory dialog and process and open to constructive feedback on their work.  Supervision may include case review, videotape, or live supervision.  It is important for applicants to  know that there may be times when a supervisor may elect to explore an intern's personal issues  when the supervisor believes these issues are impacting the therapeutic or supervisory process.  The exploration of countertransference and transference dynamics is believed by some supervisors to be an integral aspect of good supervision.  In addition to these issues, it is expected that interns will be able to discuss issues related to their unique cultural heritage and value system as it pertains to clinical practice, ethics, as well as other relevant practice areas. We strongly encourage interns to talk with each supervisor and establish an agreed upon protocol for these and other issues.  In cases where differences exist, additional input and consultation can be sought from the Director of Training or another supervisor. 

Each intern receives a minimum of four hours per week of supervision provided by licensed psychologists.  Interns will receive 2.5 hours each week of individual supervision focused solely on their residential therapy clients.  Supervision of these cases is extremely thorough due to the intensity and complexity of each case.  Each supervisor will follow and intern's case through discharge.  Interns will also receive 1.5 hours of group supervision each week.  Group supervision is used for didactic training, reflection on intern experiences, and clinical case presentations.  Interns will also receive up to 1 hour of supervision each week in their respective school district placements.  Outside of the formally scheduled supervision times, interns are able to access supervision as needed.  A faculty psychologist is available at all times.  Interns are also encouraged to seek out and obtain additional supervision from professionals in other disciplines and to interact with other school and clinical psychologists in the community.

Role Modeling

We strongly believe that interns gain knowledge and skills for competent practice through regular exposure to experienced professionals doing their jobs.  In keeping with this modeling approach, every effort will be made to have interns work with professionals from a variety of disciplines.  This enables the intern to become exposed to the day to day processes of working within complex systems as part of a multidisciplinary team..  

Research

Interns will also be required to participate in an applied research project under the supervision of the Assistant Director of Internship Training/ Director of Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement.

Didactic Seminars:

  • Clinical Training Seminar: (Mr. Anthony Bostaph) Interns participate in a professional training seminar combining didactic activities, review of literature, research, presentations, and scholarly inquiry emphasizing awareness of professional, ethical, legal, and clinical issues in the practice of psychology.  In particular, interns receive supervised training in conducting clinical interviewing and diagnostic assessment culminating in the production of best practice medical necessity evaluations. 
  • Cultural Competency Seminar: (Mr. Jay Pashupathi and Dr. Brittany Hayden) This is a seminar focused on exploring a myriad of individual and group variables that influence the way in which services are provided and received .  Specific attention is paid to working with clients of different ethnic, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups as well as exploring the interns' own cultural background as a backdrop for clinical work.
  • Child Trauma Seminar: (Dr. Rob Iddings) This seminar focuses on didactic and experiential training in working with children who have been traumatized.  There will be opportunities for discussion, review of the literature, presentations, and video-tape consultation. 
  • Family Consultation and Counseling Seminar: (Dr. Adrienne Dixon) The interns will meet with Dr. Dixon and become familiar with and responsive to the various ways in which working with children can involve families.
  • Program Evaluation Research: (Dr. Laura Amoscato) This seminar will provide a general foundation for the broad understanding of program evaluation methods, including outcomes measurement and needs assessment.  The intern research project is a requirement of this didactic seminar.
  • Professional Development: There are opportunities for the intern to participate in professional development activities. Interns can attend regular meetings of the Northwest Pennsylvania Psychological Association (NWPPA), to attend professional presentations and to be involved in the organization at a level the intern desires. Past interns have also presented at NWPPA meetings and future interns are encouraged to do so as well. Sarah A. Reed Children's Center also conducts internal training available to all staff, including interns.

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