Training Experiences

The training itself consists of a one year contract, with a minimum of 40 hours a week, meeting a minimum of 2,000 training hours beginning on July 1 of the calendar year. More than 25% of an intern’s time is spent in providing direct services.

Training is delivered through the following Learning Activities:

Psychological Evaluations: Interns conduct mental health screenings for youth and suicide risk screens. They will also participate in conducting forensic psychosocial evaluations assessing for experiences of child maltreatment and subsequent impact. Interns will have the opportunity to conduct evaluations of youth pertaining to risk (e.g. sexually acting out, violence). Through the use of our closed-circuit system, interns will observe several evaluations for all ages and referral types to provide a model for assessment. Trainees will conduct one psychosocial evaluation weekly. Interns will explore systemic and cultural issues that directly or indirectly influence these evaluations and resulting recommendations.

Upon graduation, interns will be competent in these areas of assessment, including being able to articulate relevant psycholegal issues, recognizing ethical concerns, and developing comprehensive formulations and recommendations to address referral issues through the application of the most current psychological science.

Therapy: Interns will receive a caseload of approximately 4-6 clients. Psychotherapeutic services are provided to those who have experienced maltreatment (e.g. sexual abuse, physical abuse, exposure to substance abuse or intimate partner violence), supportive caretakers, ambivalent caretakers, non-supportive caretakers, and depending on the nature of the referral (e.g. physical abuse) those who have abused or maltreated a child. Through didactics, supervision and direct practice, interns will become proficient in the treatment of trauma and child maltreatment through evidence-based and other interventions (e.g. TF-CBT, GB-CBT, DBT-informed and attachment based interventions). Through didactics and possible direct application, given the availability of appropriate referrals, interns will gain a basic knowledge of substance abuse intervention (e.g. Motivational Enhancement, Harm-Reduction, Relapse Prevention models), interventions for delinquency, therapeutic jurisprudence and the treatment of sexual offending behavior.

Didactics and Additional Training: Training is enhanced and supported through extensive didactics, supervision and rounding. Didactics begin with basic concepts and progress to more specialized knowledge. There is a minimum of oneEducational Seminar per week presented by various staff members pertinent to clinical and forensic practice at the AHCH [see manual for proposed schedule of topics]. Development of assessment and conceptualization skills are further supported through evaluation team meetings on Tuesdays [approximately 2 hours]. Treatment team meetings and quarterly multidisciplinary meetings between the treatment team and DCP&P staff also provide additional opportunities for learning throughout the year.

Resources: Training is provided through active engagement by the training committee, consisting of five licensed, full-time psychologists, and supplemented through interaction with the rest of the mental health and medical staff. Interns are provided a shared office with their own computer and workspace with access to the electronic medical record. Technology and equipment supporting dictation of reports is also available to nterns. The AHCH also has several support staff for scheduling, billing and other related activities. Interns have access to the medical library, which is extensive, to help support the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

Supervision and Evaluation of Progress: Therapy and evaluations are delivered under the direct supervision of licensed psychologists. Cases for evaluation are reviewed by the Mental Health Director and by individual supervisors to determine appropriate referrals for trainees. These cases are then reviewed in preparation for evaluation. The evaluation is processed in rounds and a report is drafted under strict supervision. These documents are then signed by the supervisor, as well as the trainee, both of whom are clearly identified on the document.

Interns spend a minimum of two hours per week in individual, regularly scheduled, face-to-face supervision. For group therapy, some additional supervision may be provided by fellows, under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Interns will also participate in a yearlong TF-CBT specific group supervision to develop an in-depth understanding of the intervention.

Interns are provided with regular feedback through the course of supervision. Formal written evaluations will be completed at the 6th month mark and completion of the program. Guidelines are in place to address issues in training, supplementing the larger institution’s Dispute Resolution Policy.

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