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Psychology Internship Program

In this Section:

Sample Rotational Schedule

Outpatient Psychotherapy 12 months
ER Call (1 Saturday per month;
12 months
Inpatient-Child 3 months
Inpatient-Adolescent 3 months
Outpatient Assessment 6 months
Consultation/Med. Specialty 3 months/ 3 months


This internship provides the trainee with the opportunity to take substantial responsibility for carrying out his or her major professional functions in the context of appropriate supervisory support. The program is arranged on both a longitudinal and rotational basis. It is designed around a core experience, which focuses on intern competencies in assessment, diagnostic interviewing, intervention, case management and triage, consultation, and critical thinking about clinical case material. Interns are exposed to training in empirically supported treatments for a range of pediatric conditions. Intern participation in multidisciplinary teams and specialty clinics affords them the opportunity for limited supervision of, and role‐modeling for, psychology externs and medical students. Each intern’s schedule is individualized according to his/her special interests and training needs.

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Outpatient Therapy

Throughout the entire year, interns devote 20 percent of their time to providing outpatient therapy in a clinic located at the main hospital. This clinic provides training for psychology interns and externs, child psychiatry fellows, and general psychiatry residents. The patient population in the outpatient clinic at the hospital is economically diverse and often includes families with multiple psychological, social and medical problems. Referrals to the outpatient clinics come from community physicians, public and private schools, and other departments within the hospital.

Interns obtain closely supervised practice in therapeutic intervention, including individual child therapy, group therapy with parents and children and family therapy. A varied caseload is assigned to each intern. Interns are encouraged to individualize their caseloads according to their special interests. They typically carry 10 outpatient cases throughout the year, which may include family and group therapy.

It should be noted that training in issues of child abuse and neglect is provided throughout the outpatient and inpatient programs. Interns who have a special interest in this area may be assigned to psychology supervisors in the Freddie Mac Child and Adolescent Protection Center.

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Emergency Room Coverage

Throughout the entire year interns spend one Saturday per month (8:00 am ‐ 4:00 pm) providing emergency room consultation and triage (ER Call). This experience provides training in the management of psychiatric emergencies, including diagnostic interviewing, formulation, triage, and the hospital admission process. Supervision is provided by a psychiatry attending on a rotational basis.

Inpatient Experience

All interns spend 70 percent of their time for three months on the Child Psychiatry Inpatient Unit. This is a short stay facility for younger children (ages 5‐13) presenting in acute psychiatric crisis. Primary goals of treatment typically include stabilization, diagnostic clarification and behavior management. The Unit has an eclectic orientation including psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, and family components. Interns rotating on this service become case managers and therapists, and participate in the diagnostic assessment of children who are strikingly uncommunicative, withdrawn, depressed or hyperactive. As a member of the multidisciplinary treatment team, interns are expected to consult with the psychiatry staff, child life specialists, nursing staff, and the education staff in the design and implementation of the milieu treatment programs on this unit. Interns typically carry a caseload of two patients at a time, providing individual therapy, parent training, psychoeducation and case management as needed. Case supervision is provided by the Psychiatry Attending Physician. This responsibility rotates monthly among the following psychiatrists: Dr. Bhavin Dave, Dr. Deepa Khushlani, Dr. Edgardo Menvielle, Dr. Nasima Nusrat, Dr. Sandra Rackley, Dr. Haniya Raza, Dr. Adelaide Robb, Dr. Jay Salpekar, Dr, Martine Solages, Dr. Cathy Southammakosane and Dr. Wendell Wu.

Interns also spend 70 percent of their time for three months on the Adolescent Psychiatry Inpatient Unit. This program is designed to meet the medical and psychological needs of adolescents presenting in acute psychiatric crisis. These are primarily patients with psychosomatic disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, oppositional disorders, and school refusal. Interns become part of the multidisciplinary team that includes adolescent medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, education, nursing, nutrition and physical therapy. Interns typically carry a caseload of two patients at a time, providing case management and intensive individual and family therapy, Case supervision is provided by the Psychiatry Attending Physician. This responsibility rotates monthly among the following psychiatrists:, ,Dr. Deepa Khushlani, Dr. Nasima Nusrat, Dr. Sandra Rackley, Dr. Haniya Raza, Dr. Adelaide Robb, Dr. Jay Salpekar, Dr, Martine Solages, Dr. Cathy Southammakosane and Dr. Wendell Wu. Psychotherapy supervision for both inpatient rotations is provided by Dr. Michele Dadson.

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Outpatient Evaluation Experience

During the six months that interns are not rotating through the Inpatient Psychiatric Units, they spend two days per week on testing rotations.They can elect to spend two days on the same service or have one day per week on two different services. It should be noted that several evaluation rotations occur at satellite clinics, which are not readily accessible by public transportation.

Interns are responsible for writing four full outpatient assessment reports per month for half the year (two reports per month on each assessment rotation). Assessment rotations are described below:

  • The Hyperactivity, Attention and Learning Problems (HALP) Clinic is an evaluation and treatment program for children and adolescents with a variety of school problems, including ADHD, learning disorders, and disruptive behavior disorders. The intern’s role includes administration and interpretation of a variety of psychological tests, presentation of results at team meetings, and report writing. The HALP Clinic is located at the Regional Outpatient Center in Fairfax, Virginia. Clinical supervision at this satellite clinic is provided by Dr. Lisa Efron.

  • The Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, located at the Shady Grove Regional Outpatient Center, within the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology, provides multidisciplinary evaluation and treatment services for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. The Center specializes in serving children with High‐Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Interns completing this rotation will be involved in assessing young children having or suspected of having autism spectrum disorders, and may also have the opportunity to participate in providing treatment. Interns will administer and interpret developmental tests, write assessment reports, conduct school consultation, and present results at both multidisciplinary meetings and in feedback sessions with families. In addition, the program offers intervention services for families, including behavior management, social skills groups for children, parent education groups and school planning assistance. Interns may choose to spend part of their afternoons involved in these focused treatment programs within the Center. Clinical supervision is provided by Dr. Laura Anthony or Dr. Kathleen Atmore.
  • The Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology, located at the Shady Grove Regional Outpatient Center, provides outpatient evaluations to children of all ages, infancy through young adult. Children commonly seen for neuropsychological services include those with known neurological disorders (e.g., epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, hydrocephalus, brain infections), as well as those with neurodevelopmental disorders, including learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism‐spectrum disorders. The Pediatric Neuropsychology rotation involves training in a process‐oriented, hypothesis‐testing model of assessment including supervised experience in the administration, scoring, interpretation, and reportwriting of a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests. Interns will also participate in feedback sessions with parents, as well as consultation with schools and physicians. Supervision is provided by one of twelve faculty members (Drs. Madison Berl, Angela Bollich, Gerard Gioia, Kristi Hardy, Laura Kenealy, Lauren Kenworthy, Julie Newman, Maegan Sady, Jacqueline Sanz, John Strang, Chris Vaughan and Karin Walsh). Interns are invited to participate in the weekly Pediatric Neuropsychology seminar and clinical case conference, including directed readings. Interns may be exposed to one or more of the following specific clinical populations:
    • General medical/developmental disorders
    • High Functioning Autism/Asperger’s Disorder
    • Attention and Executive Function Disorders
    • Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/ Sports Concussions

    • The Child Development Clinic, located at the main hospital, provides assessment of the behavior and development of infants and toddlers, birth through age three. The intern is supervised by Dr. Penny Glass in administration, scoring, interpretation and feedback with instruments that are specialized for this young population (e.g., Bayley Scales). Children referred for evaluation may have a wide range of conditions affecting development, including genetic conditions, birth complications, neurologic injury, and chronic illness. They also reflect a broad cross‐section of sociocultural circumstances. Parent education/training is emphasized as part of the assessment process. The intern may choose to participate in consultation to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which includes a support group for parents while their newborns are hospitalized.
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    Pediatric Consultation Service

    During the six months that interns are not rotating through the Inpatient Psychiatric Units, they spend one day per week (20 percent of their time) for three months on the Pediatric Consultation Service. This is a busy clinical service that provides mental health consultation and liaison to medical teams. Referrals include a vast array of mental health concerns for children with acute and chronic illnesses, such as gastrointestinal illness, asthma, cystic fibrosis, renal disorders, toxic ingestion, burns, and trauma. Psychology interns and psychiatry residents participate together in clinical rounds and didactic education, and are supervised in their clinical experience by Dr. Sandra Rackley and Dr. Martine Solages, psychiatrists.

    Medical Specialty Rotation

    All interns complete a three month medical specialty rotation. This rotation occurs during the six months that interns are not placed on the Inpatient Psychiatric Units and when they are not on the Pediatric Consultation Service. Interns devote one day per week (20 percent of their time) to this rotation. Please note that, for students who have a particular interest in pediatric psychology, it may be possible to replace one assessment day with an extra medical specialty rotation. It should be noted that consultation and treatment skills are similar with the different medical populations, though the clinical issues may vary. Interns choose from the following:
    • The Sleep Disorders clinic is a multidisciplinary clinic, housed in the Pulmonary department, run by Dr. Judy Owens, a pediatrician. Sleep disorders affect children and their families at all stages of development and are increasingly recognized as important causes of affective, behavioral, and attentional regulation. Interns participating in this clinic will receive didactic training in the normal development of sleep, and experiential training in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Clinical supervision is provided by Dr. Daniel Lewin, a staff psychologist.

    • The Endocrinology (diabetes) rotation involves working as part of a multidisciplinary team that provides services to young children through young adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The disciplines involved in children’s care include medicine, nutrition, nursing, social work, and psychology. Interns on this rotation have the opportunity to participate in consultation and treatment for children primarily diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Consultations include meeting with children/families: around the time of diagnosis, at medical outpatient clinic visits, as medical inpatients following periods of management difficulties, and when transitioning to more intense medical regimens. Outpatient treatment cases present with a variety of problems including adjustment to illness, poor adherence to the regimen, and family conflict. Interns may also choose to participate in co‐leading teen and/or parenting groups. Clinical supervision is provided by Dr. Randi Streisand and Dr. Lauren Clary.

    • The Obesity rotation involves providing psychosocial services for youth needing support for weight management. A rotation in the Obesity subspecialty could involve providing short-term behavioral management and motivational support to promote adherence to medical recommendations, assessment for bariatric surgery readiness, or ongoing outpatient therapy. Clinical supervision is provided by Dr. Eleanor Mackey.
    Additional clinical experience in pediatric psychology is also available with multidisciplinary teams who treat HIV/AIDS. 

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    Interns are evaluated formally by their supervisors at the end of each rotation or semi‐annually on year long rotations. Supervisors rate interns on a set of scales designed to evaluate their performance in treatment, consultation, case management, assessment, and professional development, and discuss feedback with the interns. These evaluations are primarily designed to ensure that the interns are making optimal use of their training year. Letters are sent to the director of each intern's doctoral training program at the completion of the internship.

    The internship is conceptualized as an evolving training program, with continuous self‐review and quality enhancement. Interns and staff engage in periodic evaluation of the program's goals and its method of implementing these goals. Interns complete annual evaluations on seminars, supervisors and rotations. The training director has regular meetings with both the training staff and the interns to discuss and evaluate the program.

    Initial positions of the 64 interns who have completed the program since 1997:

    Post-Doctoral Fellowships
    Return to University to Complete Dissertation
    Research Position
    Clinical Position 3
    Teaching Position  2

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