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Predoctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology

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Child Track


Clinical Experiences and Other Training Opportunities

This track offers training at the following primary sites: Metropolitan Children's Services Clinic, The Infant Team Clinic, and Tulane University Hospital and Clinic, including Tulane Hospital Behavioral Health Clinic. These sites and the clinical training acquired at each are discussed in detail below.

 

Metropolitan Children's Services Clinic

Located at 719 Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans, this community-based, outpatient mental health clinic serves children, adolescents, and their families who reside on the East Bank of Orleans Parish.  Individuals ages 3 to 18 years of age are seen at the clinic for a wide array of behavioral, emotional, psychological, and/or psychiatric difficulties. The Clinic offers a continuum of care for various levels of acuity.  Comprehensive evaluations are conducted once a patient is referred to one of the services offered by the Clinic.  The range of services includes emergency/triage, case management, psychological assessments, psychiatric evaluations, and individual, dyadic, family, and group psychotherapy.  The disciplines represented at the Clinic include social work, psychology, and psychiatry.  Occupational and physical therapy as well as speech language interventions also are available.

The clinic is open Monday through Friday. Clinic visits are scheduled by appointment only.  Appointments after hours are not scheduled.

As part of this rotation, interns will:

  • Learn to conduct a comprehensive intake including defining the presenting problem, planning the evaluation, and identifying and managing mental health emergencies.

  • Learn the assessment process including the involvement of parents/caregivers, if possible; taking complete individual, relationship, and marital histories; taking and recording the child's developmental history; and formulating a working diagnosis and case conceptualization.

  • Learn to develop effective evaluation and treatment recommendations for child patients and their families who present to the Metropolitan Children's Services Clinic.

  • Acquire developmentally appropriate skill in the use of play techniques to facilitate emotional expression and contribute to the therapeutic process.

  • Perform the treatment and other intervention services that the child, caregivers, and/or other family members require for symptom remediation and improvement in functioning.

  • Convey results of evaluations and interventions to those mental health or allied professionals also assigned to the cases, or to whom referrals are being made.

Interns conduct various interventions at the clinic.  Depending upon the needs of the patient, these may include intake evaluations, psychological testing, consultation, and psychotherapy. Weekly multidisciplinary case conferences are held to staff cases, discuss the assessment and diagnostic picture, plan treatment and evaluate progress, and make dispositions. Individual and group supervision is provided on a weekly basis. Supervision is provided by Valerie Wajda-Johnston, Ph.D., a full-time clinical psychology faculty member.

Child Track Interns spend 2 days per week all year at the Metropolitan Children's Services Clinic.


Pediatric Psychology Rotation

The intern who chooses to focus on Pediatric Psychology will spend two days per week providing services to children with medical and developmental problems. Inpatient pediatric medical services are located within Tulane Medical Center, essentially comprising a hospital within a hospital (also known as Tulane Hospital for Children.  Children are referred for specialty as well as general pediatric medical problems from throughout Louisiana and the Gulf South.  The pediatric psychology intern may provide services to children who are medically hospitalized on the general child/adolescent inpatient unit or the pediatric intensive care unit, or who are receiving outpatient medical or emergency services. Outpatient services are provided through the Tulane Behavioral Health Clinic, with priority given to  children with medical or developmental problems.  In addition, the intern will provide services to the Tulane Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (T-CARD). T-CARD is a new, multidisciplinary outpatient program, and accepts children for new diagnosis as well as targeted requests for assessment or treatment related to autism. Referrals for child, adolescent and/or family assessment and treatment services may come directly through T-CARD, the Tulane Behavioral Health Clinic, or through the Pediatric Psychiatry Inpatient Consultation-Liaison service. Most of the children and adolescents who are referred have some type of serious and/or chronic illness and/or also demonstrate significant developmental, social, emotional, or behavioral problems that warrant assessment and/or psychotherapeutic services. Psychopharmacological consultation is available to the intern’s inpatients and outpatients from child psychiatry residents.
Paula Zeanah, Ph.D. is the primary supervisor for the pediatric psychology internship rotation. In addition, the intern will work with the medical director of the inpatient Pediatric Psychiatry Inpatient Consultation-Liaison service. Because of the complex nature of the medical conditions of the children served, the intern must work closely and collaboratively with the pediatric and child psychiatric staff and trainees and within the multidisciplinary teams to provide coordinated patient care, staff support, and education (liaison activities). Supervision for T-CARD is provided by Lisa Settles, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist with expertise in diagnosis and treatment of children with autism. Over the course of the internship, the intern is expected to become more independent in providing clinical and liaison services. 

As part of this rotation, the intern will:

  • Develop an understanding of the current and long-term effects of chronic or severe illness on child development and family functioning.
  • Develop a systematic strategy for assessing children with autism and related disorders.
  • Provide competent psychological assessment of medically ill children and their families.
  • Develop a range of psychotherapeutic intervention skills appropriate for medically ill children and their families.
  • Develop intervention skills for children with autism and their families.
  • Develop experience in providing liaison services (support, guidance, education) to non-mental health medical providers, including physicians, nurses, social workers, child life, and other health care professionals.

General expectations of the psychology intern include:

  1. Actively and clearly communicating with team members and supervisors to clarify and coordinate responsibilities and expectations for patient care activities
  2. Seeking appropriate client-related and medical diagnosis-related information and input from other team members to guide assessment and treatment
  3. Maintaining current, clear, thorough documentation in the medical record
  4. Taking responsibility for his/her own learning, including developing knowledge of relevant medical terminology, diagnoses and interventions, with focus on evidence-based approaches for the medically ill child
  5. Participating actively in team educational and liaison activities
  6. Maintaining cognizance of legal and ethical issues that are relevant to clinical work in pediatric psychology
  7. Following policies and procedures of the  rotation and psychology internship
  8. Developing knowledge of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic influences on pediatric health and mental health
  9. Increasing self-awareness of the intern’s behaviors and attitudes on patient care as well as interactions with other professionals and colleagues
  10. Conducting oneself in a professional, collegial manner at all times

The intern receives weekly supervision by Dr. Paula Zeanah, Dr. Settles, and on-site supervision by the Child Psychiatry faculty on the service. 

On the Child Track (with Pediatric Psychology Focus) two days per week of the intern’s time all year is spent at the Tulane Hospital for Children and the Tulane Hospital Behavioral Health Clinic.

 

Infant Mental Health Rotation

Tulane Infant Team

The Tulane Infant Team provides intensive intervention for maltreated infants and their caregivers. The team is staffed by a multidisciplinary group of faculty and trainees from Tulane University School of Medicine, including child psychiatrists, clinical and developmental psychologists, clinical social workers, pediatricians, and paraprofessional case aides. The team works collaboratively with a variety of systems affecting the lives of infants and toddlers, including the legal, child welfare, early intervention, education, healthcare, and mental healthcare systems, to provide assessment and treatment for this high-risk population. All referrals to the team come from the Department of Children and Family Services (Child Protection Agency) and involve cases of validated abuse and neglect of children ages birth to 60 months of age. In almost all cases, the children are placed in foster homes. Intervention is tailored so that the biological parents can address impediments to their safe, effective parenting.

The work in which the interns are involved includes much more than working with infants. Children seen on this rotation range in age from birth to 5 years, and their caregivers are evaluated and treated as well, so that there are a range of child, adult, dyadic, and family intervention opportunities available.

As part of this rotation, the interns will:

  • Learn the evaluation techniques used by the team, including home visits to the biological and foster parents' residences, intake interviews, parent-infant interaction procedures, parent perception interviews, and numerous ancillary assessments.
  • Present cases at the weekly comprehensive case conference, which includes Child Protective Services case workers and supervisors, Bureau of General Counsel attorneys, senior administrators, and the members of the Infant Team. 
  • Conduct numerous treatment interventions including:  
  • Individual play therapy with infants, toddlers, and young children. 
  • Caregiver-infant psychotherapies in which parents and their infants and young children are seen together, including Infant- and Child-Parent Psychotherapy. 
  • Individual psychotherapy with caregivers, especially if parents present with psychiatric illness or maladaptive patterns of behavior.
  • Couples psychotherapy if the biological parents or caregivers have issues that need to be addressed as a unit. 
  • Adjunctive therapies, sometimes necessary to strengthen family functioning including referral for treatment to outside agencies, such as substance abuse counseling, domestic violence group therapy, special education services, and mediation work.
  • Learn to produce written reports for a legal audience.
  • Provide consultation to non-mental health providers about the unique needs of infants and young children and their caregivers.
  • Participate on a multidisciplinary team to make decisions about the best interests of young children with regard to permanency planning.

The interns receive weekly individual supervision with a faculty psychologist, in addition to weekly group consultation with the entire Infant Team. Didactic and hands-on-training in the procedures used by the team occurs on a daily basis.

On the Child Track (with Infant Mental Health Focus), two days per week of the interns' time all year is spent at the Infant Team site.

 

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu