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Organization of the Fellowship - Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Training

All full-time Psychology Fellows are supported from August 10, 2014 through August 8, 2015. The organization of the Fellowship provides Fellows access to different populations and an opportunity to assume a variety of roles.  The Fellowship includes clinical, research, and educational components, described below (Table 1).  There is a fair degree of flexibility in how each Fellow might design their training experience with their immediate supervisor’s approval, consistent with their interests and training needs.  Further, the Fellows benefit from opportunities for collegial learning and collaboration.   

Clinical Training 
Fellows are required to complete clinical activities in three core areas: assessment, intervention, and consultation.  The distribution of time is determined jointly by the Fellow and the Training Program’s faculty and will integrate the Fellow’s training interests and needs.   

Research Training 
It has been our experience that Fellows value and benefit from a scientist-practitioner training program which encourages skillful use of the empirical literature and opportunities for collaborative or self-directed research.  The research requirement allows for up to 8 hours per week of protected time.  To meet the research requirement, Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on a program evaluation project, assist in ongoing research, and/or design and implement an independent research project under the mentoring of one faculty member.  Fellows will be expected to provide a detailed, individualized research plan at the beginning of their Fellowship, design, propose and implement a well formulated research project with presentation of findings at local, regional, and/or national conventions. In addition, Fellows will also be expected to submit work for publication in an appropriate, peer reviewed journal. Fellows are required to serve on the Mental Health Education and Research Committee, a monthly forum in which they will be able to select a research mentor, propose projects and provide updates on project status. Additional didactics on advanced statistical analysis will be available.  Fellows are expected to conform to scheduled deadlines for approval of research plans, status updates, presentation at local and/or national conferences, and submission to peer-reviewed journals.

Supervision
Fellows will have the opportunity to supervise practicum students and provide didactics to both practicum students and predoctoral interns.  Fellows will supervise students in the three core areas of assessment, intervention, and consultation.  Fellows will receive training and supervision by licensed clinical staff in all provision of trainee supervision.

In addition, Fellows are required to attend the Supervision of Supervision didactic with psychology staff twice a month.  Fellows will have the opportunity to discuss concerns/challenges/questions about their own supervision experiences in a collegial forum.  Fellows may be asked to present or participate in discussion about journal articles or other prepared topics.  In addition, fellows will be required to attend the supervision didactic offered by Dr. McDermott.

Based on the perspective that similar to training in psychotherapy, acquiring supervision competencies is a lifelong, cumulative, and developmental process. We recognize that attention to diversity in all of its forms relates to every aspect of the supervision process and requires specific competence. We recognize that attention to legal and ethical issues is essential. We recognize that training is influenced by both professional and personal factors, including beliefs, values, interpersonal biases and conflicts that are considered to be sources of counter transference. We recognize that both self and peer assessment should occur regularly across all levels of supervisory development. We understand that ethical principles of psychologists require that psychologists who serve as supervisors have an ethical responsibility to acquire competence in supervision (Falendar, 2004).
 

Professional Development and Educational Offerings
Fellows are expected to attend weekly psychiatry-mental health grand rounds, with opportunity to attend additional weekly seminars and/or journal club in Neuropsychology-Assessment and medical grand round format. Previous topics have included biofeedback with cancer patients, dementia and decision-making capacity, crisis intervention, therapeutic boundaries, and evidence-based therapies for PTSD. In these didactic settings, we develop a sense of professional community and peer support during the Fellowship training year. In addition, Fellows are further invited to join weekly psychology centered didactics taught by staff psychologist and guest lecturers. Fellows in turn, present at both the psychiatry-mental health grand rounds in a professional forum, and to the current Internship class on topics of choice related to development issues, leadership, ethics, diversity and ethnicity, and professional identity.

Fellows are expected to attend weekly, 60-minute Research Journal-Club didactic; Fellows will attend this didactic with pre-doctoral Interns.  This forum involves an informal weekly gathering of Interns, Fellows and professional staff to critically evaluate recent articles in the scientific literature.  Fellows will be provided with instruction on how to search for and access peer reviewed journal articles through the Bay Pines VA On-line Library Services during their first week on site.  In addition, they will be given a tour of the on campus library facilities.  For the rest of the academic year, Fellows will rotate in selecting an article of interest and providing an electronic or hard copy to fellow participants for review prior to the next journal club meeting. The Fellows will then lead the discussion that can include, but is not limited to: evaluation of research methodology/design and analysis employed by investigators, implications and limitations thereof, cultural and ethnic factors, ecological validity and considerations for treatment with identified populations.   A designated professional staff member (rotating on a weekly basis) will join group as both an active discussion participant and to provide supervisory guidance on meeting didactic objectives and inclusion of appropriate journal articles.

The Fellowship program has developed training experiences that are intended to assist the Fellow in gaining knowledge and skills in their area of specialization.  These training experiences include didactic seminars, colloquia, symposia, co-therapy, role modeling, observation, case conferences, rounds, group supervision, and journal clubs.  Also, when trainers are available, Fellows are given the opportunity to attend various specialized trainings related to Evidence Based Treatment for patients with PTSD and anxiety disorders.  For example, recent training opportunities have included Prolonged Exposure, Motivational Interviewing, and Seeking Safety. A full summary of required and optional didactic/training activities is provided in the handbook all Fellows receive at the start of the training year.

Table 1.  Visual Presentation of Clinical/Research/Didactic Activities   

SEPTEMBER-FEBRUARY MARCH-AUGUST

70% CLINICAL DUTIES 

- 40%  Women’s Center
- 60%  Stress Treatment

- 3 hours face-to-face supervision
- 5 hours treatment team meetings

Required:  Weekly pre-licensure group supervision (1 hour)

70% CLINICAL DUTIES 

- 40% Women’s Center
- 60% Center for Sexual Trauma Services

- 3 hours face-to-face supervision
- 5 hours treatment team meetings

Required:  Weekly pre-licensure group supervision (1 hour)

20% RESEARCH & SCHOLARLY INQUIRY

- Selection of research mentor
- Approval of MH Education & Research Committee of Individualized research plan
- Research project proposal
- IRB submission and approval
- Data collection/lit review

Required:  Monthly attendance of MH Education and Research Committee meeting

Optional:  Bi-monthly advanced statistics seminar didactic

20% RESEARCH & SCHOLARLY INQUIRY

- Data analysis
- Abstract submission to a national conference
- Write-up and submission to peer-
 reviewed research journal
- Presentation of findings to MH Education & Research Committee and/or Training Committee

Required:  Monthly attendance of MH Education and Research Committee meeting

Optional:  Bi-monthly advanced statistics seminar didactic

10 % DIDACTIC/TEACHING 

- Mental Health Grand Round Presentation #1
- Clinical Psychology Intern Presentation #1

Required:  Attend weekly Mental Health Grand Round seminar, attend monthly Training Committee meeting, attend weekly Research-Journal Club meeting

Optional:  Attend weekly Medical Grand Round Seminar, attend weekly Neuropsychology-Assessment seminar, supervision of pre-doctoral psychology Interns

As available:  Additional training opportunities in EBT (e.g., ACT, PE, MI), supervision/mentoring on EPPP, licensure and job search

10 % DIDACTIC/TEACHING

- Mental Health Grand Round Presentation #2
- Clinical Psychology Intern Presentation #2

Required:  Attend weekly Mental Health Grand Round seminar, attend monthly Training Committee meeting, attend weekly Research-Journal Club meeting

Optional:  Attend weekly Medical Grand Round Seminar, attend weekly Neuropsychology-Assessment seminar, supervision of pre-doctoral psychology Interns

As available:  Additional training opportunities in EBT (e.g., ACT, PE, MI), supervision/mentoring on EPPP, licensure and job search