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Child and Family Therapy Postdoctoral Training in Professional Psychology

The Child and Family Therapy Clinic provides postdoctoral fellowship training in the assessment and treatment of childhood behavior disorders and family dysfunction.

The Child and Family Therapy Clinic’s mission is to provide high-quality evidence-based treatment to children and families exhibiting a wide range of behavioral and emotional problems. Common problems treated in our clinic include disruptive behavior problems, ADHD, executive functioning difficulties, anger-management, aggression, parent-child conflicts, parent-teen communication difficulties, depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, fears, phobias, panic, impulse-control difficulties, school-related difficulties, adjustment-related problems, stress management, emotion-regulation difficulties, mild self-harm/poor coping, and family transition issues. Families may also present with many unique stressors surrounding concerns regarding their child or adolescent’s behavior that include divorce/separation, bullying, peer conflict, military deployment, transition to a new environment, or lack of social support. The clinic serves children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 20. Therapy modalities include family therapy, individual therapy and group therapy.  Our team consists of clinical and school psychologists with credentials in both areas.

The Child and Family Therapy Clinic’s model involves a thorough evidence-based assessment and treatment process. At the beginning of treatment, a careful assessment is conducted that involves a semi-structured clinical interview, relevant questionnaires, and observation of family interaction. The assessment and treatment process often also involve consultation with relevant external systems such as the school or other healthcare providers (e.g., primary care doctors, psychiatrists) and a review of previous mental health records. From the onset of treatment, clear goals are developed in collaboration with the family to improve not only the functioning of the child, but also the functioning of the child’s surrounding family and support system. Families typically attend therapy sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and treatment is aimed to be as brief and time-limited as possible relative to the presenting concerns. Consultations are also provided to families who are not planning to attend on-going therapy.

Our treatment approach is carefully matched to the needs of each unique child or adolescent and their family. Treatment approaches utilized within our clinic primarily involve cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, functional family therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy within a family systems framework.  The format of therapy may vary depending on the needs of the child and may include family therapy, individual therapy, communication skills training, or training in executive functioning skills management.

PROFESSIONAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES:

The clinic's training model combines practical training with a variety of individual and group supervision methods (live, videotape, co-therapy), as well as seminars focused on family therapy. Postdoctoral fellows are provided with diverse opportunities related to the assessment and treatment of childhood behavior disorders and family dysfunction. Fellows trained within Child and Family Therapy serve as family therapists and consultants to school staff and other service providers including psychiatrists, primary care physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and language therapists. They are trained to conduct comprehensive evaluations of children in the context of their families and community environments utilizing family systems and behavioral family therapy approaches to treatment, while also working to develop and implement treatment plans based on assessment results following a scientist-practitioner model. Our trainees use a multi-modal approach to measure treatment progress and outcome including verbal report, home and school generated data and direct observation.

The Child and Family Therapy training program prepares postdoctoral fellows to function as psychologists in a wide range of mental health and medical/hospital settings. Fellowship is designed to increase both depth and scope of pediatric psychology experiences and skills before embarking on independent careers in the field on a trajectory toward leadership.   The fellowship provides in-depth and multifaceted training and experience in the context of a busy and specialized team of clinical psychologists, doctoral interns, pre-doctoral externs, and interdisciplinary colleagues, with attention paid to the special training interests of the fellow (i.e., interest in particular presenting issues, age groups, etc.).  Each fellow receives at least 2 hours of scheduled licensed supervision per week, as well as ongoing, “open-door” and as-needed supervision and case management from licensed psychologists. In addition, fellows participate in both group and “tiered” supervision as they provide peer review and mentoring to doctoral externs and undergraduate practicum students.