The aim of the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress/Psychiatric Mental Health Program Doctoral Internship is to prepare interns in health services psychology with competencies for providing evaluation and treatment to children and families affected by psychological trauma and other developmental and psychiatric disorders.

The Center provides a range of evidence-based and promising practices to address childhood trauma. They include:

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Yoga-based Psychotherapy
  • Safety Mentoring Advocacy Recovery and Treatment (SMART)
  • FamilyLive- a treatment for intergenerational family trauma

Interns receive training in assessment and treatment of children and families exposed to trauma. Following a 2-day didactic TF-CBT seminar, interns are assigned cases for treatment with TF-CBT, a central treatment model of the clinic, and interns attend a bi-weekly TF-CBT supervision group.

Interns also receive training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) with nationally certified trainers and begin to take cases in this model early in the internship year. Interns also obtain training in family therapy, individual child and adolescent therapy, group therapy, and other treatment modalities. These models are currently taught and practiced via online teleconference.

Didactic and discussion-based seminars include a journal club in trauma psychology, a trauma-treatment seminar series, and a diagnostic assessment seminar.

Formal psychological testing and intake diagnostic evaluations form the assessment component of training and is currently being done by remote teleconference when possible. Referrals for psychological evaluation typically come from therapists, psychiatrists, and/or family members. The questions include requests for diagnostic clarification, the influence of cognitive factors on the child’s functioning or treatment progress, and recommendations for getting therapy “unstuck.” The intern conducts the testing and provides feedback to the clinical team, caregivers, and the child or adolescent. The test battery typically includes cognitive testing (i.e., WISC-V, WRAML), adaptive functioning assessment when needed (e.g., Vineland-3), behavior checklists such as the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index, Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-3), personality scales such as the Millon Adolescent Clinical Inventory or Personality Assessment Inventory for Adolescents; and projective testing including the Rorschach Performance Assessment System, story-telling measures, incomplete sentences and drawings. It is preferred that internship applicants have previous training and familiarity with these measures.

The intern regularly performs intake evaluations to assess clients’ diagnoses and treatment needs. These diagnostic interview reports are then used to assign clients to evidence-based or other treatment modalities that are matched to the client’s presenting concerns.