Clinical work is the centerpiece of the postdoctoral fellow’s experience at the center. The fellow is expected to fill a minimum of 15 hours per week of a combination of therapy and assessment with children, adolescents and their families.
In addition, indirect services such as case management, attendance at IEP or other school meetings, contact with collaterals such as foster care workers, child protective services professionals, and multi-disciplinary consultation are often required to meet the complex needs of Center clients. All or most assessment and intervention work is done online and remotely through confidential and secure Zoom sessions during the course of the current pandemic. While our service center and office building remain open for business, staff and trainees currently choose whether or not to enter in person and most have chosen to work remotely to preserve safety.
Assessment is done both in formal psychological testing and intake diagnostic evaluations. 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 fellow conducts the testing and provides feedback to the clinical team, the child and the family, and also supervises doctoral interns and has time allotted for research projects. The COVID-19 outbreak has necessarily limited the number of psychological assessments that are completed by postdoctoral fellows due to constraints on face-to-face appointments. Currently, assessments are conducted online and remotely, though there may be opportunities for on-site assessments during the course of the training year.
The fellow 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.
Fellows see a combination of therapy cases drawn from clinics in which they have an interest. A typical day may begin with family or individual therapy the morning hours to accommodate children’s school schedules, then seminars, supervision, research, and paperwork in the later morning and early afternoon. Later afternoon schedules are commonly filled with after-school evaluation or therapy appointments. Fridays are reserved by some fellows for research or paperwork.
The fellowship is approximately 40-45 hours per week, Monday through Friday. However, flexibility is possible in the daily schedule, as some fellows have chosen to work four 10-hour days or other arrangements, as approved by the training director. The fellow is required to see clients through at least one “late night,” per week, until 7 p.m.
There is no requirement for postdoctoral training in order to obtain Maryland licensure as a psychologist. However, the fellowship satisfies supervised practice hours that are required for several surrounding jurisdictions (i.e., Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania).