Priority Behavioral Health & Clinical Psychology Internship

Overview

Primary placement at the Priority Behavioral Health Internship Program at the College of Health Science and Technology (CHST) of RIT offers training in both the areas of assessment and evidenced-based interventions for clients in community mental health facilities, inpatient psychiatric settings, residential facilities and school-based clinics and/or exposure to offender populations. CHST’s Priority Behavioral Health Internship program provides training across clinical and community settings. The training program represents a cooperative endeavor between the School of Behavioral Health at CHST and the following clinical placement sites: Rochester Regional Health Care System, Hillside Family of Agencies and CCSI (Coordinated Care Services Incorporated). Interns have the opportunity to work with clinical experts, nationally and internationally recognized experts in mental health treatment, substance use treatment and research as well as exposure to forensic psychiatry. This placement affords experiences in the use of advancements in technology & interactive platforms, use of evidenced-based clinical assessments & interventions, exposure to forensic populations, and scholarly achievements. Our training and education program is dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders in the field using innovative and advanced technologies (e.g, telehealth and technology-assisted interactive tools for clients), a trademark of RIT. Our main mission is to train our interns to deliver the best care in the most comprehensive and efficient manner while assessing client-centered satisfaction and improvement in health. RIT is ranked in the United States News and World Report as “top 10” in outstanding programs offered and has gained a global reputation for advancements in innovation, science, and technology across the healthcare field. Such advancements have helped us grow our programming to include a recently built family medical practice on campus in collaboration with Rochester Regional Health. It has also led to the development of a School of Behavioral Health, a Behavioral Health Clinic on campus and a formal clinical psychology internship program. The internship program has APPIC membership and is recently APA accredited.

This internship year is first and foremost a supervised, intensive, experiential learning opportunity focused on the delivery of psychological services. The program embraces a scientist-practitioner model in which theory and evidence routinely inform professional practice and each intern has protected time to pursue a scholarly activity that can center on research, program evaluation, clinical care, or education. The training is competency based. All interns in the internship program receive training in clinical, community psychology and school-based programs. A priority is placed on professional development, including assistance to doctoral fellows in securing opportunities after internship such as post-doctoral fellowships and employment. Our clinical sites have an interest in hiring the next generation of leaders.

Also, our internship program embraces comprehensive and periodic self-evaluation to promote constant improvements in the competencies and quality of the internship program and the interns’ experience.

Goals

The training goals of Priority are as follows:

  • Goal 1:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Evidence-based practice in intervention
  • Goal 2:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Evidence-based practice in assessment
  • Goal 3:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Ethical and legal standards
  • Goal 4:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Individual and cultural diversity
  • Goal 5:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Research
  • Goal 6:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Professional values and attitudes
  • Goal 7:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Consultation/interprofessional/interdisciplinary
  • Goal 8:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Supervision
  • Goal 9:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of Telehealth and Interactive Therapeutic Technologies
  • Goal 10:
    Interns will achieve competence appropriate to their professional developmental level in the area of clinical leadership and career development within ambulatory behavioral health clinical sites.

Accreditation

APPIC: Our program is a member of APPIC.

APA: Our program is newly APA accredited with contingency status. If you complete a program that is recognized as “accredited, on contingency” at time of completion effective before your completion date, you will have completed an APA accredited program. “Accredited, on contingency” is granted when a program meets all standards except for the initial inclusion of all required outcome data on interns/residents in the program and after program completion. The move from “accredited, on contingency” status to fully accredited, occurs when the program provides the required data by the time two (2) cohorts have completed the program, which will be submitted. RIT’s Priority Internship Program’s 2 cohorts will be completed and submitted in 2 years.

Questions related to the program’s accreditation status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979
Email: 
apaaccred@apa.org
APPIC Membership Status

Placements

Structure: Interns in this program are referred to as "psychology interns." The internship begins on July 1 and concludes on June 30 of each academic year.  Placement-Full-Time, Full Year, 40 hours/week.

Primary placement, 1 full year, 4 days per week at any one or combination of the following sites and 1 day at Rochester Institute of Technology’s main campus for additional supervision, didactics, clinical discussions and scholar activities:

CCSI, Coordinated Care Services, Incorporated provides a broad array of management services and technical assistance specifically tailored to meet the needs of local behavioral health, social and human service departments, state agencies, and community-based organization in Monroe County, across New York State, and beyond.

The CCSI Clinical Rotation would provide trainees with opportunities to work in area schools supporting trauma-informed care initiatives (supporting and training school staff, conducting classroom observations, etc.), as well as provide consultation to behavioral health organizations (identifying and measuring outcomes, navigating the transition to managed care and value-based payments, etc.). Interns will also be providing assessments, psychological testing and providing evidenced-based care to children with behavioral health treatment needs at one of CCSI’s partner agencies (e.g., Hillside) at School 17 and/or nearby Hillside School Based Programs. This rotation will also allow interns to have access to a number of datasets at CCSI from which to develop a research project that is of interest to both CCSI and the intern (Medicaid claims data for NYS, ACEs and risk behaviors in adolescents, impact of state dollars on system transformation efforts to name a few).

The RRH Clinical rotation will provide trainees with opportunities at both RRH’s Evelyn Brandon Health Clinic and Greece Mental Health Clinic. The client population that the trainees with be treating is 18 and older. The psychiatric characteristics of clients treated includes the full diagnostic range of the DSM 5, from Adjustment Disorders to Serious and Persistently Mentally Ill individuals with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, this includes dually diagnosed Chemical Use Disorders. Pre-doctoral interns do have opportunity to provide psychological and cognitive testing to the clients being treated at these psychiatric hospital settings. Evidence-based psychotherapy training opportunities include interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive processing therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. In addition, each adult outpatient mental health location offers a wide variety of groups and specific training in group psychotherapy process and facilitation. Each pre-doctoral intern receives one hour of individual clinical supervision on-site, one hour of assessment supervision on-site, and one hour of group supervision per week on-site along with other treatment team supervision hours. Additional 1:1 supervision is located onsite at Rochester Institute of Technology’s Campus where all interns convene for supervision, didactic seminars and scholar. In addition to the outpatient adult clinic experience, one intern rotation involves providing psychological testing to children and youth ages 6 to 21 years; the other intern rotation involves proving opportunities for psychological testing in the psychiatric inpatient treatment setting serving adults 18 and older who have a range of Serious and Persisting Mental Health Disorders and/or Co-Occurring Addiction Treatment Needs.

Additional rotations or tracks may occur at the following sites within RRH:

Genesee Mental Health Center is an outpatient only mental health clinic. Its outpatient programs include an adult outpatient mental health program, child and adolescent outpatient mental health program, and the PROS program. All of the programs are located in proximity to each other, but have their own space. The child and adult waiting rooms are next to each other, but still have separate spaces. The PROS program has its own entrance that connects to a milieu area where some of the program is run. Each of the programs has its own dedicated group rooms and there are offices for each of the therapists/interns. There are staff meeting rooms, support offices, directors and managers offices, and provider offices as well. Each of the programs is also staffed by psychiatry services that include one or more Psych NP or Psychiatrist as staff.

The Hillside Family of Agencies is a non-profit organization consisting of more than 100 coordinated programs in 41 locations across New York and Maryland which provide comprehensive health, education, and human services for children and families. Two Hillside facilities are utilized for internship training. Interns work in two sites, with interns placed at the Children’s Center’s Varick and Monroe Campuses.

Currently, the Hillside rotations provide training in two child track rotations. The placements are located at one of Hillside Family of Agencies' residential treatment center in and around Rochester, NY. Interns at this placement site work as part of a multidisciplinary team treating youth placed in residential care from across New York State. The intern is responsible for psychological evaluations, consultation with the treatment team including family and external funders, and delivery of evidence-based group and individual therapy. Interns placed with the Hillside Family of Agencies will work directly with youth and families who have experienced complex and intergenerational trauma. Evidence practices used include dialectical behavior therapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Applicants from clinical, school, and counseling programs are welcomed. Prior training or experience in the noted evidence-based practices, child and adolescent clinical assessment and treatment, and experience working in complex systems and as a multidisciplinary team preferred.

RIT/CHST BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CLINICAL & SCHOLAR INITIATIVES

Interns will have the opportunity to partake in state of the art, on-going research by participating in any one of the following projects:

  • CHST’s Behavioral Health Clinic and Research
    1. Family Violence & Addiction Interventions & Research; Clinical Research & Forensics. This involves on-going clinical trials and/or secondary data analyses from NIH funded research or other active grant protocols (Drs. Easton and Crane);
    2. Medical Interactive Therapy Research & Interactive Technologies (e.g., Research utilizing Virtual and Simulated Therapeutic Environments). This involves field-testing Virtual Reality Technologies and Avatar Therapy Platforms ground in CBT to clients with addiction and co-occurring aggressive behaviors. Additionally, the Avatar platforms have been adapted for use with at risk male and female juveniles who need help decreasing substance misuse and conflict (Drs. Doolittle and Easton).

The Setting

Number of Interns

Primary Placement: 4 -6 from the following placements: RRH, Hillside and CCSI.

The mission of the Priority Behavioral Health Internship Program is to provide best practice procedures and to offer evidence-based therapies to clients with behavioral health-related problems. The goal is to decrease symptoms secondary to mental illness and/or substance use while promoting pro-social behaviors and increasing the overall health of this population. Another major goal is to achieve the highest level of patient satisfaction & improve the health of families.

The clinical placement sites are outpatient treatment clinics serving men and women and/or children who are receiving psychiatric services. Services offered include diagnostic evaluation, crisis management, pharmacotherapy, case management, harm reduction, individual therapy, and group therapy (integrated domestic violence and addiction treatment, relapse prevention, women's trauma groups, young adult groups) and psychological testing/report writing. Treatment plans are individually tailored to client needs and may be brief or require a longer course of treatment to address psychiatric or trauma-related symptoms. Telehealth and Interactive Technologies are inherently a part of the training given RIT’s expertise in the advancements of science and technology.

The treatment team consists of psychologists, social workers, nurses, and psychiatrists. Faculty also work with the RRH, Hillside, CCSI, Catholic Family Services and the Socio-Legal Center.

The Clinical Psychologists of the CHST Priority Behavioral Health Internship Program have expertise in providing education, clinical services, consultation and research related to adult psychiatry, child psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, forensic psychiatry and psychology (i.e., the use of psychiatric/psychological expertise to help treat clients and/or to resolve legal questions). Consulting on legislation and policy at the state and national level, the Faculty supervisors maintain a national reputation for excellence in the practice of addiction psychiatry, domestic violence interventions and forensic psychiatry.

The Internship

Interns carry a caseload that is determined by meeting with their site-specific supervisors and it depends on number of diagnoses and the chronicity of the client. Interns are expected to perform clinical assessments on a weekly basis and lead or facilitate psychotherapy groups. Interns will also be required to provide psychological testing with clients and integrated reports will occur per clinical site requests. The learning objectives are to: hone skills in MET, CBT, DBT and Dual Diagnosis, Integrative Care interventions, further develop integrative report writing; build an effective therapeutic alliance with clients while conducting drug screens and communicating regularly with other providers, and the courts; improve assessment and case formulation skills; improve case management and referral skills; and develop skills in integrated addiction and trauma/aggression-centered therapies. Fellows will have the opportunity to conduct both individual therapy and gender-specific group treatments. Trainees will also have the opportunity to observe and participate in criminal defense cases at a local socio-legal center’s office on a case by case basis.

The training opportunity at Priority can provide an enriching experience for interns coming from training backgrounds in mental health, adult psychiatry, child psychiatry (both inpatient and outpatient), substance use and/or forensic psychology. For interns who come from a substance use education or training background (e.g., practicum experience, coursework), this internship provides the opportunity to learn about the interaction between substance use disorders and illegal behaviors. Up to 80% of addicted populations have criminal justice involvement, and fellows with prior substance use training gain essential understanding of the interplay between addiction, mental illness and criminal justice involvement through engagement with the courts, probation, and parole. The Priority Behavioral Health Internship program allows an exciting opportunity for trainees from either background to diversify their clinical and research skills and to enhance these skills through work with a unique and diverse clinical population.

For all details regarding this internship program, please consult the Priority Behavioral Health Internship Handbook.

 

Collage of cohort images
View past intern cohorts 

Evidence-Based Practices

The following evidence-based practices (EBPs) are used in this placement setting. Interns generally have exposure to most of these EBPs though do not necessarily receive training or supervised experience in all of them. The EBPs include: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma-informed care, motivational enhancement therapy (MET) for addiction, relapse prevention, and integrated substance abuse and domestic violence (SADV) therapy. EBPs also include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) for clients with personality disorders. Training in EBPs occurs through site-specific clinical trainings that occur at the beginning of the internship year, ongoing supervision on EBPs by clinical supervisors, weekly staff meetings that address treatment planning, and a book and DVD library for use by all trainees and staff.

Interns attend a weekly seminar series/didactics with clinical and some forensic experts within the community. Interns will be able to observe and/or listen to presentations on diverse topics pertaining to current research on psychotherapy research, addiction research, clinical care, ethics, professionalism, interactive technologies and telehealth to name a few.

During the first semester, interns within a Clinical Psychology rotation will learn about evidenced-based care in community outpatient care clinics and review psychological testing reports.

Research and Scholarship

Interns participate in a weekly scholarly seminar hosted by the behavioral health medical interactive therapy team. As part of this seminar, interns are assigned to write up a case or data related to science, technology and patient care.  Students are encouraged to analyze and draft a paper on a data set assessing the link between drugs, mental illness, and crime or concept papers to assess integrative health care approaches and the use of technology. The papers highlight aspects of the case and/or data that are relevant to the field of forensic psychology and /or medical care. Interns work on the article with a faculty member, and are generally listed as the first author. The papers may be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal such as the Advances in Dual Diagnosis Journal and the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry. This seminar will also cover the role of psychiatry and psychology in the community mental health, defining psychiatric illness as it relates to the criminal justice system, and presentation of psychiatric evaluations in both written and spoken formats. Further, interns have the opportunity to observe a mock trial that demonstrates the intricacies of presenting psychological evaluations within a courtroom setting.

Interns in this placement work with nationally and internationally known addiction researchers and are involved in grant funded clinical research focused on the development of efficacious treatments for addiction, trauma, and violence including psychotherapy treatment trials (Addiction and Intimate Partner Violence Therapies). Finally, interns have the opportunity to attend research seminars, meetings, and writing scholarly projects with faculty associated with addiction-focused NIH-funded or foundation funded research located within CHST’s School of Behavioral Health. Visit our website https://pht180.rit.edu/favtech/.

Local, National and International Research and Scholarship

Supervision

Interns receive intensive training and supervision to assure that they are adhering to best practice procedures and are competent in administering interventions to substance abusing forensic populations. Each week, all cases currently being evaluated are reviewed and discussed by faculty and interns together. Final dispositions and treatment recommendations are determined by utilizing the experience and clinical judgment of our multidisciplinary team. Two hours of individual supervision are provided weekly. Formal evaluations are completed quarterly, (4) times, during the year and serve as a review of progress on training goals and core competencies.

Teaches: Diagnosing the Criminal Mind, Researching the Criminal Mind, Addiction Psychiatry, Medical Interactive Therapies

Research Areas: Forensic and addiction psychiatry

Dr. Caroline Easton, an alumni of RIT (1990), is a Professor of Forensic Psychology in the new College of Health Science and Technology at RIT. She served as a senior faculty member at Yale’s School of Medicine for 17 years, directed both the pre-doctoral training program and the Forensic Drug Diversion Clinic. Dr. Easton was recently hired to build new education and training programs pertaining to Behavioral Health within CHST. She will also serve as the Clinical Director of the new Behavioral Health Sciences Clinic.

Dr. Easton’s scholarly interests pertain to her expertise within Forensic and Addiction Psychiatry. More specifically, she has numerous publications related to ‘best practice procedures’ for the treatment of clients with co-occurring addiction and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). She presents at international/national conferences, publishes in peer-reviewed journals and has received funding on grants from the National Institute of Health, the Donaghue Foundation, CT’s Department of Addiction and Mental Health Services, Monroe County’s Office of Mental Health, the Socio-Legal Center and the U.K.

On the international level, Dr. Easton currently collaborates with Investigators from London, England, Hong Kong, Australia, Spain, Scotland, Brazil and Canada regarding the treatment of family violence among substance abusers. On a national level, Dr. Easton continues to consult with the state of CT on Policy and Procedures for Family Violence Treatment Reform. She continues as Clinical Faculty within Yale’s School of Medicine. On the community level, Dr. Easton provides consultation, evaluation and/or treatment services for the Monroe County’s Office of Mental Health, the Socio-Legal Center, Rochester’s Regional Healthcare System, Catholic Family Services and the Criminal Justice System.

For a complete list of publications please see https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=QpUPymoAAAAJ&hl=en

Cory Crane headshot
Assistant Professor
Biomedical Sciences Program
Institute of Health Sciences and Technology
585-475-4018

Teaches: Addiction Pharmacology

Research Areas: Evaluating assessment tools & brief interventions for the perpetration of domestic and intimate partner violence, developing methodologies to study the proximal relationship between alcohol use and subsequent aggression

Dr. Crane specializes in forensics, focusing primarily on the intersection of substance use and violent or aggressive behavior. He is jointly affiliated with the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs Medical Center. For a complete list of Dr. Crane's publications, please explore www.researchgate.net/profile/Cory_Crane

Teaches: Diagnosing the Criminal Mind, Researching the Criminal Mind

Research Areas: Dr. Berbary’s research focuses on the treatment of co-occurring substance use and aggression among youth.  She is jointly affiliated with the Rochester Institute of Technology and Rochester Regional Health. Her clinical work with Rochester Regional Health involves consultation and psychological assessment with at-risk youth in outpatient settings.

Didactic Seminar Series

Interns in this placement receive a three-day training in CBT and MET at the beginning of the internship year. Interns will participate in weekly didactic seminars covering the following topics (assessment, interventions, professionalism, ethics, multi-cultural competency, telehealth & technology assisted devices, forensic psychology, career development/clinical leadership, trauma, self-care) and have the opportunity to attend the behavioral health/medical interactive therapy research team.

Sample Didactic Calendar

Applicant Qualifications

Strong applicants for this placement generally have experience in addiction, family violence or forensic populations. Ideally, interns will have experience with inpatient or outpatient addiction settings with experience using evidence based approaches (e.g., MET, CBT, DBT, TSF), assessments (SCID, computer assisted assessments) and testing experience (e.g., WAISIII, WMSIII, Rorschach, TAT, Bender-Gestalt, MMPI/MCMI-III, PAI, Shipley and/or other Neuropsychological Test Batteries). Preferably, interns with primary these experiences will also have worked in outpatient clinics and/or populations involved in the criminal justice system. Interns who match with this placement have future goals of clinical research and/or specialized clinical work in community mental health, addiction or forensic areas.

Applicants selected for this placement must successfully pass background checks conducted by RIT and the County. Since this placement requires travel between different training sites, previous interns have considered it essential to have access to their own car.

Stipend, Benefits, and Resources

Stipends are consistent and competitive with regional and national median rates and are provided in the amount of $26,000. Fringe benefits are also included (health/dental insurance, vacation time, sick leave, etc.) Office space, laptops, and IT services will be provided.

Application Process and Selection Criteria

This internship program takes between 4-6 interns per year. Applications are encouraged to be submitted via APPIC in November to begin setting the schedule for interviews (e.g., typically set for soon after the start of the calendar year).  Interviews are preferred to occur in person. Depending on circumstances, other interview venues may be accepted (e.g., Skype, phone, etc.) This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant.

Students interested in applying for the internship program should submit an online application through the APPIC website. The due date is December 7.

A complete application consists of the following materials:

  1. A completed Online AAPI (APPIC’s standard application)
  2. Cover letter (part of online AAPI)
  3. A current Curriculum Vitae (as part of the online AAPI)
  4. Three letters of recommendation, two of which must be from persons who have directly supervised your clinical work (as part of the online AAPI). Please submit no more than three letters
  5. Official transcripts of all graduate coursework
  6. Supplementary materials: a) One full integrated assessment report (please redact appropriately) and b) a one-page clinical case conceptualization

Additionally:

  1. Preferred. Minimum of 250-500 intervention hours (experience with CBT, MET, DBT, Trauma Focused Interventions
  2. Preferred. Minimum of 250-500 assessment hours  (experience administering WAIS, WMS, MMPI-2, MCMI-III, Projectives and Integrative Report Writing)
  3. Preferred. Dissertation proposal defended or data collected/ date set.
  4. Interest in Telehealth and Interactive Technologies
  5. Some experience or special interest in working with diverse populations and/or in rural areas

Download Cover Letter template