Brooklyn VA

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Last Update

January 6, 2017

Contact Information

Name of Externship: VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, Brooklyn Campus

Externship Coordinator: Nathalie Going-Wagner, PsyD


Street Address:

VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, Brooklyn Campus
800 Poly Place (116B)
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Telephone: 718.836.6600, ext. 1364


Email: Nathalie.Going@va.gov

General Information

Start Date: September
End Date: May

Appropriate for:

The externship is open to individuals that are enrolled in an APA accredited doctoral Clinical or Counseling Psychology program and are US citizens.


Scheduling (e.g., required/optional days of week, # hrs per day, total hours per week, flexibility in scheduling):

The externship is two days per week with Friday being a required day for the Brooklyn Campus positions. Depending on clinic assignment, other days may be required as well.


Overview: The psychology externship program of the Department of Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System's Brooklyn campus provides students with a clinically rich learning experience which includes individual and group psychotherapy, seminars and experiential group experiences. Veterans at our facility are coping with a wide variety of difficulties including substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, family relationships, anger management, and chronic pain, among other difficulties.



Preferred level of readiness(any prior experiences preferred for applicants):

Not specified.

Is there a stipend for externs?

No

Application Process

What materials need to be submitted?

Applications are accepted beginning January 17, 2017. Those interested should e-mail a cover letter, CV, transcript, two letters of recommendation, and a letter of readiness from their school to Mr. John Incardona, Psychology Department Program Assistant, at john.incardona@va.gov. In your cover letter, please indicate and rank order the first and/or second clinic area assignments you are interested in. The externship is open to individuals that are enrolled in an APA accredited doctoral Clinical or Counseling Psychology program and are US citizens. Please feel free to contact Dr. Nathalie Going-Wagner, Externship Coordinator, at nathalie.going@va.gov for more information.



Any details of the application process (e.g., interviewing, time frame, how decisions are made):

Supervising Psychologists directly contact applicants that they would like to interview.

Description of Externship

Our externship program has been a mutually positive experience for both externs and staff. It encourages professional growth and hopes to provide externs with a training experience that enables them to discover their own style as a clinician. Major extern responsibilities depend on clinic area assignment, but generally include individual and group psychotherapy and often involve conducting psychological evaluations. Externs have weekly, individual supervision with a member of a large and diverse psychology department and participate in a supervision group in which they are supervised on their group psychotherapy experiences. In addition, there is a weekly process group for externs and attendance at Mental Health department grand rounds as well as other seminars throughout the year. Possible clinic area assignments include:

Primary Care Psychology: Primary Care-Mental Health has become the main gateway through which veterans access mental health treatment within the Brooklyn VA Medical Center. As such, psychology externs working in this rotation will be exposed to a wide range of presenting problems and clinical demographics. Veterans range in age from 20s-90s and often present with clinically complex, interrelated problems such as combat-related PTSD, difficulties in adjustment to serious medical conditions and marital/family & life stage issues. Externs are provided with a well-rounded clinical experience that includes conducting short-term and long-term individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy and psychological evaluations. In addition, externs are full participants in a weekly triage meeting with the primary care-mental health psychologists where case dispositions are discussed; adding to the intensive supervision and support of this rotation.

Psychology Outpatient Rotation: On this rotation we focus on giving the extern wide exposure to and experience with veterans who are having a wide array of difficulties described in the Overview section. This includes combat and non -combat veterans across the life span including those returning from recent and current conflicts. The extern conducts intakes, meets to decide clinical disposition, and provides individual psychotherapy to this outpatient population. When possible the extern will also co-lead a Vietnam Combat PTSD group psychotherapy session with another extern.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST): Externs in this rotation will primarily work with male and female veterans diagnosed with PTSD and other related mental health problems as a result of sexual trauma which took place during military service. The extern conducts intakes and carries a caseload of veterans with MST whom they will see for individual therapy. Externs will also get to participate in the annual MST Clothesline Project, where clinical staff work with survivors who are invited to decorate a T shirt depicting their recovery process. For the group therapy experience on this rotation, the extern will co-facilitate with an Intern a one-hour dynamically-oriented process group for veterans diagnosed with hepatitis C. Group offers exposure to a broad array of psychological issues related to the diagnosis of hepatitis C, such as adjustment to major medical illness and treatment, maintaining recovery from alcohol/drug abuse, and forming healthy relationships

Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center: Externs assigned to this service have the opportunity to provide a full range of psychological services in a milieu therapy program to veterans who require intensive mental health treatment. There are approximately 30-35 veterans enrolled in the program at any given time. They attend the program Mondays through Fridays from 8:30am-2pm. We have male and female veterans who suffer from a wide range of mental health problems, including combat-related PTSD, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. Many of our veterans also have co-morbid medical problems. Externs on this rotation are involved in conducting initial screenings and assessments, carrying a caseload of veterans that they will see for individual psychotherapy, co-facilitating and leading groups (both psychoeducational groups and therapy groups), and possibly working with couples and families. Externs on this rotation will have the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary team with psychologists, social workers, a psychiatric nurse, a psychiatrist, and a creative arts therapist. Externs will learn about the recovery model of care and, specifically, how to build upon each veteran’s strengths and work collaboratively to establish treatment goals.

PTSD Clinic: Externs in this clinic have an opportunity to work with male and female veterans across the life-span, diagnosed with PTSD and other trauma related mental health issues as the result of combat and non-combat stressors. Externs will carry a caseload of veterans that they will see for individual therapy. They will also have a group therapy experience within the clinic. Furthermore, externs will attend the weekly interdisciplinary PTSD clinic team meeting.

The Brooklyn VA Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP): BHIP teams are predicated on a model of team-based care, which is comprised of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, nurse practitioners, and psychology and social work trainees within the outpatient mental health clinic. Externs have the opportunity to gain hours in: a) diagnostic assessment; b) individual therapy; c) group therapy; d) supervision and didactics. Students will learn diagnostic approaches to treatment that rely on a case formulation approach to both individual and group therapy. Externs will participate in interdisciplinary treatment team meetings, where they will learn how to communicate across disciplines to formulate treatment plans and better understand pharmacological treatments. Patients cover a broad age range and represent all of the major diagnostic categories, especially schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and personality disorders. Externs function as primary therapists with the expectation to carry 5-6 individual patients at a time within a 16-hour week. Students share responsibility for all facets of patient management, including VA and/or community-based referrals, within the context of a multidisciplinary treatment team. The training experience offers ample opportunities to learn and apply various types of treatment, including supportive therapy and evidence-based practices. Other clinical duties include initial interview, family consultation, crisis management, electronic documentation, and team coordination.

St. Albans Campus Domiciliary: The Domiciliary is a 4 month long residential treatment facility focused on helping residents address the psychosocial issues that have prevented her/him from achieving their treatment goals in an outpatient setting. Veterans often enter treatment with multiple presenting problems, including: unresolved mental health issues; chronic substance abuse; homelessness; and unemployment. Externs will gain the unique opportunity to work within a residential rehabilitation unit and work within an interdisciplinary team. Clinical duties include: individual therapy, group therapy (e.g., Seeking Safety, Behavioral Activation for Treatment of Depression (BATD), Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI), telephone screenings, assessment, and crisis counseling.

St. Albans Campus Community Living Center (CLC): Psychology externs on the CLC rotation will have the unique opportunity to provide services in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The experience on the CLC rotation is very hands-on, with psychology externs immersed in multiple facets of patient care. Major rotation responsibilities include providing consultation to residents and staff members on various inpatient units, in addition to providing inpatient and outpatient individual and group psychotherapy. Psychology externs will work closely with the supervisor on this rotation and will learn how to conduct behavioral assessments of adjustment problems on long-term care units, provide recommendations to staff members, participate in patient centered conferences on medical inpatient units, attend coded emergencies on inpatient units, and manage both behavioral and psychological problems as they occur in both inpatient and outpatient situations. Psychology externs will receive regular, weekly individual supervision. Additional rotation responsibilities may include conducting evaluations for and providing treatment to male and female veterans with a history of military sexual trauma.

St. Albans Campus Primary Care Psychology: Similar to Primary Care Mental Health at the Brooklyn campus, the Primary Care Mental Health program at St. Albans is a main gateway through which veterans are able to access mental health care within St. Albans and throughout the Brooklyn VA Medical Center. Veterans enrolled in Primary Care at St. Albans range in age from 20s-90s, are of diverse backgrounds, and present with varied medical/health concerns and problems ranging from PTSD, anxiety disorders, insomnia, depression, grief/loss, substance use, relationship difficulties, to adjustment-related issues. Psychology externs working within this rotation will have the experience of working on a co-located, integrated primary care team comprised of physicians, nurses and medical support assistants, in addition to the extended care team of psychology, social work and a registered dietitian. Major rotation responsibilities include conducting initial functional-based assessments, treatment planning and care coordination, and providing short-term individual psychotherapy and group psychotherapy. Psychology externs will receive regular, weekly individual supervision and will also have the opportunity to attend Primary Care meetings and team huddles (if schedules allow). Additional rotation responsibilities may include training in same day, walk-in appointments and crisis/risk assessments.


Populations commonly served:

Our diverse population of both male and female veterans of all ages that are coping with a wide variety of difficulties including substance abuse, posttraumatic stress disorder, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, family relationships, anger management, and chronic pain, among others.

Training models offered:

Our staff reflects a range of expertise with philosophical orientation ranging from psychoanalytic, interpersonal, to eclectic, existential-humanistic, cognitive-behavioral and neurobiological. The multiple view points presented represent strengths and are involved in an ongoing creative conversation within the program----

Assessment training experiences commonly offered:

Assessment is not offered as part of this externship experience.




Supervision:

Estimated hours/week of individual supervision: 1
Estimated hours/week of group supervision: 1
Estimated hours/week of didactics: 1.5.

Externs have weekly, individual supervision with a member of a large and diverse psychology department and participate in a supervision group in which they are supervised on their group psychotherapy experiences. In addition, there is a weekly process group for externs and attendance at weekly Mental Health department grand rounds as well as other seminars throughout the year.


Amichaelides 14:57, 29 Nov 2009 (EST)



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