OverviewThe Manhattan VA currently offers intensive clinical training to advanced students in doctoral clinical and counseling psychology programs through its Psychotherapy Research and Development Program (PRDP). The externship provides students with training in both CBT and psychodynamic psychotherapy, with the goal of helping trainees develop an understanding of different theories of therapeutic action by comparing and contrasting the various theoretical orientations and approaches they will be exposed to.
As part of the ongoing research activities of the PRDP, externs will be trained as therapists on a variety of manualized empirically supported approaches, such as: (1) behavioral activation (BA), (2) a behavioral intervention for family caregivers of individuals with dementia (REACH VA), (3) a short term (4 month) psychodynamic psychotherapy based on the Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy Model (DIT), and (4) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Additionally, through our outpatient mental health clinic, externs will also receive training in two non-manualized approaches to psychotherapy: (1) formulation- based CBT and (2) “long-term” (1 year) psychodynamic psychotherapy. Externs will be integrated into a new initiative in tele-psychology and may have the opportunity to provide individual and/or group psychotherapy to Veterans at underserved VA facilities via the VA’s Clinical Video Telehealth (CVT) technologies.
In addition to the core clinical activities described above, externs will participate in one of four tracks: (1) PTSD Team, (2) Psycho-diagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment, (3) Health Psychology and (4) Women’s Health. Each track may include specific psychotherapy and/or assessment opportunities within that area of psychology, seminars and didactics on related topics, and participation in team meetings with staff members and other trainees. Depending on student interest, staff availability, and facility need, externs may also receive training in running inpatient groups, an older adult LGBT Veterans group, DBT Distress Tolerance group, and Emotion Focused Therapy for couples, among other opportunities.
General Clinical Activities (required): • Long-term (year-long) psychodynamic psychotherapy case • Short-term (4-month) psychodynamic psychotherapy cases (DIT) • Brief manualized CBT psychotherapy cases (REACH VA, BA, CBT-I) • Formulation-based CBT cases
Tracks (externs will participate in one of the four): • PTSD Team • Psycho-diagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment • Health Psychology • Women’s Health
• Substance Use Disorders
Additional Electives : • Inpatient Group • Older adult LGBT Veterans Group • DBT Drop-in Distress Tolerance Group • Emotion Focused Couples Therapy
Didactics: • Weekly Seminar on Cognitive Behavioral Theory, Formulation, and Technique (all externs) • Weekly Seminar on Psychodynamic Theory, Formulation, and Technique (all externs) • Weekly or Biweekly Seminars on Group Psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Health Psychology, PTSD, Assessment, Emotion Focused Couples Therapy (depending on which tracks/electives externs participate in) • Supplemental seminars regarding relevant professional development topics, such as internship applications, internship interviewing, and case presentations. • Depending on their schedules, externs may attend the didactic seminars held for psychology interns. Seminars cover a wide range of topics including clinical interviewing, DSM-5 psychopathology, character pathology, group psychotherapy, health psychology, cultural diversity, substance abuse, psychopharmacology, neuropsychology, supervision, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Seminars are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons. Externs may also attend the psychology division’s monthly clinical case conference, held the first Tuesday morning of each month. A variety of additional seminars, case conferences, grand rounds, and team meetings are also available.
We are committed to providing muticulturally competent training for our practicum students and culturally sensitive assessments and interventions to our veterans. Our program offers plentiful opportunities to work with patients who represent a wide range of diversity. We are fortunate to be located in New York City, and our patient population includes African-American, Latino, Caribbean-American, Asian, and Caucasian veterans of both genders. Externs learn how factors such as race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic background interact with both psychological issues and also with the unique culture of the armed services. We strongly encourage applications from individuals from a variety of ethnic, racial, cultural, and personal backgrounds.
Please note that we will not accept applications from students who are concurrently applying for internship.
Participation in our externship will have no impact on a student’s later chances of attending our internship program.
Also be aware that we are currently unable to offer supervised training positions to students in bachelor's or master's level programs. Our internship, externship, and postdoctoral fellowship programs for psychology doctoral students comprise between 15-20 positions per year (6 interns, 5-9 externs, 4-5 postdoctoral fellows). Given the level of intensive supervision devoted to these programs, we are not able to accommodate additional supervisees.
For a full description of the psychology division, VA patient population, and medical center facilities, please see our internship brochure at: http://www.nyharbor.va.gov/docs/nypsychintern.pdf
Eligibility and Requirements: This externship is for advanced graduate students from APA accredited doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology. Applicants must have completed at least three full years of graduate study prior to the start of externship and have had two full years of psychotherapy training/supervision.
Timeline: Externship begins in July and runs for a full calendar year. At the outset of the training year, externs will participate in a two-week intensive orientation period (40 hrs per week), during which they will have the opportunity to participate in numerous psychotherapy trainings and didactics. After the two week orientation period, a commitment of at least 2 days (16-20 hours) per week is required, and Mondays are a required day for all trainees. The second day of training is individualized for each extern based on his or her availability as well as the needs of the service.
Application Process: Please include a letter of interest, CV, and two letters of reference from psychotherapy supervisors. In your letter of interest, please rank order your preference of the four tracks (PTSD Team, Psycho-diagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment, Health Psychology, Women’s Health, Substance Use Disorders), and do not rank any track you would not like to participate in. Also include a brief statement describing a psychotherapy case that exemplifies your approach to individual psychotherapy and how you believe this approach benefits patients (250 word limit).
General information about externship site:
Director of the Program: Cory K. Chen, PhD and Amy Palfrey, PhD
Training Director: Christie Pfaff, PhD
URL for Externship Brochure: https://www.nyharbor.va.gov/docs/psychexternNY.pdf
Length of externship (in months): ~ 12 months
Start Date: Approximately July 1st
End Date: Approximately August 15th
How many hours a week are expected of extern?: 20 hours
Specialty Tracks: (1) PTSD, (2) Psycho-diagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment, (3) Health Psychology, (4) Women's Health, (5) Substance Use Disorders.
# of externs to be accepted for 2019-2020: Approximately 8
Minimum level of readiness: This is considered an advanced externship with most of our externs applying for internship during the training year. All externs are expected to have completed at least three full years of graduate study and two prior externships delivering individual outpatient psychotherapy prior to the start of the externship year.
When do you expect to begin interviews? The Week of February 11th
Application and Interview Process: We accept applications for our program between Jan 22 - Feb 1st. We plan to notify applicants of invitations to interview the week of Feb 4th. Interviews consist of a group information meeting followed by individual interviews with VA psychology staff.
Application Materials Required:Please include a letter of interest, CV, and two letters of reference from psychotherapy supervisors. In your letter of interest, please rank order your preference of the four tracks (PTSD Team, Psycho-diagnostic and Neuropsychological Assessment, Health Psychology, Women’s Health, Substance Use Disorders), and do not rank any track you would not like to participate in. Also include a brief case summary describing a psychotherapy case that exemplifies your approach to individual psychotherapy and how you believe this approach benefits patients (250 word limit).
Intervention and Assessment:
Intervention training experiences offered: Externs carry 4 individual psychotherapy patients as part of the "core" of the externship. The number of additional patients varies based on Track, generally with 1-2 additional patients, groups, couples depending on extern availability and the clinical needs of the medical center.
Assessment training experience commonly offered: Assessment experience varies by track.
Estimated hours/week of individual supervision: 4 hours
Estimated hours/week of group supervision: 1-2 hours
Estimated hours/week of didactics: 3 hours
Estimated co-therapy hours with supervisors: varies by track
Context of didactics: Extern specific seminars as well as an invitation to participate in other didactics open to other trainees (interns, postdoctoral fellows, residents, etc.)
Supervision may also be video or audio taped depending on the extern's training goals, supervisor, etc.
We generally fill our externship class completely and so do not anticipate a need for additional peer support through the consortium.
The Manhattan VA is accessible by public transportation and is wheelchair accessible.
Home visits are not a part of the trainee duties.
No transportation stipend is provided.