The Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Doctoral Internship

The Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Internship provides exceptional clinical training within the context of a leading national academic children’s hospital affiliated with the USC Keck School of Medicine. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is located in the heart of a high-density, low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood and reflects the community it serves, with over 70% of patients representing ethnic minorities. Our internship, which is embedded within the hospital’s Community Mental Health Program, has been a consistent presence in Los Angeles, the state of California, and the nation for decades and provides interns with advanced training in delivering high-quality care to a wide range of clinical patients with significant medical, developmental, and psychosocial complexity.

The training program is designed to prepare doctoral candidates to assume the role of a practicing professional in both the private and public sectors of mental health care and psychology practice. Through didactic lectures and seminars, intensive supervision and ample direct patient contact, interns receive comprehensive experience and quality psychology training that engages them in psychological assessment, treatment/therapy, interdisciplinary consultation and community involvement. The internship program provides training in the principles of psychology as applied to pediatric mental health disorders through supervised experiences in outpatient mental health clinics, community clinics and pediatric hospital units.

The program is based on the philosophy that basic psychological principles and procedures drawn from behavioral, cognitive, family systems and developmental theories should be integrated in a family-centered manner for effective and ethical psychological care. This internship provides an opportunity to develop and refine basic professional skills in clinical child and pediatric psychology, as well as a strong integrated professional identity.

The program uses the scientist-practitioner model of clinical practice. Interns learn to critically evaluate research articles relevant to treatment cases, and examine empirical evidence for various assessment and research procedures that may be used in clinical work. They are also exposed and have access to training and education associated with the leading-edge clinical behavioral health research being conducted at CHLA and USC.

Program Goals and Objectives

The Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Doctoral Internship program goals and objectives are:

  • To provide a comprehensive training experience for doctoral-level psychology students in an interdisciplinary setting that meets the qualifications of the American Psychological Association
  • To provide doctoral psychology interns with training in outpatient psychotherapy for children, adolescents and their families
  • To train doctoral psychology interns to complete comprehensive developmental, psychological and educational assessments within the pediatric population
  • To provide an atmosphere in which psychology interns are encouraged to develop individualized programs that meet their professional development needs and interests, and are within the standards and guidelines of the CHLA Psychology Internship Training Program
  • To provide full-time doctoral psychology interns with a yearlong sub-specialty placement in pediatric, child or adolescent psychology 

We hope that these placement experiences will assist interns in developing an appreciation for the mental health and health care needs of a specialty population, as well as an interest within a professional practice area leading to post-doctoral fellowship training.

Training Requirements

This American Psychological Association (APA) accredited internship in clinical psychology offers two required placements and one sub-specialty placement in a variety of departments and clinical services. The two required clinical placements represent generalist skills for a child-focused psychologist: child/family therapy and psychological assessment. Each intern matches to one sub-specialty placement listed below.

Program Organization

The psychology doctoral internship offers a wide range of clinical training experiences that include three concurrent 12-month placements, including:

  1. Child/Family Therapy Program (35% of intern time) within the CHLA Community Mental Health Service
  2. Child/Family Assessment Program (30% of intern time) Within the CHLA Community Mental Health Service
  3. Sub-Specialty Program (35% of intern time) in one of the following sub-specialty areas:
    1. Pediatric Psychology
    2. Early Childhood
    3. Assessment Consultation and Evaluation
    4. Project HEAL Trauma Psychology
    5. Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine

The 12-month full-time doctoral clinical child and pediatric psychology internship begins July 1, 2022 and ends June 30, 2023. The application deadline for the 2022-2023 class is November 1, 2021. APPIC internship application and MATCH procedures apply to the selection process of this program.

  • Child and Family Rotation
  • Assessment Rotation
  • Sub-Specialty Rotation

The Community Mental Health Service provides individual and family psychotherapy services to children and their families from culturally diverse backgrounds in Los Angeles. Psychology interns are trained and supervised in psychological intake and assessment, treatment planning and intervention with a particular focus on applications of evidence-based practices in psychology. Interns gain experience in individual and family psychotherapy, group therapy, consultation and community involvement.

The program is structured so that each psychology intern provides treatment/intervention in the form of outpatient psychotherapy to children, adolescents and their families who represent diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. These clinical services accommodate children exhibiting a broad range of emotional, behavioral, cognitive and neurodevelopmental problems. Typically, each intern will have a caseload of four to six child/adolescent patients within the Community Mental Health Service Placement, depending on caseload in the sub-specialty placement. Outpatient therapy can include individual child/adolescent therapy, family therapy and group therapy. Services to children and families within this program are typically conducted in an outpatient clinic-based setting; home-based and community-based service opportunities are often included.

Interns will develop the ability to conceptualize treatment and intervention from a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives; however, all interns will be exposed to a variety of evidence-based practice approaches. To meet this goal, faculty and supervisors facilitate a weekly didactic series covering child/adolescent intervention strategies, family assessment and therapy, and psychological assessment. Interns will also participate in supervised case conferences to cultivate an understanding of appropriate professional roles. Issues such as coordination of services, treatment planning, and referral and termination will be discussed during these didactic activities. Methods for supervision within this program may include the review of recorded sessions and face-to-face or co-therapy supervision. Interns will be required to develop familiarity with essential APA sources such as the Ethical Standards for Psychologists, Standards of Professional Practice for Psychology and other prescribed readings in psychology.

As part of the Child/Family Assessment Program placement, interns will develop competency in the psychological assessment of a range of complex diagnostic issues observed with children and adolescents. Referrals to the assessment program include children with co-occurring developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and mental health or behavioral concerns, children with chronic medical conditions, learning difficulties or exposure to trauma, and children referred for assessment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. Interns are closely mentored through live proctoring, weekly group supervision/case conferences, and individual supervision.

All of the clients undergoing psychological assessment are recipients of ongoing psychotherapy, and interns collaborate with parents, referring therapists, schools, developmental disability service providers and medical providers in developing the assessment plan. It is anticipated that each intern will conduct six comprehensive evaluations of children and adolescents within the program year. Child and adolescent assessment and differential diagnosis are based on a complete psychological evaluation utilizing the following methods: administration of standardized psychological and academic achievement tests; structured parent, child and teacher self-report instruments; observation of play and parent-child interactions; clinical interviews (child, parents, teacher, etc.); observations of children in school settings; and the use of DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. Specific training is given in the following areas: developmental assessment, autism assessment, cognitive assessment, language proficiency evaluations, personality evaluation, emotional and social skills assessment, trauma-focused assessment, play-based assessment, and family needs and support evaluation. Prevention and assessment for early identification of disorders and disabilities in children is given particular emphasis in this training program.

The interns achieve assessment competency in the following: conceptualization of individual assessment cases; formulation of appropriate hypotheses regarding behavior and diagnosis; selection of appropriate assessment measures; and development of meaningful recommendations for intervention. Interns will develop the ability to link assessment data to meaningful interventions and to convey assessment results in a family-centered, culturally and linguistically competent manner using both oral and written communication. Interns will also have the opportunity to present the assessment results to other providers working with the child (e.g. Regional Center, IEP team, medical team, etc.).

At present, five different sub-specialization placements constitute the third major component of the internship year. All sub-specialization placements involve supervised clinical service.  Interns will develop a caseload comprised of child/adolescent or family patients from within a particular sub-specialty program. Sub-specialty programs are distinguished from one another by the nature of the client population, so the focus of clinical services may vary greatly among placements. However, all are structured around a weekly didactic and/or case conference program led by a team of faculty psychologists. For each sub-specialty rotation, a faculty member working within that area provides individual supervision. All sub-specialty rotations emphasize consultation and intervention, applications of psychological assessment and participation in an interdisciplinary milieu.

Adolescent Medicine Sub-Specialty Placement

The Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine promotes and advocates for the well-being of adolescents, their families, and communities. The Behavioral Services Program in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine is an integral part of a comprehensive treatment team providing adolescents and their families with a range of services to address their unique needs. This placement offers interns opportunities for training and interdisciplinary collaboration working with patients with multiple clinical and case management needs. The client pool includes a diverse, primarily low-income population of adolescents and families referred for services by physicians specializing in adolescent medicine and other health providers in surrounding communities, schools, probation departments and other entities. Common diagnostic concerns include family problems, depression, disruptive behavior, eating disorders, substance abuse, transitional age and sexual identity issues. Intern training includes supervised individual, family and group therapy, weekly didactic and case conferencing, and collaboration with experienced adolescent medicine therapists, physicians and other health care providers.

Assessment, Consultation and Evaluation Placement

The Assessment, Consultation and Evaluation (ACE) rotation for doctoral psychology interns involves taking an active clinical role in an interprofessional evaluation and treatment clinic for children and adolescents who present with a variety of internalizing and externalizing disorders, and who may benefit from medication as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Children seen in the clinic are referred from across all program areas and present with a variety of complex mental health, medical and developmental needs. Services are provided in a team-based integrated care approach, which provides interns with a unique opportunity to expand their clinical skills in an ambulatory clinic setting. Interns in the ACE rotation gain experience delivering mental health services, including brief assessments and short-term intervention in collaboration with developmental-behavioral pediatricians, occupational therapists, nurse care managers and speech language pathologists. Additionally, ACE interns play an important consultative role and have the opportunity to collaborate with primary therapists, child and adolescent psychiatrists and community providers to help clients reach their optimal functioning. Interns will receive sub-specialty supervision, participate in interprofessional didactic activities and case presentations and gain leadership experience in team-based integrated care. This specialization provides interns with the foundational skills necessary to become leaders in dynamic, interprofessional and integrated care environments.

Early Childhood Mental Health Sub-Specialty Placement

The Early Childhood Mental Health Sub-specialty Placement is designed to provide exposure to a variety of clinical and consultative models appropriate for working with diverse children ages birth to5 years, their caregivers/families and community agencies that serve them.  Young children referred to the program include infants and toddlers in foster care or exposed to abuse or neglect; preschool-aged children with acting-out behaviors, often as a result of trauma; young children with chronic medical conditions; and children with co-occurring developmental disabilities (including autism spectrum disorders) and mental health needs. The placement offers training experiences in relationship-based interventions with young children, including training in evidence-based practices applicable to this age group. Specific models taught include child-parent psychotherapy, Incredible Years, and Floortime therapy.  Services may be provided in the clinic or in-home, and include extensive collaboration with referring agencies including preschools, early intervention programs and the child welfare system. Interns are supervised using a reflective supervision model by faculty with expertise in infant-family and early childhood mental health. All supervisors in the placement are endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health. Videotapes are regularly used as part of supervision. Most of the supervisors in the Early Childhood program speak Spanish, and interns who speak Spanish are supported in bilingual development. In addition to individual supervision, interns attend a weekly seminar focusing on a range of topics related to early childhood mental health, cultural and linguistic competence, and weekly group supervision alternating focus between child-parent psychotherapy and Floortime treatment models.

Pediatric Psychology Sub-Specialty Placement

The Pediatric Psychology Placement emphasizes training regarding the role of psychology in a pediatric health care setting. This placement focuses on consultation and intervention services for children and adolescents with complex medical needs receiving care at CHLA. Interns will have an opportunity to provide therapy for referrals from one or more of the following medical teams: Craniofacial/Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery; Cardiology; Food Allergy; Nephrology; Cancer and Blood Disease Institute; Pain Medicine; Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism; Rheumatology; Medical Genetics; General Pediatrics; Orthopaedics; Neurology; and the Solid Organ Transplant Programs at CHLA. In addition to providing individual and family psychotherapy for children and adolescents coping with illness, interns will have the opportunity to consult with the medical teams, participate in interdisciplinary medical team rounds, advocate within school settings and provide group therapy. Opportunities exist to provide therapy in both outpatient and inpatient medical settings. Emphasis in supervision and didactics will be placed on evidence-based interventions in the field of pediatric psychology. Interns will participate in a weekly pediatric psychology didactic, as well as have opportunities to participate in case conferences.

Trauma Psychology (Project HEAL) Sub-Specialty Placement

Project HEAL serves a variety of children, adolescents and families who have experienced traumatic events, including abuse, neglect, accidents, medical trauma, exposure to community violence and immigration trauma. Many of our clients have complex presentations complicated by intergenerational trauma, homelessness, foster care, adoption or developmental disabilities. Project HEAL’s training program is designed to help interns develop knowledge and skills reflected in the New Haven Trauma Competencies (2014). Project Heal offers training in a variety of clinical interventions for traumatized children and families, including Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (TFCBT), and exposure to other evidence-supported psychological practices, including parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT). Trainees develop cultural competence in providing trauma-informed treatment to a diverse population at a variety of developmental levels. Interns will participate in supervised individual, family and group therapy, as well as weekly trauma didactic and case conferencing, and will collaborate with experienced trauma therapists and interdisciplinary professionals.

Didactics and Seminars

  • Weekly didactics
  • Diversity seminar
  • Professional development seminar
  • Dissertation support group

Interdisciplinary Training

  • The California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (CA-LEND) Program
  • Leadership and Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Program

Interns in the ACE, Early Childhood, Pediatrics and Trauma sub-specialty tracks participate as short-term trainees in The California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (CA-LEND) program, an interdisciplinary didactics and experiential program. The faculty of the CA-LEND program represents a wide range of disciplines including audiology, communication disorders, dentistry, developmental behavioral pediatrics, family support, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, psychiatry, psychology, public health, self advocacy, and social work.

Interns in the Adolescent Medicine sub-specialty track will participate in the Leadership and  Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) program on a weekly basis. This program provides interdisciplinary training for five core disciplines including medicine, nursing, nutrition, psychology and social work. The curriculum features nine modules that cover the following areas:

  • Overview of MCH system of care/life course development framework
  • Introduction to the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and interdisciplinary studies
  • Biopsychosocial model of adolescent and young adult health and development
  • Social determinants of health and cultural diversity
  • Trauma-informed care/interpersonal violence/vulnerable populations
  • Sexual health and gender issues
  • Public systems and vulnerable youth
  • Behavioral health and substance abuse
  • Nutritional disorders

Chronic illness, special health care needs and transition to adult services

Requirements for Admission/How to Apply

Prior to application, all applicants are expected to meet the following requirements:

  1. At least four years of graduate-level training, including 400 doctoral-level intervention hours
  2. Have written a minimum of three child or adolescent integrated psychological assessment reports
  3. Passed their academic program’s comprehensive exams and be accepted into doctoral candidacy before the beginning of internship

The CHLA Doctoral Internship utilizes the uniform application developed by APPIC. This internship program agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant. 

  • All materials must be received by November 1, 2021.
  • Applicants must complete the AAPI on line on the APPIC website, and make sure to upload the additional documents requested below.
  • This year, please indicate in your cover letter how the COVID-19 pandemic affected your training (if at all) so that we can consider that information in evaluating your application.
  • Prospective candidates will be notified by email by December 15, 2021, whether or not they are being granted an interview.
  • Interviews are required, and will be held (virtually for this cycle) in January 2022. These interviews weigh heavily in the matching process. Interviews will be offered only to applicants who have submitted a complete application and only after these applications have been screened by the faculty. 

The following items constitute a complete application:

  1. A completed APPIC Uniform Application
  2. A current Curriculum Vitae
  3. Transcripts of all graduate-level coursework
  4. A psychoeducational evaluation of a child or adolescent with all identifying information removed
  5. Three letters of recommendation from current graduate school faculty and practicum placement supervisors
  • Supervisors
  • Stipend Information
  • Accreditation
  • Admissions, Support, Initial Placement Data

Whitney Brammer, PhD
Hana Carmona, PsyD
Melissa Carson, PsyD
Teresa Celada-Dalton, PhD
Veronica Chavez, PhD
Lisa Christensen, PhD
Dean Coffey, PsyD
Bridgid Conn, PhD
Natalie Cruz, PsyD
Oscar Donoso, PhD
Sari Glassgold, PhD
Jeff Gold, PhD
Silvia Gutierrez, PhD
Heather Hall, PsyD
Emily Haranin, PhD
Eliza Harley, PhD
Jennifer Hershfield, PhD
Olivia Hsin, PhD
Bradley Hudson, PsyD
Alexis Johns, PhD
Marie Johnson, PsyD
Lydia Kim, PsyD
Patricia Lakatos, PhD
Genevieve Lam, PsyD
Stephanie Marcy, PhD
Tamara Matic, PhD
Micah Orliss, PhD
Hannah Perez, PhD
Irina Quebles, PsyD
Linda Radbill, PhD
Mari Radzik, PhD
Jennifer Rafeedie, PsyD
Moises Rodriguez, PhD
Karen Rogers, PhD
Caitlin Sayegh, PhD
Marian Williams, PhD
Alexis Yetwin, PhD

The program offers a yearly stipend in the amount of $36,000.00. Our interns are categorized as independent contractors rather than CHLA employees. Thus, interns are responsible for setting aside money for tax withholdings as their wages will not be taxed. Interns receive 10 days of vacation and seven additional holidays (New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas).

The CHLA doctoral internship joined the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) in 1997 and was originally accredited by the APA in 1999. The program received its ten years of full accreditation by the APA in 2019.  For information about the program’s accreditation, please contact:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation at the American Psychological Association 
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

Phone: 202-336-5979
Fax: 202-336-5978

http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/

Email: apaaccred@apa.org

Post Program Employment

  2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
Total number of interns 10 10 10 10 10
Community Mental Health Center 0 0 0 0 0
Health Maintenance Organization 0 0 0 0 0
Veterans Affairs Medical Center 0 0 0 0 0
Military Medical Center 0 0 0 0 0
Private General Hospital 2 0 0 0 0
General Hospital 1 0 0 0 0
Other Medical Center 4 7 7 8 8
Private Psychiatric Hospital 0 0 0 0 0
State/County/other Public Hospital 1 0 0 0 0
Correctional Facility 0 0 0 0 0
School District/System 0 1 0 0 0
University Counseling Center 0 0 0 0 0
University Teaching Faculty 0 0 0 0 0
2 or 4 year Undergraduate Teaching Position 0 0 0 0 0
Medical School 1 0 0 0 0
Academic Non-Teaching Position 0 0 0 0 0
Research Position 0 0 0 1 0
Independent Practice 0 2 1 0 2
Other (e.g., consulting) 0 0 0 0 0
Not currently employed 1 0 1 0 0
Changed to another career field 0 0 0 0 0
Unknown 0 0 0 0 0
  2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021
Working on dissertation/Student 1 1 0 1 0
Postdoctoral Fellow 9 9 9 9 10