The Adult Elective

The Adult elective in the Mass General Internship in Clinical Psychology is designed to train psychologists in the Scientist-Practitioner Model. In this elective the scientist-practioner model is envisioned as the integration of the best available research knowledge and clinical expertise within the context of patient characteristics, culture and preference (APA, Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006)

Treatment

Interns choosing the adult elective provide individual psychotherapy to a wide range of diagnostically diverse patients in the outpatient clinic. On average, interns see approximately nine patients per week. Primarily patients are treated in two modalities: cognitive behavioral therapy and integrative dynamic psychotherapy. Specific didactic and supervisory experiences are provided for each treatment orientation.

Assessment & Evaluation

Interns provide psychological and cognitive evaluations for psychiatric inpatients on a locked, 24-bed, general psychiatric unit, and for medical inpatients in the general hospital setting. These focal batteries are designed to answer specific diagnostic and treatment-related questions that arise in the care of acutely ill psychiatric and/or medical patients. Interns receive training in the use of a wide range of instruments/tests including: the Wechsler scales, self-report of psychopathology, performance-based psychological instruments, tests of normal personality and and neuropsychological screening instruments.

During the course of the year each adult elective intern completes two six-month rotations:

  • One providing assessment consultations on the locked psychiatric unit
  • One doing consultations within the general medical hospital

Consultation

Interns who choose the adult elective are provided with numerous opportunities to function in the role of assessment consultant providing diagnostic and treatment planning information and guidance to providers, patients and sometimes, family members. Core consultation skills include working collaboratively with medical and mental health professionals, translating clinical dilemmas into questions that assessment procedures can inform and communicating assessment findings back to the referring professionals and patients in an informative and beneficial manner.

Research

Interns participating in the adult elective learn to integrate research literature into ongoing professional practice through discussion of readings, literature reviews, supervision and didactic training. Many adult elective staff members are actively engaged in assessment and psychotherapy research. In addition, the adult elective has a strong tradition of encouraging and supporting interns in presenting their research and training experiences at national conferences and publishing assessment or test-related journal articles.

Didactics

Two adult elective-specific seminars are required for the adult elective interns in addition to the internship core didactics:

  • Advanced Psychological Assessment Seminar (1.5 hours weekly)
  • Psychological Evaluation and Research Lab (PEaRL) staff meeting (1 hour weekly)

Supervision

Interns receive substantial supervision for all their professional activities:

  • Each intern has two or more hours of supervision for his or her individual psychotherapy work
  • One hour of weekly scheduled supervision for the assessment consultations. This hour of supervision is supplemented with "real time" supervision as needed for each case assigned
  • Under this model, interns receive two to three hours of assessment supervision per week

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