The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Elective provides experiences in a clinical setting according to the scientist-practitioner model and encourages academic careers in psychology.
Interns in this elective receive intensive training designed to provide:
- Up-to-date knowledge of clinical research methods and outcomes
- Knowledge of the nature of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) conditions and treatment interventions based on the current empirical literature
- Experience in formulating and implementing treatments based on functional analyses of maladaptive behaviors in patients with a wide range of severity, comorbidity, and clinical presentations
Treatment, Assessment & Evaluation
The CBT Elective provides interns with experience evaluating and treating patients with conditions representing a full spectrum of DSM-5 disorders. To insure that experience with a variety of disorders and relative specialization with several disorders is achieved, interns track the number of patients seen within each diagnostic category. An effort is made to create diversity in each intern's case load. The clinical training requirement for interns is eight patient-contact hours per week. Typically, interns schedule approximately ten patient/hours per week to insure a full eight hours of contact. CBT interns will get exposure to some behavioral medicine cases during the internship year.
CBT interns will also co-lead a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) group and attend DBT team meetings for six months. (In addition, interns will do a six-month, four-hour/week rotation on the Inpatient Psychiatry Service on Blake 11.)
Participation in a number of diagnostic programs will help ensure that, in addition to providing state-of-the-art CBT interventions, CBT interns become facile with the issues associated with pharmacologic and combined pharmacologic and cognitive-behavioral treatment. Outcome findings for pharmacotherapy, CBT and their combination are addressed in the CBT seminar. During the internship, interns will become aware of the common doses, side-effects, and actions of the agents most commonly applied in the pharmacotherapy of anxiety, mood, and somatoform disorders. In addition, the CBT elective provides specialty training in issues of combined treatment and discontinuation of pharmacotherapy for patients with anxiety and affective disorders. Experience with and awareness of the effectiveness of CBT for different diagnostic categories helps prepare interns for interacting with managed care companies and other mental health professionals.
CBT interns provide consultations to medical and psychiatric patients hospitalized at Mass General on an as-needed basis.
Typically, successful applicants to the CBT elective have already demonstrated a commitment to clinical research as evidenced by an emerging history of completed research publications and/or presentations. To make the most of the clinical research training, an incoming intern would have their dissertation either nearly complete or complete before starting the internship. One of the objectives of the CBT elective is to solidify the interns' background and skills necessary for a career in academic research.
As part of our commitment to the Scientist-Practitioner model, clinical research is a regular and protected part of the CBT elective. Faculty from the anxiety (panic disorder, social phobia, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar, depression, psychotic disorders, digital health, and adult ADD programs offer a wealth of research opportunities to CBT interns, including multiple ongoing investigations of the nature and treatment of anxiety and affective disorders. In addition to these direct experiences, the CBT Seminar provides training in the use of structured clinical interviews and discusses the methods and findings in recent clinical research trials. The structure of these ongoing studies allows for the intern to add existing measures to ongoing projects or to design side studies of their own.
Key faculty involved in research & clinical training
In addition to the internship core didactics, the following seminars are required:
- CBT seminar (weekly)
- Behavioral Medicine seminar (weekly)
- Group supervision and case conferences
- Integrative Psychotherapy Seminar (weekly)
- 2+ hours of individual supervision
- 2 hours of group supervision
- Supervision provided in both group and individual formats is designed to offer a variety of perspectives on the care of patients. In all cases, supervision is designed to combine perspectives based on empirical research and enhanced with clinical experience.
The Mass General/Harvard Medical School Predoctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology received the "Outstanding Training Program" Award in 2011 by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT).
Postdoctoral Training Opportunities
In the past few years, we have had interns stay on for postdoctoral training in a number of different programs including the Center for OCD and Related Disorders, the Depression and Clinical Research Program, the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, the Psychotic Disorders Program, the Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation and others. Interns tend to stay on with the programs in which they have worked during the internship year. More than half of CBT interns stay on at Mass General for postdoctoral training, although there is no guarantee of postdoctoral positions