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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Psychology Training Program Internship Experience: Neuropsychology Track

Psychology Internship and Postdoctoral Fellowship Overview
Introduction | Training StaffClosing Comments and Contact Information
Psychology Internship Program
Generalist Track | Neuropsychology Track | RotationsApplication Process
Postdoctoral Fellowship
Overview | Application Process | Clinical Neuropsychology Fellowship 

Our training goals for the Neuropsychology Track intern include providing appropriate breadth and depth of psychological service delivery expertise and preparing the neuropsychology intern to apply and be competitive for formal postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology. In the interest of achieving these goals, the intern is expected to select three half-time placements in neuropsychology and three half-time placements outside of neuropsychology, each lasting four months. The Neuropsychology Track intern should expect to have one half-time neuropsychology placement during each of the four-month rotations. Some interns may also select a one-day placement in a focus area, such as Forensic Psychology. These placements are designed on the basis of intern preferences, but with an eye towards achieving a balance of experiences in neuropsychology and general psychology. The intern will have a mix of outpatient and inpatient placements, which will provide experiences in assessment, therapy, and consultation. The following is an example of two possible rotation schedules for a Neuropsychology Track intern.

 

Sample Rotation Schedule A

 

Sample Rotation Schedule B

 

Rotation 1

 

Rotation 1

 

Neurology Neuropsychology

50%

PTSD Clinical Team

50%

CIP - Vocational Rehabilitation

50%

MH Neuropsychology

50%

 

 

 

 

Rotation 2

 

Rotation 2

 

MH Neuropsychology

50%

ROVER

50%

Spinal Cord Injury

50%

Neurology Neuropsychology

50%

 

 

 

 

Rotation 3

 

Rotation 3

 

Polytrauma Neuropsychology

50%

Behavioral Health

50%

Chronic Pain

50%

MH Neuropsychology

50%

 

 

 

 

 
There are five full time neuropsychologists approved to provide training opportunities at the MEDVAMC (Jane Booth, Ph.D., ABPP, Robert Collins, Ph.D., ABPP, Brian Miller, Ph.D., Nicholas Pastorek, Ph.D., ABPP, Nick Wisdom, Ph.D.) and one part time neuropsychologist (Michele York, Ph.D). The neuropsychology intern is assigned to a specific staff psychologist for professional supervision during each rotation. The neuropsychologists work in three different care lines and are affiliated with the Epilepsy Center of Excellence, Parkinson’s Disease Research and Clinical Center, and the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, thus providing interns access to extremely diverse clinical and research training experiences. The MEDVAMC has an APA specialty practice accredited postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology that currently supports two fellows, while also providing training for graduate-level externs, with whom the neuropsychology intern will have opportunities to receive and provide supervised supervision. Patient populations served by neuropsychologists at the MEDVAMC typically include traumatic brain injury, various dementias and demyelinating disorders, seizure disorder, stroke, psychiatric disorders including severe mental illness, and movement disorders.

The neuropsychology intern will participate in at least three non-neuropsychology focused rotations supervised by MEDVAMC psychologists within the larger psychology internship. Through these rotations, the neuropsychology intern will have an opportunity to gain exposure to varied theoretical orientations. Group and individual therapy opportunities are available and include treatment approaches such as CBT, group process, interpersonal, psychodynamic and psychoeducation depending on the needs of the population served and the theoretical orientation and style of the individual supervisor. Some psychologists are able to provide supervision in family therapy if there is an interest. Opportunities to provide problem-focused interventions, including such therapies as sleep hygiene and pain management, will also be available through several of the neuropsychology rotations. The MEDVAMC psychology internship has a close association with BCM and interns have the opportunity to participate in minor rotations offered through the BCM clinical psychology internship program (the number of available minors varies from year to year).

There are a number of scheduled training seminars on clinical assessment, psychotherapy, clinical issues, and professional issues. Training seminars of particular interest to the Neuropsychology Track intern include brain cuttings, Neuropsychology Case Conference, and the Polytrauma Educational Series. Other conferences, staff meetings, case presentations, and regular unit staffings are scheduled so that interns can attend. To facilitate further communication among the interns and between the interns and staff, the interns meet with the Director of Training each week to discuss problems, changes and/or issues of concern to the interns. Once a month MEDVAMC interns participate in special topic didactic opportunities with interns from Baylor College of Medicine, University of Houston Counseling Center, the University of Texas Medical School, the Cypress-Fairbanks independent School District, and the Houston Independent School District. This affords the interns in the Houston area an opportunity to form a support network and discuss professional issues.

Interns are expected to demonstrate understanding and competence in the areas of diagnosis and assessment, effective interventions, consultation, evaluation of efficacy of interventions, and issues of cultural and individual diversity. Additionally, the interns are expected to progress from more intensive supervision at the beginning of the year to more autonomous functioning by the year’s end. Finally, the interns are expected to present neuropsychological assessment and therapy cases toward the end of the training year so that their competence can be formally evaluated.

On completion of each training assignment, supervisors evaluate the intern's performance during the preceding four months. Feedback on this evaluation and intern progress is discussed with supervisors. A written evaluation of progress in training is furnished to the intern’s Director of Training each rotation. Each intern is also asked to make an evaluation of the supervision received during the preceding rotation. At the end of the internship year each intern is asked to evaluate the internship experience during an exit interview.