Child Guidance/Family Counseling Clinic
- The Child Guidance/Family Counseling Clinic is designed to provide psychological, psycho-educational, and neuro-psychological assessments. Training and consultation are provided as well. The clients are seen on an outpatient basis by appointment only. Detained clients are seen at the courthouse. The program is also responsible for providing the Court with in-depth domestic relations home studies to assist the judiciary in child custody matters.
- Child Guidance Clinic Brochure
- The Child Guidance Clinic is located in the Family Court’s Court Social Services Division within the D.C. Superior Court. The Clinic's functions include conducting court-ordered psychological evaluations and engaging in psychotherapy with adolescents (and some children) who have come to the attention of the court.
- Since 1996, the Child Guidance Clinic has served as a major rotation for the Howard University Counseling Service's American Psychological Association (APA) accredited internship program. The Clinic has maintained an active externship program in clinical psychology involving the local universities and professional schools in the D.C. area. In the beginning years of the externship program, the need for local internship training sites prompted the development of a rotation in psychological assessment that was part of the already-accredited Howard University Counseling Services internship program. In order to formalize the training that was being sought at the Clinic through area schools, the Child Guidance Clinic began the process of applying for APPIC membership in 1999. With the successful completion of six classes of interns, the Clinic program is currently fully accredited through APA. Five full-time licensed psychologists and two deputy clerks, who assist with the administration of the Clinic's programs, staff the Clinic.
- Interns are considered trainees, but are expected to function as psychology professionals and as representatives of the Court. Interns have a stipend of $20,000 per annum, paid bi-weekly. As temporary employees, interns do not have access to the same benefits as full time Court employees do. For example, interns do not receive paid health insurance, and are therefore encouraged to seek personal health insurance through their universities or by securing their own personal policy. Also interns are compensated based on a flexible 40-hour Monday thru Friday work week; however interns do not accrue sick and annual leave, compensatory (comp) time or holiday compensation. Training off-site is included as part of the 2000 hour requirement for internship completion.
- The training program is built upon the Practitioner-Scholar model, which emphasizes the use and integration of the extant research in assessing, diagnosing, and treating clients with the most up-to-date and effective techniques and interventions. The Clinic defines scholarship to include theory, empirically based research, and analysis of current trends in the profession. The internship is designed to integrate this base of scholarship with the practice of psychological interventions. Consistent with research outcome data, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral approaches are employed according to the client's needs. The professional staff and interns engage in the direct delivery of mental health services to adolescents under court supervision. Ultimately interns will be able to function as knowledgeable and skilled professionals in a variety of mental health service delivery settings.
- The philosophy of the training program is to prepare interns for professional practice as entry-level psychologists. The internship strives to foster scholarly inquiry and develop core competencies in assessment, psychotherapy, consultation, supervision, and multicultural and ethical issues. Interns are exposed to a wide range of clinical experiences and diagnostic challenges. Assessment is an emphasis in this internship; training in assessment also develops the skills to think critically about many psychological interventions. This will be achieved by working in concert with the judicial system and the general community. Interns experience the full spectrum of Clinic duties. They participate as colleagues-in-training with access to staff members court-wide. Their involvement in the many programs offered by the Clinic and Court Social Services is inclusive.
The Psychology Training ProgramThe population served at the Child Guidance Clinic includes adolescents and children (and sometimes parents) who come to the attention of the court through the juvenile system. The Clinic utilizes a combination of didactic and experiential training activities, with a strong focus on the latter. The core components of the internship include psychological assessment, individual and group counseling, supervision and consultation, ethics and multicultural awareness. The program's training goals are designed to prepare interns for work as entry-level psychologists:
- To administer and interpret clinical psychological evaluations
- To practice individual and group psychotherapy and counseling
- To develop skills in training and consultation with other professionals in a multi- disciplinary setting
- To learn and practice the elements of supervision including theory, process, and application
- To develop an awareness of multicultural issues as an integral part of professional and ethical practice
- To foster scholarly inquiry for the purpose of integrating research and practice
- The Clinic staff recognizes that interns present with diverse training needs in assessment. Taking into account each intern's past experiences with psychological assessment, the training is individualized and graduated. An in-depth, immersion orientation period is followed by intense individualized supervision, frequent feedback, and in-depth case presentation. Cases are screened and assigned to interns by staff psychologists on the basis of the intern's growing level of competence.
- Psychological assessment is emphasized in this internship. Assessment training provides the conceptual underpinning of psychological treatment and intervention. The training program reflects this objective by devoting considerable time to the assessment process, and having a graded approach. Interns initially are trained in fundamentals of test administration and scoring as a prelude to their first assessment experience. Weekly Training and Assessment Supervision reinforces the orientation training. For the first month of internship, interns complete two assessments; for the remainder of the internship interns complete one assessment per week. Assessments include test administration, scoring and analyzing the data, engaging in weekly supervision (both group and individual), and writing and revising integrative reports. The assessment process is closely monitored by the intern's primary supervisor, with the expectation that the intern will develop increasing levels of autonomy as the year progresses. The intern, in concert with the supervisor, reviews pertinent background information in order to tailor a specific and relevant test battery to answer the referral questions. Through comprehensive assessment batteries, interns are introduced to the entire range of psychological methods and diagnostic considerations. This is achieved through: clinical interview, developmental history, family systems, behavioral observation and rating scales, collateral interviews (parent, caretaker, counselor, etc.), cognitive, educational, self-report and projective instruments. Computer scoring techniques, hypothesis testing and integration of data is accomplished through individual and group supervision with the licensed staff.
- These comprehensive assessments are the basis for consultation by the court, school and other agencies involved in the juvenile's rehabilitation. The assessments further assist in the disposition process, in educational placement decisions, inpatient hospitalization, probation supervision, and addiction treatment. Less frequently for the interns, evaluations may serve to inform the court regarding issues of Competency to Stand Trial and Transfer to Adult Jurisdiction.
The Psychology Training Program 2
- The following are the core competencies of the training program:
Psychological Assessment Core Competencies
- Standardized administration, scoring and interpretation of a range of psychological assessment instruments
- Formulating appropriate DSM-IV diagnoses
- Conducting clinical interviews
- Conceptualizing cases
- Testing special populations (i.e. cultural and linguistic difference, physically challenged, developmentally delayed and cognitively impaired individuals)
- Integrative report writing
Individual and Group Psychotherapy Core Competencies
- Establishing relationships with a diverse (culturally, developmentally) population
- Understanding individual and group process issues and own strengths/weaknesses as a clinician
- Understanding psycho-legal concepts in the psycho-educational group and understanding group process concepts in process groups
- Able to screen potential group members and formulate appropriate goals in different group modalities
- Conceptualizing a client from different theoretical perspectives and setting appropriate treatment goals
- Treatment planning and case management
- Writing treatment and progress summaries, and termination reports
Individual and Group Psychotherapy
- Individual psychotherapy is a primary competency taught during the internship. Interns are assigned up to seven court-referred clients who may continue in psychotherapy throughout their probationary period. Interns gain experience with culturally and diagnostically diverse juveniles. Individual treatment may be short-term, long-term (one-year) or crisis intervention. The primary supervisor provides supervision.
- The individual psychotherapy portion of the training program is conducted with adolescents and young adults. Interns participate in individual psychotherapy supervision each week, and a weekly process/didactic group supervision in which theories, concepts, case formulations, and historical information are applied to specific cases. Through individual case presentations and case formulations, interns are exposed to a wide variety of emotional, cognitive, social, educational and developmental problems. Mainstream approaches to therapy are taught including psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal and supportive approaches. These diverse therapeutic approaches are applied to the understanding and treatment of each juvenile.
- Interns are responsible to the court for the provision of monthly progress reports that apprise the Juvenile Probation Officer and the presiding judge of the juvenile's progress in treatment. This provides the opportunity for the Court to monitor the youth's psychological functioning in addition to monitoring the compliance with probation requirements.
- By the conclusion of the internship, interns are expected to have developed entry-level competencies in (as assessed by achieving a satisfactory grade on formal evaluation form): forming, developing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship; formulating case conceptualizations; creating treatment plans; utilizing case management skills; employing effective interventions and understanding the process of psychotherapy.
- Group psychotherapy training has two components: The first component involves on-site experience in the Child Guidance Clinic treating juvenile sex offenders or restoring competency for trial. The second component is comprised of a group therapy rotation at Howard University's Counseling Service. Interns participate with the Howard University interns in a weekly group psychotherapy seminar. This entails observation of a therapy group followed by discussion, participation in their own process group, group supervision, culminating with the intern co-leading a group. Howard University psychologists who hold specialized certifications in group therapy supervise interns in group therapy.
- Interns have the opportunity to initiate and form groups on specialized topics. In the past, interns have led groups addressing a wide range of clinical needs: grief, teenage fathers, self-esteem, anger management, sex education and drug education.
- By the conclusion of the internship, interns are expected to develop entry-level competencies (as assessed by achieving a satisfactory grade on formal evaluation form) in: screening potential group members, writing group therapy treatment contracts, understanding theories of group processes, applying theories to the here-and-now process when co-leading a group, interpreting group processes, and gaining self-knowledge through participation in their own process group.
Training and Consultation Core Competencies 2
- Interns further develop consultation skills through regular contact with court staff about their clinical work, i.e., providing verbal feedback about written evaluations and monthly progress reports concerning therapy progress. Training skills are developed by regularly presenting on areas of assessment and therapy to extern students and staff during weekly seminars and supervision.
Training and Consultation Core Competencies
- Consultation with other multi-disciplinary professionals
- Presentations to peers, staff, and possibly other professionals
Training and Consultation
- The Child Guidance Clinic has a strong commitment to professional development. By the conclusion of the internship, interns are expected to develop entry-level competencies (as assessed by achieving a satisfactory grade on formal evaluation form) in: teaching, collaboration with staff, and communicating psychological information to other disciplines effectively and clearly. Interns will understand how different settings influence how information is communicated and disseminated. In this context, consultation in the court setting involves high levels of sensitivity to issues of confidentiality and disclosure of client information.
- Training and consultation services may occur in a variety of settings: in Court the intern may be asked to clarify treatment needs, interpret recommendations, discuss diagnoses or assist with placement issues. Interns may provide testimony as fact witnesses based on their treatment or assessment of a particular client. In the Child Guidance Clinic, interns will provide training at weekly seminars in assessment and psychotherapy. Interns will observe and supervise extern counseling activities in the Juvenile Sex Offender treatment program.
Ethics and Cultural Diversity
- By the conclusion of internship, interns are expected to have gained entry-level understanding (as assessed by achieving a satisfactory grade on formal evaluation form) of: the Ethical Standards of the American Psychological Association, the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, the District of Columbia Ethics Code. Interns are expected to demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues and sensitivity to ethical conflicts and their resolution.
- Adherence to the APA Code of Ethics is integral to all aspects of the internship. Interns are expected to incorporate the ethical code in their delivery of clinical services and be able to apply the code to other professional activities such as teaching, supervision and consultation. Training in the ethical code is continuous and stressed throughout the training year. The APA Ethical Principles and Specialty Guidelines are provided in the Intern Handbook. Participation in an in-house ethics seminar is required at the beginning of the internship.
- Principles of cultural and individual diversity are applied to all training activities. The Clinic's population is comprised of a culturally and diagnostically diverse population. Therefore, through their clinical work, interns learn experientially about the influence of race (primarily African-American), ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture (i.e., urban), and socio-economic status on both psychotherapy and assessment. By providing a combined psychotherapy outplacement at Howard University Counseling Center, interns gain a breadth of experience in diversity factors such as age, socio-economic status, culture, and within-group differences.
- The internship's emphasis on cultural and diagnostic diversity is reflected in supervision, didactic training, and assigned readings. The impact of culture and diagnosis are interwoven when choosing and interpreting tests, psychotherapies and communicating psychological findings to the court and others.
- By the conclusion of internship, interns are expected to develop these entry-level competencies (as assessed by achieving a satisfactory grade on formal evaluation form): understanding diversity issues as they affect assessment, psychotherapy, and consultation; developing self-awareness and understanding of the intern's own reactions to cultural differences and the influence of these differences on the therapeutic relationship.
Ethics and Cultural Diversity Core Competencies
- Understanding the influence of cultural diversity on assessment (e.g., construct an Individualized test battery that takes into account cultural, linguistic, and physical and cognitive abilities and interpret test data taking into account relevant cultural issues) and therapy
- Developing sensitivity to diversity issues
- Having a familiarity with the APA Principles and Code of Conduct, the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, and the District of Columbia Ethics Code
- Developing an awareness of ethical issues and how to resolve ethical conflicts with clients
Supervision and Program Evaluation
- Training in supervision is another core aspect of the internship training program. Training includes didactic presentations, staff models techniques of supervision in group and individual modalities; interns may incorporate or assimilate these methods in their developing supervisory identities. In addition, interns supervise pre-doctoral psychology externs who are engaged in co-leading psycho-educational groups, thereby providing them with direct supervision experience. By the conclusion of internship, interns are expected to develop this entry-level competency (as assessed by achieving a satisfactory grade on formal evaluation form): understanding theories of supervision and applying them to the process of supervision
- Staff values intern feedback, and attempts to create an atmosphere of openness that encourages spontaneous and honest feedback. Interns are required to formally evaluate the internship program and the facility organization on a quarterly basis, and informally throughout the internship year. Evaluation is both written and verbal. Staff and interns meet quarterly to discuss interns' feedback and suggestions for ways to improve the training experience.
- By the conclusion of internship, interns are expected to develop this entry-level competency (as assessed by achieving a satisfactory grade on formal evaluation form): to assess the interplay between individual training needs and the efficacy and efficiency of a training program's goals and functions.
Supervision and Program Evaluation Core Competencies
- Understanding theories of supervision and applying theories to supervision of externs
- Assessing the interplay between individual training needs and the efficacy and efficiency of a training program's goals and functions
- The Clinic integrates theory and empirically based research with the practice of psychology. The training staff strives to remain conversant with the latest literature in the field and aware of changes in professional standards and laws governing the practice of psychology. Research time is built into the internship program. Interns have the opportunity to either complete their own dissertation research, or use the Clinic's extensive data/archives for potential research. The Clinic encourages interns to complete their dissertation by allotting time for this activity, typically taken for part of a Friday. The Clinic has a large amount of archival data than can be utilized for investigative purposes. As with any research process, any new research undertaken must be approved by the Court's Internal Review Board (IRB), in conjunction with approval from the student's advisor and University IRB. By the conclusion of internship, interns are expected to develop this entry-level competency in the application of scientific theory to the practice of psychology.
Scholarly Inquiry Core Competencies
- Applying scientific theory in their practice of psychological assessment
- Applying scientific theory in their practice of psychotherapy
- Completing psychological research (dissertation or other)
Training at Howard UniversityThrough didactic group training on Tuesdays and experiential training, interns are exposed to theory and technique of group intervention. The concept of the "group as a whole" instead of individuals in a group is the theoretical model from which groups are approached. Experiences with groups range from short-term counseling, with purpose and task being focused around specific issues to on-going, open-ended psychotherapy groups.
OutplacementsInterns may choose from three outplacements: 1) At the Howard University Counseling Service, interns may engage in individual psychotherapy with students from Howard University. Supervision is provided by Howard University Staff. 2) At the Child Advocacy Center, interns may participate in (primarily) play therapy with abused or neglected children. Supervision is provided by a staff psychologist or by the psychologist at the Child Advocacy Center. 3) At St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, interns may participate in a variety of adult forensic training opportunities.
- Candidates must be enrolled in a doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology. All formal course work and comprehensive examinations must have been completed. Candidates must have completed two years of practicum (1000 hours) training.
- American Psychological Association
Committee on Accreditation
750 North Capitol Street
Washington DC 20002-4242
NOTIFICATION: The Clinic Complies with APPIC established deadlines.