Clinical Practica Opportunities for Clinical Psychology PhD Students

Psychological Services Center (PSC)

The Psychological Services Center (PSC) is located within the Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo. Students in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program conduct individual psychotherapy and assessments with adult clients starting in their second year of training and until they leave for the clinical internship. Clients include individuals affiliated with the university (students, faculty, staff members) and community members who may present with a wide range of psychological problems, including mood disorders, eating disorders, somatic disorders, and personality pathology. The facility has video-recording capabilities and students receive extensive supervision by full members of the clinical area faculty. (Additional practica in child psychotherapy and group therapy are available within the PSC, but not required as part of the training program.)

Erie County Medical Center (ECMC)

There are two practicum available at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC). The first involves co-leading cognitive-behavioral treatment groups for adolescents (ages 13-18) who are admitted to the inpatient psychiatric unit. The manualized prevention treatment involves teaching cognitive-behaviorally based coping skills in the areas of assertiveness, listening, resisting social pressures, and mood regulation (typically a 1-year practicum). Students work with individuals who present with psychopathology on the severe end of the spectrum including substance abuse/dependence, psychosis, personality pathology, mood disorders, and suicidality. This practicum is supervised by Sarah Taber-Thomas, PhD.

The second opportunity is offered through the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine where externs work collaboratively with a team of medical professionals that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, and physical therapists. The placement provides experience working in the field of health psychology, including providing consultation services and group interventions.  The practicum is supervised by Lisa Keenan-Uschold, PhD

Buffalo VA Medical Center

The VA Center for Integrated Healthcare (CIH) at Buffalo VA Hospital offers externship positions working with US Veterans as part of existing research studies. Specific intervention approaches vary based on currently funded projects. Current investigations are evaluating brief cognitive-behavioral interventions for Veterans with a) concussion and co-occurring mental health conditions, b) chronic pain, and c) cardiovascular risk factors.  This practicum is supervised by Paul King, PhDGregory Beehler, PhD, and Julie Gass, PhD.

Oishei Children’s Hospital, Children’s Psychiatry Clinic

The Children’s Psychiatry Clinic is a New York State Office of Mental Health licensed clinic that provides diagnostic and treatment services to Western New York youth and their families who are experiencing emotional and/or behavioral disturbances. Practicum students are assigned cases and work with supervisors in conducting assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and collaboration with psychiatry. This practicum is supervised by Alex Cogswell, PhD.

Other Practica Opportunities

  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Child/Adolescent practicum (e.g., Parent-Child Interaction Therapy) at UB Psychological Services Center (PSC)
  • Erie Country Holding Center (ECHC), Adult Forensic Mental Health Clinic

Current and Past Clinical Experiences in Research Laboratories and Courses

Assessment Peer Supervision
Advanced clinical psychology PhD students have the opportunity to supervise first-year clinical students as they learn to administer psychological and neuropsychological assessments, including the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV), Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT4), and Benton Visual Retention Test (BVRT). Peer supervisors, who serve as Teaching Assistants for the Psychological Assessment course, watch video tapes of first-year students and provide detailed feedback on their practice testing administrations. This practicum is supervised by Leonard Simms, PhD.

Personality Disorder Assessment
Graduate students working with Leonard Simms, PhD, on this project have had the opportunity to conduct face-to-face personality, symptom, functional, and narrative interviews with an outpatient clinical sample.

PTSD Assessment
Under the supervision of Jennifer Read, PhD, students have conducted structured diagnostic interviews for individuals likely to meet DSM-IV criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among a college-aged sample.

Mood Disorder Assessment
Under the supervision of John Roberts, PhD, students have had the opportunity to receive formal training in administering structured SCID interviews for the assessment of major depressive episodes, manic and hypomanic episodes and psychotic symptoms. For some students, this involved the opportunity to gain experience in supervising peers.

Social and Emotional Skills Intervention
Doctoral students working with Jamie Ostrov, PhD, and colleagues on the Early Childhood Friendship Project have had the opportunity to conduct a manualized social and emotional skills program to improve peer relations within preschool classrooms.