Pediatric Psychology :: Pediatric Psychology Training Model
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Training Model

Our training model is that of scholar-practitioner.  Consistent with this model, the focus of the training program is on the provision of direct patient care utilizing the most up-to-date knowledge, skills and interventions coupled with the evaluation of the efficacy of those interventions and continued planning to improve those services.   The mission of our training program is to provide high quality pediatric psychology training to advanced students in preparation for independent practice.  In order to achieve our mission, we assist in the development of a range of assessment and therapeutic skills as well as the development of a unique professional identity that builds on the individual skills and abilities that each intern brings to the program at entry.   The internship program philosophy of training is that intensive experiential activities with patients are crucial to the development of a unique therapeutic style and therapeutic skill set.  The development of this individual style can be a cornerstone in the ultimate development of your own unique individual professional identity.  Through these intensive experiences interns can take the skills learned in their graduate programs and further refine them and continue to develop their own unique and individual style of professional practice.

The majority of current staff members were trained in the scientist-practitioner model and see the inclusion of empirical work as a necessary component for the competent treatment of psychological problems.  We strive to provide interns with a breadth and depth of training experiences in the context of utilizing innovative scientific information to guide their treatment planning, conceptualization, and delivery.  All staff members remain actively involved in scientific associations, continuing education, and reviewing the relevant literature, in order to constantly improve the quality of their work and supervision.  Many staff are also involved in ongoing clinical research studies.

The primary purpose of the internship at CHOC is to prepare psychology graduate students for the professional practice of pediatric and child psychology in a variety of settings (e.g. hospital, school, clinic, and private practice), with a special emphasis on practice in medical settings.  Following the field of Pediatric Psychology, the internship focuses on addressing the relationship between children's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional functioning and their physical well being, including maintenance of health, promotion of positive health behaviors, and treatment of chronic or serious medical conditions.  We view the training year as a time for intensive clinical experience.  Although we do not see interns as having the time to complete additional research projects (as well as their own dissertation) during their own internship year, we do require ongoing scholarly activity, such as literature review, critical thinking, and appropriate application of the pediatric psychology literature.

Training Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of our Pediatric Psychology Training Program is to provide a training experience to advanced graduate psychology students within a multi-disciplinary setting that meets the qualifications of field experience in Ph.D./Psy.D. programs and licensing requirements for the Board of Psychology of the State of California (as well as those of other states). 

Through our program, interns will learn to assess the psychosocial impact of acute and chronic illness in children and their families.  Interns will become proficient in psychodiagnostic testing.  They will also be exposed to neuropsychological testing within a medical population and know how to determine the need for further cognitive assessment.   Interns will gain significant experience in hospital consultation and liaison skills, which includes providing inpatient interventions and giving feedback to physicians and other medical professionals.

Our program is designed to provide more structure at the beginning of the year, and for interns to play an increasingly independent role towards the end of the year.  During this year of critical transition from a graduate student to a professional psychologist, we encourage trainees to develop a professional identity, professional values, and a professional demeanor. 

We fully anticipate that interns graduating from our program will be prepared to function as an entry level pediatric psychologist with additional post doctoral training.  Many of our graduates go on to formal post-doctoral fellowships in order to further specialize in a particular area, others go on to assistant professorship positions, and others become private practitioners.

Total Program Hours and Licensure

Licensure in the state of California requires 1500 Predoctoral and 1500 Postdoctoral hours of Supervised Practice, as well as successful completion of the national written exam and a written exam in Jurisprudence.  Satisfactory completion of the predoctoral internship at CHOC exceeds this requirement and provides at least 2000 hours of Predoctoral Supervised practice.  CHOC interns can anticipate that their weekly responsibilities will be approximately 40 - 50 hours per week.  This time estimate includes clinical service, supervision, seminars, administration, scoring, and write-ups of psychological assessments.

APA Accreditation

Our internship program is APA accredited.  Our last site visit occurred in early 2005.  Our last site visit was August 22 and 23, 2013.  The American Psychological Association can be reached at (202) 336-5979 or at www.apa.org or by writing to, American Psychological Association, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE • Washington, DC • 20002-4242.


Informal evaluations are conducted throughout the year; formal evaluations are conducted after the first quarter of the year, again at mid-training year, and at the end of the training year.  These evaluations look at the trainees’ strengths in a variety of areas including diagnostic skills, interventions, assessment, professional practice, awareness of multicultural practice and response to supervision. Evaluation results are shared with the trainees so that goals can be defined and planned for and refinements in trainee performance can occur.  Trainees are also asked to evaluate their supervisors and the Training Program annually.  Supervisor and Training Program evaluations are used to review and clarify rotation strengths and weaknesses, supervisor performance, and program efficacy.


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .