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.

Training Goals and Objectives

Goal #1: To demonstrate at least intermediate skills (defined as the ability to practice independently with minimal additional practice) in the assessment of children and to demonstrate intermediate skills sufficient to assess children with concomitant medical disorders. 

Objective(s) for Goal #1:
1a.  Interns will complete a neuropsychological battery every 6 weeks (for approximately 7 to 8 assessments by the end of the year). 
1b.  Depending on their selected rotation, interns will also complete weekly Bayley-IV assessments as part of an interdisciplinary team in the Early Developmental Assessment Clinic (EDAC) as a part of their Young Child rotation experience.  Interns on the Neurosciences major rotation may perform bedside neuropsychological assessments.  Interns on the Oncology major rotation may perform bedside neuropsychological screens on patients with brain tumors.  The later 2 experiences are dependent on the inpatient hospital population.
1c.  Interns will become skilled in selecting, administering, scoring, interpreting, and communicating findings from a vast array of neuropsychological assessment instruments.
1d.  Interns will complete intake evaluations on a weekly basis (as allowed by referrals).  psychological treatment plan.
1e. Interns will receive individual and/or group supervision.    

Goal #2: To demonstrate at least intermediate skills (defined as the ability to practice independently with minimal additional practice) in the psychological treatment of children and their family members, with a specific focus on children with medical diagnoses. 

Objective(s) for Goal #2:
2a. Interns will provide weekly outpatient psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and their families. 
2b. Interns will participate in weekly, regularly scheduled supervision. 
2c. At the end of the year, interns will present a therapy case to the Pediatric Psychology seminar and will discuss case conceptualization, diagnosis, and treatment plans.
2d. Interns will participate in a weekly Ethics seminar.    

Goal #3: To demonstrate at least intermediate skills (defined as the ability to practice independently with minimal additional practice) in the provision of consultation to medical or other allied health professionals or providers as well as school professionals. 

Objective(s) for Goal #3:
3a. Interns will cover the general inpatient consultation service one day a week throughout the year. 
3b.  Interns participate in weekly rounds led by the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
3c. Interns participate in weekly sign out rounds.
3d. Interns participate in after hours call for at least 10 weeks a year along with a licensed clinical psychologist. 

Goal #4:  To complete the training and experience necessary to fulfill predoctoral requirements for applying for state or provincial license or certification for the independent practice of psychology and be prepared for functioning as a professional.

Objective(s) for Goal #4:
4a. Interns will accumulate at least 2000 hours of supervised clinical work over the course of the year, participating in the training activities of the internship program.
4b. Interns will receive a minimum of 4 hours a week of supervision (at least 2 hours individual).

Goal #5:  To demonstrate at least intermediate skills (defined as the ability to practice independently with minimal additional practice) in the provision of outpatient psychotherapy, psychological assessment and consultation to culturally diverse populations.

Objective(s) for Goal #5:
5a. Interns will participate in a Multicultural seminar.  
5b.  Interns will present a case that presented challenging multicultural issues.
5c.  Interns will participate in a multicultural “field trip” for 1 day where they will visit the different communities in Orange County and experience different cultural opportunities.
5d.  Multicultural issues will be discussed during supervision for outpatient psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation.    


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.


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.

APA Accreditation

Our internship program is APA accredited. Our last site visit was August 22 and 23, 2013. The program received 7 years of accreditation. 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.


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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. .