CAPS Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Service Psychology
Counseling and Psychological Services offers a full-time twelve-month postdoctoral fellowship designed to provide high-quality training in the multiple functions carried out within a major university counseling center. Intensively supervised experiences are offered in individual and group counseling/psychotherapy and crisis intervention, and outreach. Possible additional experience is available in assessment and diagnosis, consultation, research, or training, and other activities appropriate to the setting. Professional development is fostered within the context of a service-delivery system, which has a long-standing tradition of dedication to excellence in training.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, CAPS will offer four post-doctoral positions devoted to general clinical services. Duties include individual and group psychotherapy, initial consultations and triage, assessment, outreach and consultation, crisis intervention, and collaboration with an interdisciplinary staff at CAPS.
Philosophy and Goals
By tradition and emphasis, we are an agency in which excellence in training is held in high regard. Within that context, our program rests on this basic premise: We are committed to the promotion of professional excellence and personal maturity in an atmosphere of humanistic concern and respect.
This commitment underlies the overarching aim of our post-doc program: the training not only of clinicians who are developing areas of expertise, but of "generalists"-highly competent and versatile professionals, who keep abreast of changes in the field and who use this information to inform their clinical practice. The objective of the post-doc program which relates to this goal is to train psychologists, whose expertise extends to a variety of clinical domains, including individual and group psychotherapy, initial screening, urgent evaluation and follow-up, multicultural counseling, possibly supervision of trainees when trainees are available, and collaboration with other disciplines.
As a part of the overarching goal, we also hope to provide post-docs with some opportunity to develop areas of concentration of their own choosing that fit within the scope of our agency. The objective under this goal is for post-docs to develop competence in one of the areas listed: couples, advanced assessment, research in applied settings, consultation/outreach, administration, and certain areas of clinical competence such as working with athletes, eating disorders, sexual assault/relationship violence, other areas of clinical expertise. Post-docs are welcome to develop areas of concentration not on this list since this list was not designed to be exhaustive.
A secondary and pervasive goal of our program is the development of professionalism. As a part of the development of professionalism, post-docs are continuing to learn a process of self- evaluation of their work and its effectiveness. This is achieved through supervision, a psychotherapy seminar, and collaborative work with other professionals. Three major objectives, which follow from this goal, are: a strong emphasis on enhancing the post-docs's internal sense of ethical responsibility (conformity to accepted professional standards of conduct), social responsibility (sensitivity to the full range of human differences), and personal responsibility (awareness of self and one's personal impact in professional interactions).
In pursuit of the objective of ethical responsibility, post-docs are expected not only to know and understand the laws and ethical principles and other guidelines, which guide our profession, but also to demonstrate an ability to apply them. Post-docs are expected to embrace a process of thoughtful ethical decision making and are aided in the process by their supervisors, as well as through initial ethical and legal issues training which takes place during the orientation period. Emergent ethical and legal issues of concern are also discussed in the professional development seminar and in supervision.
In pursuit of the objective of social responsibility, post-docs are encouraged to embrace and develop an appreciation for the myriad of differences among people and to become multiculturally competent. Post-docs are encouraged to have an awareness of and respect for individual differences (racial, cultural, sexual orientation, etc.) and to understand clients, as well as colleagues, both in terms of individual as well as cultural differences.
In pursuit of the objective of personal responsibility, post-docs are encouraged to develop the qualities that will make them good colleagues, as well as good clinicians. These qualities include conscientiousness (e.g., in following appropriate procedures, completing work promptly, reliability, etc.), independence (e.g., works independently when appropriate.), cooperation (e.g., with supervisors, peers, other professionals, agencies, etc.), attitude (demeanor, and maturity, etc.), and personal responsibility (e.g., awareness of the impact of one's own personality and personal perspectives in interactions with others.)
Our program is designed to implement these goals in the training of post-docs in both clinical and counseling psychology. Agency functions, staff education and staff expertise lend themselves to training in these areas. Training opportunities are also enhanced by the diversity of our client population, which ranges from mild situational and developmental concerns to severe psychopathology.
Post-docs actively participate in all relevant agency services, which provide opportunities not only for carrying out major professional functions but also for close contact with our staff. As staff members, we view post-docs as valued colleagues-in-training; as such, post-docs are treated with a high degree of professional as well as personal respect.
- Our Training Program
Our goal is to provide post-doctoral supervision and training to clinical and counseling psychologists who have already completed a doctoral internship at a university counseling center. We hope to further the training of competent generalists, as well as skilled clinicians who are developing areas of expertise.
As a part of our training program, we value a focus on self-examination. Post-docs are invited and are expected to share personal reactions and to engage in a process of self-examination in individual supervision. This also involves providing interpersonal feedback to one another.
Training Program Overview
Primary Emphases (Mandatory)
- Clinical/counseling interventions
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group psychotherapy
- Urgent evaluation, follow-up, and mental health consultation
- Multicultural competence (including spirituality)
- Collaboration with psychiatric services
- Supervision (if available)
Secondary Emphases (Choose One)
- Advanced assessment
- Couples Counseling
- Research in Applied Settings
Other Training Opportunities
- Development of a professional context
- Professional development seminar
- Staff meeting
- Staff development
- Areas of clinical concentration: working with athletes, eating disorders, sexual assault, relationship violence, other areas of clinical expertise
Our supervisory/training structure consists of the Assistant Director, Training (who also serves as the Director of the Internship Program), and Individual Supervisors and Group Therapy Supervisors. The Assistant Director, Training, is in charge of developing training goals, overall program development and implementation, and the coordination and general supervision of postdoc activities. The Assistant Director maintains a close and active working relationship with postdocs on a regular basis. Supervisors are responsible for monitoring, supervising, and collaborating with the post-docs in each of his or her specific activities (e.g., individual counseling/psychotherapy, crisis intervention, consultation activities). The Assistant Director, Training and supervisors meet together periodically to discuss post-doc progress. In addition, the Center has a training committee that meets bi-weekly for at least an hour to discuss training issues more broadly. The Training Committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Assistant Director, Training with respect to the externship, internship and post-doc programs.
Postdocs are assisted in developing at least a minimal level of proficiency in each of their areas through the training experiences described below. Post-doc' progress in achieving proficiency is rated on a quarterly basis to be compliant with post-doctoral requirements for licensure in Pennsylvania. To successfully complete the program, post-docs must be able to perform relevant skills in each area without supervision by the end of the year (which translates to an overall minimum rating of 4 on each of their performance evaluations in required areas by the end of the training year).
- Clinical/counseling interventions
- Detailed Description of Program
Interviewing skills, accurate diagnosis, appropriate referrals for psycho-diagnostic testing, and arranging suitable disposition are all considered by our agency to be necessary skills for initial screenings. These skills are developed in Individual Psychotherapy Supervision as well as through training seminars taught during the orientation period. The 3 screenings post-docs complete via phone each week are supervised throughout the year in Individual Supervision.
Individual counseling and psychotherapy, prominent functions of our agency, are considered a core part of post-doc training. Post-docs carry a diverse caseload of 12-15 clients per week for which they receive intensive individual supervision (two hours per week minimum). While the majority of clients will be seen within our time-limited (6-9 session) model, at least one of these clients will be seen on a long-term basis. Long-term clients may include athletes being seen for drug and alcohol problems, eating disorders, or other psychological difficulties; occasional extended counseling for clients where clinical need and financial need warrant such continued services, including those who have been sexually assaulted. Supervision may occur with a different supervisor each semester and in the summer in order to provide a variety of therapeutic perspectives. However, at times, post-docs may continue with the same supervisor. Post-docs have an opportunity to rank order their preferences for supervisors, and assignments are made by the Assistant Director, Training, who takes these preferences into account whenever possible. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, post-docs participate in a weekly psychotherapy seminar.
Post-docs are active participants in our agency's extensive group program. CAPS has one of the largest group therapy programs in the country. Each post-doc will typically co-lead two groups with a senior staff co-leader in both the fall and spring semesters. Post-docs with a good deal of group experience may become a senior co-leader with an extern trainee as well. Group assignments will be made by the Group Coordinator in consultation with the Assistant Director, Training. Post-docs have an opportunity to rank order their preferences for groups. Co-leadership of groups forms a substantial component of the training experience. Each post-doc will receive supervision from their senior staff co-leader for each group being conducted or from another supervisor if they are co-leading with an extern. Each semester we typically offer roughly 25 groups.
Urgent Evaluation, follow-up and Mental Health Consultation
Post-docs are an important part of the urgent evaluation system at CAPS, devoting two hours a week to offering urgent evaluation and consultation. Post-docs also participate in rotating lunch hour coverage and Friday afternoon coverage with all other staff. CAPS urgent evaluation system operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. There is not a 24-hour on-call system.
Awareness of Differences/Multicultural Competence
While most of the Post-doc Program Emphases represent relatively discrete areas of service delivery, the Emphasis in Awareness of Differences (Multicultural Competence) cuts across programmatic boundaries. Sensitivity to human differences is a fundamental tenet of our training program and center initiatives.
Post-docs are expected to include two or three clients from diverse groups on their caseloads each semester. In addition, post-docs will have opportunities to engage in outreach workshops with multicultural groups on campus. Ongoing supervision is provided for all the above- mentioned activities.
Collaboration with Psychiatric Services
Collaboration with the psychiatric providers on staff is a part of the professional experience at CAPS. Experience in the urgent evaluation system offers opportunities to learn when and how to make referrals for psychiatric hospitalization. Post-docs may also have the opportunity to sit in and observe psychiatric evaluations with the clients they refer.
While we consider clinical/counseling intervention to be a central and critical focus of training, the generalist model of professional preparation demands broadly based exposure to a variety of major functions performed by the professional psychologist.
Post-docs may have an opportunity to supervise one of the Center's externs during the Spring Semester if we have enough extern supervisees. One and a half hours of group supervision on the process of supervision is provided throughout the spring with the center's extern coordinator and the training director. Externs are typically advanced doctoral students in the APA accredited Clinical Psychology program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and occasionally come from other programs as well.
All post-docs will be involved in at least three outreach events each semester, during their post-doc year and additional events over the summer as needed. Supervision, assistance with workshop design, and debriefing after events will be provided on an as-needed basis by the outreach coordinator or by the senior staff copresenter.
Secondary Emphasis (Post-docs can select one of the following concentration options)
Post-docs selecting the Assessment Option will have an opportunity to spend some time providing assessments under the supervision of one of the assessment supervisors, with a particular focus. Post-docs selecting the Advanced Assessment Option would need to have previous exposure to cognitive, achievement and personality testing so that they can build on prior experiences in assessment. Post-docs can choose to focus on a specific area of assessment (e.g. providing personality testing to rule out personality difficulties).
Post-docs who opt to pursue outreach and consultation as an area of concentration will have the opportunity to develop a consulting relationship with another organization or group on campus. These post-docs will also do at least four outreach presentations in the spring semester. These post-docs will participate in bi-weekly supervision with the Assistant Director, Community Education, and Outreach. In addition, they may have an opportunity to participate in efforts within our Center to improve our own system. Post-docs who are interested in presenting more outreach programs than the number required are always welcome to do so.
Post-docs who select the couples counseling concentration option will have 2 couples included in their caseloads in the Spring Semester. Weekly or biweekly group supervision (depending on the number of interns and post-docs selecting the concentration) for couples work is provided during the spring semester, as well as a 6-hour didactic seminar at the beginning of spring semester, which is provided to all interns and post-docs who are interested.
Research in Applied Settings
Post-docs who opt to pursue research as an area of concentration will collaborate with the Center for Collegiate Mental Health to develop a comprehensive research experience. The Research Specialty can be an independent or a collaborative research project.
Exposure to administrative functions is provided through attendance at weekly staff meetings, active participation in agency decision-making, and apprenticeships in 1 or more of the following: clinical services, counseling center operations, overall counseling center administration, and/or training.
Other Training Opportunities
Development of a Professional Context
Post-docs are introduced to our program through a two and a half week orientation period. The orientation process serves to acquaint post-docs with the University, the Center, and the Training Program. In addition, it includes a three or four-hour workshop on ethical and legal issues related to the practice of psychology, a three-hour workshop on suicide prevention, potential assessment training if that is a concentration being chosen, and other areas. In addition, there is training in our scheduling program and record keeping system, and other relevant policies and procedures. Post-docs have an opportunity to meet with potential supervisors and group co-leaders and to rank order preferences before assignments are made. Finally, the orientation period affords the opportunity for post-docs to become acquainted with Center and staff and to become comfortable in new surroundings and to learn about other important offices on campus.
Professional Development Seminar
The Assistant Director, Training meets with the post-docs for a professional development seminar on a bi-weekly basis throughout the year. These meetings provide post-docs with an opportunity to discuss reactions to the post-doc, and provide a forum for discussing professional perspectives gained during the post-doc year, and to prepare for entry into the employment market. Guest speakers may share perspectives on academic careers and private practice.
Post-docs are included in our all staff meetings and are given the opportunity to participate actively in staff discussions.
Staff Professional Development
In addition to training experiences specifically designed for the post-doc, post-docs also participate in Staff Professional Development during the academic year. Professional Development trainings take place in the early fall, again between fall and spring semester, and again after spring semester. These training modalities typically cover not only ethical and legal issues and multi-cultural issues, but often heavily emphasize clinical intervention models and strategies. Other Program Emphases are also frequently covered.
Areas of Concentration
Post-docs who are interested in developing certain areas of concentration that fit within the scope of our agency may have the opportunity to do so within the existing structure of the program. These areas include but are not limited to the following:
Sexual Assault/Relationship Violence
Post-docs interested in working with these issues can volunteer to have a certain number of their counseling hours reserved for work with sexual assault or relationship violence survivors who come to our agency in order to deal with the trauma of these experiences. In addition, an opportunity exists to co-lead a Women’s Empowerment Group with a CAPS clinician who specializes in working with survivors of sexual assault/relationship violence.
Working with Athletes
Penn State has 31 NCAA Division I teams at the University Park Campus where CAPS is located and Penn State is a consistent contender for national titles in many sports. CAPS provides direct clinical services to student athletes. Post-docs with interest in this area can choose to work with student athletes. In addition to clinical services, CAPS staff may consult with coaches, trainers and team physicians on athletes' personal concerns. Finally, CAPS is occasionally invited to provide programs of importance to student athletes, with topics ranging from sexual assault/date rape, alcohol/drug issues, and post-ventions around critical incidents.
Post-docs interested in working with eating disorders can volunteer to have a certain number of their individual counseling hours reserved for work with clients presenting with eating concerns. In addition, an opportunity exists to co-lead an Eating Disorder Recovery Group with one of our staff members who specializes in treatment of eating concerns. Finally, post-docs choosing this concentration will have the opportunity to be involved in the Penn State HEALS (Healthy Eating and Living Support) team meetings. Penn State HEALS is a multidisciplinary team of physicians, dieticians, and mental health providers working together to guide and support students as they make changes for healthier eating and living.
Other Areas of Clinical Expertise
Other areas of clinical expertise may be developed through consultation with the Assistant Director, Training. Individual therapy caseloads, types of groups co-led and types of outreach programs may possibly be tailored to develop an area of concentration.
- How to Apply
Doctoral students in APA or CPA accredited Clinical and Counseling Psychology programs who are completing their doctoral internships in APA accredited internship programs and who will be done with their dissertation by the time the program starts are eligible to apply. Please read our policy regarding former CAPS clients applying for training positions.
The Post-Doc Year
August 6, 2020 - August 5, 2021
Stipends and Benefits
The stipend for the 2020-2021 training year is $49,964. Post-docs are entitled to full university employee benefits, including health insurance and vacation.
Applications will be through the Penn State Jobs website. The job is listed as a Psychologist 2 position. Applications are due on Thursday January, 23, 2020. Application review will begin on Friday January 24, 2020 and will continue until the positions are filled. In addition to the online application process, candidates should also upload 3 letters of reference and transcripts of graduate work. At least two letters should be from supervisors familiar with the applicant’s most recent clinical work. At least one letter of reference should be from someone in the applicant’s doctoral program.
Please note: Penn State appointments conform to a variety of requirements, including legal eligibility for employment in the U.S. (sometimes called the I-9 requirement) and a background check that verifies that educational credentials are valid and that candidates have no criminal or other record that would preclude employment in the University’s judgment. Please refer to Policy HR99 (Background Check Process). The outcome of these background checks has the potential to preclude appointment.
The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. The Pennsylvania State University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802; tel. (814) 863-0741.
- Weekly Time Breakdown
Please note that the first two and a half weeks of the fall semester will be devoted to an orientation to the University, the agency, and the program. Topics covered during this orientation include ethical and legal issues related to the practice of psychology, a three-hour workshop on suicide prevention, assessment training (if choosing this concentration), outreach and consultation training, group therapy, and other areas. What follows is a breakdown of time for the fall semester following the two and a half week orientation.
Weekly Time Breakdown - Direct Service Activity Time Commitment Screenings 1.5 hours weekly - 3 Screenings Urgent Evaluation 2 hours weekly Flex Time 3 hours weekly Short-Term Psychotherapy 11 hours weekly Long-Term Psychotherapy 1 hour weekly Group Psychotherapy 3 hours weekly Total Direct Service ~21.5 hours weekly Weekly Time Breakdown - Secondary Emphasis (~4 hours) Activity Time Commitment Individual Psychotherapy Supervision 2 hours weekly Group Psychotherapy Supervision 2 hours weekly Psychotherapy Seminar 1.5 hour weekly Professional Development Seminar 1 hour biweekly All Staff Development about 1 hour Total Training Received ~6.5-7 hours weekly Weekly Time Breakdown - Other Activity Time Commitment Staff Meetings 1 hour weekly Notes and Recordkeeping 5-6 hours weekly Total Other ~7 hours weekly
Grand Total: 40 hours weekly
Note: Some evening time will also be involved for these activities. Post-Docs not opting to specialize in Outreach/Consultation will be expected to do at least 3 workshops/semester, including at least one per year, which will involve multicultural student outreach. IF there are enough externs for post-docs to supervise in the spring semester, schedules will be adjusted accordingly. Post-docs receive 1.5 hours of supervision of supervision weekly. Additionally, 1-1.5 hours per week is spent providing supervision to the extern.
Interns selecting one of the two optional rotations will have a somewhat different summer schedule than those not opting to do a rotation during the time of the rotation.
Summer Session Weekly Time Breakdown - Direct Service Activity Time Commitment Screenings 1.5 hours weekly Urgent Evaluations 2 hours weekly Flex Time 3-4 hours weekly Short-Term Psychotherapy 12 hours weekly Long-Term Psychotherapy 1 hour weekly Group Psychotherapy 1.5-3 hours weekly Total Direct Service 21.5 hours weekly Summer Session Weekly Time Breakdown - Training Activity Time Commitment Individual Psychotherapy Supervision 2 hours weekly Group Psychotherapy Supervision 1 hour weekly per group Professional Development Seminar 5 hours over the course of summer Total Training Received 4 hours weekly Summer Session Weekly Time Breakdown - Other Activity Time Commitment Concentration 4 hours weekly Notes, etc 5 hours weekly Staff Meetings 1 hour weekly Total Other 10 hours weekly
Grand Total: 40 hours weekly
Please note that a certain amount of flexibility that exists within direct service requirements and that the total number of hours may be distributed differently according to individual needs.
Initial Post-Doc Positions (Aggregated tally provided for the preceding 5 cohorts)
Total Number of Post-Docs Who Were in the Five Cohorts: 12
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