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Child Track Clinical Training

Clinical Experiences and Other Training Opportunities

This track offers training at the following primary sites: Metropolitan Children and Youth Services Clinic, The Tulane Parenting Education Program, the Tulane Murphy Outpatient Clinic and the Tulane Center for Autism and Related Disorders. These sites and the clinical training acquired at each are discussed in detail below.Read More

Metropolitan Human Services District Children and Youth Services Clinic

The Metropolitan Human Services District Children and Youth Services Clinic, located at 719 Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans, is a community-based, outpatient mental health clinic. The Clinic serves children, adolescents, and their families who reside on the East Bank of Orleans parish in the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Individuals, ages 0 to 21 years, are seen at the Clinic for behavioral, emotional, psychological, and/or psychiatric difficulties. This licensed community mental health center provides an array of services: screening and assessment; emergency crisis care; individual evaluation and treatment; medication administration and management; clinical casework services; specialized services for children and adolescents; and individual, dyadic, family, and group psychotherapy. The Clinic serves clients who are Medicaid eligible.

Staff at the Clinic includes Tulane University School of Medicine faculty members from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Section of Child Psychiatry. The mental health disciplines represented at the Clinic include social work, psychology and psychiatry. Trainees from psychology and psychiatry rotate through the Clinic. The Clinic offers a continuum of care for various levels of acuity. Comprehensive evaluations are conducted once a patient is referred to one of the services offered by the Clinic. The Clinic is open Monday through Friday. The interns conduct various interventions at the clinic. Depending upon the needs of the patient, these may include intake evaluations, psychological testing, consultation, and psychotherapy, including evidence-based approaches. The Clinic is comprised of a general clinic, which serves primarily youth with histories of trauma and/or diagnosis of ADHD, and two specialty clinics, one which offers Infant Mental Health services for children under 6 years of age, and one which offers intervention and assessment services to young adults ages 18-21 years in the Transitional Clinic. The interns can see clients with any presenting problem, including Infant Mental Health needs. The emphasis is on the provision of therapy services, although interns may conduct psychological assessments depending on availability and need.

As part of this clinical training experience, the interns will:

  • Evaluate and recommend appropriate treatment for the child and family presenting to the Metropolitan Children and Youth Services Clinic.
  • Develop competence in the intake process. This includes defining the presenting problems, making the first contact, ascertaining commitment on the part of parents or caregivers, helping promote a firm commitment from the patients and family, planning the evaluation, and identifying and addressing mental health emergencies.
  • Develop competence in the evaluation process. This includes involving all significant parents or caregivers, if possible, taking complete individual and relationship histories, as appropriate, recording the child's developmental history, and formulating a working diagnosis and case conceptualization.
  • Develop an understanding of the importance of family dynamics in psychopathology.
  • Discuss the use of conjoint approaches, family therapy approaches, and the referral of family members to other therapists, if appropriate.
  • Develop developmentally appropriate skill in the use of play techniques to facilitate emotional expression and contribute to the therapeutic process.
  • Develop skills to evaluate children and families in an outpatient clinical setting, formulate reasonable differential diagnoses and recommendations for treatment and/or follow up information, and convey results of evaluations to mental health or allied professionals also assigned to the cases.
  • Develop the ability to competently perform the treatment and other intervention services the child, caregivers, and/or other family members or young adults require for symptom remediation and improvement in functioning.
  • Document all work according to State and accreditation standards.

Interns on the Child Track with the Infant Mental Health major area of study spend two days a week here all year. Interns on the Child Track with the Pediatric Psychology major area of study spend one day a week here all year.

Primary Supervisor: Dr. Valerie Wajda-Johnston

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Major Area of Study

Pediatric Psychology

Tulane Murphy Outpatient Clinic

The intern who chooses to focus on Pediatric Psychology will spend two days per week providing outpatient services to children experiencing chronic and acute medical illness. Outpatient pediatric services are located at the Tulane Murphy Outpatient Clinic. The intern will have the opportunity to provide psychological evaluations and research-informed therapeutic interventions on an outpatient basis for patients referred by pediatric specialty services (i.e. hematology/oncology, pulmonary, and neurology). The typical presenting problems include adjustment to illness/diagnosis, pain management, anxiety, depression, non-compliance with the medical team, suicidal ideations, aggressive behaviors, and end-of-life/palliative care. Ages of patients can range from infants to young adults. The population is quite diverse and tends to be representative of the demographics of the Greater New Orleans area.

The intern with the focus on Pediatric Psychology works at this Clinic for selected cases.

Tulane Center for Autism and Related Disorders

The pediatric-focused intern will also spend one day per week providing diagnostic evaluations for individuals presenting to the Tulane Center for Autism and Related Disorders (TCARD). TCARD is an interdisciplinary clinic that provides comprehensive diagnostic assessments for individuals who are referred for suspected Autism Spectrum Disorders, developmental delays, and neurogenetic diseases. At the end of the diagnostic assessment, TCARD provides patients with treatment planning for adjunctive services through community providers. Some treatment services, such as social skills groups, and Applied Behavior Analysis, are offered in the clinic for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Referrals come from pediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists, counselors, geneticists, early interventionists, schools, and parents from across Louisiana and the Gulf South. TCARD provides diagnostic services for the lifespan, starting at 12 months through 50+ years. The TCARD patient population is diverse with regard to socioeconomic status, geographic representation, and race/ethnicity.

The intern will be responsible for the following:

  • conducting developmental interviews
  • administering psychological tests
  • providing feedback to families
  • writing interdisciplinary reports
  • participating in weekly case conferences and monthly journal clubs

The intern may have the opportunity to provide parent training workshops, social skills groups, or other psychoeducational groups for children and families affected by ASD.

Referrals for the Pediatric Psychology major area of study for child, adolescent, and/or family assessment and treatment services are made directly to the TCARD clinic or the Tulane Murphy Outpatient Clinic. Most of the children and adolescents who are referred have some type of serious and/or chronic illness and/or also demonstrate significant developmental, social, emotional, or behavioral problems that warrant assessment and/or therapeutic interventions. Psychopharmacological consultation is available to the intern’s outpatients from child psychiatry interns.

As part of the Pediatric Psychology major area of study, the intern will:

  • Develop an understanding of the current and long-term effects of chronic or severe illness on child development and family functioning.
  • Develop and utilize a systematic strategy for assessing children with autism and related disorders.
  • Provide competent psychological assessment of medically ill children and their families.
  • Develop a range of evidence-based psychotherapeutic intervention skills appropriate for medically ill children and their families, including behavioral and cognitive behavioral strategies, parenting and family interventions, as well as liaison approaches to modify the team/setting/structural issues that may impact the child's response to illness and treatment.
  • Develop intervention skills for children with autism and their families.
  • Develop experience in providing liaison services (support, guidance, education) to non-mental health medical providers, including physicians, nurses, social workers, child life, and other health care professionals.

General expectations of the psychology intern include:

  1. Timely and appropriately responding to consults and other clinical activities.
  2. Actively and clearly communicating with team members and supervisors to clarify and coordinate responsibilities and expectations for patient care activities
  3. Seeking appropriate client-related and medical diagnosis-related information and input from other team members to guide assessment and treatment
  4. Maintaining current, clear, thorough documentation in the medical record
  5. Taking responsibility for his/her own learning, including developing knowledge of relevant medical terminology, diagnoses and interventions, with focus on evidence-based approaches for the medically ill child
  6. Participating actively in team educational and liaison activities
  7. Maintaining cognizance of legal and ethical issues that are relevant to clinical work in pediatric psychology
  8. Following policies and procedures of the clinical training site and psychology internship
  9. Developing knowledge of cultural, ethnic, and linguistic influences on pediatric health and mental health and providing culturally responsive care
  10. Increasing self-awareness of the intern’s behaviors and attitudes on patient care as well as interactions with other professionals and colleagues
  11. Conducting oneself in a professional, collegial manner at all times

Primary Supervisor: Dr. Lisa Settles

On the Child Track (with Pediatric Psychology major area of study) two days per week of the intern’s time all year is spent at the Tulane Murphy Outpatient Clinic and one day is spent at the Tulane Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.

Infant Mental Health

Tulane Parent Education Program

The Tulane Parenting Education Program (T-PEP) provides intensive intervention for maltreated children, birth to age 17 years, and their caregivers in Jefferson, Orleans, and other parishes in Southeast Louisiana. The team works collaboratively with a variety of systems to provide assessment and treatment for a high-risk population. All referrals to the team come from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS, the state Child Protection Agency) and involve cases of suspected or validated abuse and neglect of children. Children who are referred for T-PEP services may remain in their homes. For these families, intervention is provided to assist in preserving the placement with biological parents. Alternatively, when safety issues are of significant concern, DCFS places children in foster homes while the biological parents address the impediments to their safe, effective parenting. T-PEP is located at 1340 Poydras Street, near the Mercedes Benz Superdome, about one-half mile from Tulane University Medical Center.

The Tulane Parenting Education Program is staffed by a multidisciplinary group of faculty and trainees from Tulane University School of Medicine, including child psychiatrists, clinical and developmental psychologists, clinical social workers, pediatricians, parent educators, and paraprofessionals, all of whom have knowledge of infant and child development and developmental psychopathology. There is a weekly clinical case conference, which includes the entire T-PEP team and, at times, DCFS case workers and supervisors, Bureau of General Counsel attorneys, and DCFS senior administrators. Clinicians present a case to the group, sometimes including video excerpts selected for the illustration of individual, dyadic, and family characteristics. This conference is used to develop specific recommendations about what will be required to intervene with a child and his or her biological and/or foster parents. Clinical decision-making skills are modeled at the weekly case conference. Interns are also exposed to the forensic process and, on rare occasions, may have the opportunity to testify in Juvenile Court.

The T-PEP faculty specializes in assessment and intervention with children under age 6 years and interns receive specialized Infant Mental Health training at this site. Interns may treat 1-2 selected cases of children older than age 6 years. All children are referred for maltreatment and many display a range of behavioural, social-emotional, psychiatric, and relationship-based difficulties.  In the last year, the traumatic effects demonstrated by the infants and young children referred for services ranged from clinical diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder to a variety of subclinical manifestations, including sleep disturbances, hypervigilance, concentration difficulties, distress at reminders, irritable behavior, and social withdrawal. Regarding ethnicity, the client population is 6% Hispanic/Latino and 94% non-Hispanic/Latino. Regarding race, the patient base is 48% African-American, 38% Caucasian, 6% Hispanic/Latino, 1% Asian-American,  and 7% multiethnic/other. Forty-nine percent are male. The majority of families are low-income and most parents have low levels of education.

The interns receive weekly individual supervision, in addition to weekly group supervision and consultation with the entire team. Hands-on-training in the procedures used by the team occurs on a daily basis.

As part of this clinical training experience, the interns will

  • Acquire skills in the evaluation techniques used by the team, including intake interviews, caregiver-child interaction procedures, caregiver perception interviews, possibly home visits to biological and foster parents' domiciles, and various ancillary assessments.
  • Develop skills in various treatment interventions, which may include individual play therapy with children, individual psychotherapy with caregivers, dyadic caregiver-child psychotherapy, couples psychotherapy, group therapy and family therapy. Evidence-based and evidence-informed treatments are provided when indicated, including Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy for PTSD, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up, and Circle of Security Intervention.
  • Learn to work on a multidisciplinary team.
  • Gain experience collaborating or consulting with professionals from other agencies including DCFS, substance abuse counseling, developmental and special education services, and adjunctive therapies to strengthen family functioning.
  • Document all work according to State and accreditation standards and produce reports for forensic and legal consumers.

Primary Supervisors: Dr. Angela Breidenstine and Dr. Julie Larrieu