The major influence on the Infant/Child track is working with young children through the Infant Team (see Infant Team tab below for more details) and Harris Infant Mental Health Program (see Harris Infant Mental Health program tab for more details). As part of the Infant Team, the intern meets weekly with a multidisciplinary team and completes relationship-based forensic evaluations and treatment with infants, toddlers and their caregivers for the Baby Court. The Harris Infant Mental Health Program provides the intern with a weekly seminar and supervision series to learn about young children and their caregivers. Children ages 0-5 are referred for child-parent psychotherapy through the Harris Program. Additional child and adolescent outpatient therapy and assessment cases are conducted through the LSU Behavioral Sciences Center. The types of cases which are referred to the BSC vary greatly but may include referrals for: ADHD, behavior management, parent/child attachment, social deficits, learning difficulties, etc. Interns are also expected to carry a caseload of one to two psychological testing cases consistently over the course of the training year. Interns meet weekly for three hours of individual supervision as well as several hours a week of group supervision and case staffing.
Didactics & Supervision
Harris Infant Mental Health Center Didactics:
Interns participate in a two hour weekly seminar where they are taught theoretical aspects of infant development, the parent-caregiver relationship, and evaluation and therapeutic techniques when working with this population. The seminar will also incorporate video presentation of clinical evaluations and treatment for discussion by the group.
Assessment Group Supervision:
This weekly case staffing seminar allows all interns to formally present assessment cases of infants, children, adolescents, and adults evaluated through the outpatient clinics. Fundamentals of psychological assessment including test administration, selection of testing instruments, collection of collateral reports, integration of testing data, report writing, recommendations for feedback sessions, etc. will be discussed throughout the year. Integration of test data, history, and DSM 5 diagnostic criteria will be emphasized with particular attention placed on differential diagnosis. More advanced levels of diagnostic and treatment issues with various populations are also presented (e.g., the borderline conditions, the spectrum of narcissistic disorders, and the spectrum of depressive disorders).
This weekly didactic/discussion session consists of various special topics in clinical psychology, ethical decision-making, and professional development as a psychologist. Multidisciplinary core faculty and outside lecturers (e.g. psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers) discuss a variety of issues including juvenile violence, licensing issues, job negotiation, cultural diversity, financial issues following graduation, child/adult neuropsychology, and challenging treatment issues. If available, additional topics may be included at the request of the current intern class. The early part of the year will focus on covering Louisiana laws related to the practice of psychology, suicide/homicide assessment, and child/elder abuse reporting. There are quarterly didactics related to supervision and cultural competence as well. In addition, each clinical psychology intern is required to make a formal presentation/job talk on a topic or issue of his/her choice prior to the end of the training year.
Psychotherapy Group Supervision:
Fundamentals of psychotherapy are reviewed in an effort to develop a common language among all the psychology interns, who presumably have been taught how to conceptualize clinical cases from differing theoretical orientations and emphases. This unique, year-long case conference involves presentations of therapy cases seen at the various training settings. Psychology interns formally present cases which are then discussed from varying clinical orientations/schools of thought (i.e., Cognitive-behavioral, Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic, Family Systems, Multicultural, Narrative perspectives).
Particular attention is paid to the technical and process issues involved in therapeutic alliance building, alliance maintenance, development of a focus, collaborative efforts to translate understanding into behavioral change, and the sensitive handling of termination. Videotapes/audiotapes of actual therapy processes are viewed/discussed. Occasionally, participants present special topics including current literature, empirically-supported treatment approaches, resources for patients/clients, and other topics related to clinical practice.
Other Educational Opportunities:
While on the primary rotations, interns will be required to attend inservice and other training activities, which are germane to their functioning as members of the multidisciplinary team.
Psychiatry Grand Rounds, including case conferences, are held at LSUHSC NO three times per month. Departmental, local, national, and international experts give presentations on diagnostic and treatment issues, biological psychiatry, epidemiological findings, socio political issues, theoretical developments, and philosophical issues in clinical psychiatry.
Interns have an open invitation to attend monthly lectures offered by the New Orleans-Birmingham Psychoanalytic Center. Monthly presentations by the Louisiana Infant Mental Health Association are also open to all interns.
New Orleans is a popular city for continuing education programs and conventions. In the last several years the American Psychological Association, National Training Institute: Zero to Three, the Society for Research in Child Development, the Society for Personality Assessment, the International Neuropsychological Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Louisiana Psychological Association have held their annual conventions here. Each February, the Louisiana State Psychological Association holds a workshop for psychologists. In recent years, the LPA and local hospitals have sponsored many useful clinical workshops. Some examples are “The MMPI 2 in Clinical Practice” presented by James Butcher; “Diagnosis and Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder” presented by Otto Kernberg; “Differential Therapeutics” presented by John Clarkin; “Systemic Interventions” presented by Paul Watzlavick, etc. Interns are usually charged a reduced fee or are admitted gratis to these workshops and programs.
Harris Program for Infant Mental Health
A major objective of the Harris Program for Infant Mental Health in New Orleans, and of infant mental health training in general, is to raise awareness that even very young infants can have mental health problems and that early identification, intervention, and prevention can have a significant positive impact on their lives and those of their families. The goals of our program are: 1) to develop a critical number of people locally and regionally who are trained to evaluate and treat infants; 2) to develop networks -local, regional, national, and international – to provide support for individuals working with infants; 3) to bring together individuals from different mental health disciplines who will have a core set of skills and knowledge to assess and treat infants; and 4) to develop particular expertise in evaluation and treatment for infants and families at high psychosocial risk. Training activities include didactic seminars, clinical case seminars, and intensive clinical supervision by senior infant mental health professionals. Often networking efforts link many other systems including the judicial system, child welfare, law enforcement, schools, community centers, day care and early intervention programs where training and consultation is provided.
The Infant Team is contracted by the Orleans Parish and St. Tammany Parish Departments of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to complete assessments of children aged 5 years old and under in foster care with any potential caregivers of those children. The results of these assessments are reported in writing to DCFS along with recommendations regarding the best interest of the child. Included in these recommendations are any needed developmental, psychological or psychiatric referrals, therapeutic interventions, as well as recommendations about the child’s placements and changes in visitations. Generally, therapeutic services are offered to the biological parent(s) to address those issues which brought the child into foster care. Where indicated, therapy may be offered to other potential or actual caregivers to assist in promoting an emotionally supportive and beneficial relationship with the child. Most therapy is done dyadically, with the caregiver and child together. There are times when the Team recommends individual therapy for either the caregiver or the child as well. The progress of therapy is documented in quarterly reports to DCFS who forwards these to the Orleans or St. Tammany Parish Juvenile Court. These are included in considerations by the Court with regard to decisions about reunification versus termination of parental rights, and to the child’s permanency plan. At times, the Infant Team primary clinician may be subpoenaed to Court as a fact or expert witness to testify in greater detail about the Team’s findings. Team members also meet regularly to staff the cases with DCFS workers; various attorneys for the child, parent and DCFS; and other professionals working on the case in order to best help the child and family.
Every year the Infant Team welcomes two psychology interns for training in this important and valued work. Interns are given two to three cases to follow for the year and are closely supervised. They attend staffings on Tuesdays from 8:30am – 11:00am during which the faculty and interns discuss current cases, review tapes of assessments or therapy and come to a consensus on recommendations regarding each case. They attend monthly meetings with DCFS to staff cases and complete monthly forensic reports. The interns take the role of primary clinician on their case, working directly with the DCFS case worker assigned to the case, doing all assessments, maintaining a chart on the client(s) and producing written quarterly reports. The intern may be subpoenaed to testify as a witness. If this occurs they are well-prepared by DCFS’s attorneys and by the faculty members of the Infant Team. Should expert testimony be needed, the intern’s direct supervisor would be called in to do so. The year follows the academic model and so begins July 1 and ends June 30.
Additional information about our Infant Team.
Infant / Child Track: Outpatient Experience
Behavioral Sciences Center-Assessment Clinic (BSC-AC)
The BSC-AC provides interns with more specialized training and experience assessing patients of all ages referred for a variety of psychiatric, medical, and behavioral issues. Psychological/cognitive issues including learning problems, ADHD, depression, anger, anxiety, and memory/cognitive disorders are routinely assessed in the assessment battery which includes the WPPSI/WISC/WAIS, Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement, Trail Making Test, Achenbach Scales, PAI/MMPI, and IVA+ to name a few.
A customized approach is used by the clinician, with the assistance of their clinical supervisor, as indicated by the referral question. Services are available for individuals ages 1 month to 89 years of age. Under the direction of the BSC-AC Assessment Coordinator, Dr. Kristin Callahan, the psychology intern receives supervision from a licensed psychologist on the core faculty. In addition, all interns attend a weekly Assessment Group Supervision to formally present and discuss cases assessed through their outpatient clinics. Infant/Child Interns are required to carry an active child or adolescent assessment case at all times throughout the training year with adjustments made to the caseload depending on complexity of cases assigned (average 1-2 per month). The majority of services completed through the BSC-AC are conducted in two sessions (up to 8 hours total) with additional sessions scheduled as needed. Results with appropriate recommendations are provided in 60-minute feedback session appointments within a month of completion of all aspects of testing including collection of collateral reports from caregivers, teachers, etc.
Behavioral Sciences Center (BSC) Outpatient Psychotherapy Clinic
The Behavioral Sciences Center is located in the Multi-Specialty Clinics on the 7th floor at 478 S. Johnson St., New Orleans, in close proximity to the other major training sites. Since 2008, the Behavioral Sciences Center has become the primary outpatient clinic for the entire department and its various trainees of all disciplines. This clinic is operated by the Department of Psychiatry to provide training experience in outpatient mental health services for psychology interns, psychiatry residents, and social work interns. Referrals to the clinic come from both the public and private sectors, including private practitioners in the community, pediatric clinics at the Medical Center of Louisiana and Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center, community mental health centers, and local schools and universities. Infant/Child Track psychology interns see infant and child patients at the BSC where they perform intake evaluations, individual psychotherapy, child-parent psychotherapy, play therapy, family therapy, and parent training. The clients range in age from one to 17 years.
Supervision is provided by the full-time faculty psychologists and by several part-time clinical faculty who are engaged in clinical practice within the community. A variety of theoretical orientations are represented by our supervisors. The types of cases will be determined by the Child Coordinator and the Director of Internship Training and by the needs of the intern and the cases available.