Outpatient Psychology Concentration
The outpatient psychology concentration is made up of a general outpatient position and a suicide/depression position.
General Outpatient Position
The general outpatient position offers the postdoctoral fellow clinical experience with a broad range of patients presenting with behavioral, learning, thought, and anxiety/mood disorders. In addition, the fellow will receive specialized training in early childhood diagnostic assessment with a multidisciplinary team, collaborative therapeutic assessment and therapeutic intervention programs for patients and their families. The fellow works closely with the clinical team, which includes psychiatry, neuropsychology, psychology, speech language pathology, occupational therapy, applied behavior analysis, case management, neurology, genetics, and pediatrics. Approximately 50% of the position focuses on treatment and intervention, while the other 50% focuses on assessment.
The fellow is involved in a combination of psychological evaluation, outpatient group therapy, individual therapy, and consultation. The chance to work with multiple supervisors allows the fellow the opportunity to experience a full range of patients as well as an array of theoretical perspectives. Much of the work is completed within a multidisciplinary context, presenting the fellow with a chance to become familiar with the work of other health care professionals. Group therapy opportunities vary by semester and may include working with children with mood, anxiety, and behavioral disorders as well as children with disorders on the autism spectrum. Individual therapy caseloads are flexible and are tailored to fit the fellow's interests, experiences, and schedule.
The suicide/depression position in the Outpatient Psychology concentration provides supervised experience in the evaluation and treatment of depressed and suicidal youth across the spectrum of care including inpatient, intensive outpatient, and outpatient levels. Opportunities will be available for assessment, individual, group and family therapy. Training and experience with evidenced based treatments for reducing risk for suicidal behaviors will be provided. Collaboration with other providers both internally and in the community will be an important component of this training experience. Children’s Health, in collaboration with UT Southwestern, has nationally recognized research and clinical programs in the treatment of pediatric depressive disorders, and the fellow in this position will have the opportunity to work with researchers and clinicians to develop their skills with this population.
For more information about the general position in the Outpatient Concentration, please contact:
Alexis Clyde, Ph.D.
For more information about the suicide/depression position, please contact:
Betsy Kennard, Ph.D., ABPP
- Alexis Clyde, Ph.D., ABPP – General Outpatient
- Jessica Heerschap, Ph.D. – Suicide/Depression
- Beth Kennard, Psy.D., ABPP – Suicide/Depression
- Nicholas Westers, Psy.D., ABPP – General Outpatient
- Alison Wikinson-Smith, ABPP – General Outpatient
- Kristin Wolfe, Ph.D. – Suicide/Depression
The fellow in the general outpatient psychology concentration will complete a major rotation through the Early Childhood Mental Health Clinic (ECMHC). The purpose of the ECMHC is to bring together multiple disciplines to gain a greater understanding about the complex mental health issues that impact young children and provide that information to families so they can make informed decisions regarding appropriate treatment and interventions for their child and family. The fellow will participate in multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluations with specialists in psychiatry, psychology, counseling, speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and other disciplines as needed. All specialists have expertise in treating young children with complex mental health issues. Comprehensive evaluations are conducted with children aged 0 to 5 with behavioral, social, emotional, attachment, developmental and cognitive difficulties. Referrals are generated from community providers, including pediatricians and mental health professionals, as well as from various clinics and service areas throughout Children’s Health.
The fellow also completes a major rotation in Therapeutic Assessment throughout the fellowship year. Therapeutic Assessment is a type of collaborative assessment that helps families develop a new understanding of their child and their difficulties. By developing this new understanding together with the assessor, the assessment becomes a method of changing the family system. Families receiving this type of service are typically referred for emotional and/or behavioral concerns for children and adolescents ages 5-18. Therapeutic Assessment also includes close consultation with referring professionals, including therapists, psychiatrists, school personnel, and other professionals. The fellow will learn specific techniques used in the Therapeutic Assessment model while improving their skills in cognitive and social-emotional assessment of children and adolescents. Assessments will be conducted in two-person teams with the supervisor, and later in the year, independently by the fellow.
The fellow in the general outpatient psychology concentration holds a minor rotation in Adolescent Medicine throughout the fellowship year. The fellow provides outpatient individual and family therapy services within the Adolescent Medicine clinic at the Specialty Center Dallas Campus (formerly called the Ambulatory Care Pavilion) and collaborates closely on patient care with attending physicians in the clinic. The fellow is also responsible for providing consultation and regular didactics to medical students and residents who rotate through the clinic. Patients receiving services through Adolescent Medicine often represent a diverse, underserved population. Common reasons for referral include depression, anxiety anger management, high-risk behavior, medication adherence, and obesity.
Individual therapy and parent training opportunities are available throughout the training year. Based on the fellow’s interests and opportunities for growth, appropriate therapy cases are selected from the large base of referrals to the Department of Psychiatry. A wide range of patients are available, including those with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, risk-taking behaviors, oppositional behaviors, and complicated family dynamics. The fellow receives training in state-of-the art empirically supported treatments within a cognitive-behavioral family/child centered framework. Collaboration with faculty members from diverse theoretical orientations is also available.
The fellow has the opportunity to provide therapy to depressed children and adolescents through the Depression Clinic at the Center for Pediatric Psychiatry. Opportunities exist to provide evidence-based, manualized cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression and relapse prevention, as well as other interventions. Within the Depression Clinic, the fellow collaborates with the patients’ psychiatrist in providing treatment and recommendations to the patient and family.
The fellow also has the opportunity to facilitate and co-facilitate a variety of therapeutic groups. The following group therapy experiences may be available: drama-based social skills for school-aged children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group for risk-taking teenagers with mood and anxiety disorders, social skills group for school-aged children with attention, behavioral and social difficulties (not specific to autism), and a latency group for school-aged children enrolled in a therapeutic day treatment program. Participation in group therapy is based on the fellow’s interests and opportunities for growth, as well as the schedule and availability of both the group and the fellow.
In addition to the general objectives shared by the training program for all postdoctoral fellows, the fellows in the Outpatient Psychology concentration will:
- Become proficient in state-of-the-art psychological evaluation strategies for children with mood disorders, anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities, thought disorders, and other conditions.
- Gain experience as part of a multidisciplinary team in providing diagnostic evaluations and treatment recommendations for a highly diverse population of patients
- Gain experience and supervision in empirically supported therapeutic techniques with children and adolescents
- Provide communication regarding diagnosis and treatment recommendations to parents, school professionals and community providers to support appropriate intervention for patients.