University Counseling Center
Components of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
To assist in the transition from the role of fellow to professional, UCC offers postdoctoral fellows gradually increasing responsibility and participation in all aspects of the following services.
University Counseling Center specializes in the provision and training of time-limited psychodynamic psychotherapy. UCC’ unique approach to therapy combines the ability to be both “deep” and “brief” without sacrificing one for the other. Time limited treatment is prevalent, although the fellowship allows for a few cases to be seen on a longer-term basis. Training also emphasizes other major models of time-limited psychotherapy. The highly motivated and verbal population we serve affords fellows a clearer view of an individual’s dynamics and the opportunity to see change within a brief period of time. Fellows will eventually work up to a caseload of 20 clients per week. There is also opportunity to work with couples.
Assessment and Diagnostic Skills
Fellows enhance their assessment and diagnostic skills through a variety of means. Quick and accurate assessments must be made during initial interviews. Fellows will learn to assess clients’ suitability for short-term work or group therapy, develop a working focus for brief treatment, and manage individuals in acute distress or crisis. Fellows administer standard mental status exams, assess for substance abuse problems and suicidality, utilize a symptom checklist, interpret (both for themselves and to the client) a standard clinical personality inventory, and become proficient in use of the DSM 5.
In addition, UCC provides opportunities for fellows to become familiar and competent with psychopharmacologic issues. This includes evaluating a client’s need for psychopharmacological interventions, making a proper referral, and assessing the effectiveness of a regimen. Fellows become familiar with the range of psychotropic medications available, diagnoses and symptoms that can be effectively treated with medications, specific side effects, and treatment implications.
The UCC Postdoctoral Fellowship is designed to prepare ethical and culturally sensitive professionals to move with competence, creativity and flexibility into a variety of professional positions. UCC values a multicultural, multidisciplinary and multi theoretical learning and working environment. Enhancement of multicultural skills is an important aspect of our program, with postdocs participating in an initial Multicultural immersion module during orientation, a monthly postdoc multicultural seminar as well as a monthly Multicultural Workshop with the whole UCC staff. As a work community we are actively engaged in examining our own multiple identities. Our staff and training program is interdisciplinary, involving clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, and psychiatrists. The diverse theoretical approaches utilized by staff enrich our work while our shared awareness of developmental issues and of brief therapy provides common ground.
Intensive Group Therapy Work
UCC is committed to the provision of high-quality group psychotherapy. A variety of groups are conducted, including DBT and CBT skills groups. Process oriented psychotherapy groups could include graduate or undergraduate co-ed, women’s or men’s groups as well as other process or support groups focused on issues such as grief, GLBT identity, or mindfulness. Fellows work in co-therapy teams. Training is provided for screening and selecting group members and for ongoing group treatment in a weekly seminar. Group co-leaders meet with a faculty supervisor one hour/week for each group.
Supervision of Graduate Psychology Students
An integral part of professional development is learning to be an effective and skilled clinical supervisor. Training to be a supervisor is a major strength of the program at UCC. Fellows supervise one to two clinical psychology doctoral students who range from novice to more moderately experienced therapists. These very bright and capable student therapists maximize the opportunity for fellows to develop, define and deepen their supervision skills. Fellows receive training and support regarding their supervision in a weekly seminar.
Consultation and Outreach
As part of the larger university environment, UCC maintains a variety of connections with other university systems. Fellows are responsible for developing and maintaining multiple on-going consultation or outreach interventions throughout their fellowship year. The intervention may include assuming responsibility for an on-going program offered by UCC (e.g., consulting with the Eastman School of Music, International Students Office, Minority Student Affairs or Residential Life) or the development of a new intervention on behalf of a specific population within the university (i.e., adult children of alcoholics, victims of sexual assault). The possibilities for consultation and program development are numerous, and can be designed to reflect each fellow’s skill and interest areas.
On-Call and Crisis Management
Fellows are on 24-hour call for a one-week period every eight weeks. Fellows enhance their crisis intervention and management skills, and learn to coordinate their efforts with those of other university agencies and health care systems. Supervising staff are always available to support fellows handling on-call responsibilities.
Fellows have sole responsibility for designing and teaching the weekly “Survey in Clinical Issues” seminar at UCC to second year doctoral students in Clinical Psychology. This is a graduate level seminar where fellows have the opportunity to design a clinical course to meet the needs of the beginning therapist. Topics often include understanding and working with transference and countertransference issues, suicide, the “beginning” and “endings” of treatment, etc.
Fellows are responsible for consultation with college administration regarding students of concern, conducting administrative evaluations for students requesting special accommodations, and taking part in the predoctoral internship recruitment and selection process. These activities are supported by supervising staff as needed and are designed to assist the fellow in developing administrative experiences of typical UCC staff psychologists.
Fellows receive weekly individual supervision from two supervisors. Additionally, fellows receive an hour of weekly supervision for each of their groups, along with their group co-leader (2.0 hours). The supervisory staff consists of psychologists and a social worker, all of whom have extensive experience in college mental health. Many of the supervisors have a psychodynamic orientation, influenced by brief psychodynamic theory, relational and interpersonal perspectives, object relations and self-psychology. Several supervisors are also guided by systems, developmental, and cognitive behavioral theory. Fellows routinely videotape sessions with clients. This provides trainees and supervisors with an opportunity to review sessions in depth. Additional unscheduled supervision is available when needed.