Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Goals and Objectives - Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
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Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center

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Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Goals and Objectives

Program AIMS

Our Training Aim: To prepare competent entry-level professional psychologists.

Our training aim is informed by and based on the above-listed values and principles. We prepare fellows primarily through “learning-by-doing”.  Fellows receive an organized individualized sequence of closely supervised professional service delivery experiences. These “hands-on” experiences are graduated in complexity, build on abilities and previous learning, and are augmented by other forms of learning.  Such learning activities are aimed at expanding the fellow's theoretical understanding and knowledge and integrating it with his/her professional practice skills and competencies.

The program encourages scholarly interest and provides some time and support for scholarly activities. Its primary focus, however, is on broad and general supervised experiential training in preparation for psychology practice.

By nature of its setting and the VA’s primary and secondary missions (service delivery and training), the program's primary training strengths are in preparing fellows for institutional practice in complex comprehensive public health service environments, with ethnically diverse adult and elderly (mostly male) patients who suffer from a wide range of physical and mental health problems. Fellows may also have opportunities to work with active duty Navy personnel presenting with physical and mental health problems.

The training aim above defines the “long-term expected outcome” of our training program. With an additional year of “on-the-job” supervision and training (assuming completion of doctoral academic requirements), the fellow is expected to sit for and pass the professional psychology licensure, certification or registration examination, and enter the practice of psychology as a beginning professional.

The degree to which our training aim is attained is reflected in the number and percentage of fellows from our program who have obtained licenses and are employed to practice professional psychology, and serves as our ultimate outcome evaluation index.

Upon completion of the program fellows are expected to have demonstrated an intermediate to advanced degree of understanding and knowledge of, or skill and competency in techniques or methods of:

  • Integration of Science and Practice
  • Ethical and Legal Standards
  • Individual Differences and Cultural Diversity
  • Professional Values and Attitudes
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and Interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills
  • Patient Centered Practices
  • Geropsychology Competencies
    • Develops, implements, and monitors ongoing behavior management intervention(s) informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.
    • Demonstrates adequate appreciation for the nuances of geriatric population (i.e., fatigue, declining medical health, cognitive decline, sensorimotor difficulties, language deficits, etc.) that are specific to: cognitive assessment and psychological intervention.
    • Performs annually scheduled cognitive screenings, as well as new admission screenings, in a timely manner.
    • Demonstrates ability to succinctly and effectively report findings of cognitive and psychological assessment completed with geriatric patients to members of Interdisciplinary team for continuation and coordination of care.
  • PTSD Competencies
    • Conducts psychological assessments for residential and outpatient Veterans drawing on current empirical literature and collecting relevant data to assess for substance use history and treatment planning, engages in consult/liaison services for referrals from inpatient psych and medical units, and conducts suicide risk assessments and crisis management.
    • Conducts the following evidence-based treatments: CPT, PE, and EMDR
    • Conducts assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and collects relevant data for the purposes of assessing for trauma history and post-trauma stress.
  • Homeless Veterans Rehabilitation Program Competencies
    • Implements interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables that address the psychosocial stressors as observed in the homeless Veteran population.
    • Conducts assessments that draw from the best available empirical literature and collects relevant data (through thorough chart review and clinical interview) for the purposes of assessing for underlying contributing factors related to homelessness.
  • Addiction Treatment Program Competencies
    • Implements the following addictions treatment intervention(s) informed by current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables: psychoeducational groups, individual therapy, crisis intervention, treatment planning and review, and discharge planning.
    • Conducts psychological assessments for residential and outpatient Veterans drawing on current empirical literature and collecting relevant data to assess for substance use history and treatment planning, engages in consult/liaison services for referrals from inpatient psych and medical units, and conducts suicide risk assessments and crisis management.

These Knowledge, Skills, and Competencies collectively define the above-described Training Aim. The degree to which these Aims are attained defines the program’s and intern’s expected intermediate and short-term “competency outcomes.”

They are measured and documented in the evaluations each fellow receives at the end of each training rotation. The minimum level of achievement required to demonstrate competency is obtaining a score of 7 or higher on all competencies by the end of the training year.  The evaluations form part of the program’s outcome evaluation efforts.

To achieve the training aims we strive to provide fellows with opportunities to:

  • Transition, in a gradual, realistic and systematic manner, from the student role to that of the beginning professional, by performing of professional duties under professional supervision;
  • Expand theoretical knowledge of psychological and non-medical empirical views of human behavior and integrate it with the professional practice of psychology through supervision, didactics and discussions;
  • Expand skill and competency in a variety of psychological assessment and intervention strategies, through work with a variety of patients in different settings;
  • Learn ways of acquiring knowledge about individual differences and the impact of biological, cultural and other influences on human diversity though didactic seminars and working with patients and other healthcare workers from a variety of backgrounds;
  • Become self-aware as a psychologist in different professional roles through exposure to different psychology role models;
  • Develop tolerance for the ambiguity, variability and constant change of health care service delivery processes in a complex health care environment;
  • Develop increased appreciation of the influence of his/her own personality characteristics, values, beliefs, attitudes and opinions on others, and gain a realistic awareness of the limitations of her/his professional practice competency;
  • Gain confidence in his/her competence as a beginning independent practitioner, combined with confidence in her/his ability to learn what still needs to be learned.