Before beginning their one-year pre-doctoral internship, students are required to complete at least seven semesters of practica. Practicum placements have included a variety of psychiatric hospitals, private psychological practices, community mental health facilities, neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitative services, and criminal justice settings. Additionally, the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program operates its own Psychological Services Center (PSC) where students work with a broad range of community clientele under the supervision of licensed psychologists.
All students are subject to criminal background checks before being assigned a practicum.
The PSC has a dual mission of providing general clinical services to the community and providing forensic services to the criminal justice system.
Thus far, clinical services have been provided to a broad range of clientele from a variety of demographic and ethnic backgrounds. Since its inception in 1999, the PSC has opened over 1,000 cases, over 70% of which have involved general clinical services. A broad range of both assessment and treatment services for adults, adolescents, families, and children are offered. This includes individual, couples, and family approaches. Group therapy for both adults and adolescents is offered through contracts with the Montgomery County Juvenile Probation Department. Clients treated have been diagnosed with psychopathology ranging from mild adjustment disorders to active psychoses.
Forensic assessments performed for the courts most commonly include evaluating various competencies, criminal responsibility, and risk assessment. Examinees include both adults and juveniles. Inexperienced students begin as observers, accompanying the faculty supervisor. As they gain more experience, they perform portions of the interviews and draft the final report; however, the licensed supervisor remains the primary evaluator. Students often use the assessments completed at the PSC for their mock trial exercise during their Forensic Assessment class.
Each student assigned to the PSC participates in the monthly supervision seminar in clinical supervision conducted by the Clinic Director. This includes completing assigned readings and participating in class discussions. They are then required to function as peer supervisors in semesters that follow. This is always done under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
Austin State Hospital (ASH)
This is a large impatient hospital serving populations throughout the state. This allows students to experience a wide variety of severe psychopathology, as well as familiarzing them interdisciplainary practice within a hospital setting. The hospital provides both a range of forensic and non-forensic assessments and treatments.
Federal Prison Camp, Bryan, TX
This is a large minimum security federal prison for women. Specialty programming includes a structured residential drug abuse program and a program for women who have been the victim of trauma. Students have the opportunity to engage in psychotherapy (both short term and long term) in both group and individual formats. They also participate in initial intakes at the facility as well as crisis intervention.
Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County
This agency is charged with providing services to thousands of people in the greater Houston area. It serves an ethnically diverse population including adults, adolescents, children and families. Students assigned work at an outpatient clinic doing primarily assessment. This involves providing full batteries of psychological tests and drafting integrated repots involving a wide array of psychopathology. Students also have opportunities for consultation and working with a variety of other disciplines.
Montgomery and Harris County Juvenile Probation:
These agencies serve incarcerated and probated juveniles in the Houston area. Student clinicians conduct a wide range of assessments and some therapy, and are able to participate in some forensic evaluations. Clients come from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Montgomery County Jail:
Students provide initial assessments of newly arrived inmates for psychological problems and needs. They also engage in crisis intervention and provide short term counseling as needed. They work closely with both medical and correctional staff to assure that mental health needs are met.
Drs. Massey/Hamlin/Hays Consortium. Three private practitioners in the Conroe area have formed an organized practicum experience. This will include both forensic and non-forensic clinical work. There are opportunities to work with clients of all ages in both assessment and treatment, as well as to provide other unique services to the community. This setting will expose students to establishing, managing and maintaining a private practice.
Rusk State Hospital :
Rusk State Hospital is a JCAHO accredited inpatient psychiatric hospital serving most of east Texas. Patients are both civil and court ordered; there is both chronic and acute care (length of stay ranging from a week to 30 years). Students may participate in both treatment and assessment.
Transitional Learning Center, Galveston, TX:
This site affords the opportunity to provide psychological and neuropsychological assessment and intervention for individuals with traumatic brain injuries and other complex mental illnesses in a post-acute neuropsychiatric hospital. The population typically includes traumatized veterans. Students have the opportunity to participate with a multidisciplinary team.
Texas A & M Telehealth Counseling Clinic:
This is a unique operation offering services to distant sites throughout southeast Texas via telehealth technology. Students have the opportunity to provide psychotherapy services to a variety of clientele at a distance using telemethods. In addition to experience providing therapy services, students will learn about the unique challenges and ethical issues of providing services via teleconferencing.
The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR)
TIRR is an internationally known facility located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Students assigned engage in all aspects of neuropsychological assessment. TIRR also provides the experience of working with an interdisciplinary team in a hospital setting. There is also opportunity to attend invited speakers and grand rounds presentations.
UT Harris County Psychiatric Center:
This is a University of Texas teaching hospital that provides comprehensive inpatient care to individuals with serious mental illnesses (including schizophrenia, severe mood disorders, and behavioral and adjustment problems). There is a rotation exclusively working with adults that is general very short term. There is also a rotation working with children and adolescents who generally have longer stays. Students may be involved in both assessment and treatment.
Students at Walker County have the opportunity to provide both therapy and assessment services to adults who are currently on probation. They also give crisis intervention assistance to those who may require medical referral or hospitalization. In addition, they provide consultation to officers in the department, both in terms of individual clients and the overall streamlining and improvement of the operation.
During their final year in the program, students complete a year-long internship in which they engage in full-time clinical work. Acceptance into a pre-doctoral internship is competitive, and applications are made a year in advance. In most cases, students relocate to another part of the country for their internships. For current statistics on internship, please click here. For a list of current internship sites, click here.