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Advanced Practicum Program

Oakes is proud to provide clinical training to advanced practicum students in their 3rd year (or higher) in their psychology doctoral graduate programs. Oakes is part of BAPIC and follows their training standards as well as their application process.

Oakes’ Clinical Training Program Philosophy and Goals

The Oakes Children’s Center Clinical Training Program provides comprehensive training to doctoral students who are completing advanced practicums in clinical psychology. The training program at Oakes is dedicated to developing clinicians who practice with integrity and understand the importance of cultural competency and ethical practice. Licensed clinical psychologists and marriage & family therapists teach interns to provide trauma-sensitive clinical services within a psychodynamic theoretical framework that draws from several theoretical models including: object relations, attachment theory, social justice, and intersubjective models through the provision of didactic seminars, case conferences, and individual and group supervision.

A majority of the clients served at Oakes Children’s Center have experienced significant adversity and risk in various areas of life, often times beginning as early as birth, leading to impaired functioning in various domains of development. Therefore, we believe that the primary role of the clinician is to build and develop a working therapeutic relationship with these clients whom have disturbed patterns of relating to self and other due to these adverse histories and prior relational experiences.  By working within a trauma-sensitive and relational frame, the clinician can then help the client to overcome traumatic, developmental, and emotional challenges by supporting them with making meaning of their experiences in a way that aids them in moving forward with greater resilience and adaptive functioning. The clinician uses the therapeutic relationship developed to provide the client with new experiences allowing them to safely explore and gain understanding of themselves and their life story. The modalities of clinical services provided include: individual, group, crisis intervention and management, and family psychotherapy in addition to case management, collateral work, consultation, risk assessment, and psychological assessment. Clients served include individuals experiencing oppression on many systemic levels (i.e. race, class, education) with severe emotional and behavioral challenges as well as individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders.

The Oakes Training Program provides multiple didactic seminars in order to support trainees in achieving their professional and clinical goals. 

A weekly Play Therapy Seminar is offered where basic and advanced play therapy techniques are covered.  Trainees learn how to understand and respond to play-based communication and how to engage and motivate school-aged children and adolescents with mentoring and support from more advanced interns.  Trauma-sensitive psychodynamic and relational theory is emphasized.

A bi-monthly Autism Spectrum Disorder Seminar places emphasis on the treatment of clients who experience social, emotional, and developmental impairments.  The seminar provides didactic information about the cluster of Autism Spectrum diagnoses and on therapy techniques using a relational model.  Group dynamics and techniques to support anxiety management for clients with autism spectrum disorder are also covered. Trainees are also mentored and supported by pre-doctoral interns and post-doctoral clinicians in leading and co-facilitating groups.

A bi-monthly Clinical Forum is also provided in which different clinical topics are addressed through trainings led by clinicians, post-doctoral clinicians, and pre-doctoral interns from Oakes Children’s Center as well as from professionals from the community.  This seminar focuses specifically on topics relevant to family therapy and engagement as well as doing trauma work.  Topics covered include:  complex trauma, mindfulness, psychopharmacology and mental health, working with complex families systems, counter-transference in play therapy with traumatized children, and issues of power and privilege.

A weekly case conference attended by the trainees, interns, training director, clinical director, staff psychiatrist, and CEEP staff (i.e. teachers, classroom staff, floor manager, behavior analyst) where clinicians present on each of their CEEP clients twice a year. The focus of the case conference is to support the interdisciplinary team with collaborating on the best ways to support the client as well as to support the team in understanding the client’s history, presenting problems, and progress in treatment through a clinical and therapeutic lens.

Other optional seminars may be open to advanced practicum students based on interest, experience, and availability. Please see the training director for more information.

Trainees may provide clinical services in three therapeutic settings

1) The Counseling Enriched Educational Program (CEEP)
(Required setting) The Counseling Enriched Educational Program serves children from ages 5 to 14 years old. Children served exhibit severe behavioral and emotional problems at home and in school. The children enrolled receive a comprehensive academic program in addition to psychotherapeutic services. The CEEP is open Monday through Friday, mid-August to mid-July.

2) The Partnership Program

(Optional setting) Oakes Children’s Center provides staff clinicians to 13 San Francisco elementary, middle and high schools.  These clinicians provide group and individual psychotherapy and are aided by interns who may also travel to these schools.

3) Outpatient Services

(Required setting) Oakes Children’s Center provides outpatient group and individual therapy to children, adolescents, and young adults.  This includes social skills groups for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental disabilities as well as individual outpatient therapy.


Individual supervision is provided by licensed staff psychologists. Advanced practicum students receive one hour of individual supervision per week. Due to the intense work that we do at Oakes, supervisors are always available outside of the scheduled supervision time to consult and discuss crises and risk management with interns and trainees. Supervision is provided through the use of video and audio recordings, bi-monthly process notes, and live observation of therapeutic work. Supplementary supervision is provided by post-doctoral clinicians.

Group supervision is provided by the training director and includes the pre-doctoral interns, advanced practicum students, and the post-doctoral clinician. Group supervision is 1.5 hours and is provided weekly.

Advanced Practicum Placements

Oakes participates in the BAPIC match process and accepts anywhere from 1-4 trainees each year. Applicants should have a minimum of one year experience providing psychotherapy to individuals as well as professional experience working with kids, preferably in a school setting (does not have to be experience providing therapy). It is preferred that applicants also have play therapy and assessment experience. Please see information below about how to apply.

How to Apply

To apply for an advanced practicum placement, please apply through the BAPIC process and include a letter of interest, your CV, 3 letters of recommendation, a graduate transcript (informal is acceptable), and a clinical writing sample.