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Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship Training Program

 Oakes is proud to provide clinical training to developing psychologists. The program currently provides 4, full-time, APPIC-accredited pre-doctoral internship positions (MC# 2359). Oakes has also partnered with The Wright Institute and is an affiliate of the training program (see Pre-Doctoral Internship Positions below for more information).

The Oakes Children’s Center Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship Training Program provides comprehensive training to doctoral students who are completing pre-doctoral internships in clinical psychology. The internship training program at Oakes is dedicated to developing psychologists who practice with integrity and understand the importance of cultural competency and ethical practice. Licensed clinical psychologists, social workers, and marriage & family therapists teach interns to provide trauma-sensitive clinical services within a developmental and 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 therapist is to build and develop a working therapeutic relationship with 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 therapist 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 therapist 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 psychological assessment, case management, collateral work, consultation, and risk assessment. Models of practice trained and utilized throughout the program include psychodynamic play therapy, interpersonal talk therapy, structural family therapy, attachment-based dyadic therapy, and social skills training with an integration of skills from other treatment modalities including mindfulness, trauma-focused CBT, and DBT.

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. Interns will mainly work with youth (ages 5-22), but will also have opportunities to work with their parents and families as well as other service providers based on experience, abilities, and interest.

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

A weekly Psychological Assessment Seminar educates interns on the use of psychological assessment measures to offer differential diagnoses of complex clinical presentations that range from developmental disabilities such as Autism to emotional and behavior challenges such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The seminar reviews administration and assessment basics with a greater focus on interpretation and conceptualization of assessment cases with the goal being to produce a valid report that will aid the client, family, and their treatment team as best they can with understanding the client’s strengths, areas of need, and by providing helpful recommendations. Interns will have the opportunity to complete a minimum of one full child or adolescent battery with further opportunity depending on interest, experience, ability, and case load.

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

A bi-monthly Autism Spectrum Disorder that 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.

A bi-monthly Clinical Forum is also provided to interns in which different clinical topics are addressed through trainings led by clinicians from Oakes Children’s Center as well as from professionals in the community.  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 reading and discussion group where interns review and discuss an assigned reading focused on a clinical topic relevant to the work being done currently or issues that have come up in treatment of their clients with a heavy focus on theory and research. The purpose of the group is to facilitate continued learning of theory and research as well as the practical application of theory and research to work in the clinic to aid in the professional development of interns as they continue to establish and develop their identities as psychologists.

A weekly Advanced Clinical Seminar includes advanced topics such as licensure, professional development, in-depth discussion of psychodynamic theories, maintaining ethical practice, integrating evidenced based practices into clinical work, and other topics as requested/needed. The second half of the year, each clinician will choose a case to present and each attendee will provide a case formulation for each client using a different theory covered in the seminar and incorporating research validating the modality and techniques used for the chosen client being presented.

A weekly, interdisciplinary, case conference 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. It also allows the interns further opportunities for professional development as they not only present their own cases to a team, but also offer clinical support and consultation to managers, educational staff, staff clinicians, and practicum students.

Interns provide clinical services in three therapeutic settings

1) The Counseling Enriched Educational Program (CEEP)
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

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.  Interns also provide psychological assessment services and produce comprehensive test batteries and reports.

3) Outpatient Services

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. Due to the advanced skills of interns, they are also placed in leadership roles in groups as they co-facilitate groups with practicum students. Interns also have an opportunity to provide psychological assessment services and produce psychological reports to aid in diagnosis and treatment.


Individual supervision is provided by licensed staff psychologists. Pre-doctoral interns receive one hour of individual supervision per week with their primary supervisor and one hour of individual supervision with their secondary supervisor per week. Due to the intense work that we do at Oakes, supervisors are frequently available outside of the scheduled supervision time to consult and discuss crises and risk management with interns in person while being available by phone 100% of the time. Supervision is provided through the use of video and audio recordings, discussion of case material, bi-monthly process notes, and live observation of therapeutic work.

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

Assessment supervision is provided weekly in a group format at a minimum of an hour per week and includes pre-doctoral interns. The amount of time offered and the format outside of assessment group supervision is based on the needs of each intern.

Pre-Doctoral Internship Positions

Oakes is an APPIC-accredited program and accepts 4 full time interns each year. Oakes is affiliated with the Wright Institute and 2 of the positions are open only to students at the Wright Institute. The positions are fully funded by the Wright Institute through Oakes. The remaining 2 positions are open to all programs nationwide. Yearly stipends are offered to all interns across the 10 month internship period for a total of $25,000 for the year with a $1,200 stipend for benefits.

In order to be considered for the position, applicants should have at least one year of child and/or adolescent therapy experience, preferably experience providing psychodynamic play therapy. Applicants with experience using AVATAR and completing MediCal documentation will be given higher preference, however, if you don’t have this experience you are still encouraged to apply. Please see information below about how to apply.

How To Apply

To apply for a pre-doctoral internship position, please apply through the APPIC website using the APPI and submit the standard application with the required essays, a letter of interest, 3 letters of recommendation, your CV, graduate transcripts and a de-identified psychological assessment. The application deadline for the 2017-2018 internship training year has passed and Oakes is proud and excited to report that we have filled our 4 positions; we are very much looking forward to working with our future interns! Oakes will participate in the standard APPIC match process for the 2018-2019 training year; please see the APPIC website for further information.