Advanced Practicum Program
Oakes Children’s Center is proud to provide clinical training to advanced practicum students in clinical psychology doctoral graduate programs. Oakes is a member of the Bay Area Practicum Information Collaborative (BAPIC). Our standards for practicum training align with those of BAPIC and we follow their application process. In some instances, we also accept exceptional practicum students from other programs outside of BAPIC.
For over 60 years, Oakes Children’s Center has served children and families with emotional, behavioral, and educational difficulties by providing specialized educational and psychological services. Our mission is to help children develop the independence and self-awareness necessary to live and continue learning in the least restrictive setting possible. We are a non-profit mental health center located in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights/Mission District with the objective of providing services to historically under-served populations who may not otherwise receive mental health services.
The Oakes Children's Center Training Program 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 and family therapists teach practicum students to provide trauma-sensitive clinical services within a psychoanalytic framework through the provision of didactic seminars, case conferences, and individual and group supervision.
Many of the patients we see at Oakes Children's Center have experienced significant adversity and risk, often beginning as early as birth. These experiences can alter ways of relating to self and to others, causing lasting distress and contributing to impaired functioning in various domains of development. By working within a trauma-sensitive and psychoanalytic frame, our clinicians attempt to support patients as they meet these challenges by helping them to make sense of their experiences in a way that enables greater flexibility, resilience, and adaptive functioning. The therapeutic relationship also provides the possibility of new relational experiences, which can allow patients to explore and gain new understandings of themselves and their life story.
Practicum students receive training in a breadth of theories and techniques, including classical psychoanalysis, ego psychology, British object relations, interpersonal psychoanalysis, contemporary relational psychoanalysis with an emphasis on the intersubjective field, Jungian analysis, attachment theory, developmental neuropsychology, mentalization theory, and social justice models. They learn evidenced-based interventions (e.g., Mentalization-Based Therapy, Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy) and how to apply theories and techniques in the consulting room, in the classroom, and in the community. Practicum students provide services in the following modalities: individual, group, and family psychotherapy; risk assessment, case management, collateral work, and consultation; crisis intervention and management; and psychological assessment. Practicum students work with individuals and families experiencing oppression on many systemic levels (e.g., race, class, educational) with severe emotional and behavioral challenges, as well as individuals with developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The Oakes Clinical Internship Training Program provides multiple didactic seminars in order to support practicum students in achieving their professional and clinical goals.
A weekly (1 hour; Wednesdays 9:30am-10:30am) Play Therapy Seminar is offered to practicum students. This seminar covers basic and advanced play therapy techniques. Practicum students learn how to understand and respond to play-based communication, as well as how to engage and motivate school-aged children and adolescents. We emphasize trauma-sensitive, relational psychodynamic theories. Throughout the training year, practicum students present cases and videos of sessions. They receive feedback and peer supervision as presenters and have the opportunity to provide peer supervision and feedback to their colleagues as participants in the seminar.
A weekly (1 hour; Thursdays 12:30pm-1:30pm) optional Clinical Reading Seminar focuses on review and discussion of assigned readings, which emphasize theory and research. Readings address clinical topics relevant to the work at Oakes or common issues that arise in most courses of treatment. The purpose of the seminar is to facilitate continued learning of theory and research, as well as the practical application of theory and research to work in the clinic. Through this seminar, practicum students also learn and practice the critical evaluation of literature and dissemination of research findings relevant to their work. During the second half of the year, practicum students may choose the reading for one seminar meeting and facilitate discussion of the reading, demonstrating their ability to locate and choose relevant research and literature that provides an evidence base for their clinical work and intervention.
A bi-monthly (1 hour; second and fourth Wednesday of the month, 10:30am-11:30am) Process Group creates time and space for practicum students to process their work and roles at Oakes with a focus on providing support and peer supervision to each other, as well as to promote cohesion within the training cohort and resilience to vicarious trauma and burnout. The Training Director and Assistant Training Director also meet with the facilitator quarterly to obtain feedback regarding the cohort’s training experiences, including their concerns, wishes, and needs.
A monthly (1 hour; third Wednesday of the month, 10:30am-11:30am) Autism Spectrum Disorder Seminar places emphasis on the treatment of clients who experience social, emotional, and developmental impairments. The seminar provides practicum students an opportunity to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and expand their case conceptualization and treatment skills when working with this population. Seminar leaders will offer an overview of the symptoms, treatments, and specific cultural impact of ASD using articles, videos, exercises, and case examples. Practicum students will have opportunities to discuss their own experiences with individual and group clients with ASD and to receive feedback from their peers.
A bi-monthly (1.5 hour; first and third Wednesday of the month, 1:30-3pm) Case Conference allows practicum students to present on their clients from various programs at Oakes and think critically with peers and staff clinicians about their cases. Interns, trainees, and staff from other programs at Oakes (e.g., outpatient clinicians, partnership clinicians, program assistant) attend. The focus of the case conference is collaborating on the best ways to support the client, as well as to support all members of the team working with the client (e.g., case managers, teachers, principle, psychiatrist, outside clinicians) in understanding the client’s history, presenting problems, and progress in treatment through a clinical and therapeutic lens. The case conference offers the presenter with an opportunity to learn from other clinicians working within the same setting (e.g., the same school) and to provide consultation to other staff interacting with the client regarding best practices with the specified client and family. The presenter may disseminate relevant research findings that can help others understand and work effectively with the client and family. As participants, practicum students have the opportunity to provide consultation to staff from an outside perspective, as well as to provide peer supervision to the presenter.
A monthly (1.5 hour; fourth Wednesday of the month, 1:30pm-3pm) Agency-Wide Training offers practicum students access to experts from the community who present on clinically-relevant topics. Past topics have included: issues of gender and sexual identity, cultural humility, microaggressions, the impact of immigration on children and families, crisis intervention and communication, and working with children and families experiencing grief. Twice during the year (October and June), the Agency-Wide Training will be a Grand Rounds presentation. The training program staff will choose a pre-doctoral intern to consult with a clinician from the community on a current case and collaborate on a case presentation with the clinician in the role of discussant. The format of the presentation will reflect the collaboration between the intern and clinician/discussant. It may take the form of a live supervision, a presentation of the case followed by a review of central issues that emerged during the consultation process, or a more formal presentation by the intern with the discussant offering a theoretical perspective or technical feedback on the case presentation. All Oakes staff are invited to Agency-Wide Training presentations, including Grand Rounds.
Practicum students provide clinical services in two therapeutic settings
The Partnership Program
Oakes Children's Center provides clinicians to approximately 20 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. While working off site in Partnership schools, practicum students may support the counseling enriched classrooms on site (SOAR classrooms), providing milieu therapy, consultation, individual and group therapy to clients assigned to the classroom. Practicum students may also provide individual therapy to clients on site who are in the general population of students, but have been referred by school staff and qualify for services through Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) or Medi-Cal insurance.
Oakes Children's Center provides outpatient group and individual therapy to children, adolescents, and young adults. This includes social skills groups and individual psychotherapy for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental disabilities. Practicum students may develop groups to run through outpatient services and thereby gain experience structuring, recruiting for, and evaluating a group. Practicum students may also provide at-school or community-based therapeutic services through a mobile outreach program.
All practicum students participate in primary individual supervision with a licensed staff psychologist. Delegated supervisors may include licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, and post-doctoral psychologists. Practicum students receive two hours of individual supervision per week. They receive additional weekly scheduled supervision if their case load requires it. Due to the intense work that we do at Oakes, supervisors are also frequently available outside of the scheduled supervision time to consult and discuss crises and risk management with practicum students. When practicum students are off-site, supervisors are available by phone 100% of the time as is the manager of the Partnership program (a licensed mental health clinician) to provide consultation and supervision when needed. Supervision modalities include the use of video and audio recordings, discussion of case material, process notes, and live observation of clinical work.
Practicum students participate in one hour of weekly group supervision led by a licensed mental health clinician.
Oakes Children’s Center participates in the Bay Area Practicum Information Collaborative (BAPIC) match process and accepts between one and four trainees each year. Applicants should have a minimum of two years experience providing psychotherapy to individuals, as well as professional experience working with children.
How to Apply
To apply for an advanced practicum placement, please apply through the BAPIC process by mailing a paper application packet to the agency and include a letter of interest, your CV, three letters of recommendation, a graduate transcript (informal is acceptable), and a clinical writing sample.