Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology
Oakes is proud to provide clinical training to developing psychologists through Doctoral Internship positions. Oakes is APA accredited as of April 2020 (#002272) and offers 4 full-time Intern positions each year. Oakes has also partnered with The Wright Institute and is an affiliate of the training program. See below for detailed information.
The Oakes Children’s Center Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology 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 Clinical Internship Training Program provides multiple didactic seminars in order to support interns in achieving their professional and clinical goals.
A weekly (1.5 hour; Tuesdays 1:30pm-3pm) 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 or needed. In the second half of the year, each intern present on a theory/theorist in the syllabus. Interns will review central concepts of the theory and demonstrate application of the theory to a current case through case conceptualization and discussion of the course of treatment.
A weekly (1 hour; Wednesdays 11:30am-12:30pm) 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 Spectrum Disorder, to emotional and behavioral challenges, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The seminar reviews administration and assessment basics within the context of the collaborative/therapeutic assessment model (Finn & Tonsager, 1997). This approach begins by involving clients and their families in generating and refining questions. The goal is to co-create a process that serves a therapeutic function, while also deepening interpretation and assessment case conceptualization. The result is a valid report that will aid the client, family, and their treatment team in understanding the client’s strengths and areas of need and by providing helpful recommendations. In addition to the full psychological testing report, interns will learn to create summary documents and provide testing feedback that make the results of testing accessible and meaningful to clients and families, as well as the professionals working with them. Interns will have the opportunity to complete a minimum of one full child or adolescent battery with further opportunities depending on interest, experience, ability, and case load.
A weekly (1 hour; Wednesdays 9:30am-10:30am) Play Therapy Seminar is offered to interns. This seminar covers basic and advanced play therapy techniques. Interns 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, interns 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) 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, interns 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, each intern will 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 monthly (1 hour; first Wednesday of the month, 10:30am-11:30am) Clinical Forum provides an opportunity for interns to experience the preparation and delivery of professional presentations to an audience that includes clinicians across programs at Oakes Children's Center. Interns present on a topic of their choice based on clinical relevance to the work done at Oakes and their level of expertise. Previous presentation topics have included: complex trauma, mindfulness, psychopharmacology and mental health, working with complex family systems, counter-transference in play therapy with traumatized children, and issues of power and privilege.
A bi-monthly (1 hour; second and fourth Wednesday of the month, 10:30am-11:30am) Intern Process Group creates time and space for interns 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 intern group and resilience to vicarious trauma and burnout. The Training Director also meets with the facilitator quarterly to obtain feedback regarding the interns’ 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 interns 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. Interns 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 interns 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 presenting intern 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 presenting intern may disseminate relevant research findings that can help others understand and work effectively with the client and family. Interns who are participants have the opportunity to provide consultation to staff from an outside perspective, as well as to provide peer supervision to the presenting intern.
A monthly (1.5 hour; fourth Wednesday of the month, 1:30pm-3pm) Agency-Wide Training offers interns 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 an 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. Interns will have the opportunity to meet with the clinician/discussant two-three times prior to the presentation. All Oakes staff are invited to Agency-Wide Training presentations, including Grand Rounds.
Interns 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. Interns also provide psychological assessment services and produce comprehensive test batteries and reports when a student demonstrates the need for such services. While working off site in Partnership schools, interns may support the counseling enriched classrooms on site (SOAR classrooms), providing milieu therapy, consultation, individual and group therapy to clients assigned to the classroom. Interns 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. Interns spend about 10-12 hours in this setting on average.
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. Interns have an opportunity to provide psychological assessment services and produce psychological reports to aid in diagnosis and treatment. Interns may develop groups to run through outpatient services and thereby gain experience structuring, recruiting for, and evaluating a group. Interns may also provide at-school or community-based therapeutic services through a mobile outreach program. On average interns spend about 8-10 hours in this setting.
All interns participate in primary individual supervision with a licensed staff psychologist. Delegated supervisors may include licensed marriage and family therapists and licensed clinical social workers. Pre-doctoral interns receive one hour of individual supervision per week with their primary supervisor and one hour of individual supervision per week with their secondary supervisor. Interns 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 interns. When interns 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.
Interns participate in one hour of weekly group supervision led by a licensed mental health clinician.
Interns participate in one hour of weekly assessment supervision is provided weekly in a group format. Interns may receive additional assessment supervision based on the needs of each intern (i.e. their assessment case load and their experience).
Interns are matched with a mentor at the beginning of their internship year with whom they meet every other week throughout the entire training year for additional, non-evaluative support, as well as mentoring in their own professional development. Many mentors are early career psychologists, some of whom have themselves previously been interns at Oakes.
Oakes Children’s Center is an APA-accredited program, on contingency, and accepts four full-time interns each year. Oakes is affiliated with the Wright Institute and two of the positions are open only to students at the Wright Institute. The positions are fully funded by the Wright Institute through Oakes Children’s Center. The remaining two positions are open to all programs nationwide. Interns receive stipends totaling $25,000 across the training year, including a $1,200 stipend for benefits.
Requirements for applicants include at least one year of clinical experience with children and/or adolescents, with preference for those applicants who have experience providing psychodynamic play therapy. We also welcome applicants with experience using AVATAR and completing MediCal documentation.
How To Apply
To apply for a Pre-doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology position, please apply through the APPIC website using the APPI and submit the standard application with the required essays, a letter of interest, three letters of recommendation, your CV, graduate transcripts and a de-identified psychological assessment. The application deadline for Phase I of the APPIC Match for 2020-2021 is November 1st, 2019. Applicants will be notified of interview status on December 9th, 2019.
Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail: Web: