Child Clinical/Pediatric Psychology Track
Interns on this track participate in a variety of experiences designed to help them develop skills as well-rounded child clinicians. All interns work in an outpatient setting, in the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital and in the Emergency Department. Interns can also volunteer for one week as a counselor in a camp setting for children with chronic medical problems. Collaboration occurs with a variety of others including primary care physicians, pediatric specialists, school personnel, and representatives from children’s services agencies.
Pediatric Psychology Outpatient Service
Interns develop skills in assessing and treating behavior and emotional problems among children from birth to age 18. Interns provide assessments, and individual, family and group psychotherapy. Some examples of referrals managed by interns include children with anxiety, eating disorders, adjustment disorders, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social skills deficits, children whose parents divorce, issues of adolescence, suicide attempts, school refusal, somatoform disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, parent-child problems, problems adjusting to acute and chronic illness, and autism spectrum disorders. Child track interns participate in the outpatient service for the entire year.
Consultation in the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital
Geisinger has its own Children’s Hospital and pediatricians represent almost every pediatric subspecialty. We also have pediatric and medicine-pediatric residents providing care for children. In addition to receiving referrals from pediatricians for outpatient services, interns also conduct consultations with inpatients in the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. Pediatric oncologists, neurologists, intensive care specialists, endocrinologists, and nephrologists are among the specialists who most often request a pediatric psychology consult.
Psychiatric Emergency Services
Child track interns participate in two different ways with patients who present with psychiatric emergencies. First, interns work one day a week for four months conducting psychiatric emergency services for adults. The emergency services team is comprised of a staff psychiatrist, clinic triage case worker, physician’s assistant and a medical resident. Interns learn basic emergency psychiatric assessment skills to understand medical conditions that may simulate psychiatric conditions, an ability to assess and triage suicidal or aggressive patients, a working knowledge of psychopharmacologic agents, and an appreciation of psychiatric treatment resources. Child track interns specifically are required to work with adults in this setting because we believe that they may encounter parents with similar problems and need to have skills to manage such challenges. The second component of this experience involves conducting emergency evaluations of children and adolescents. Interns take similar roles in working with adolescents and children that they take in providing emergency services to adults. These experiences occur during the day and are provided in both the outpatient setting and the emergency department.
For four months, one or two days per week, interns conduct psychological testing of children and adolescents. Interns learn assessment skills involving tests for diagnostic and treatment planning purposes.
Disruptive Behavior Disorders Clinic
Interns assess children with disruptive behavior disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. Treatment recommendations often include participating in group treatment, behavior modification, as well as medication. Interns learn assessment skills, how to make practical recommendations and how to conduct group treatment for parents and children.
Preschool Development and Behavior Clinic
Interns participate in the evaluation and treatment of preschool age children with developmental and behavior problems. Interns conduct developmental assessments and implement an evidence-based treatment (Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s Incredible Years Program). Interns also provide behavior observations and consultation at Head Start.
Adolescent Group and Family Therapy
Geisinger provides outpatient psychotherapy for adolescents. Group psychotherapy and family therapy are two primary treatment components. Adolescents referred to the group present with problems such as depression, conflicts with parents, conduct problems, and school difficulties. Interns have the opportunity to learn a competency based systemic model of family therapy and participate in a family therapy training seminar.
Anxiety Disorders Clinic
Interns participate in an anxiety disorders clinic for children and adolescents. Interns learn assessment skills that include use of structured interviews and psychological tests. Interns also learn to conduct evidence-based treatments for anxiety disorders.
Clinic for Children with Enuresis
Interns participate in a multi-disciplinary clinic for children and adolescents with enuresis in conjunction with a pediatric nephrologists and a nurse practitioner. Interns evaluate and treat children using behavioral treatment approaches.
Pediatric Weight Management Clinic
Interns participate in the behavioral treatment of overweight youth with comorbid psychosocial needs. Interns conduct assessments and implement evidence-based behavioral interventions in a group format. In addition to focusing on behavior modification and lifestyle change, interventions address issues of body-esteem, self-esteem, teasing and family/social support.
Treatment Outcome Research
Child track interns have the opportunity to participate in treatment outcome research in the pediatric psychology service. Models of treatment demonstrated as efficacious in highly controlled settings are implemented to evaluate their effectiveness in this applied setting. Interns learn how to conduct treatment outcome research and how to implement models of treatment demonstrated to have empirical support.