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Clinical Forensic Psychology Practicum

Our one-year practicum helps you build knowledge about the therapeutic and pharmacological treatment of individuals in the criminal justice system.

The training we provide for doctoral- and master’s-level psychology students helps develop trainees’ professionalism and knowledge of psychotherapeutic strategies via didactics and in-depth clinical experience.

Comprehensive Clinical Experience

As a student in our clinical forensic psychology practicum, you will administer psychotherapy, group therapy and diagnostic testing. With the guidance of your clinical supervisor, you will gain experience completing: 

  • psychological evaluations
  • progress notes
  • intake assessments
  • risk assessments
  • psychotherapy notes
  • neuropsychological assessment

You will also have opportunities to attend court and observe the adjudication process and the testimonies of mental health experts. Additionally, you will gain experience with forensic evaluations to determine mental and legal capacity. 

We’ll train you to work in an interdisciplinary setting and to communicate findings to various types of medical professionals. We aim to provide you with the best training possible; you can expect to be on site for at least 16 hours each week.

Patient Population

You will work with mildly to severely mentally ill incarcerated patients during our practicum. We’ll expose you to forensic psychiatric patients with a range of mental disorders, including:

  • psychotic and affective disorders
  • personality disorders
  • dual diagnoses of substance use disorders

Over the course of our practicum, you can expect to conduct psychotherapy sessions for five to eight patients on a weekly basis. You will also follow a number of other incarcerated psychiatric patients who require less treatment maintenance and who are incarcerated for brief periods.

You will have the opportunity to participate in treating individuals within the Residential Treatment Unit, a unit designed for the treatment of inmates with serious mental illness. It’s also possible for you to gain experience working with our Constant Observation Treatment Team, a group of clinicians overseeing treatment and care of inmates on observation for suicidal behaviors.

Our training will increase your appreciation of psychiatric and multicultural issues that present themselves in a forensic population. 

Research Opportunities

You will have plenty of opportunities to get involved with research and develop projects you can use for thesis work. 

We’ll enable you to embark on projects that: 

  • examine the interactions between neurobiology, emotional processing, aggressive behavior and psychopathology
  • elucidate the developmental trajectories of aggressive behavior through examining risk and protective factors for aggression in forensic patients
  • improve the validity of mental health assessment and common psychological and neuropsychological test instruments in forensic practice
  • study the effect of aggressive acts — including terrorism — on the general public and policy making, and develop new strategies to prevent and mitigate natural and man-made disasters

Didactics, Seminars and Conferences

Our practicum gives you opportunities to attend and participate in training seminars, weekly presentations and grand rounds

You also have the option to attend the annual Comprehensive Review of Psychiatry conference, which helps keep you up-to-date on the latest advances in the diagnosis and management of psychiatric disorders.

Supervision

Each week you’ll receive at least 45 minutes of supervision. You can expect to receive more supervision in the beginning of your training.

Training Sites

With the supportive guidance of our faculty, you will work in local forensic settings, including:

  • Erie County Holding Center
  • Erie County Correctional Facility
  • Erie County Youth Services Center
  • Erie County Medical Center