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Forensic Assessment Psychology Practicum

Our assessment practicum is a valuable learning experience in the use of psychological assessment for both clinical and legal purposes. 

The one-year training we provide for doctoral- and master’s-level psychology students enables trainees to expand their knowledge about the psychological assessment of psychiatric forensic patients.

In-Depth Assessment Experience

As a student in our forensic assessment psychology practicum, you will be exposed to adolescent and adult forensic psychiatric patients presenting with a variety of mental health problems.

Using standard psychological tests, you will take cases to assess for:

  • differential diagnosis
  • psychopathology
  • personality traits
  • cognitive and social functioning

You can expect to gain experience with:

  • diagnostic testing
  • neuropsychological assessment
  • forensic evaluations to determine mental and legal capacity

As part of the assessment, we’ll ask you to provide treatment recommendations to the treatment team or to legal counsel. We’ll give you opportunities to attend court and observe the adjudication process and the testimonies of mental health experts.

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 at least 16 hours each week.

Diverse Patient Population

You will work with mildly to severely mentally ill incarcerated patients during our assessment practicum. You will be exposed to forensic psychiatric patients — both children and adults — with a wide range of mental disorders, including:

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

Our training will increase your appreciation of psychiatric and multicultural issues seen in forensic populations.

Training on Psychological Testing

During our practicum, you’ll learn about an assortment of clinical and neuropsychological batteries, including:

  • Personality Assessment Inventory
  • Psychopathic Personality Inventory-R
  • State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2
  • Rorschach
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV
  • Wechsler Memory Scale-IV
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV
  • Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status

Research Opportunities

You will have a variety of opportunities to engage in research. Our practicum lets you 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, staff meetings, 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