Day Treatment

You will observe, consult and provide care in a school managed by the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center during this one-month rotation.

This rotation helps you develop a working understanding of how a day treatment program functions, which patients are appropriate for this treatment model and its limitations.

You will observe selected students in classrooms, consult with teachers about managing students’ behavior and participate in multidisciplinary team meetings.

You will also take part in evaluations and family therapy with child and adolescent psychiatrists on faculty. You will aid the transition of one child back into the public school system by consulting with the school and providing support to the child and family.

Faculty mentors here have expertise in medical/pediatric and neurological assessment, psychodynamic play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, parent guidance and training, and psychopharmacology.

You will collaborate with other mental health professionals, pediatricians, neurology consultants, occupational and recreational therapists, speech and language therapists, and school professionals.

You may also get exposure to additional community-based programs situated at the center. These include the mobile mental health team, which provides mental health consultation to juvenile justice professionals, and the PACC team, a state committee that makes decisions about residential treatment placement.

Treatment modalities include:

  • psychopharmacology
  • individual therapy (play, supportive and cognitive-behavioral)
  • family therapy
  • group therapy (cognitive-behavioral, dialectical-behavioral and social skills)
  • crisis intervention

The school typically takes 30 new admissions annually, with an average stay of one year. It has the capacity to care for 36 children, ages 8 to 17, who are divided into six classrooms.

Many of the children have been traumatized and have a history of school refusal and previous psychiatric hospitalization. All are unable to function in less structured school settings.

Patients come from wide-ranging socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and are often involved with community systems including social services and the legal, school and developmental disabilities systems. You will interface regularly with professionals from these systems.

Diagnoses include:

  • externalizing disorders (55 percent)
  • internalizing disorders (70 percent)
  • psychotic disorder or pervasive developmental disorder (25 percent)

All children in this program have a full scale IQ above 65, although more than 50 percent have a learning disorder.


You will assess two to four patients for admission to the program and take an active part in managing three to four patients with assistance from the faculty attending child psychiatrist.

Regarding these patients, you will assume a number of responsibilities, including:

  • comprehensive psychiatric evaluation
  • assessing the family
  • planning treatment
  • evaluating and managing medication
  • serving as a liaison with outside agencies
  • individual therapy, typically 30 to 45 minutes, twice per week
  • family therapy, typically 60 minutes weekly
  • group therapy
  • parent guidance and training
  • at least one home visit
  • discharge planning

You also will have the opportunity to attend meetings of the Committee on Special Education for children in the program.

Rotation Details

  • Year 2 rotation
  • Length: two half days per week for 4 months

Clinical Site

Office of Mental Health

Day Treatment Program of the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center (WNYCPC)

   WNYCPC - Alberta Dr.
   575 Alberta Dr.
   Amherst, NY, 14226
   Phone: (716) 832-0720



Faculty and Staff

  • two child and adolescent psychiatrists
  • full-time treatment team leader
  • two clinical social workers
  • two clinical psychologists
  • director of education

Patient Population

  • ages 8 to 17
  • 80 percent male
  • 20 percent female
  • 70 percent African-American
  • 25 percent Caucasian
  • 5 percent Hispanic