Postdoctoral Residency in Clinical Psychology

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Organization Type: 
Program Type: 
Standing Program
Education Level: 
Postgraduate (e.g., residency, fellowship)
Educational Elements: 
Experiential including clinical contact with patients
Program Description: 

The VA New York Harbor Healthcare System offers a postdoctoral residency in clinical psychology with an emphasis in clinical health psychology and interprofessional training in primary care.   Beginning with the 2013-2014 training year, this program implemented a new and innovative component to its training model that emphasizes clinical and didactic interprofessional training opportunities involving psychology, social work, and medicine trainees working collaboratively. This one-year postdoctoral residency program embraces a practitioner-scholar philosophy, with a strong emphasis on clinical practice that is informed by scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and active, collaborative learning.  The integration of science and practice is emphasized in all facets of the program, including clinical training assignments, supervision, and didactics.   Providing care in a large metropolitan, multicultura,l and multiethnic environment, the program strongly emphasizes and values multicultural competence, and is infused into all aspects of the resident’s training experience.   Residents work closely with supervisors to immerse in the clinical environment and culture, increase clinical and professional skills, and develop a sequence of assignments based upon training priorities and the residents’ particular interests and goals. 

Primary care mental health integration serves as the locus for the majority of the resident’s training, which consists of a combination of year-long assignments and rotations lasting from two to five months. Responsibilities include evaluation and assessment, individual and group therapies, team participation and consultations, behavioral consultations and shared medical visits with medical providers, didactics, teaching and supervision, and a year-long residency project.  By the end of the training year, residents are expected to demonstrate competence at the level of an independent, early career psychologist in several areas including: 1) psychological assessment, diagnosis, and intervention; 2) consultation, program evaluation, supervision, and/or training; 3) strategies for scholarly inquiry; 4) organization, management, and administrative issues; 5) professional conduct and ethics; and 6) cultural and individual diversity. 

Residents affiliate with at least one “PACT” (Patient Aligned Care Team), which is the designation for a treatment team within the patient-centered medical home model implemented throughout primary care. The PACTs operate within primary care, women’s clinic, and the OIF/OEF Unit (for veterans who served in the Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq). Residents consult with the care team and respond to patient mental health issues as they arise (e.g., discussion in team meetings, curbside informal consultation, brief “same day” or full evaluation, or short and longer term psychological intervention).  They also participate in behavioral consultations, wherein a behavioral health provider sits in with a medical provider (usually a medical resident) and patient to jointly address issues such as lack of adherence or self-care, communication problems, poor understanding or comprehension, and psychosocial barriers affecting the patient’s medical care.   Residents carry a caseload of short-term individual therapy cases from primary care or specialty clinics addressing such problems as depression, anxiety, adjustment to illness, psychosocial stressors accompanying medical disorders, modifying unhealthy habits or behaviors, and chronic pain with an additional option to treat one to two longer-term psychotherapy cases. Treatment emphasizes evidence-based modalities including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), problem-solving treatment, motivational interviewing/enhancement and substance abuse intervention, specialized CBT for chronic pain, and biofeedback. Residents also complete an intensive two month rotation in consultation-liaison psychiatry, lead and/or supervise a variety of groups (e.g., mindfulness/relaxation, MOVE! weight management, chronic pain), and complete an independent research project.

Targeted Professions
Clinical Health
Self-Reported Competencies
PCPCC’s Education and Training Task Force identified 16 interprofessional training competencies critical for preparing health professionals for practicing in team-based, coordinated care models such as patient-centered medical homes. Listed below are the self-reported competencies that this program has achieved, which have been organized by the five core features of a medical home as defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Patient-Centered Care Competencies: 
Advocacy for patient-centered integrated care
Development of effective, caring relationships with patients
Patient-centered care planning, including collaborative decision-making and patient self-management
Comprehensive Care Competencies: 
Assessment of biopsychosocial needs across the lifespan
Risk identification
Coordinated Care Competencies: 
Care coordination for comprehensive care of patient & family in the community
Health information technology, including e-communications with patients & other providers
Interprofessionalism & interdisciplinary team collaboration
Team leadership
Quality Care & Safety Competencies: 
Assessment of patient outcomes
Evidence-based practice
Quality improvement methods, including assessment of patient-experience for use in practice-based improvement efforts
Accessible Care Competencies: 
Promotion of appropriate access to care (e.g., group appointments, open scheduling)
Last updated November 15, 2013

* Please note: Information contained in this database is self-reported by representatives from each program. It does not represent an exhaustive list of education and training programs and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement from the PCPCC.


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