Post-Doctoral Positions 2016-17

APPIC-Approved Post-Doctoral Training in Reston VA (DC area): a cutting-edge, collaborative private clinic serving children and families is seeking two post-doctoral trainees.

Recognizing that development and child rearing are complex processes, we employ a comprehensive approach offering a range of specialized services including: (1) broad-based psychotherapy with preschoolers and grade-school children and their families, (2) an intensive intervention program for young children with autism, (3) neuropsychological and psychological evaluations, (4) a program to support children with ADHD, (5) neurofeedback, (6) social skills and drama group therapy and (7) parenting classes.

In addition, our clinic provides consultation and educational services to local preschools and public schools; we have provided ongoing staff trainings on mental health and child development issues to 45 preschools in the local area for the last five years. We also provide twice-yearly trainings to public school counselors, psychologists and social workers. For the last three years, our clinic has served as a training site for George Washington University’s doctoral psychology program and Catholic University’s Masters in Social Work program.

We offer three tracks for postdoctoral trainees. Each trainee may enroll in one or two of the following options:

1. Psychotherapy with children and families, with an emphasis on working with younger children (ages 2 to 6) with emotional and behavioral challenges.

Candidates should demonstrate relevant experience and special interest in working with young children, as well as grade-school aged children. In addition to broad-based psychotherapy with children and parents, the trainees will also lead social skills groups.

2. Psychological and neuropsychological evaluations and interventions for grade-school children with ADHD and learning challenges.

When we evaluate a child, we aim not only to provide a diagnosis, but to also gain insight into the child’s strengths and weaknesses, emotional well-being, and family context. Our reports are concise and jargon-free so parents, teachers, and other professionals can benefit from the findings. Our ADHD program uses ideas from ADHD Coaching, significantly adapted to grade-school children. Candidates should have previous experience with psychological and neuropsychological testing and strong writing skills. Experience working in interventions with children with ADHD is a plus.

3. Developmentally-based intensive intervention for toddlers and preschoolers with autism.

Our early intervention builds on the “developmental approaches” to autism intervention, and specifically from the DIR approach, however we also apply original ideas and methods. As expressiveness is central to engaging children with autism, candidates must have an aptitude for playing spontaneously and joyfully with young children. Experience working with young children with autism is a plus, especially if it includes any of the developmental approaches.

Each trainee will receive two sessions of individual supervision a week as well as once a week group supervision. In addition, trainees will participate in weekly staff meetings that center on our clinical work.

Pay: $45,000 per year

Interested candidates should send a resume with a letter of interest to familycompass@aol.com with “Postdoctoral Application” in the subject line. The letter of interest should highlight the tracks the applicant is applying to while noting relevant experience and specific interests.

Applicants to the Psychological and Neuropsychological Evaluations track should also include two writing samples. All applicants are expected to complete their doctorate by July 2016.

Clinical Psychology Post Doctoral Fellowship Program

Booklet

Family Compass is a collaborative clinic serving children and families in Reston, Virginia (DC area).

Recognizing that development and childrearing are complex processes, we employ a comprehensive approach offering a range of specialized services including: (1) broad-based psychotherapy with preschoolers, grade-school children, and their families, (2) an intensive intervention program for young children with autism, (3) neuropsychological and psychoeducational evaluations, (4) a program to support children with ADHD, (5) neurofeedback, (6) social skills group therapy, and (7) parenting classes.

Family Compass also provides consultation and community education services to local preschools and public schools. Specifically, we offer ongoing staff trainings on mental health and child development issues to 45 preschools in the local area. We also provide biannual trainings to public school counselors, psychologists, and social workers. Furthermore, Family Compass serves as a training site for George Washington University’s doctoral clinical psychology program.

Each clinician and Fellow at Family Compass participates in a weekly all-staff meeting where cases are presented. As part of our training, we also provide opportunities for direct mentorship in which an experienced clinician and Fellow see some clients together for intake or consultation and then jointly formulate impressions and recommendations. The clinicians and Fellows also collaborate in consultations and outreach projects in the community (schools, pediatrician offices, etc.). We greatly value “hands-on” learning in which modeling and a collaborative process with clinicians and Fellows are essential ingredients. Additionally, Fellows attend weekly meetings for each program or track as elaborated on below (e.g., autism program, neuropsychological evaluation program, early childhood program). Opportunities are also available for Fellows to receive additional training by attending workshops outside of Family Compass.

The staff of the clinic includes 3 full-time and 2 part time licensed psychologists (with at least 60% of a position), 3 licensed clinical social workers, a drama therapist, and an art therapist.

Prerequisites

Post-doctoral applicants must have completed all professional doctoral degree requirements from an APA/CPA accredited clinical or counseling psychology program. By the start of the post-doctoral program, all applicants are required to have successfully completed their pre-doctoral internship and provide documentation verifying completion of their doctorate. Acceptable documentation includes a copy of the applicant’s diploma or a verification letter from the Director of Graduate Studies.

Applicants must have prior supervised clinical experience providing psychotherapy and assessments with children and families. Please see below for more specific requirements for the three training tracks offered.

Post-Doctoral Program Philosophy, Goals, and Objectives

The goal of the postdoctoral program at Family Compass is to provide a comprehensive training experience that will support further development of Fellows’ knowledge and clinical skills in working with children, families, groups, and the larger community. Family Compass values working with individuals and communities in an interdisciplinary fashion in order to provide children and families with comprehensive services that best meet their needs. In addition to our direct work with children, we also emphasize supporting and empowering caregivers to be active participants including participation in sessions, regular parental guidance sessions, and consistently seeking caregivers’ feedback in regard to therapeutic progress.

In our work, we utilize various therapeutic modalities that are applied on a case-by-case basis, which are based on our layered understanding of the child within the family and in the larger community. Essential to our work is that while we provide DSM diagnoses and find some utility in them, our thinking and interventions are primarily aimed at addressing functional domains, such as anxiety, executive function, mood, and in-context thinking and understanding.

In addition, we put special emphasis on the following:

  • Creating and maintaining therapeutic and working alliances with children, families, and other professionals supporting the family
  • Helping parents and other professionals not only understand their child’s diagnosis but we also share with them our broad view of the child’s strengths and weaknesses on the various domains
  • To solidify the working alliance, we cultivate parents’ and professionals’ understanding of the therapeutic goals and their essential roles.
  • Tailoring treatment in a way that is meaningful and consistent with the clients’ culture, values, and needs.

The focus of all tracks is on obtaining detailed information and integrating this information to come to a comprehensive understanding of the child. An emphasis is placed on clearly and concisely conveying these impressions, either orally or in writing, to parents and other professionals.

Furthermore, Fellows gain experience in comprehensive assessments including psychological, neuropsychological, educational and developmental (e.g., ADOS, FEAS) batteries with a unique emphasis to each training track (see an elaboration of the training tracks below). Training will include selecting and administering assessments tailored to the referral questions, translating assessment data into reports, providing practical and applicable recommendations, and meeting with parents and other relevant parties (e.g., school teachers, pediatricians) to discuss the report and recommendations. As part of an assessment with any child, Fellows will acquire the skill of learning from interacting with the child through a semi-structured interview and/or from free unstructured “social-like” exchanges.

Consistent with focus on community collaboration and education, Fellows will have opportunities to provide presentations to non-mental health professionals and consultations with other agencies and schools (e.g., preschool programs in the area). Supervisors are committed to providing Fellows with a comprehensive experience and will make efforts to tailor the post-doctoral experience to meet the individual interests of each Fellow, when possible.

Training modalities include a variety of methods including individual and group supervision for individual treatment cases, individual supervision for group therapy cases, individual supervision on assessment cases, and participation in all staff meetings and case conferences. Opportunities for attending external educational seminars and conferences are encouraged. Fellows will be offered opportunities to engage in community collaboration efforts including consultation, workshops, and other public speaking events. Additionally, Fellows may be provided with opportunities to write about initiatives and topics of interest at Family Compass in newsletters, brochures, and other public forums.

Fellows will be expected to work 40 hours a week and acquire a minimum of 1500 hours. A flextime schedule will be developed to find the best suit between the needs of the Fellow and the requirements of the position. Fellows are expected to begin their appointment after Labor Day. Anticipated completion of the postdoctoral program is one year but is not to last beyond 24 months. At times, postdoctoral Fellows may have the possibility of being hired as a licensed psychologist following training.

The annual stipend for the postdoctoral program is $45,000.

The postdoctoral program at Family Compass is designed to meet all of the license requirements for postdoctoral supervised practice in Virginia.

Fellows will receive graduation certificates at the successful completion of the training program.

Training Tracks and Core Training Experiences

Family Compass offers three tracks for our post-doctoral program. Fellows are expected to spend approximately 60% of time in direct clinical services. Applicants may enroll in one or two of the following training tracks:

1. Psychotherapy with children and families, with an emphasis on working with younger children (ages 2 to 6) with emotional and behavioral challenges.

Fellows in this track are expected to demonstrate relevant experience and special interest in working with young children as well as grade-school aged children with a broad range of challenges. In addition to broad-based psychotherapy with children and parents, the Fellows will also lead social skills groups. Training will include further development of skills in the areas of collaboration and alliance with child, family, and relevant others in the child’s care (e.g., teachers, school counselors, pediatricians); observations in schools; and testing as needed.

Core Training Experiences of this Track:

  • Fellows will be expected to do intake assessments of assigned cases in order to gather necessary information to make a diagnostic formulation. Some of these assessments will be co-led by an experienced psychologist and the Fellow. Fellows will collaborate with clients and families to formulate a treatment plan that best meets their needs and is consistent with their cultural values.
  • Fellows will gradually increase their case load and when ready will be expected to carry a minimum of 18 therapy cases including individual, family, and parent guidance cases. Therapy sessions most often occur on a weekly or biweekly basis and may occur in office, in school, or in home.
  • Fellows are expected to complete administrative and documentation responsibilities (e.g., billing logs, treatment notes) for their cases.
  • Based on individual interest, Fellows will be given the opportunity to develop and co-lead at least one therapy group during their training program.
  • Fellows will collaborate with other clinicians to provide consultation services to community organizations such as preschools.
  • Fellows may also be requested to give presentations to non-mental health professionals, teachers, school counselors, and preschool directors.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to be involved in the interview and selection process for future externs and post-doctoral applicants.

2. Psychological and neuropsychological evaluations and interventions for grade-school children with ADHD and learning challenges.

When we evaluate a child, we aim not only to provide a diagnosis, but to also gain insight into the child’s strengths and weaknesses, emotional well being, and family context. Our reports are concise and jargon-free so parents, teachers, and other professionals can benefit from the findings. Our ADHD program uses ideas from ADHD Coaching, significantly adapted to grade-school children. Fellows are expected to have previous experience with psychological and neuropsychological testing and strong writing skills.

Core Training Experiences of this Track:

  • Fellows will be expected to learn how to administer and interpret cognitive, educational, and neuropsychological testing measures. Fellows will collaborate with supervisors in selecting appropriate measures to answer the referral question.
  • Fellows will be expected to write clear and concise reports tailored for parents and teachers. Focus is on learning how to interpret data and articulate practical recommendations in a way that parents and teachers can make full use of the findings.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to research and initiate evidence-based interventions to include as recommendations in assessment reports. These opportunities include but are not limited to school-based interventions to support academic achievement, community interventions, supporting children with ADHD, and home-based interventions.
  • Fellows will be expected to conduct feedback sessions with parents, initially co-led with the supervisor, to explain findings and consult with school staff about ways to support child.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity participate in ongoing interventions for children with ADHD and learning challenging such as parent guidance sessions and using elements of coaching with children.
  • In addition to testing cases, Fellows will have five therapy cases. For their cases, Fellows will be expected to do intake assessments of assigned cases, initially co-led with a licensed psychologist, in order to gather necessary information to make a diagnostic formulation. Fellows will collaborate with clients and families to formulate a treatment plan that best meets their needs and is consistent with their cultural values.
  • Fellows are expected to complete administrative and documentation responsibilities (e.g., billing logs, treatment notes) for their cases.
  • Fellows will collaborate with other clinicians to provide consultation services to community organizations such as preschools.
  • Fellows may also be requested to give presentations to non-mental health professionals, teachers, school counselors, and preschool directors.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to be involved in the interview and selection process for future externs and post-doctoral applicants.

3. Developmentally-based intensive intervention for toddlers and preschoolers with autism.

Our early intervention program builds on the “developmental approaches” to autism intervention, specifically from the DIR and Floortime approaches. However, we also apply original ideas and methods. As expressiveness is central to engaging children with autism, candidates must have an aptitude for playing spontaneously and joyfully with young children. Fellows will have the opportunity to work with families with children diagnosed with autism and related diagnosis (i.e., Social Communication Disorders) with a specialized focus on toddlers and preschoolers.

Core Training Experiences of this Track:

  • Fellows will gradually increase their caseload and eventually be assigned 10 therapy cases specific to this track. Fellows will have the opportunity to teach parents skills to work with their children, use evidence-informed techniques to support development, and build upon evidence-based work to improve intervention strategies.
  • Fellows will be expected to learn how to administer and interpret cognitive, educational, and developmental (such as ADOS and FEAS) testing measures. Fellows will collaborate with supervisors in selecting appropriate measures to answer the referral question.
  • Fellows will be expected to write clear and concise reports tailored for parents and teachers. Focus is on learning how to interpret data and articulate practical recommendations in a way that parents and teachers can make full use of the findings.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to research and initiate evidence-based interventions in the practice, at the families’ home or at school.
  • Fellows will be expected to conduct feedback sessions with parents to explain findings and consult with school staff about ways to support child.
  • In addition to testing and therapy cases specific to this track, Fellows will have five therapy non-autism-related cases with learning, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges. Fellows will be expected to do intake assessments of assigned cases in order to gather necessary information to make a diagnostic formulation. Fellows will collaborate with clients and families to formulate a treatment plan that best meets their needs and is consistent with their cultural values.
  • Fellows are expected to complete administrative and documentation responsibilities (e.g., billing logs, treatment notes) for their cases.
  • Fellows will collaborate with other clinicians to provide consultation services to community organizations such as preschools.
  • Fellows may also be requested to give presentations to non-mental health professionals, teachers, school counselors, and preschool directors.
  • Fellows will have the opportunity to be involved in the interview and selection process for future externs and post-doctoral applicants.

Supervision

Each Fellow will receive two sessions of individual supervision per week (with two separate supervisors) and one session of group supervision per week. These supervisory hours will focus on individual, group, and family therapy cases and/or assessment cases. The group supervision and assessment supervision will include two other students and other clinicians may elect to participate.

Additionally, Fellows will participate in 90-minute weekly staff meetings that center on our clinical work, and Fellows will have opportunities to present cases and clinical dilemmas in that forum. Post-doctoral Fellows will be able to work collaboratively with senior staff members for case consultation. Furthermore, clinicians and Fellows also attend external trainings opportunities such as conferences or invited speakers.

Assessments

Fellows will receive extensive training in comprehensive assessments. The type of assessment experience (neuropsychological, psychoeducational, developmental) will be tailored to the training track and whenever possible to the interests of the Fellow. Individual assessment supervision will be offered to all Fellows; however, the testing supervisor is available for questions between supervision sessions too. Assessment supervision will focus on selecting tests tailored to the referral questions, integrating the data from the testing session, and writing a clear report with recommendations and feedback that is meaningful and practical for family and school.

Evaluations

Formal evaluations of the Fellows’ performance will occur twice a year, although supervisors and Fellows will be involved in ongoing feedback. At midyear, supervisors will meet with each Fellow to review progress, discuss the evaluation, and update goals. Supervisors will also meet with Fellows at the end of the year to complete, review, and discuss the evaluation.

Due Process

Due process is a framework to inform, respond, act, or dispute a concern and helps to avoid arbitrary or unprofessional decisions related to Fellows. As such, Training Programs are required to identify specific procedures to follow in order to address all Fellows’ complaints, concerns, and appeals. We encourage staff and Fellows to first informally attempt to discuss and resolve the issue. Supervisors are expected to communicate early and on an ongoing basis with the Fellow if any suspected difficulties are interfering with performance. If difficulties continue (or when appropriate), the formal procedures for addressing issues at Family Compass are described below.

Problematic Behavior:

For purposes of this document, a Fellow’s problematic behavior is defined broadly as an interference in professional functioning which is reflected in one or more of the following ways: 1) an inability and/or unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into one’s repertoire of professional behavior, 2) an inability to acquire professional skills in order to reach an acceptable level of competency, and/or 3) an inability to control personal stress, psychological dysfunctions, and/or excessive emotional reactions which interfere with professional functioning.

While it is a professional judgment as to when a Fellow’s behavior becomes more serious (i.e., problematic) rather than just of concern, for purposes of this document, a concern refers to a Fellows’ behaviors, attitudes, or characteristics which, while of concern and which may require remediation, are perceived to be not unexpected or excessive for professionals in training. Problems typically become identified as problems when they include one or more of the following characteristics:

  • the Fellow does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem when it is identified;
  • the problem is not merely a reflection of a skill deficit, which can be rectified by academic or didactic training;
  • the quality of services delivered by the Fellow is sufficiently negatively affected;
  • the problem is not restricted to one area of professional functioning;
  • a disproportionate amount of attention by training personnel is required;
  • the Fellow’s behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remediation efforts, and/or time;
  • the problematic behavior has potential for ethical or legal ramifications if not addressed

Procedures to Respond to Problematic Behavior

Basic Procedures:

If a Fellow receives an “unacceptable rating” from any evaluation source, or if a staff member or another Fellow has concerns about a Fellow’s behavior, the following procedures will be initiated:

  • If appropriate, the Fellow’s supervisor will speak directly to the Fellow about these concerns. However, consultation from the Training Director (TD) may be necessary in some cases. If so, the supervisor will meet with the TD to discuss the concerns and determine what actions need to be taken to address the issues.
  • If a staff member or a Fellow brings concerns to the TD, the TD will discuss the concerns with the appropriate supervisor(s). If the concern is deemed serious/problematic, the Fellow will be notified and will have the opportunity to provide a statement related to his/her response to the rating or complaint.
  • In discussing the unacceptable rating and the Fellow’s response, the TD may institute one or more of the following methods or may take other appropriate action:
    • Verbal Notice to the Fellow emphasizes the need to discontinue the inappropriate behavior under discussion.
    • Written Notice to the Fellow formally acknowledges:
      • that the supervisor and TD are aware of and concerned with the behavior,
      • that the concern has been brought to the attention of the Fellow,
      • that the TD will work with the Fellow to rectify the problem or skill deficits, and
      • that the concerns are not significant enough to warrant more serious action.
    • Second Written Notice to the Fellow will identify possible sanction(s) and describe the remediation plan. This letter will acknowledge the identified concerns with performance, the specific recommendations for correcting the problem, the time line for correcting the problem, and notification that the Fellow has the right to request an appeal of this action.
  • The TD will then meet with the Fellow to review the actions taken.
  • Once the Written Notice or Second Written Notice is issued, it is expected that the status of correcting the concerns will be reviewed no later than the next formal evaluation period or no later than the time line identified in the notice.

Appeal Procedures:

If the Fellow challenges the action taken as described above, the Fellow must (within 5 days of receipt of the decision) inform the TD in writing of the challenge and their decision to appeal the actions.

  • The TD will convene a Review Panel consisting of one program supervisor selected by the TD and one program supervisor selected by the Fellow. The Fellow has the right to hear all facts with the opportunity to dispute or explain his or her behavior.
  • A review hearing will be conducted, chaired by the TD, in which the challenge is heard and the evidence is presented. Within 5 days of the completion of the review hearing, the Review Panel submits a written report to the Chief Psychologist including any recommendations for further action. Decisions made by the Review Panel will be made by majority vote. The Fellow is informed of the recommendations.
  • Once a decision has been made, the Fellow and other appropriate individuals are informed in writing of the action taken.

Grievance Procedures

These guidelines are intended to provide the Fellow with a means to resolve perceived problems that cannot be resolved by informal means. Fellows who pursue grievances in good faith will not experience any adverse personal or professional consequences.

Problems addressed in the grievance procedures are those concerns other than evaluation related issues that are addressed through the due process procedure. In the event a Fellow encounters difficulties or problems such as poor supervision, unavailability of supervisor(s), workload issues, personality clashes, or other staff conflicts, the Fellow can:

  • Discuss the issue with the staff member(s) involved.
  • If the issue cannot be resolved informally, the Fellow should discuss the concern with the TD. If the TD is the object of the grievance, the issues should be raised with the Chief Psychologist.
  • If the Chief Psychologist or TD cannot resolve the issue of concern to the Fellow, the Fellow can file a formal grievance in writing with all supporting documents and submit it to the TD.

When the Director has received a formal grievance, within five workdays of receipt, the Director will implement the below described procedures and inform the Fellow of any actions taken.

  • If the Chief Psychologist and/or TD cannot resolve the matter, the TD will choose a staff member acceptable to Fellow who will attempt the mediate the matter. Each party will be asked to provide written statements.
  • If mediation is unsuccessful in resolving the matter, the TD will convene a Review Panel consisting of the TD, Chief Psychologist, and one supervisor of the Fellow’s choosing. The Review Panel will review all written materials (from the Fellow, other party, and mediation) and will have an opportunity conduct interviews to gather additional information if necessary. The Review Panel has final discretion regarding outcome.

Application Process

  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • A copy of a psychological or neuropsychological testing report for those applying for the assessment portions
  • A letter of Interest
  • Three references

Send materials to:

Moshe Shtuhl, PhD
Family Compass
11150 Sunset Hills Road, Suite 150
Reston, VA 20190