Clinical Experience

The Psychological Clinic

The clinic is located within Clearview Hall, one of three departmental buildings. Details on the Psychological Clinic can be found on its website. Referrals are accepted from the local community (rather than from the campus, as students are seen in the University Counseling Center). Some faculty supervisors conduct specialized clinical research and demonstration projects with a specific type of clinical disorder or therapeutic intervention. For example, some faculty offer specialty supervision in behavioral marital therapy, neuropsychological assessment and implosive therapy.

Students begin to serve as therapists in the clinic during their second year and usually carry no more than two clients concurrently during their third and fourth years. All clinical work in the clinic is carefully supervised by the faculty and, for more senior students, by field supervisors and adjunct faculty from the community. Adjuncts provide a valuable expansion of our training by representing considerable diversity in theoretical orientation and scholarly interests. Students are expected to write assessment reports, keep notes and use the empirical method exactly as one would in an ideal mental-health agency. Students present cases at the weekly case conference meetings; faculty and distinguished visitors also present cases at this weekly series, thus providing an important forum for the discussion of ethical concerns, professional dilemmas, topics such as women's issues and the importance of culturally sensitive therapy.

A valuable component of this training opportunity is a seminar in how to supervise, taught during the student's last summer in residence by the clinic director, Steven Lynn. Senior students in this seminar have the opportunity to themselves supervise less experienced therapists.

The Community Practicum

The community-based practicum rotation is of special importance since it also provides the central mechanism whereby our students receive funding after their first year. Each mental health agency with which we have a training contract provides the student an annual stipend, in return for which the student works two days per week (16 hours) at that setting. The practicum is supervised either by the professional staff of the agency or by a faculty supervisor, and is typically less intensive than the psychotherapy practicum. The community practicum is particularly valuable for learning about a wide range of problems in psychopathology, learning how agencies and staff (e.g., psychiatrists, nurses and social workers) carry out their responsibilities, and for obtaining experience in testing and therapeutic approaches not generally covered by the faculty.

All agencies are within a short drive from campus and represent a wide variety of services. Usually students rotate through two or three agencies, spending one year in each. However, there are some agencies that encourage a two-year practicum.

A sample of some of the most important training agencies is provided below. Remember, however, that agencies come and go according to their own funding and staffing needs:

  • Binghamton University Counseling Center.  Interns provide primarily individual psychotherapy with some possible opportunities for group psychotherapy for interested interns. Interns may also conduct intake interviews and may provide crisis counseling. All experiences are with Binghamton University students who may range in age. The majority is traditional college age students, but the UCC does serve graduate students and non-traditionally age students.
  • Binghamton VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinic. Interns have the opportunity to provide individual and group psychotherapy to adult Veterans. The clinic provides treatment for a wide variety of psychological disorders, ranging from mild to severe intensity.
  • Binghamton VA Home Based Primary Care. Interns work within an interdisciplinary primary care team providing in-home services to veterans with chronic, disabling diseases. Most patients are geriatric and have complex medical, social and behavioral conditions. Interns provide psychological and cognitive assessments, as well as individual and family psychotherapy for a variety of presenting issues which commonly include depression, anxiety, and difficulties coping with chronic illness.
  • Catholic Charities: Community Connections Center and the ACT Team. At the Connections Center, Interns meet regularly with individual clients and families or groups, maintain adolescent caseload, provide individual or family counseling, and co-facilitate group sessions as needed. With the ACT Team, they may assist with performing functional assessments with consumer, clinical providers and family members, assists with the coordination and participates in the development of an individualized, comprehensive service plan and work within a multidisciplinary team approach to outreach clinical and psychiatric rehabilitation model depression, anxiety, and difficulty coping with chronic illness.
  • Children's Home of Wyoming Conference. This is a multi-service, private non¬profit agency for children, with a residential component as well as a day-treatment program and foster care. The children have a variety of severe disorders, typically involving some degree of family dysfunction.
  • Elmira Correctional Facility. Specific duties include conducting assessments for diagnostic clarification, updating records/charts (including conducting the interviews necessary for chart updates), co-therapy with general population inmates, and observing group and individual therapy with inmates in solitary confinement.
  • Greater Binghamton Health Center. This is a state-run regional mental health facility. Interns work with a wide range of patients, including children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Potential placements include outpatient and inpatient settings. Duties may include psychological assessments, neuropsychological assessments, forensic assessments, individual and group psychotherapy, and consultation.
  • Institute for Child Development. Service delivery is provided by two Units. One unit is an educational and treatment facility for young children with autism and other severe disorders. The second Unit is for children with learning disabilities. These programs are located at the Institute building on the east side of campus and have a strong focus on research.
  • Southern Tier Pain Management Center. Interns provide multi-modal psychological treatments to individuals dealing with chronic pain as a result of motor vehicle accidents or work-related injuries and they conduct presurgical evaluations for pain control procedures and bariatric weight loss surgery. They also conduct chronic pain program assessments.

In addition to these various agencies, there are clinical training opportunities closely tied to faculty funded research activities in such areas as anxiety, depression, self-injurious behavior, addiction and learning disabilities.

Adjunct Faculty and Clinical Field Supervisors

As noted above, some clinical faculty supervise certain practicum training sites. In most cases, however, the supervision in these settings is provided by psychologists (or other mental-health specialists) who are employed by the agencies themselves. A number of these professionals are former students of our program who have decided to return to this area to pursue their careers. When a community supervisor is closely involved with the program, and is helping to provide our students with research opportunities, additional professional experience or their special expertise with some clinical problem area, that individual may be invited to become an adjunct member of the faculty. This is an honorary appointment and yet their commitment provides our program with many benefits. We are proud of the contribution that they make to training.

There are two types of formal involvement with clinical training. Clinical field supervisors are skilled professionals in the community who provide supervision through the Psychological Clinic. Adjunct faculty members are more directly involved in the academic training of students. Adjunct faculty often serve as additional members of a student's advisory committee. They may help students obtain access to special populations for research, occasionally teach graduate courses and provide another valuable resource for students seeking special areas of knowledge. Adjunct faculty members sometimes collaborate with regular faculty on research, and they have also co-authored publications with graduate students.

Below is a list of some of these individuals and a sample of their areas of special expertise or interest. The list is not complete in every detail because there are always small changes in the degree to which these professionals are able to be involved in the program in any given year. However, it will give you some idea of the additional resources available for consultation by graduate students in the program. Remember, of course, that you cannot work directly with adjunct faculty. Their role is to enrich and support our program, not serve as the primary instructors and research mentors – that is the function of the full-time faculty.

  • Gep Colletti, PhD (Rutgers University): adjunct associate professor - addictive behaviors.
  • William Connor, PhD (University of Wisconsin): adjunct associate professor - psychotherapy/diagnostic evaluation
  • Jerry Duvinsky, PhD (Binghamton University): adjunct assistant professor - stress management, behavioral medicine, biofeedback
  • Leslie Major, MD (Duke University): clinical associate professor - psychiatry/alcoholism, depression
  • Valerie Perdue, PhD (Binghamton University): adjunct assistant professor - family sys./developmental psychology/ob-gyn psychology/health psychology
  • Patricia Rourke, PhD (University of Iowa): adjunct assistant professor - adult clinical/anxiety disorders

Last Updated: 4/7/15