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 Psychiatric Center. This is a large state-hospital facility serving patients with severe mental illness. The hospital is moving toward a psychosocial rehabilitation model and provides excellent experiences in all aspects of in-patient and community psychiatric services.
  • Elmira Correctional Facility. This rotation involves supervised experience with a variety of mental-health patients who are incarcerated in a maximum security prison. Students are involved in neuropsychological assessments and short-term evaluation and treatment planning.
  • Institute for Child Development. The ICD comprises both the Children's Unit for Treatment and Evaluation and the Children's Unit for Learning Disabilities. These are educational and treatment facilities for young children with autism and other severe disorders as well as children with learning disabilities. This program is located in its own building adjacent to the East Gym on campus, has a full time staff of over 35 and has a strong focus on research.
  • Broome County Community Mental Health Clinic. Typical of a busy public mental- health outpatient clinic, the county service offers programs for a variety of clients, many from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds. Students obtain experience with assessment and treatment of a range of problems including physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and patients with dual diagnoses.
  • 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. The children have a variety of severe disorders, typically involving some degree of family dysfunction.
  • Binghamton University Counseling Center. The University Counseling Center provides opportunities for intensive supervision in psychotherapy as well as experience in group therapy and special programs designed to address campus needs. These needs include topics such as personal growth, rape crisis and prevention counseling, counseling students with disabilities, academic problem solving and dealing with personal relationships. Additional experience in multicultural counseling can be obtained through a Psychology Department program tied to support services available to minority students.
  • Central New York Psychiatric Center. CNYPC is a maximum-security forensic hospital serving severely mentally ill individuals who are being held in jails awaiting trial, as well as mentally ill people who are incarcerated in jails or prisons in New York. Students conduct neuropsychological assessments and are part of the treatment team for the individual prisoners.

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: 9/29/14