Forensic Psychology Track

Track Coordinator: Melanie Farkas, Ph.D.

To apply & arrange interview Please follow the application submission instructions on the home page. In addition, please submit two (2) writing samples. The writing samples should be 3-6 pages each: One should be an assessment (testing) report prepared for an assessment practicum, clinic, or class; the other should be a summary of a psychotherapy case that you conducted or a detailed clinical intake evaluation.

Length of program & time commitment The externship is 12 months in duration, beginning in July. The time commitment is 16 hours per week (mandatory Friday attendance and two half-days to be determined with each extern individually).

The Externship Track in Forensic Psychology provides training for those interested in concentrating on the assessment and treatment of forensic populations. Each extern will spend nine months on the Forensic Inpatient Psychiatry Service and 3 months at the Manhattan Forensic Psychiatry Clinic for the Criminal and Supreme Courts.

Qualifications needed Open to students enrolled in a doctoral program in Clinical, Counseling, Clinical-School, or Forensic Psychology who have completed at least their first year of study. Applicants must have taken at least two semesters of psychological assessment and are expected to have a basic knowledge of (1) the Wechsler Intelligence Scales, (2) the Rorschach Inkblot Method (Exner System), and (3) at least one widely-used self-report measure (such as the MMPI-2, PAI or MCMI-III). Prior externship experience is strongly recommended. Bilingual, especially Spanish-speaking, candidates are encouraged to apply.

OK for first externship No

Description of externship setting Large, inner city hospital offering psychotherapy to patient population consisting of moderately to severely disturbed psychiatric patients.

Description of agency mission Provides treatment to a widely varied patient population, and training to a large number of students in psychology & psychiatry.

Description of standard externship experience

The Forensic Inpatient Psychiatry Service:

The externship provides training for those interested in concentrating on the assessment and treatment of forensic populations.

The Forensic Inpatient Psychiatry Service is a two-unit, 60-bed service that provides acute psychiatric care to adult and adolescent male inmates in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) and non-arraigned male prisoners in the custody of the New York Police Department. It is jointly operated by Bellevue Hospital Center, which is responsible for treatment and evaluation, and DOC, which is responsible for security.

Patients may be admitted to the Forensic Inpatient Psychiatry Service for treatment, court-ordered evaluation, or both. Pre-arraignment cases are brought to Bellevue Hospital Center when arresting officers, emergency services personnel, or law enforcement administrative services make a referral for psychiatric evaluation. Correction cases are arraigned prisoners from DOC facilities (such as Rikers Island) who are either awaiting trial or serving sentences of less than one year. These patients may suffer from pre-existing mental illnesses or may have developed psychiatric symptoms while in jail. They are referred for psychiatric evaluation and treatment, with an average length of hospitalization of 14 to 21 days. Competency cases are criminal defendants referred by one of the New York City Court Psychiatric Clinics (operated by Bellevue Hospital Center or Kings County Hospital), or by the Court itself, for longitudinal observation and/or psychological testing in connection with a court-ordered evaluation of competency to stand trial.

Each extern on this rotation will be a member of a multidisciplinary treatment team including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, creative arts therapist, and nursing staff. Externs will conduct individual psychotherapy; co-lead a psychotherapy group; participate in unit rounds and treatment team meetings; prepare intake evaluations and discharge summaries; and participate in the Forensic Inpatient Psychiatry Service’s didactic activities. In addition, psychological assessment is an important part of this externship track. The results of psychological assessment may not only assist the treatment team with issues of diagnosis and treatment, but may, in some cases, be used in a patient’s legal case. Assessments regularly include self-report personality measures, projective tests, cognitive testing, and malingering tests, and occasionally include neuropsychological measures.

Manhattan Forensic Psychiatry Clinic for the Criminal and Supreme Courts:

The role of the Manhattan Forensic Psychiatry Clinic for the Criminal and Supreme Courts is to conduct court-ordered evaluations with pre-sentenced criminal defendants in New York County. These defendants are male and female adult and adolescent defendants who are either living in the community or incarcerated. The evaluations are to assess for competence to proceed and to assist in sentencing recommendations, and include interview with defendants, obtaining collateral information, and psychological assessment if indicated.

Each extern on this rotation will assist in the evaluation of the defendants, which can include conducting interviews and obtaining collateral data. The primary part of this rotation is writing reports that will be submitted to the Court.

Supervision is regularly scheduled in individual weekly meetings with primary supervisor and weekly joint meetings with group co-leader and group supervisor. Additional meetings are scheduled as needed with assessment supervisors. Forensic Inpatient Psychiatry service’s didactic activities are part of the externship.