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Psychology Adult Track: Psychology as a Human Science

A hallmark of the adult track is the opportunity to learn, or continue studying, psychology as a human science. The human science tradition, introduced in the 19th century by Wilhelm Dilthey and developed througout the ensuing decades by philosophers and psychologists, posits that natural scientific (i.e. traditional empirical) approaches to psychology, while essential and illuminating, are also insufficient to the task of describing and interpreting human life as it is lived.  It is from this tradition that the term "lived experience" is taken. 

Human science psychology takes several forms, including phenomenology, existential psychology, humanistic psychology, collaborative and therapuetic assessment, and psychoanalysis, all of which take the meaning-making human being and her experience as their organizing principle. 

Adult track supervision and seminars involve rigorous engagement with human science approaches to psychotherapy and psychological theory.  If you came to psychology with a passion for thinking about human meaning, and an attraction to psychology beyond what is quantifiable, our internship provides a unique setting for you to rigorously deepen that engagement while also working in a state of the art, scientifically-oriented medical center.  We think it's the best of all worlds!

Our adult track supervisors are experts in existential psychology, Lacanian psychoanalysis, Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, and integrative humanistic psychotherapy, as well as models such as DBT and ACT, which themselves draw heavily from the existential and psychoanalytic traditions. 

Our program stresses intensive supervision, in-depth teaching, and a constant flow of communication between faculty and student. The teaching focus is on developing psychological skills through an integration of the most validated aspects of traditional and cutting edge approaches to individual psychotherapy, group therapy, assessment, and on a deep engagement with theory, ethics, and critical thinking throughout the year.

The diverse interests of the faculty provide the student with an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in a variety of areas, such as:

  • Brief and long-term therapy
  • Existential psychology
  • Psychoanalytic theory and therapy
  • Third Wave (ACT, DBT) cognitive behavioral treatments
  • Health and rehabilitation psychology
  • Contemporary psychodynamic therapy
  • Student counseling with medical center students
  • Inpatient psychiatry
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Physical rehabilitation psychology
  • Mindfulness
  • Art therapy

The Internship serves as a crucible, in which the intern can relate a plurality of psychological frameworks and methods to an abundant supply of rich clinical material. The intern has ample opportunity to become familiar with, question, and learn from the multitude of experiences that make up the professional work of the clinical psychologist.


The Adult track comprises two areas of activity - the Core Program and the Clinical Rotation Experience. The Core Program consists of the activities that are part of each intern’s responsibilities throughout the entire year.

Core Clinical Activities:

  • Outpatient Therapy: The Adult Track intern carries a year-long outpatient caseload of 8  outpatient clinical hours per week in the Student Counseling Service. In addition to individual treatment, services may include work with couples and groups. Each intern has two individual supervisors, each meeting for one hour weekly, who oversee these cases with the aid of video recording.
  • Psychological Assessment: Interns are trained and participate in neuropsychological assessments in our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, under the supervision of neuropsychologists.

In addition to the Core Program, each intern spends up to 15 hours per week in four, three-month rotations:

  • Inpatient Psychiatry: Here interns provide individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy in the DBT and process modalities, primary case management, and consultation services (to physicians and staff) for inpatients of a dedicated psychiatric unit. Interns work as an integral part of the treatment team with professionals from various disciplines and collaborate directly with the unit psychologist about treatment issues. They receive supervision from Dr. Sperry, the unit Psychologist.
  • Child Psychology: On this rotation interns participate in activities of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (see description of Child Track activities on the Clinical Child Track page) for a 3-month period. 
  • Inpatient Health Psychology (Unit 2N): Here, interns work as part of multidisciplinary teams on the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit. Interns work with medical inpatients who have sustained physical trauma and diverse medical conditions, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury, to support behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and social needs for optimal outcomes and recovery. Training activities include psycho-education, brief individual and family therapy interventions, basic neuropsychological screening, team consultation, leading an education and processing group for families, observation of different aspects of rehab (e.g., OT, PT, SLP), and research and presentation on a topic of interest in rehab psychology.
  • Elective: The intern may choose to deepen their work in a previous rotation, or work with faculty and the Director of training to develop a personalized rotation. The options include activities in direct service and/or research and scholarship in specialty areas of particular interest to the intern. Areas of focus have included, but are not limited to Neuropsychology, Chronic Pain, Student Counseling, guided readings in a specialty area with an expert faculty member, CBT group therapy for anxiety and depression, and research (dissertation and/or other independent or collaborative research projects). Electives often include time spent in two or three areas. (This list may not represent current options in a given year, as possibilities change frequently).

Adult Track Seminars and Meetings

Interns on the Adult Track participate in seminars throughout the year. The core seminars are Theory and Case Formulation  and Clinical Practice Consult Group with Dr. Miller, Mindfulness with Dr. Valetchikov, and Ethics with Dr. Miller.  Other faculty sometimes join these seminars to contribute their perspectives and areas of expertise. Interns also participate for 6 months each in the DBT consult group.

Interns are also invited to attend--and present for--the Psychiatry Department’s 3x/monthly Grand Rounds, which features internationally known speakers on a variety of topics from genetics to neuropsychology to psychoanalysis.

Interns from all tracks attend a monthly Creative Professional Development meeting, where they share lunch with faculty and psychologists from the community, who present how they have individualized their careers in psychology as a way to illuminate potential paths for our psychologists in training.

Interns are also invited and highly encouraged to participate in CP3: The Center for Philosophy, Psychology, and Psychiatry.  This is a departmentally-based interest group that meets monthly to consider a topic at the intersections of these disciplines. We frequently host internationally known philosophers and psychologists.  Recent external presenters have included: Awais Aftab, Nassir Ghaemi, Kirk Schneider, Richard Boothby, and Daniel Berthold.