Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology

The CHKD Child Advocacy Center Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology trains emerging professionals to be expert psychologists and advocates in the field of childhood trauma and resilience.

Program Overview

The CHKD Child Advocacy Center Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology uses both didactic and experiential learning methods to achieve the goal of preparing Fellows for the professional practice of psychology with a specialty in childhood trauma. Training and experience includes assessment, consultation, and therapeutic inventions, with an emphasis on using evidence-based practices (EBPs). We aim for fellows to develop their professional skill at continually evaluating the effectiveness of EBPs with clients they serve and using critical thinking skills to implement proven practices in ways that are consistent with their clients’ individual and cultural values. Fellows will have experiences working with children from typically underserved populations, including (but not limited to) crime victims, racial and ethnic minorities, those with low income, and individuals from rural areas. Fellows also develop their knowledge and abilities consulting with professionals from various child-serving disciplines.

Postdoctoral Fellow Training and Responsibilities

The CHKD Child Advocacy Center emphasizes the practitioner-scholar model of training. The majority (more than 50%) of the fellow’s time will be spent learning and applying evidence-based theory and interventions with clients. The fellow will work alongside a multidisciplinary team of licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, case managers, pediatric child abuse medical providers, and forensic interviewers to ensure children and families receive the appropriate care in the aftermath of child maltreatment. Fellows also coordinate with and provide clinical expertise to other systems in the child’s life, such as foster care, child protective services, commonwealth attorneys, in-home therapists, and so forth.

Fellows carry a caseload of weekly outpatient clients, as well as psychological assessment cases, and provide safety assessments on an as needed basis. The fellow will be trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and is expected to develop appropriate treatment plans, therapeutic interventions, and documentation that reflects the unique needs of each individual, while maintaining treatment fidelity. Training will likely be provided by a nationally certified trainer, which would make the fellow eligible for TF-CBT certification if they meet all of the requirements during the training year. The primary form of treatment for the Fellow’s outpatient clients is TF-CBT. Depending on experience level, postdoctoral fellows may also have the opportunity to be trained and certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) by a PCIT International Within Agency Trainer at the Child Advocacy Center.

Psychological assessments are comprehensive and trauma-informed. The fellow will gather pertinent collateral information, collaborate with outside referral sources, administer appropriate testing materials, and integrate data into a thorough report with actionable recommendations.

The fellow is an active participant in monthly agency meetings, as well as individual and group clinical supervision each week. Supervision is provided by a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and the Mental Health Team as a whole reports to the Clinical Psychologist Supervisor. Individual supervision is rooted in elements of reflective supervision and follows a developmental model of training and professional development.

Additional Program Information

Client Demographics and Regional Information

As a hospital-based CAC, we provide essential services to children who may have experienced severe forms of child maltreatment. Each year, the program serves nearly 1,500 children and their families. Children referred for our services are between the ages of 0 and 18, and are predominantly female.

In Fiscal Year 2018, 42.2% of children identified as African American/Black, 39.2% Caucasian/White, 12% Biracial or Multiracial, 4.6% Hispanic/Latino, and approximately 0.5% each American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, and Other.

The majority of children served throughout the program are between the ages of 0 and 6 years of age (44.6%), with 37.6% between the ages of 7-12 and 17.8% between the ages of 13-18. Age ranges seen for Mental Health Services are, approximately, 0-4 years (15%), 5-9 years (35%), 10-12 years (23%), and 13-17 (26%). Approximately 10% of youth have a military affiliation. In Fiscal Year 2020, the majority of referrals were related to allegations of sexual abuse (57%) and physical abuse (28%). Other abuse experiences include commercial sexual exploitation of children, witness to domestic violence, and witness to homicide.

While the focus of treatment at the CAC is on trauma-related disorders, many clients present with co-occurring diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, disruptive mood disorders, attachment problems, and substance abuse. The fellow learns to identify the primary source of presenting problems and create treatment plans that may include outside referrals to address non-trauma related symptoms.

Our program serves children in the greater Hampton Roads geographical area and beyond, which spans from Williamsburg, Virginia to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our primary population includes the following jurisdictions in Virginia: Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach, with an estimated population of 1.7 million people. The area is home to over 300,000 military personnel at ten major military installations, including the largest naval base in the world (U.S. Department of Defense).

Summary of Fellow Training

  • Mental Health Assessments (MHA) – clinicians pair with CAC Assessment Specialists to conduct thorough intakes to inform diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Assessment Specialists administer and score brief standardized assessment measures (Behavior Assessment System for Children, Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children, etc) while clinicians conduct clinical interviews. Data is reviewed and integrated to provide immediate and trauma-informed diagnostic and treatment recommendations.
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) – clinicians are trained and supervised in the provision of TF-CBT to weekly, outpatient clients with trauma-related diagnoses.
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) – depending on experience and availability, the fellow may receive training in PCIT from the CAC’s Within Agency Trainer and use it with weekly, outpatient clients with trauma-related disruptive behavior diagnoses.
  • Coping in Court (CIC) – This CBT-based therapy module utilizes psychoeducation on the court system and CBT techniques to prepare children for the emotional difficulty of testifying in maltreatment cases. Clinicians work with the Commonwealth Attorney to ensure the child will not experience significant mental health distress when testifying against their alleged offender.
  • Safety Assessments – on a less regular basis, the fellow may need to conduct Safety Assessments for medical or forensic interview clients who report suicidal ideations. Each clinician has one “on-call” day (between the hours of 9-5) during which they are the point person for Safety Assessment requests from other CAC teams.
  • Comprehensive Psychological Assessments – Fellows take the lead in conducting clinical interviews, administering and scoring psychological tests, gathering collateral information, and interpreting results under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist. Most psychological assessment referrals come from other CAC therapists when questions in addition to trauma symptoms arise. Psychological Assessments emphasize a trauma-informed approach with thorough conceptualizations and recommendations.
  • Multidisciplinary Teams – once a month, the fellow will represent the Mental Health Team at a Multidisciplinary Team meeting.
  • Individual Supervision – One hour of weekly individual supervision is provided by a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and the Mental Health Team as a whole reports to the Clinical Psychologist Supervisor. Individual supervision is rooted in elements of reflective supervision and follows a developmental model of training and professional development. Additional individual supervision is also provided for assessment cases on an as-needed basis. Overall, MH Team staff have an open door and collaborative approach to case consultation and support outside of regularly scheduled supervision hours.
  • Team Meetings – The CAC staff as a whole meets twice monthly to review program goals, initiatives, and current events. The MH Team meets as a group three times per month to discuss logistics pertinent to the MH Team and engage in group supervision and consultation.
  • Fellow Supervision and Consultation Experience – Depending on experience and previous training, fellows develop and deliver didactics to psychology practicum and social work students at the CAC. Opportunities for supportive supervision may be available depending on student needs.

Seminars and Didactic Trainings

In addition to formalized training in TF-CBT and potentially PCIT, fellows have opportunities to attend didactics and seminars put-on by Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). Pediatric Grand Rounds are held on a weekly basis and are attended by faculty, community faculty, house staff and residents, trainees, and students. Weekly one-hour didactics are held in conjunction with EVMS psychiatry residents and the CHKD Pediatric Psychology Fellow regarding a variety of mental health topics presented by faculty from the EVMS departments of pediatrics and psychology. Topics are varied and may include presentations regarding social determinants of health, child development, specific evidence-based interventions and/or medication management approaches, psychological assessment, or specific conditions such as somatoform disorders.

Program Personnel and Administration

Core Supervisors 

  • Kristina Golden, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist Supervisor
  • Katlin Ternes, PsyD, Training Coordinator

Mental Health Team

  • Laura Kanter, LCSW, Mental Health Coordinator
  • Kelsey Blackwell, LCSW
  • Quiana Bradley, LCSW
  • Jessica Thompson, LCSW

Application and Selection Process

To apply to the CHKD Child Advocacy Center Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship, please visit the CHKD Career Portal at https://www.chkd.org/careers/ to submit your application. The online application will require a curriculum vitae (CV) and letter of interest/cover letter.

Two (2) letters of recommendation and a deidentified psychological assessment report are also required, and can be emailed directly to the training coordinator, Katlin Ternes, PsyD (katlin.ternes@chkd.org). The deidentified psychological assessment should be for a child or adolescent, and should demonstrate the integration of multiple data sources.

The application deadline is December 16, 2022. Interviews will take place in late January and/or early February 2023. Interview format is TBD pending applicant location, but virtual is likely. We will adhere to the APPIC Selection Standards and Common Hold Date.

Selection of postdoctoral fellow is based upon comparative evaluation. Equal-opportunity guidelines play an important role in the selection of fellows. The clinical psychology postdoctoral fellowship training program at the CHKD CAC is prohibited from discrimination with regard to gender, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, or veteran status.

Further information about the fellowship can be found on the APPIC website, and additional questions can be directed to Dr. Ternes at katlin.ternes@chkd.org.