Practicum News

Message from the Director of Practicum Juliet Rohde-Brown, PhD

This has been a year of many changes. Some established practicum traineeship sites have had to close opportunities for doctoral-level practicum students due to economic considerations. While massive cut-backs in funding for mental health care have resulted in closing some traineeships, the opposite effect has also occurred, such that new sites are emerging in unique treatment contexts. One thing is certain: the way of the past in mental health care and training is not the way of the future. There is more and more emphasis on collaboration, contextualization, multidisciplinary frameworks, integrative healthcare, community psychology, and advocacy. We are finding more and more that the blending of theoretical orientations and the quality of the therapeutic relationship, regardless of orientation or context, are important factors in outcome.

Ancient practices, such as mindfulness meditation, are now in the mainstream of psychology, where even 25 years ago they were not taken seriously. We can also thank researchers in neuroscience for validating some of the tried and true while opening the way for what is next in our evolution in the psychological field.

Working with imagery, one of my passions, is now acknowledged as an important component in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and other evidenced-based practices, even though such orientations as psychoanalytic psychology, psychosynthesis, Gestalt psychotherapy, and certainly psychoneuroimmunology have embraced its efficacy for many years. There will be more evidence-based practices with many different labels in the future that we are not even aware of yet, as that is what happens with paradigm shifts. It is an exciting and challenging time to be in the process of clinical training these days. In terms of directly referring to our program, I am really appreciating the active agency that many of you are taking regarding exploring future practicum opportunities. An actively engaged, self-directed, mature and focused attitude works wonders in the world. It opens up opportunities, solidifies a growing confidence, and ultimately becomes a huge asset for a psychologist to have. It is wonderful to witness the diversity of training that our program enables.

PsyD Student’s Practicum Experience by Jennifer Newhard, MS, 3rd Year PsyD Student

I am fortunate to be earning my practicum hours with Santa Barbara Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services, under the supervision of Dr.Elisa Gottheil, licensed psychologist. At this training site, I aid in conducting forensic psychological evaluations for Santa Barbara County Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare Services, and the Children’s Clinic.

I have also been given the opportunity to work at the Los Prietos Boys Camp and Academy where I am currently working with on-site therapists and Probation Department staff to develop a more thorough protocol in diagnosing juvenile offenders.

I have gained a wealth of knowledge in working with personality testing, behavioral testing, intelligence testing, client interviews, and evaluating court files, at times making me feel like a detective. My experiences at ADMHS have inspired me to pursue a career in forensic assessment.

New Practicum sites!

Villa Majella: Residential facility for single pregnant women of low SES, individual and group counseling, & program development.

Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CADA): Substance abuse counseling, groups, and parent groups.

Mental Wellness Center: Individuals & families coping with life-long mental wellness challenges. Formerly Mental Health Association.

Brooks Institute of Photography: College counseling center for students.

Department of Rehabilitation: Vocational counseling and cognitive assessment.

People Helping People: High School counseling in the Santa Ynez Valley.