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MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA


The Mental Health Training Programs in Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) have been an integral part of Kaiser Permanente’s larger vision for over 40 years. Beginning in the late 1960s, KPNC initiated its first mental health training programs as a result of the influence of Nicholas Cumming, PhD, who served as Chief of Mental Health for KPNC and later became president of the APA. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, a variety of mental health training programs were developed.  During the last twenty-five years, KPNC increasingly standardized its mental health delivery system, with available mental health treatment services tripling in size. Along with this structural maturation and the integration of psychological services into primary care, the mental health training programs grew progressively organized. Throughout this process, the programs have been extensively supported by KPNC.   In 2018, approximately 130 Psychology Practicum Students, Interns and Postdoctoral Residents, and Associate Clinical Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists and Professional Clinical Counselors, train at Kaiser Permanente medical centers throughout Northern California.

As a result of innovations initiated by Lloyd Linford, PhD, departments throughout the region sent specialists to meet regularly, over a period of years, to stay up to date with the most current research and to develop Evidenced-Based Practices (“Best Practice”) guidelines.  These guidelines are based on the latest research for major psychological disorders, such as depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders.  All KPNC departments follow these guidelines, which serve as bases for the curricula of all the mental health training programs.  As a result, interns and residents are taught clinical skills based on sound psychological principles and evidence-based practices.

From 2000-2016, under the leadership of John Arden, PhD, the psychology postdoctoral programs evolved from a loose-knit collection of training directors, supervisors, and trainees into a group of cohesive and well-structured programs. These programs now follow national standards such as those set out by APPIC and APA. They are organized into seven consortia, with each consortium consisting of residencies located at two to three medical centers in close proximity to each other.  All of the consortial programs are APPIC members and six of the seven are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).  In 2009, the North Bay Consortium Psychology Postdoctoral Residency Program was granted accreditation and it was followed by the Central Bay Consortium, in 2010.  In 2011, the South Bay Consortium was granted accreditation; in 2012, the South East Bay Consortium received accreditation; and in 2013, the West Bay Consortium was accredited. In 2014, the East Bay Consortium was granted accreditation by APA. The remaining postdoctoral consortial program, the Central Valley Consortium, is currently preparing to apply to APA for accreditation. 

KPNC also offers a variety of internships in Marriage and Family Therapy, Social Work and Clinical Psychology.  In recent years, KPNC has increased the number of internship positions, particularly in the post-Master’s Social Work and MFTI training programs.  These programs follow CAMFT’s and NASW’s guidelines and ethical principles.  In addition, both of KPNC's psychology internship programs are APPIC-members and, in 2011, the Fresno program became APA-accredited.  The Walnut Creek program is currently in the process of applying for accreditation. For more information on any of these programs, please visit the programs’ individual web pages on this web site.

In 2016, Kathryn Wetzler, PsyD, assumed the directorship for the KPNC mental health training programs.  All programs are committed to serving the communities in which they reside by providing training that reflects advances in integrated care.  Delivery of integrated care relies on service providers having a working knowledge of advances in psychoneuroimmunology and chronic medical conditions, and in the adaptation of neuroscience and psychotherapy research into treatment.