Postdoctoral Psychology at Pleasanton
DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION MEDICINE RECOVERY SERVICES
Mailing address: 7601 Stoneridge Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588 Clinic location: 3825 Hopyard Road, Suites 140 & 175, Pleasanton, CA 94588
POSTDOCTORAL RESIDENCIES IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY
Pleasanton offers three full-time postdoctoral residency positions with primary affiliations to Adult, Child/Family or a combination of the two. For 2019-2020 we will not have an Addiction Medicine track, but resident rotations in Addiction Medicine are encouraged. Generalist training is available though not required: Child team residents may have adult cases comprise a share of their caseload; Adult team residents are encouraged to see child/teen cases, if interested. For each position, the resident has input on the structure and focus for the training year.
The Pleasanton area is a suburban, bedroom community, with many commuter families. Our clinic draws from a large surrounding area with a mix of socio-economic status, culture, and ethnicity. We are located in an office park a few miles away from the Kaiser Medical Office Building, a large, multi-specialty practice. Patient factors, which account for most of the variance in treatment outcome, tend to be favorable, and psychiatric hospitalization rates for our catchment are consistently among the lowest in the Region. Family members are usually available for inclusion in treatment.
Our outpatient medical buildings are located in the northern part of Alameda County at the intersection of highways 680 and 580. We serve primarily the portion of the area within Alameda and Contra Costa Counties referred to as the Tri-Valley Area. The Tri-Valley Area is composed of the cities of Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon, the town of Danville, and portions of unincorporated Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
By the year 2020, the Tri-Valley Area is forecasted to receive one hundred fifty-seven thousand (157,000) new residents and one hundred twenty-one thousand (121,000) new jobs. Presently, it is home to many young families. Many of our members are recent immigrants, or of the first or second generation; issues of acculturation and generational differences are frequently encountered.
The staff is a mix of full and part-time clinicians. There are ten psychiatrists, fifteen psychologists, ten licensed clinical social workers, four marriage and family therapists, and two psychiatric nurses. A centralized triage team does telephone screening for Pleasanton and the three other clinics which comprise the Diablo Service Area (the DSA: Pleasanton, Walnut Creek, and Antioch) and assigns patients to regular or urgent intake appointments. Some administrative functions are centralized in the DSA.
The department offers outpatient therapy to adults, couples, families, and children. The therapy coverage for most Kaiser members is focused, brief treatment, although patients with severe and chronic problems have access to ongoing services. Treatment for many diagnostic groups is informed by Best Practice guidelines, developed and periodically updated by regional work groups. Patients are encouraged to participate in classes and groups that are offered for most problem areas. Treatment often includes a combination of individual, group, classes, and possibly medication. Intensive Outpatient (partial “day treatment”), and Alcohol and Drug treatment are offered at Pleasanton. Our clinic refers to sub-regional centers in the DSA for more intensive programs in Adolescent Substance Abuse, Addiction Medicine Recovery Services (AMRS) and Eating Disorders and to the Autistic Spectrum Disorders Clinic in San Jose for the assessment of Autism.
What To Expect At Our Clinic
The resident training at Pleasanton can expect to find the following: patients who are monolingual in Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, and Cantonese, various dialects from India, Farsi, Arabic, Russian, and Spanish. We are a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary staff, including Psychiatrists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists and Psychiatric Nurses. We provide individual, group, and family therapy.
History of the Clinic
The psychiatry clinic associated with the Pleasanton Kaiser Medical Office Buildings was founded in 1983 as an experiment “to provide an alternative to the insight-oriented psychodynamic approach then prevalent at all Kaiser Permanente facilities.” (Chubb, Hendon; Evans, Eldon L. Therapist efficiency and clinic accessibility with the Mental Health Research Institute brief therapy model. [Peer Reviewed Journal] Community Mental Health Journal. Vol 26(2) Apr 1990, 139-149. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands.)
From the first, the clinic followed the MRI model known as brief, strategic therapy (see Weakland, J.H., Fisch, R., Watzalwaick, P., Bodin, A.M. (1974). Brief therapy; focused problem resolution. Family Process, 13, 141-168.) and initial staff members came with, or were trained in, this problem solving approach. Dick Fisch and John Weakland were regular consultants in the early days. Though the current clinic staff hold diverse clinical orientations, encompassing interests in cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychopharmacology, solution-focused, narrative, and other post-modern approaches, Pleasanton remains a home to clinicians interested in systemic, non-pathologizing approaches to therapy.
THE TRAINING PROGRAM
The postdoctoral training program is in part explicitly strategic: more interested in problem dynamics than psychodynamics, more congenial to active behavioral interventions than uncovering therapies, more interactional than interpersonal, encourages more parent guidance and family therapy than play therapy, and is more focused on solutions than on diagnoses. That’s particularly true of the Child Team. The Adult Team describes their treatment as brief, solution-focused, and as emphasizing Group Therapy and evidence-based Best Practice approaches such as CBT and Mindfulness. Residents are placed primarily on either of the Child, Adult, or AMRS Teams but can work on multiple Teams as well as IOP, depending on their interests and background.
Increasingly, the field is recognizing that real time assessment of the effectiveness of treatment using patient outcome data enhances treatment effects (e.g. Lambert et al, 2001, Whipple et al 2002, Lambert et al 2005, Harmon et al 2005 and many other publications), to the extent that Outcomes Management is being seen by Kaiser as a ‘best practice’ in itself, one with the potential to enhance the efficacy of Evidence Based Treatments. The training faculty encourages trainees to attend to “Practice-Based Evidence” (as Lambert terms it) as well as Evidence-Based Practice, using instruments to monitor as well as measure the effectiveness of individual treatment pairings and treatment programs.
Treatments utilizing a menu of interventions specified by EBP that are nonetheless not progressing as actuarially expected can then be the focus of reflective practice that may lead to alternate approaches, settings or interventions. Many of the residents’ program evaluation projects reflect this emphasis on outcomes management.
The postdoctoral program is intended to lay the foundation for clinical competence sufficient for independent functioning in the practice of clinical psychology and for a well-founded professional identity. In addition, residents get direct and indirect instruction on how to function in a multi-disciplinary team.
In practice, the resident is expected to handle evaluations and treatment for a wide range of outpatient problems, with guidance and supervision from a primary supervisor and secondary supervisors. Most residents have contact with more than 200 outpatients over the training year and have experience co-leading or leading groups and psycho-educational classes.
By the end of the training year, post-doctoral residents are expected to function nearly as a full staff clinician, and are prepared to walk into a busy outpatient practice at a Kaiser or comparable clinic. Therefore, Pleasanton post-doctoral residents have historically seen more new cases than the average Kaiser outpatient resident. Typically, a resident will take on four new cases a week and have 20 clinical contact hours. The residency requires previous experience in outpatient psychotherapy and high level of initial competency in interviewing.
Coordination of supervision, schedules, training assignments, and administration issues is the responsibility of the Postdoctoral Residency Training Director in conjunction with the Division Chief of each Team. The primary supervisor is responsible for the supervision of the resident’s clinical work. Each patient seen by the resident is informed at the time of telephone contact, and then before being seen, in writing, of the professional status of the resident. The primary supervisor provides at least one hour of face-to-face supervision a week, and residents have an individual hour, once per week, with a secondary supervisor. Residents at Pleasanton have an hour of group supervision each week, and participate in a live supervision Team utilizing the one-way mirror. Video or audio tape consultation are encouraged. Face-to-face and small group supervision comprises 10% of hours worked.
Residents are expected to complete four psychological assessment batteries in the training year. Referrals for psychodiagnostic assessment often ask about reality testing, and the Rorschach is frequently employed. Residents without sufficient prior experience in commonly used instruments are expected to prepare themselves independently. Residents participate in a twice-monthly small group seminar for the supervision of psychological assessment cases and have additional individual assessment supervision as needed. The assessment process is highly collaborative, involving consultation with a multi-disciplinary team. Assessors are encouraged to personalize feedback to patients by writing letters to adults, and stories to children.
Residents from the consortium attend weekly seminars at the Walnut Creek site with presenters recruited from all three sites, and attend group supervision afterwards, led by the training directors in rotation. Residents from Pleasanton travel to Walnut Creek on their own but often carpool and can apply for mileage reimbursement. In addition, residents participate in the weekly team meetings at their respective sites. Several times a year the residents travel to Oakland for workshops that focus on Best Practice Guidelines and include topics such as Ethics and the Law, Diversity, and Neuropsychology. Workshop presenters are usually well known experts in their specialty.
General Program Information
- Program Mission and Training Model
- Program Background and History
- Program Goals, Objectives and Competencies
- Resident Hours, Supervision and Training
- Resident Competencies Evaluations and Program Surveys
- Resident Due Process and Grievance Procedures
Accessible from the main page is the Postdoctoral Residency Programs Policy and Procedure Manual, where most program information is located. Information located in this manual includes but is not limited to the items listed above, as well as the following policies:
- Program Minimum Requirements
- Program Minimal Levels of Achievement
- Resident Remediation and Corrective Action Procedures
- Resident Benefits and Services
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