Community Placement Sites

During the 4th year of clinical training at UWM, students are required to do 12-16 hours per week of clinical work at a community placement site. Students typically try to match their emerging clinical interests with the activities available at the site. The UWM Clinical Program has arrangements with various sites around the greater Milwaukee area. Below are descriptions from some of our common community placements.

The Center for Behavioral Medicine

The Center for Behavioral Medicine is a private-practice mental health clinic that specializes in providing Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for patients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, or patients with many symptoms common to Borderline Personality Disorder. There are also services for patients with anxiety disorders, patients wanting couples therapy, and family skills training which provides tools for individuals coping with chronic mental illness in a loved one. Students at this placement get experience in understanding the theoretical background behind DBT as well as observing experienced clinicians using the therapy either live or through videotaped sessions as well as through observations during case supervision teams which the student will be a part of from the beginning. Students become active members in DBT skills group, and by the end of their 2 years at the DBT site, will be able to lead skill groups on their own. Students also gain experience in clinical assessments using the Clinical SCID I and the SCID II, allowing for practice in case conceptualizations and diagnostics. Finally, students who wish to see individual clients may have the opportunity to do so in their second year at the placement site.

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW)

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin has a number of possible placements under one umbrella institution. Below are some of these placements.

Gastroenterology Clinic. In the GI Clinic at CHW, team members see two primary types of patients; those with feeding disorders and children with elimination disorders. The feeding team is multidisciplinary and includes a physician, nurse, dietitian, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, and psychologist depending on the treatment issues. The feeding team generally sees younger patients with a variety of feeding concerns including failure to advance to pureed or solid foods, eating too little food for adequate growth and nutrition, and extreme selectivity and picky eating. Intervention may be implemented on an outpatient, intensive day treatment, or inpatient basis. The psychological services generally include behavior therapy and parent training.

Elimination Disorders Clinic generally sees patients with difficulties related to constipation, stool withholding, toileting avoidance, and encopresis. The behavioral intervention most often includes psychoeducation, self-monitoring, and behavioral contracting. There are opportunities to be involved in research with the feeding and elimination disorder clinics. Additionally, individual supervisors provide weekly one-on-one supervision as well as weekly didactic sessions. In these weekly sessions, students from the practicum class from different clinics at the hospital present cases and psychologists from these clinics discuss treatment and issues related to their specialty.

HOT (Hematology/Oncology/Transplant Clinic). The Hematology/Oncology/Transplant (HOT) team specializes in the medical and psychosocial treatment of pediatric patients with cancer and other blood disorders. Practicum students will gain knowledge and training experience in assessment, therapy/intervention, and consultation services to children, adolescents, and young adults who are receiving treatment for childhood cancer, along with their caregivers, siblings, and families in the outpatient clinic and inpatient unit. In addition, students will learn how to conduct psychological evaluations for pediatric bone marrow and stem cell transplant candidates and sibling donors. Students will work collaboratively with the multidisciplinary HOT staff, which includes oncologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, hospital teachers, and chaplains. This is primarily a therapy practicum, during which students will receive training in the process of providing therapeutic support to pediatric cancer patients and their families in the context of stress and resiliency/coping model for diagnosis through treatment. Psychology consults primarily include adjustment issues related to cancer diagnosis and treatment, procedural distress, pain management, adhere to medical regimen, family conflict, behavioral and emotional reactions to diagnosis and treatment such as anxiety, depression, and behavior/anger management problems, and grief/bereavement support.

Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW)

MCW has a number of possible placements under one umbrella institution. Below are some of these placements.

The MCW Adult Neuropsychology placement is based out of the Department of Neurology at MCW. It is a highly desirable practicum training program drawing students from several programs in the area including UWM, Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Rosalind Franklin University. Initially students are trained on the administration and scoring of an extensive number of neuropsychological tests. After sufficient expertise is developed in the administration of tests, students begin sitting in on patients interviews, administering tests to patients, and eventually helping with the report writing process. The site treats a wide variety of patients but because of specialty clinics the highest frequency of patients are ones with dementia, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer, and adult ADHD. Due to MCW's Postdoctoral training program in Neuropsychology, there are a large number of didactic and training opportunities which practicum students are encouraged to attend. This includes a journal club, a weekly seminar in neuropsychology, weekly case conference, and neurology grand rounds. There are several lines of research that practicum students can get involved in including research in epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and neuro-oncology.

MCW Preschool and Infant Neuropsychological Testing (PINT) Clinic. Practicum students in the PINT clinic at MCW learn to administer and score a number of neuropsychological instruments in children under the age of 6. Patient populations include developmental disability, autism spectrum disorders, brain tumors, neurofibromatosis, mitochondrial disorders, spina bifida, ADHD, behavior problems, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and a variety of other neurological disorders. Students work with a variety of faculty and postdoctoral fellows, and are expected to sit in on interviews and feedbacks, write reports, administer neuropsychological batteries to children under the age of 6, and conduct structured interviews with caregivers. Students also have the opportunity to sit in on supervision with the postdoctoral resident and participate in case conceptualization. There are also a number of opportunities to participate in didactic training, including neuropsychology seminars, grand rounds, epilepsy case conference, and journal club.

The Transplant Psychology Service at MCW offers a focused training experience in assessment, intervention, and consultation in clinical health psychology. The majority of direct hours are spent conducting inpatient and outpatient psychological assessment and intervention with transplant candidates/patients, cancer patients, and various other Axis III disorders; such as chronic pain, diabetes, and patients requiring plastic reconstructive surgery. Indirect hours include test scoring and interpretation, comprehensive report writing, and consultation. Specific assessment tools that are commonly used include personality (e.g. MMPI-2, MCMI-II), symptom and coping (e.g. MBMD, BSI, SA-45), structured clinical interviews (e.g. SCID), intellectual assessment (e.g. KBIT-2), and substance use (e.g. ASI). Evidence-based behavioral medicine interventions include the delivery of individual and group cognitive-behavioral therapy targeting a range of psychological problems across different adult populations. Students will work in the patient care setting as a member of an interdisciplinary team, consult with medical providers, and facilitate psychological adjustment through medical procedures. Regularly scheduled supervision helps shape clinical skills and provides a supportive and professional learning environment. Additional training opportunities include didactic instruction in psychopharmacology and research opportunities.

Rogers Memorial Hospital

The Child and Adolescent Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital is a residential treatment program for youth ages 13-17 years. Residents admitted to cognitive behavioral therapy track typically have a primary anxiety disorder diagnosis, including OCD, Panic Disorder, PTSD, GAD, Social Phobia, and school anxiety. Comorbid disorders are common and may include depression, ADHD, ODD, eating disorders, and substance abuse. The placement involves training in cognitive behavioral therapy with an emphasis on exposure and response prevention. Activities include treatment planning (e.g., hierarchy development), treatment implementation in one-on-one and group formats both on and off campus, and participation in multidisciplinary case conferences. Supplemental training opportunities are often available and may be offered by hospital staff or by visiting clinicians and researchers. Research involvement is encouraged and can include original data collection or analysis of archival data collected as part of an ongoing treatment outcome study.

Zablocki VA Medical Center, Acute Mental Health

The Zablocki VA offers experience with both inpatient and outpatient populations. Group therapy on the inpatient unit generally focuses on relaxation and mindfulness. Outpatient treatment involves (a) groups for psychosocial rehab of severe/persistent mental illness, primarily skills training groups for treatment of psychotic disorders, (b) harm reduction groups with an addiction recovery population, and (c) individual psychotherapy with patients with persistent mental illness. Psychological assessment is also possible. Assessment focuses on differential diagnosis of inpatients and pre-surgical psychological evaluations prior to spinal cord stimulator implant. The population offers experience with a wide range of axis I & II diagnoses, various minority populations, and various age groups. Research is possible on various projects.