Autism Spectrum Disorder SENSE lab

The mission of the SENSE (Social Emotional NeuroScience Endocrionology) lab is to better understand the social and emotional functioning of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related neurodevelopmental disorders and to translate findings into meaningful approaches and interventions directed by Blythe A. Corbett, Ph.D. As members of the SENSE lab, practicum students would engage in a variety of supervised clinical interventions and assessments. Opportunities for supervised participation in several group-based interventions for youth and adults with ASD would be available to practicum students including a theatre-based social skills intervention, psychosexual health and wellness intervention, and a potential opportunity to participate in CBT group therapy for adolescents with ASD and comorbid mood disorders and their parents. In addition, practicum students can participate in supervised psychological assessments with children, youth, and adults with ASD and typical development. To learn more about the SENSE lab, please visit our website at: https://senselab.vkcsites.org/. 

For further information about this practicum opportunity, please contact Dr. Corbett at blythe.corbett@vumc.org.

Forensic Evaluations

The Vanderbilt Forensic Evaluation Team is responsible for conducting court-ordered forensic mental health evaluations of criminal defendants in Davidson County. Evaluation orders most often request combined evaluations of the defendant’s (1) competence to stand trial and (2) mental state at the time of the alleged offense. Evaluations are frequently conducted in local detention centers, though some evaluations are conducted in the Forensic Psychiatry Clinic, which is housed within the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. 

The populuation is adults who have been charged with criminal offenses in Davidson County. In general, this population is diverse and unique in terms of age, race, education, socioeconomic status, etc. Most of the defendants referred for evaluations have an extensive mental health history, often characterized by inpatient and outpatient treatment. A smaller subset of defendants have been diagnosed with neurodevelopmental and/or cognitive disorders, for which formal cognitive/intellectual testing may be indicated. In addition, a substantial number of defendants present with comorbid substance use disorders and/or personality psychopathology.  

The practicum provides experience in forensic evaluations of competence to stand trial and mental state at the time of the alleged offense. Each evaluation generally includes a comprehensive review of records, consultation with attorneys, psychological testing (if relevant), clinical interview(s), contact with collateral sources, and report writing. The practicum student will likely be exposed to various psychological assessment experiences, as formal testing of intelligence, personality, psychopathology, and response style are often relevant to forensic evaluations. There may be opportunities for the practicum student to observe (and/or provide) testimony to the Court. 
The practicum student should have prior coursework in assessment, as well as prior supervised experience in clinical interviewing and psychological testing. The practicum student should plan to be available for the Tennessee Forensic Evaluator Initial Training, which is held in the fall of each year. The time commitment is 12-15 hrs/wk.

For further information about this practicum opportunity, please contact Dr. Wood at mary.e.wood@vumc.org.

Pediatric Neuropsychology

Dr. Molnar offers practicum placements in pediatric neuropsychology, located in an outpatient clinic at the Village at Vanderbilt. He evaluates patients from birth to young adulthood with neurological conditions [e.g., epilepsy, brain tumor, traumatic brain injury, spina bifida myelomeningocele…], spanning a wide range of referral resources from Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and in the community. The placement involves full-day commitments that can be arranged to meet the student’s training needs. Students are expected to accurately administer and score standardized cognitive assessments, learn new measures, and have some level of experience and interest working with children and families. Ideal candidates will have had prior exposure to commonly used intellectual batteries [e.g., WPPSI-IV, WISC-V, WAIS-IV], knowledge of basic child development principles either through coursework or other experiences, and eagerness to learn. 

For further information about this practicum opportunity, please contact Dr. Molnar at andrew.e.molnar@vumc.org.

Adult Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Vanderbilt University Medical Center Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Clinic is a specialty clinic that focuses on the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders with evidence-based methods. Therapy is provided from an exposure-based cognitive behavioral therapeutic (CBT) orientation with integration of complementing modalities such as Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as appropriate. We offer assessment, individual outpatient therapy, and inpatient and partial hospitalization group therapy services. Our team maintains a dynamic, cohesive, and growth-oriented environment through ongoing training, frequent consultation, and literature review. 
 
Training opportunities for practicum students at the VUMC CBT Clinic include: conducting semi-structured diagnostic intake assessments, delivering individual and/or group outpatient CBT to adults with a primary anxiety or depressive disorder diagnosis, and collaborating with senior clinicians to enhance therapeutic skills
 
The goal of the practicum experience is to support the growth of CBT clinicians. Therefore, the VUMC CBT Clinic Practicum consists of a combination of time dedicated to direct clinical services, individual and group supervision, participation in a weekly seminar, and additional hours for documentation and other administrative tasks. The total minimum commitment to the practicum is 8-12 hours per week for two semesters (Fall and Spring). Candidates with strong theoretical knowledge of CBT are preferred.

For further information about this practicum opportunity, please contact Dr. Matwin at sonia.matwin@vumc.org.