Elective Opportunities

Elective training settings are numerous. Moreover, it is possible to structure trainee-specific elective clinical experiences in consultation with supervising faculty.

Clinical Electives

Anxiety Disorders Clinic: Child/Adolescent

Supervisor: Gregory M. Rogers, PhD

Location: UW Psychiatry

The CAADP specializes in the assessment and treatment of anxiety-related disorders in youth.  The vast majority of patients seen in the clinic are between the ages of 6 and 18.  The assessment process includes interviews with the child/adolescent and parents, administration of questionnaires and rating scales, and consultation with teachers and school staff.  Treatment plans are evidence-based and developed in collaboration with a board-certified child/adolescent psychiatrist.   Virtually all patients receive some form of cognitive-behavioral therapy and interns receive specialized training in this approach, including implementation of the manual-based Coping Cat program.

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Behavioral Sleep Medicine

Supervisor: Meredith Rumble, PhD

Location: UW Psychiatry (Elective available on Wednesdays or Thursdays)

Description of Elective: Interns have the opportunity to assess and treat individuals with sleep disorders who are appropriate for cognitive-behavioral interventions. Depending on the interest and experience level of the intern, experience can be gained with behavioral sleep medicine consultation as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia, light therapy and/or chronotherapy for delayed sleep phase disorder, and other evidence-based cognitive-behavioral interventions for sleep disorders. Treatment opportunities include both individual and group formats. Supervision would include individual and/or group supervision with opportunities to participate in multidisciplinary didactics. Prior experience in sleep disorders is not needed.

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Cancer Psychology

Supervisor: Erin Costanzo, PhD; Lori DuBenske, PhD; and/or Lisa McGuffey, PhD

Location: UW Carbone Cancer Center

Description: Interns have the opportunity to assess and treat individuals with cancer and their families across the cancer continuum, from new diagnoses to end of life, and to provide care as part of a multidisciplinary health care team. Specific clinical activities are based on the intern's interest and availability, and may include outpatient psychotherapy, co-facilitating a group for cancer patients, providing assessment of candidates for blood and marrow transplantation (BMT) and consultation on the BMT inpatient unit, among other possibilities. Related clinical research opportunities are also available. Interns receive weekly individual or group supervision from one of the cancer psychologists and have opportunities for shadowing both psychologists and other health care providers in the Cancer Center. A commitment of one day/week for one semester or half day/week for both semesters is preferred, but other arrangements are considered on a case-by-case basis. Prior experience in a cancer setting is not needed.

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Geriatrics Clinic

Supervisor:  Art Walaszek, MD

Location: UW Psychiatry (elective available on Mondays, 12:30 to 5 p.m.)

Description: Older adults can develop mental illness in the context of a unique combination of predisposing factors and stressors. These include comorbid medical conditions (and their treatments); normal changes in brain structure and function associated with aging; loss of family and social networks; retirement and changes in housing; and other psychosocial adversity.  The goal of this rotation is to expose psychology interns to the fundamentals of assessing and treating older adults with mental illness (including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and dementia) and their caregivers.  Interns participate in diagnostic assessments, follow-up visits and family meetings; didactic components include a 1-hour seminar each week and case discussion.

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HIV Clinic

Supervisor: Lisa M. Baker, PhD

Location: UW Hospital and Clinics Main Hospital, HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program, Dept. of Infectious Diseases (Elective Available Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays)

Description: Interns have the opportunity to work with clients living with HIV/AIDS, offering diagnostic interviews and health and behavior assessments, as well as providing individual and group psychotherapy. Interventions will typically involve utilizing interpersonal and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapies, while integrating motivational interviewing and multicultural counseling/theories. Other clinical training opportunities involve consultation to clinic’s medical staff, mindfulness/meditation training, and career/vocational counseling. There may also be opportunities for psycho-education and workshop development depending on the interest of the student.  Most of our patients are from under-served populations, diverse in sexual orientation and identity, race and ethnicity, gender, disability status, spirituality/religion, and SES. Focus of treatment includes, but is not limited to, adjustment to illness (e.g., external and internalized stigma, management of illness and treatment), as well as trauma reactions (e.g., PTSD), substance use disorders, identity issues (e.g., sexual orientation and identity), and bereavement. Supervision would include individual and/or group supervision with opportunities to participate in multidisciplinary didactics and meetings. While not required, it would be beneficial if interns on this rotation have some prior clinical experience in treating trauma-related mental health disorders (e.g., PTSD) and addictions.

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Medical-Surgical Consultation Service - Adult

Supervisor: Denise Connelly, PhD

Location: UW Hospitals and Clinics

Description: Interns provide evidence-based individual and family intervention as well as consultation to numerous multi-disciplinary teams throughout UW Hospital and Clinics (e.g., neurology, burn unit, orthopedics, trauma, rehabilitation, hematology/oncology, transplant, pulmonary, and cardiology). Typical referral questions relate to behavior, mood and pain management, adjustment to illness/disability, medical treatment non-adherence, coping, grief/loss, terminal illness, and mental status. Direct behavioral intervention is provided. In addition, interns provide psychological evaluations, mental status evaluations, relaxation training and anxiety management and cognitive screening.  Follow-up outpatient treatment is provided when appropriate.   Patients served come from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and length of stay varies from brief to prolonged with a number of patients repeatedly returning for hospital-based care.  

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Medical-Surgical Consultation Service - Pediatric

Supervisors: Stephanie Farrell, PhD and Joel Wish, PhD

Location: American Family Children's Hospital (AFCH)

Description: Interns in Pediatrics work with patients from infancy through young adulthood providing evidence-based individual and family intervention as well as consultation to numerous multi-disciplinary teams throughout American Family Children’s Hospital (e.g., neurology, burn unit, orthopedics, trauma, rehabilitation, hematology/oncology, transplant, pulmonary, and cardiology). Typical referral questions relate to behavior, mood and pain management, adjustment to illness/disability, medical treatment non-adherence (e.g. diabetes, cystic fibrosis, bleeding disorders), coping, grief/loss, terminal illness, and mental status. Direct behavioral intervention is provided in the form of individual, family, and group psychotherapy (e.g., CBT, IPT, play therapy). In addition, interns provide psychological evaluations, mental status evaluations, relaxation training and anxiety management and cognitive screening.  Follow-up outpatient treatment is provided when appropriate.   Patients served come from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and length of stay varies from brief to prolonged with a number of patients repeatedly returning for hospital-based care.  

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Mindfulness-Based Therapy Groups

Supervisor: Andrew D. Moore, MD

Location: UW Psychiatry

Description: Mindfulness-based therapy groups are offered for anxiety and mood disorders. Interns participate as observers and co-leaders. Some prior experience with mindfulness-based approaches is preferred.

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Neuropsychology

Supervisor: Alanna Kessler, PsyD

Location: J5-2 UW Hospital and Clinics

Description: Clinical experience includes learning about neuropsychological assessment measures and approaches to assessment. Interns will staff adult or pediatric cases in the clinic with faculty, participate in medical record review and clinical interview, and review and interpret test results with faculty and relate to pertinent literature. Patients are referred from throughout the medical center.

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Pain Clinic and Research Center

Supervisors: Shilagh Mirgain, PhD and Michael DiMarco, PsyD

Location: UW Health East Clinic

Description of Elective: Interns will learn to evaluate and treat psychological factors related to quality of life in patients with chronic pain. These include functional activity, pain coping skills, medication use/misuse, depression, anxiety, family responses to pain and disability, return to work, compensation and disability payments, and the interface between medical and psychological contributions to the pain experience.

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Pain Management

Supervisor:  Janice Singles, PsyD

Location: UW Spine Clinic, UW Research Park Clinic

Description: Intern has the opportunity to work with a wide variety of patients with pain and develop skills in both individual and group format.  Co-leadership of a Pain Management group is possible for a motivated intern.  Development of skills in treating this population can include CBT, ACT, biofeedback, hypnosis, mindfulness as well as understanding psychological and social factors that influence the pain experience.

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Preventive Cardiology

Supervisor: Shilagh Mirgain, PhD

Location: UW Health East Clinic

Description: Interns in this elective will gain an understanding of health psychology assessment of and interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease. Interns have the opportunity to see patients with coronary artery disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, and diabetes.  Trainees will learn and practice biofeedback, motivational interviewing, CBT, and mindfulness techniques and how to design and deliver group treatment.

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VA PTSD

Supervisors:  Valerie Ahl, PhD, Director of Psychology Internship Program

Location: Wm. S. Middleton Memorial Veteran’s Hospital, Madison

Description: The PTSD Clinical Team (PCT) provides outpatient treatment to Veterans with PTSD. The PCT treats Veterans with PTSD regardless of whether the trauma originated during military service (e.g., combat, sexual trauma) or prior to service (e.g., childhood abuse). Both group and individual treatments are offered. During the PCT rotation, interns will receive didactic training in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy and then carry a caseload of several Veterans while they continue to gain proficiency in providing these treatments. Interns will also have the opportunity to learn a number of other treatments for PTSD such as Anger Management, Behavioral Activation for PTSD, and PTSD Class for Couples. Interns on this rotation will receive individual and group supervision within the interdisciplinary PCT team setting. Individual therapy will be delivered to Veterans in person or via our well-developed tele-mental health (TMH) system, which effectively connects therapists at the Madison VA to various community-based clinics in rural areas. Finally, interns may have the opportunity to learn how to use adjunctive cutting-edge virtual reality technology for Veterans receiving PE therapy. Prior experience with exposure-based treatments is preferred but not required. To participate in this rotation, interns MUST be able to attend the weekly team meeting that takes place Tuesday, from 3:00-4:00pm.

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Faculty-Focused Research Electives

Neural Signaling of Cortisol in Depression

Supervisor: Heather Abercrombie, PhD.

Location: UW Psychiatry

Description: Dr. Abercrombie’s current research examines the effects of cortisol on the neural circuitry of learning in depressed and healthy women. A primary aim of the project is to study alterations in the effects of cortisol on brain function, emotion, and memory in depression. A secondary aim is to investigate how early life experiences moderate cortisol’s effects on brain function and memory. For this elective, trainees will have the opportunity to participate in diverse clinical and research activities. Clinical duties may involve: structured clinical interviewing, assessment of early life adversity, and direct supervision provided by faculty mentor (Abercrombie). Research duties may involve: MRI data collection, processing and analysis of MRI (e.g., functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, arterial spin labeling), endocrine, and questionnaire data, exposure to molecular genetic techniques, and/or manuscript composition. Dr. Abercrombie will work with trainees to develop a structured rotation schedule compatible with their interests. Trainees are invited to participate in multiple aspects of the research study, if they desire.

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Developmental Psychopathology

Supervisor: Marilyn J. Essex, PhD

Location: UW Psychiatry

Description: This elective takes advantage of the clinical research opportunities available in an ongoing longitudinal study of children/adolescents and the development of psychopathology. Approximately 400 families in the Wisconsin Study of Families and Work have been followed since the mothers were pregnant with the index child; 16 waves of data have been collected, from pregnancy to the children’s graduation from high school. In addition to rich longitudinal data pertaining to the family and school environments, and child temperament and cognitive styles, child/adolescent mental health and functioning have been assessed throughout the study. Recently, a subset of the adolescents participated in a laboratory assessment of stress reactivity; psychiatric diagnoses were also obtained. Trainees are given the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the study, depending on their interests.

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Psychotherapy Change Processes

Supervisor: Gregory G. Kolden, PhD

Location: UW Psychiatry

Description of Elective: Dr. Kolden's research focuses on the evaluation of efficacy of behavioral interventions and the mechanisms underlying the changes that result from such treatments in both psychiatric (e.g., mood disordered outpatients) and medical populations. His recent work has included the meta-analytic examination of psychotherapy relational elements (Kolden et al., 2011) and the use of structural equation modeling to examine the role of nonspecific therapeutic change processes (e.g., aspects of the therapy relationship) in evidence-based treatments (Kolden et al., 2005; Kolden et al., 2006). Dr. Kolden's expertise in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT; certification in IPT supervision and experience as IPT consultant) lends itself to consideration of IPT-specific as well as nonspecific therapy-related change processes. This elective typically involves the design and completion of a small project (e.g., poster presentation at a scientific meeting; talk/lecture at a local conference) using archival psychotherapy change process data.

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