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Practicum Program

The program is designed for advanced students who have a Master’s level degree in clinical or counseling psychology. Student must be enrolled in an APA-accredited doctoral graduate program and within their third or fourth year of graduate training. Trainees join us from area universities having training contracts in place with CMKC, including the University of Kansas (Clinical Psychology, Clinical Child, Counseling Psychology, School Psychology, or Applied Behavior Analysis programs) and University of Missouri-Kansas City (Clinical and Counseling Psychology programs). Other applicants may apply if the student meets the basic requirements, but a contract cannot be guaranteed for programs beyond those mentioned.

Current practicum experiences 


The practicum experiences offered by the Section of Psychology are subject to change for each new training year. The following practicum experiences are often offered each year:

Behavioral pediatrics


The behavioral pediatric practicum provides psychology trainees with the opportunity to see children and families for brief behavioral assessment and treatment addressing a variety of behavioral and developmental problems. Common presenting issues include disruptive behaviors (tantrums, noncompliance, aggression), ADHD, bedtime/sleep problems, and toileting problems, as well as issues related to Autism and developmental disabilities (severe self-injury and tantrums, communication deficits, etc.). Opportunities for exposure or participation in other professional activities, including relevant research and manuscript review, are also available. The experience is designed for students with interests in parent training, behavior therapy, and behavior-analytic approaches in clinical psychology.

Clinical Child/Pediatric Assessment


The Clinical Child/Pediatric Assessment Practicum provides psychology trainees with the opportunity to conduct psychological assessments to both community and medical subspecialty referrals for children and adolescents (4-18 years of age), presenting with a broad range of referral questions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral difficulties, affective disorders, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and neuropsychological concerns.  The practicum focuses on preparing graduate students to complete targeted assessments, including abbreviated diagnostic interviews and time-limited (guided by insurance parameters) evaluations, as well as to foster more concise report writing skills.

Pediatric Chronic Pain Management Practicum Training Experience


The chronic pain management program at Children’s Mercy comprises a multi-specialty interdisciplinary team that provides comprehensive assessment and multimodal treatment of idiopathic and disease-related chronic pain for children and adolescents. Opportunities for practicum students include participating in interdisciplinary evaluation of newly referred clinic patients (including the general Pain Management Clinic, Amplified Pain Clinic, Comprehensive Headache Clinic, and Sickle Cell Pain Clinic), providing targeted behavioral recommendations during follow-up clinic assessments, implementing traditional and contextual cognitive-behavioral therapy for clinic cases in which this is recommended as part of treatment, and participating in assessment and individual, family, and group therapy as part of our intensive day treatment program (“RAPS”). Practicum students become increasingly independent over the course of the practicum, initially shadowing the clinical supervisors and subsequently taking on their own cases. Additional opportunities exist for observing the contribution of other disciplines to the management of chronic pain (e.g., physical and occupational therapy, massage therapy, biofeedback, yoga), and there also are opportunities to observe psychologists who work with other programs throughout the hospital and clinics. The practicum is intended primarily for students interested in clinical health and pediatric psychology. Prior experience with medical populations is preferred but not required. Students should have at least 2 years of graduate-level training in a clinical psychology program. This is a 9-month, 1.5 days practicum starting in September and ending in May. Students can select which specific days to attend based on what works best with their schedule. Potential supervisors (depending on opportunities and days selected) include Drs. Dustin Wallace (RAPS and Amplified Pain Clinic), Mark Connelly (Comprehensive Headache Clinic), Klanci McCabe (general Pain Management Clinic and Comprehensive Headache Clinic), Amy Beals-Erickson (RAPS and Amplified Pain Clinic), Gail Robertson (Sickle Cell Integrated Pain Clinic), and Janelle Mentrikoski (general Pain Management Clinic).

Special Needs/Autism


The special needs/autism practicum provides psychology trainees with the opportunity to see children and families for brief behavioral assessment and treatment addressing a variety of behavioral and developmental problems associated with Autism. Common presenting issues include disruptive behaviors (tantrums, noncompliance, and aggression), sleep problems, and toileting problems, as well as issues related to Autism and developmental disabilities (severe self-injury and tantrums, communication deficits, etc.). The experience is designed for students with interests in parent training, behavior therapy, and behavior-analytic approaches in clinical psychology. The student will primarily engage in co-therapy with Dr. Youngblood and assist with documentation. This is a 1-day rotation starting in September and ending in May. There can also be opportunities to shadow psychologists and other clinics throughout the hospital in addition to the practicum experience described above. This is an advanced practicum, and students with a master’s degree (or in the third or fourth year of training) who have prior behavioral intervention experience and Clinical Child Psychology training are preferred.

Pediatric weight management


The pediatric obesity practicum provides the advanced graduate student with exposure to multidisciplinary team based treatment of youth with obesity and special needs such as autism spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, physical disabilities, and developmental disabilities, as well as a young child family-based weight management intervention. The Special Needs Weight Management Clinic (SNWMC) provides team evaluation of families by a pediatric psychologist, pediatric nurse practitioner, dietitian, and occupational therapist. Research is ongoing on food preferences, dietary intake, anthropometrics, and laboratory values over time of these children. The Zoom to Health Program is a 6-week family-based parenting skills and nutrition education program for young children ages 2-8 years who are overweight. The practicum student would participate in shadowing of clinical assessment during the SNWMC and provide parenting skills recommendations and behavioral strategies with parents and children. In the Zoom to Health program, after observing the first session, the student could co-facilitate sessions and then lead group sessions along with our dietitian, alternating between teaching parents and children.

At the beginning of every calendar year, available practicum experiences for the upcoming academic year are disseminated to the participating universities and their associated programs. Applications, which include a letter of interest and curriculum vitae (CV), are due by mid-February. Interested students can submit applications to Rachel Moore, Ph.D. The letter should indicate up to two positions that the student has interest and a brief description of goals for the practicum year and beyond. Again, please note that all positions are 9-month commitments that begin in August, at the start of each university's academic year. If you have questions or need further information, please email Dr. Moore directly at rmoore@cmh.edu.