Skip to main content

Psychology Practicum

Overview of the Practicum Program 

The Section of Psychology at Children’s Mercy offers practicum experiences in assessment and/or intervention for children, adolescents, and families within a pediatric setting. The practicum experience is a commitment for one academic year, approximately nine months in duration for one to two days each week. Positions may include clinical and research experiences, based on the supervisor’s needs and availability. 

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 currently held for the 2017-2018 academic 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 Neuropsychology 
The neuropsychology practicum provides psychology trainees experiences with the opportunity to work with patients with a variety of medical conditions including epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, cardiac conditions, movement disorders and neurodevelopment disorders.   The epilepsy patients are largely referred through the Level IV Epilepsy Surgery Program and may involve Wada testing, functional neuroimaging and other procedures.  The cardiac patients are referred through the cardiac neurodevelopment program through the CMH Heart Center and involve assessing the potential long-term effects of cardiac conditions upon neurodevelopment.  The practicum focuses on neuropsychological assessment, case conceptualization, neuroanatomy, and neuropsychological reporting writing.  

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.

Gender Pathways Clinic
The Gender Pathways Clinic practicum experience is focused specifically on training in the area of assessment and treatment of gender dysphoria in children, adolescents, and their families.  Experiences will include shadowing, completion of individual and independent diagnostic evaluations, while simultaneously working within a multidisciplinary team of health professionals.  Opportunities for research, utilizing an existing database, are also possible.

We also are offering the following research practicum experiences:

Pediatric Psychology - Emphasis working with gastrointestinal conditions (GI) with Dr. Jennifer Schulman, Phd, ABPP

Pediatric Neuropsychology - with Dr. Josh Hall, PhD


How to Apply for a Practicum

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 universities academic year.  If you have questions or need further information, please email Dr. Moore directly.