Forensic Psychology Track

Psychology interns in the Forensic Psychology Track have the opportunity to pursue a dual focus in both clinical psychology and specialized training in forensic psychology. The program combines the resources of NYC Health and Hospitals/Bellevue and Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center  to offer training in both acute and long-term care with forensic patients who are at various stages of involvement with the criminal justice system. Psychology interns completing the Forensic Track acquire greater knowledge of and sensitivity to the needs of forensic patients, also gaining experience in managing the many legal, clinical, and organizational issues that affect these individuals.
The Forensic Track is comprised of three four-month rotations (Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday), individual psychotherapy requirements through the Bellevue Adult and Child & Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry Clinics, a didactic seminar series, and case conference. Two of the rotations, Forensic Assessment and Treatment (detailed below) are required of forensic interns. Interns can request their preference for their third rotation among any of the other possible rotations offered.

Throughout the internship year, forensic interns spend two full days per week, Wednesday and Friday, at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center treating patients individually and in a group setting; performing various types of forensic evaluations and assessments; working as part of a multidisciplinary treatment team; and attending and participating in forensic-focused didactics and case conferences..

Forensic Assessment Rotation

This rotation is based at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center. Psychology interns will gain experience in various types of forensic evaluations, including evaluations of competency to stand trial, violence risk assessment, risk assessment of sex offenders, and forensic evaluations to assist the court in determining the dangerousness and future institutional placement of patients. In addition, psychology interns will be exposed to the latest in psychological and neuropsychological testing with particular focus on violence risk assessment, malingering, personality assessment, and neuropsychological issues.

Forensic Treatment Rotation

This rotation is housed on the Forensic Inpatient Psychiatry Service at Bellevue, which provides acute psychiatric care to male patients, aged 16 and older. Patients on this unit may be pre-arraignment, awaiting trial, or post-conviction. Psychology interns work as part of a multidisciplinary team comprised of a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, activity therapist, and medical students. The intern serves as the primary therapist for 1-2 patients. This role includes an initial intake interview, meeting with the patient three times each week for individual psychotherapy, participation in weekly treatment team meetings, documentation in the patient’s medical record, and the preparation of a discharge summary. Psychology interns may also carry 1-2 patients for twice weekly psychotherapy only. Psychology interns also co-lead a psychotherapy group with a member of psychology staff. The treatment team psychologist will provide supervision for individual and group therapy; and whenever possible, interns will be encouraged to provide supervision for other trainees on the unit.

In addition to rotation, psychology intern carries a diverse outpatient psychotherapy caseload at Bellevue, representing a spectrum of demographic and cultural backgrounds, clinical presentations, and treatment needs. Psychology interns conduct individual therapy throughout the year, treating a minimum of three outpatient adults, as well as one child or adolescent patient. Forensic interns are assigned individual supervisors for each rotation experience and each outpatient psychotherapy case.

Two days a week, forensic interns work at Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center (KFPC), which is a 164-bed maximum-security hospital located on Wards Island that provides intermediate and long-term evaluation and treatment of forensic patients. Patients committed to KFPC fall into one of three categories: (1) those requiring restoration of competency to stand trial, (2) those adjudicated not criminally responsible due to mental disease or defect (a.k.a. not guilty by reason of insanity or NGRI), and (3) civil psychiatric patients determined to pose a significant risk to self or others due to problems with behavioral control.

While at KFPC, each forensic intern will have an assigned caseload of male and female patients with varying legal statuses and diagnoses. Interns will work with an interdisciplinary treatment team on one of the psychiatric admission units, attending and participating in morning rounds and monthly team meetings. Interns will also conduct a weekly fitness-to-stand-trial group and supervise master’s level trainees. Forensic interns will conduct various types of forensic evaluations: competency to stand trial, violence risk assessment, risk assessment of sex offenders, and forensic evaluations to assist the court in determining the dangerousness and future institutional placement of patients. In addition, interns attend and participate in the Grand Rounds lecture series and case conferences, which complement weekly individual and group supervision.