Core Experience

Seminars and Conferences

Each fellow is required to participate in the Professional Development Seminar. This seminar meets weekly and discusses issues such as multicultural competence, licensing, professional writing, supervision, research and grant writing, teaching, and the use of library resources.

Fellows also attend weekly clinical case conferences and seminars at their clinical sites. The Cambridge Health Alliance Department of Psychiatry also has an extensive offering of elective seminars and conferences which are available to the fellows, with topics such as the treatment of severely disturbed persons from various theoretical orientations, behavioral medicine, trauma, couples and family therapy, treatment of narcissism, cross-cultural issues, and psychopharmacology. Attendance is required at the weekly academic Grand Rounds, which draws speakers on current clinical, theoretical, and research issues. Continuing Education courses are offered throughout the year sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry alone, or jointly with the Harvard Medical School. These optional courses include nationally recognized speakers on topics such as Psychotherapy, Substance Abuse, Suicide, Women's and Men's Issues, Spirituality, Couples and Family Treatment, and Psychopharmacology. Fellows attend these conferences at a scholarship rate as trainees of Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance. Fellows also participate in the Expert Witness Training, a simulated courtroom experience with training offered jointly by the Department of Psychiatry and the Harvard Law School.

Therapy Supervision

Fellows conducting therapy receive one-to-one supervision for their work with individuals, groups, families, and children and adolescents. Supervisors, along with preceptors, carry full responsibility for cases supervised. Supervisors are drawn from all the mental health disciplines, and have staff positions in Cambridge Health Alliance, are on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School appointed through the Cambridge Health Alliance Department of Psychiatry, or both. Each fellow receives a minimum of three hours per week of individual supervision for clinical work. Additional group supervision is provided in many settings, which allows fellows to observe the work of other trainees and staff. The quality of supervision and the clinical work with patients are viewed by fellows as two of the strongest parts of the training program.

Testing Supervision

For neuropsychology fellows, fellows in psychological assessment, and fellows in the acute child and adolescent services, the program emphasizes the development of psychodiagnostic and clinical inference skills. Fellows typically receive two to three hours of supervision per battery. The high ratio of supervision to testing time provides an opportunity to analyze the data in depth, and to understand the person's psychopathology and adaptive capacities.


The Director of Postdoctoral Training serves as training director for all postdoctoral Fellows, and in that capacity meets individually with fellows periodically throughout the year, and is available for consultation and advice at any time. First-year fellows also meet with the Director of Postdoctoral Training in a weekly seminar, and in regularly scheduled Fellows Meetings. Fellows also have a psychology preceptor at each training site who oversees the work of the Fellow, and makes suggestions to help tailor the program around case assignments and seminars. Fellows meet monthly with site preceptors, who also aid the psychology division in evaluating fellows at midyear, and at the end of the fellowship year.

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