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SJHH ... / Health Services/ Mental Health & Addiction Services/ Mental Health Services/ Psychology Training/ Clinical Practicum Placements

Clinical Practicum Placements

Clinical Practicum Opportunities

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) is pleased to offer Clinical Practicum training and research opportunities in:

Anxiety Disorders

Clinical Neuropsychology

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Eating Disorders

Forensic Psychology

Health Psychology

Mood Disorders

Schizophrenia Services

About St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) is a large teaching hospital affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University and Mohawk College. The Mental Health Program at SJHH provides services both within the general hospital site (also known as Charlton Campus) and the nearby West 5th Campus (also known as Mountain Health Services), soon to open as the new Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare. The vision of the new facility is to pioneer innovative models of care that will radically reduce the disability associated with mental illness, and the stigma and barriers that people with mental illness face on a daily basis.

With 200 inpatient mental health beds (and growing), as well as the capacity to serve almost 5,000 outpatients each year, SJHH has become the centre for adult mental health care throughout the central region of Southern Ontario.

Practicum Training

The clinical training faculty at SJHH is committed to providing high quality training opportunities through clinical practica, our APA/CPA accredited predoctoral internship program, and postdoctoral positions. Across the various clinical training settings the following are emphasized: (i) provision of a rich training experience with attention given to providing adequate breadth and depth of client contacts, (ii) provision of high quality supervision, (iii) opportunities to work in multidisciplinary environments. Additionally, through ongoing evaluation of the training needs, strengths, and interests of practicum students, practica will be tailored to maximize individual students’ growth in knowledge of clinical intervention and assessment strategies and the related research, and to facilitate the development of a professional identity. The primary supervisors of all training settings are registered Psychologists.

Eligible students are those currently registered in APA/CPA accredited (or equivalent) clinical, counselling, or school psychology programs. There is considerable flexibility regarding the types of practica available, including assessment, therapy, and opportunities for research. The information on this web page briefly outlines services in which practicum opportunities are currently available. Interested students should review the internship training website for more information about psychology faculty and programs at SJHH. Students may also contact faculty members with any questions about types of practicum experiences available in a particular service.

Practica may be full-time or part-time. Generally, practica begin in May, September or January and run for 16 to 32 weeks.

Applying for a Practicum

Application Deadline:

February 3, 2014: deadline for submission of applications for Spring/Summer 2014 and Fall 2014/Winter 2015. Applications submitted after this deadline will be assessed on an individual basis.

Following a review of applications, students will be informed whether or not they will be invited to participate in an interview (phone interviews will be considered in some circumstances). Decisions about placement will be made following these interviews. Students will be notified of placement decisions on the GTA Common Notification Date by email on March 17, 2014.  

Contents of Application:

To apply for a practicum position in any program students must submit (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) undergraduate and graduate transcripts sealed in official (registrar) envelopes, (3) a letter of recommendation in a sealed envelope signed across the seal by the individual providing the recommendation and (4) a cover letter indicating what aspects of the practicum are of interest and why the student believes the practicum would address their training needs. If you indicate several areas of interest – please rank in order of preference. Please submit all of the above documents together in a single envelope when possible. It is preferable if official sealed transcripts are included in the application package rather than being sent directly by the registrar.  

General inquiries about the application process can be directed to Dr. Jelena King (contact information below). Students are also encouraged to contact supervisors in various rotations (contact information included in rotation descriptions) for more information about those specific opportunities.

Please Submit Applications To:

Jelena King, Ph.D., C.Psych
St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton
West 5th Campus
Clinical Neuropsychology Services
Reception - G150A
100 West 5th Street, Box 585
Hamilton, ON, L8N 3K7
Tel: 905-522-1155, ext. 36299
Fax: 905-381-5610

Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre

The ATRC is an outpatient specialty unit staffed by a multidisciplinary team consisting of professionals with a background in psychology, psychiatry, nursing or social work. The Centre receives more than 2,000 new referrals per year, predominantly for assessment and treatment of individuals suffering from panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Some opportunities are also available for working with patients who suffer with other anxiety-related difficulties (e.g., specific phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, and hypochondriasis). Supervision is provided by registered Psychologists (Drs. Randi McCabe, Karen Rowa, Brenda Key). There are opportunities for practicum training during the summer and during the academic year.

Training experiences may include:

  • Thorough training in diagnostic interviewing using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, initially including observing three interviews, conducting three interviews under observation, and then conducting additional interviews independently, under supervision
  • Opportunities to provide individual cognitive behavioral treatment to patients suffering from a range of anxiety disorders (e.g., panic disorder, social phobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and others)
  • Opportunities to observe treatment being delivered or to provide co-therapy with an experienced clinician
  • Opportunity to co-lead a group for panic disorder, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder with an experienced clinician (as well as weekly supervision meetings to discuss the group sessions)
  • Weekly 2-hour group supervision meetings to discuss assessment cases seen over the course of the previous week
  • Weekly individual supervision meetings (at least one hour) during which individual treatment cases are discussed
  • Opportunities for additional supervision meetings as needed
  • Opportunities to read relevant materials, watch videos of therapy being conducted, and to discuss related issues during supervision
  • Opportunities to attend and contribute to weekly research rounds presentations during which new literature is discussed
  • Opportunities to participate in ongoing research or to develop independent research projects

ATRC Contact:

Karen Rowa, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Psychologist, Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre
Tel: 905-522-1155, ext. 33656
ATRC Website

Clinical Neuropsychology Service

The Clinical Neuropsychology Service (CNS) provides comprehensive assessment of the cognitive functioning and neurological integrity of a wide range of adult inpatients and outpatients including those with medical (e.g., brain injury, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases), developmental (e.g., autistic spectrum, learning disorders), psychiatric (e.g., schizophrenia, mood/anxiety) and substance abuse disorders. The service emphasizes the neurobiological underpinnings of these conditions and attempts to integrate neuropsychological findings into the diagnostic and treatment considerations of the multidisciplinary team.

The Neuropsychology rotation includes opportunities for training under the supervision of 6 registered psychologists specializing in neuropsychology (Drs. Christina Gojmerac, Jelena King, Bruno Losier, Stephanie McDermid Vaz, Margaret McKinnon, & Heather McNeely) and two psychometrists (Catherine Dool, Mike Mosher); all of whom are actively engaged in research and evidenced-based practices and provide centralized neuropsychological and psychodiagnostic assessment services to SJHH medical and psychiatric programs. These include but are not limited to: (1)The Schizophrenia Service; (2) The Cleghorn Early Intervention in Psychosis Program; (3) Forensic Program; (4) Mood Disorders Program; (5) Geriatric Mental Health; and (6) referrals from medical programs such as Respirology, Nephrology, and Neurology.

Training experiences may include:

  • Medical chart reviews and literature reviews of pertinent evidenced-based practices and research outcomes
  • Introducing patients and their family members to assessment procedures, reviewing limits of confidentiality, and obtaining informed consent
  • Administering, scoring and interpreting, neuropsychological and psychological test measures
  • Administering structured clinical interviews, personality and psychopathology measures, and symptom validity tests to determine Axis I and Axis II diagnoses
  • Integrating test data with patient history and clinical presentation
  • Summarizing the relevant aspects of the assessment in a clinical report
  • Providing patients, caregivers, hospital staff, and team members with feedback regarding the results, implications, and recommendations from each assessment
  • Participating in multidisciplinary team meetings to assist in the assessment, treatment planning, and evaluation of outcomes for patients
  • Attend and present at bi-weekly Neuropsychology Seminar Series
  • Attend weekly Psychiatry Rounds
  • Opportunities for participation in research are also available

Please Note: Students applying for a practicum to the CNS are expected to have completed at least one graduate level course relevant to the practice of neuropsychology (e.g., intellectual and/or neuropsychological assessment, intervention).

CNS Contact:

Jelena King, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Psychologist, Centre for Mountain Health Services
St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton
Phone: 905-522-1155 ext. 36299

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

SJHH has implemented a strategic plan to provide people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) with an empirically validated treatment. This treatment is based on a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) framework, which was originally developed by Marsha Linehan. DBT is recognized to be an effective best practice approach that supports both people with BPD and clinical care teams in providing a consistent approach to care.

Practicum students will have the opportunity to provide time-limited skills training, individual therapy and skills coaching in an outpatient DBT program. Practicum students will learn how to conduct assessments to diagnose BPD and to assess for the presence of suicidal and non-suicidal self-injurious behaviors. In addition, practicum students will have the opportunity to attend interdisciplinary consultation teams and provide additional training/consultation as needed.

Supervision is provided by registered Psychologists (Dr. Lisa Burckell and Dr. Amy Wojtowicz). This practicum is designed to teach students how to conceptualize and to treat the complex, multi-diagnostic problems that individuals with BPD experience.

Please Note:A one-year commitment is required in order to be eligible to participate in this practicum opportunity.

Training experiences may include:

  • Practicum students will learn and participate in all four components that comprise outpatient DBT: 1) individual therapy; 2) skills training; 3) consultation team; 4) skills coaching
  • Supervision will focus on 1) case conceptualization from a DBT perspective, including application of the biosocial model and behavioral principles, and 2) application of DBT strategies
  • After completion of the practicum, students will possess knowledge of strategies to work effectively with challenging, complex, and difficult-to-engage clients in an outpatient setting

DBT Contact:

Lisa Burckell, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Psychologist, Borderline Personality Disorder Service
St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton
Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 38011

Eating Disorders

The Eating Disorders Clinic at St. Joseph's Healthcare is the regional centre for the treatment of adults with eating disorders in the Central South region of Ontario, providing consultation and treatment to approximately 100 patients annually. The program offers services to patients with a range of eating disorders, including Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and the spectrum of disordered eating understood as Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified. As a practicum student, you would have the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team, including a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, registered dietitian and Kinesiologist.

Training experiences may include:

  • Training in diagnostic interviewing using a semi-structured interview for eating disorders, as well as integrating information from self-report inventories into diagnostic reports and patient feedback
  • Opportunities to provide individual cognitive behavioural treatment to patients suffering from a range of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder
  • Opportunity to co-lead groups for anorexia nervosa/bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder (e.g., CBT based symptom-interruption group, body image group, and specialized focus groups on such issues as perfectionism/self-esteem)
  • Weekly 2-hour case conference meetings to discuss assessment cases seen over the course of   the previous week and ongoing group and individual treatment issues
  • Weekly individual supervision meetings during which individual treatment cases are discussed
  • Opportunities to participate in ongoing research or to develop independent research projects
  • Opportunity to learn about and participate in formal risk assessments

Eating Disorders Program Contact:

Michelle Laliberté, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Director, Eating Disorders Program
Community Psychiatry Service
St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton
Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 34093

Forensic Psychology

The Forensic Service at SJHH offers general and secure inpatient services as well as outpatient services.

Training experiences may included:

  • Training in diagnostic interviewing for both Axis I and Axis II disorders
  • Training in the assessment of Fitness to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility
  • Training in the assessment of risk for reoffending and violence
  • Opportunity to provide psychological assessments, using a wide range of psychological measures
  • Opportunity to co-lead therapy groups, specifically addressing criminogenic risk factors
  • Opportunity to work within a multidisciplinary team of professionals
  • Opportunity to assist in research projects related to the forensic field
  • Weekly individual supervision to discuss individual assessments and treatment
  • Provision and discussion of literature relevant to assessment and treatment of individuals within the Forensic system
  • Provision and discussion of literature relevant to mental health rehabilitation

Please Note: Only more senior students will be considered for this practicum (e.g., students who have completed at least one practicum involving assessment).

Forensic Psychology Service Contact:

Mini Mamak, Ed.D., C.Psych.
Senior Psychologist, Forensic Service
Centre for Mountain Health Services
St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton
Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 36601

Health Psychology

The Health Psychology practica are offered through a variety of hospital services: i) The Consultation-Liaison (CL) Psychiatry Service (Dr. Pellizzari), ii) The Women’s Health Concerns Clinic (WHCC) (Dr. Green), iii) Respiratory Rehabilitation (Dr. Pellizzari), and iv) the Pain Management Centre (Hamilton General Hospital - Dr. Pellizzari, Dr. Green). Practica training is individually tailored and may be specialty based (e.g. women’s health, chronic pain) or involve a combination of experiences with our 2 faculty members.

Training experiences include:

  • Psychological Consultation:  These experiences prepare the student to perform the role of the psychologist as a consultant in a variety of health services including:

    • inpatient acute medical/surgical settings (CL)
    • inpatient or day treatment rehabilitation settings (Respiratory Rehabilitation)
    • outpatient medical specialty clinics (Pain Management Centre, Respiratory Rehabilitation)
    • outpatient mental health specialty clinic (Women’s Health Concerns Clinic

      Consultation training may include the use of semi-structured (e.g., mental status examination) and structured (e.g., SCID-IV & M.I.N.I.) interviewing, brief self-report measures specific to various populations, and providing feedback to inter-professional team members. Typical referral requests include issues around mood, anxiety, adjustment/coping, somatization, adherence, substance use (e.g. tobacco), and preparation/candidacy for medical procedures.
  • Psychological Intervention:  Training in individual short term (e.g., 6-8 sessions), CBT-based interventions is available in all 5 settings listed above.  Additionally, with the exception of the CL service, all settings have the capacity for training in group-based treatments.  Groups are short-term and typically a combination of CBT and health education (e.g., CBT for menopausal symptoms in women; CBT-based chronic pain management; CBT/health education group for patients with lung diseases)

  • Inter-professional Care: All settings provide training in working with other health care professionals and may include attendance at various team meetings addressing client needs and referrals

Please Note: Only more senior students will be considered for this practicum (e.g., students who have completed at least one practicum involving treatment)

Health Psychology Contact:

Sheryl M. Green, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Psychologist- Women’s Health Concern’s Clinic & Consultation Liaison
Mental Health & Addictions Program
St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton
Tel:  905-522-1155 ext. 33672

Mood Disorders

The Mood Disorders Service employs a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, vocational rehabilitation therapists, and occupational therapists who assess and treat individuals with either unipolar depression or bipolar disorder. The primary treatment orientation on this rotation is cognitive behavioural, based on empirically validated protocols for the full spectrum of depression, bipolar disorder, and comorbid mood-anxiety conditions.

In addition to the clinical service, the mood disorders program incorporates a large, well-funded and internationally renowned research facility that investigates the causes and treatment of mood disorders. Current projects involve studying cognitive changes in response to cognitive behaviour therapy vs. pharmacotherapy, the efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for relapse prevention in depression, and psychological predictors of chronicity in patients with a first episode of mood disorder.

Training experiences may include:

  • Training in assessment and diagnostic interviewing for complex psychiatric patients.
  • Participation in multi-disciplinary teams treating patients with severe mood disorders
  • Opportunities to provide individual cognitive behavioral treatment to patients suffering from a range of mood disorders
  • Opportunities to observe treatment being delivered or to provide co-therapy with an experienced clinician
  • Weekly individual supervision meetings (at least one hour) during which individual treatment cases and assessment cases are discussed
  • Opportunities for additional supervision meetings as needed
  • Opportunities to read relevant materials, watch videos of therapy being conducted, and to discuss these during supervision

Mood Disorders Program Contact:

Peter J. Bieling, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Psychologist, Mood Disorders Service
Centre for Mountain Health Services
St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton
Tel: 905-522-1155, ext. 36403

Schizophrenia Services

Schizophrenia Services at SJHH is a large service that includes three inpatient wards (assessment, treatment, psychosocial rehabilitation) and outpatient services(community clinic, first episode program, rehabilitation services) for individuals with schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum related problems. Primary practicum training is in inpatient services which includes psychological assessments, intervention and consultation.

Training experiences may include:

  • Training in diagnostic interviewing, including observing interviews, conducting interviews under observation, and conducting interviews independently
  • Opportunity to provide psychological assessments, including diagnostic and personality assessments using a wide range of psychological tests (e.g., MMPI-2, PAI, MCMI-III and projective tests)
  • Opportunity to provide inpatient and outpatient individual psychotherapy to persons with serious mental illness. Training can be provided in a number of different modalities, including interpersonal, CBT, supportive
  • Opportunity to co-lead a psychotherapy group for person's experiencing auditory hallucinations and delusions
  • Weekly individual supervision to discuss individual assessments and treatment
  • Provision and discussion of literature relevant to assessment and treatment of psychotic and related disorders
  • Opportunity to attend and participate in monthly Schizophrenia Round Table discussions
  • Opportunity to contribute to quarterly Schizophrenia newsletter "Our Voice."
  • Opportunity to attend various team meetings in the program to discuss client care

Schizophrenia Services Contact:

Sandra McNally, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Psychologist, Schizophrenia Services
Centre for Mountain Health Services
St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton
Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 36789