Post-Doctoral Psychology Training Program

Student Counseling Service (SCS) is a comprehensive student mental health clinic that is available to all undergraduate and graduate students who have paid the Student Life Fee at the University of Chicago. SCS provides individual, couple, and group therapy, crisis intervention, academic skills assessment, alcohol/drug abuse intervention, psychopharmacology, consultation to faculty and staff, and 24-hour/365-day emergency on-call phone service.

Students served are adolescents and adults who bring with them a range of psychological difficulties that are very similar to what one would see in a standard outpatient clinic. And as a highly competitive, internationally recognized university, there is a great deal of ethnic diversity within the student body and the students seeking services at the clinic.

SCS offers training opportunities to pre-doctoral clinical psychology trainees seeking an advanced psychotherapy externship and post-doctoral trainees in clinical, counseling, community, or health psychology. The goals and objectives of the training program are as follows:

  1. To prepare trainees for a career in clinical psychology via mentorship and role-modeling.
  2. To expose trainees to a wide variety of clinical experiences and interventions in keeping with a generalist model of clinical psychology.
  3. To immerse trainees in the range of activities typically encountered at a college counseling center in preparation for working in a college setting in the future.
  4. To enhance trainees’ clinical competence and knowledge in working with a diverse population through didactic and training experiences.

Trainees have the opportunity to be immersed in a supportive, nurturing, and intellectually challenging environment that will serve as an excellent segue to future professional life. The staff at SCS possesses a wide variety of clinical interests and theoretical orientations, and is deeply committed to providing an enriching and comprehensive clinical experience to trainees.

Psychotherapy (20–25 hours per week)

Given the number of students served at SCS, a brief treatment model is the norm, with approved exceptions made when clinically appropriate. Post-docs will be allowed to carry three extended psychotherapy cases as a way of gaining a more intensive clinical experience. Selecting good long-term cases will be determined collaboratively between the post-doc annd his/her primary supervisor. There will also be opportunities to see couples if interested.

Intake Assessments (5–8 hours per week)

Intake assessments are performed on every student seeking services at SCS for the purpose of getting a rough diagnostic impression and making appropriate dispositions, the options of which are typically seeing the student for a brief course of psychotherapy and/or assigning the student to an SCS psychiatrist for a psychiatric evaluation. Referrals will be made to community-based providers when more open-ended psychotherapy seems warranted. With SCS serving as the gate-keeper to students seeking long-term treatment through the University Student Health Insurance Plan (U-SHIP), post-docs will become familiar with SCS’s referral process and network.

Group Psychotherapy (1–2 hours per week when groups are running)

While individual psychotherapy is predominant at SCS, there are a variety of opportunities for post-docs to lead or co-lead groups with staff or externs. Post-docs will be encouraged to lead/co-lead two groups over the course of the academic year.

“Let’s Talk” Counseling Services (3 hours per week when assigned to a Let’s Talk office)

Adopted from Cornell University’s Counseling Center, this innovative program involves the creation of various drop-in offices on campus to assist students who might be reluctant to seek psychological services through traditional means by offering more informal contact that may serve as a prelude to seeking services at SCS.

Secondary Supervision of Extern (1 hour per week - varies)

Post-docs will have the opportunity to provide an extern with one hour of weekly secondary supervision to become acquainted with having a supervisory role and responsibilities.

Day-Call Emergency Coverage (4–5 hours/week- only when covering for daytime crisis counselor)

Post-docs will be part of the rotating staff on-call system, setting aside time (either morning or afternoon one day per week) to see emergency walk-in appointments during standard business hours.

Night-Call Emergency Coverage

Post-docs will be expected to have access to their cell phone for one week during each of the four quarters of the academic year. They will be supported by a psychiatric back-up, as well as their primary supervisor, should the call necessitate a possible hospitalization of a student or be of a complicated nature.

Outreach (varies)

SCS is committed to doing outreach on campus to increase our visibility and provide psychoeducation when requested. With the assistance of staff, post-docs will be expected to help at “tabling events” as well as planned psychoeducational events on an as needed basis. Additional supervision will be provided as needed.

Administrative Time (1–2 hours per week as needed)

Time will be allotted for post-docs to complete necessary paperwork: progress notes, termination summaries, referrals, etc.

Participation on Training Committee and other SCS committees (varies)

Post-docs can assist the coordinator of psychology training in reviewing application materials and selecting trainees for the following academic year.

Special Topics Seminar (1 hour per week, when scheduled)

Post-docs will assist staff in presenting a variety of clinical topics to the extern training cohort. Particular attention is paid to issues of diversity.

Individual Supervision (1 hour per week)

Post-docs will receive one hour of individual supervision per week from a senior staff member who is responsible for reviewing and monitoring the post-doc’s case laod.

Multidisciplinary Treatment Team (1 hour per week)

Post-docs will be assigned to a seven to nine member multidisciplinary staff treatment team where cases will be presented and discussed.

Sup of Sup (every other week)

Post-Docs will receive joint supervision by a senior staff member of their secondary supervision.

The application process for post-doctoral applications is handled through the University of Chicago Human Resources Department at jobs.uchicago.edu. The position will be listed (in December/January) as a Clinical Psychology Trainee position, but it is a post-doctorate position.  

The post-doc position is from September 1 through August 31 and is paid on a biweekly basis. This is a benefits-eligible position. The post-doc will have his/her own office with a phone, computer, and University email address. Training with respect to our electronic medical record system and scheduling program will be provided. The post-doc will accumulate supervised hours and experience sufficient to sit for the state licensing exam.

Trainee Evaluation, Grievance, and Due Process Procedures

At the end of each quarter, the trainee will receive a formal written evaluation on his/her performance in all areas of training by his/her primary supervisor. Performance evaluations will be discussed by the SCS Training Committee to ensure that high ethical and clinical standards are being maintained and that all trainee expectations are being met. In the event that there is a problem with a trainee’s performance, SCS has in place Grievance and Due Process Procedures that clarify remediation steps. These procedures are in place to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all trainees and staff at SCS. All trainees are expected to be acquainted with SCS policies and procedures as outlined in our Policies and Procedures Manual that is distributed at the Trainee Orientation.

Additionally, trainees will evaluate their primary supervisor at the end of each quarter so as to ensure that their expectations are being met. In the event that there is a problem with a supervisor, the director of training will first attempt to resolve it by informal means and, if necessary, a Grievance and Due Process Procedure.

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