VA Palo Alto Health Care System (Palo Alto, CA)

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We have an ACT friendly internship program here at Palo Alto VA with an opportunity to be trained in ACT and co-lead ACT groups.

I also run an ACT Mini-Rotation.

Purpose of Mini Rotation:

Many individuals suffering from mental health issues often actively work to avoid their personal experiences of emotion, thought and sensation. However, these very actions often result in loss and increased suffering. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a behaviorally based intervention designed to address avoidance of internal events and the role that language plays in human suffering. The therapy specifically uses a number of verbal, experiential and homework interventions to help patients make experiential contact with previously avoided private events (thoughts, feelings, sensations), without excessive verbal involvement and control – and to make powerful life enhancing choices. ACT is a manual-based intervention that can be applied with a number of populations. The proposed mini-rotation will provide a combination of didactic and supervised clinical experience in the use of ACT with PTSD patients at the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD).

Structure of the Mini-Rotation:

Time Commitment: Trainees interested in the mini-rotation would agree to participate as a co-facilitator/trainee in group psychotherapy sessions. The group time-slots depend on the unit where the therapy is being conducted. All ACT groups are currently being held at the Menlo Park Division. Trainees would also be expected to attend a weekly, one-hour, individual or group supervision and read relevant materials. The time commitment is approximately 4 hours per week. The trainee needs to negotiate with the supervisors of his/her major rotations for the necessary time or do this rotation as an add-on above the basic 40 hours.

Robyn D. Walser, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Education
National Center for PTSD, Dissemination and Training Division
VA Palo Alto Health Care System


Updated 4/26/14

Place: Palo Alto VA
APA Accreditation: Accredited
Training Director & Lead / Director: Jeanette Hsu
Chief Psychologist: Steven Lovett
Positions: 14
Stipend: 28382
Primary Agency Type: Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Descriptor The VA Palo Alto Health Care System Psychology Internship program is committed to the scientist-practitioner model of psychology. The internship program at VA Palo Alto is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, a coalition of doctoral training programs and internship sites that share a goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems. Palo Alto has many strengths in training including opportunities to gain both breadth and depth in multiple areas. There are opportunities for training in interventions with adults and families and in psychological/neuropsychological assessment within: geriatric settings; medically-based settings including primary care, specialty medical clinics, and rehabilitation; inpatient, residential, and outpatient mental health settings; trauma treatment settings; and substance use disorder treatment settings. We also offer rotations to enhance skills in clinical research and program evaluation. Our limitations include few clinical opportunities to see children, except as part of family treatment, or to work with developmentally-disabled adults. Assignment to rotations and selection of supervisors is based primarily on the intern's training needs and interests, and are determined after the Match. The internship year is divided into two six-month periods. Within each 6-month period, interns spend half-time at each of two sites. There also are some optional mini-rotations that require from 3 to 6 hours per week, which add extra hours to our basic 40 hour work week. In addition to training assignments, interns have Wednesday afternoons set aside for a year-long intern seminar series. We believe that psychologists should be prepared to work as members of interprofessional health care teams, interacting collaboratively with the full range of disciplines that provide health care services. Most of our care settings are interprofessional.