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Program Information


Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
Department of Psychiatry of the
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


ApplicationDeadline November 1, 2015
Invitations Extended for InterviewsNovember 24, 2015
InterviewsJanuary 8 and 15, 2016
Match DayFebruary 19, 2016
Start DateSeptember 1, 2016

Table of Contents


Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC), part of the University Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine offer an American Psychological Association (APA)-accredited internship in clinical psychology. Our program is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (, and adheres to a “clinical science” model of training and professional development in which the primary principles are a commitment to empiricism for guiding both clinical and scientific work and an emphasis on the reciprocal relationship between clinical practice and the development and investigation of important questions for clinical research.

Program accreditation:
APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: (202) 336-5979

APPIC Program Information:
Program:  Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
APPIC Program Code Number: 154411
APPIC Program Description: Psychology Internship


The internship year includes rotations in both inpatient and outpatient settings; individual and group supervision in adult and child assessment and intervention; weekly clinical and didactic seminars; attendance at case conferences, grand rounds, educational conferences, and guest lectures by scholars in various mental health disciplines; and an opportunity to pursue clinical research activities.

We have three general goals for the program:

  1. Develop and consolidate clinical skills in psychiatric assessment, conceptualization, and evidence-based psychological interventions.
  2. Provide broad clinical experience within multidisciplinary treatment and research teams located within a university-based medical center.
  3. Consolidate and enhance skills in clinical psychological science and supplement the clinical experience with adequate time and resources for empirical exploration of a specialty area.

Interns gain expertise in the following areas:

  • Development and consolidation of clinical skills in psychiatric assessment, diagnosis, and case conceptualization;
  • Increased familiarity and proficiency with evidence-based psychological interventions;
  • Increased effectiveness working as a scientifically trained clinical psychologist within multidisciplinary treatment and research teams located within a university-based medical setting;
  • Increased competence in critically evaluating, disseminating, and utilizing empirical research findings across clinical contexts;
  • Completion of a small research project within a selected clinical science specialty area


Because of the size and diversity of our divisions of adult and child psychiatry, one of the strengths of the program is our ability to train students with interests in adult psychopathology, problems of childhood and adolescence, or both. At the beginning of the year, a rotation schedule for the entire year is developed collaboratively with each intern. We are committed to general clinical training.  Thus, interns are required to have experience with adults and children as well as inpatients and outpatients. Within this framework, there is considerable flexibility regarding specific rotations. The year is divided into four quarters (three-month periods), and rotations are typically selected either to be half-time (two days per week, Monday through Thursday) or quarter-time (one day per week) for three or six months. In developing individual rotation schedules, all interns are expected to meet the following program requirements:

  1. Participation in Friday morning group supervision and didactic sessions. These weekly seminars are coordinated by the internship training directors and cover a wide variety of content and process areas, including basic training in empirically supported treatments such as Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), ethical issues for psychologists, issues of individual and cultural diversity, and theory and methods of supervision.
  2. A rotation in the Diagnostic Evaluation Center (DEC). This half-time, three-month rotation in the psychiatric emergency room provides interns with the opportunity to enhance their assessment, diagnostic, and triage skills in an evaluation setting that provides exposure to a variety of acutely ill psychiatric patients.
  3. Experience with severely and persistently ill patients. All interns are required to complete at least one rotation that focuses on the assessment and treatment of severely and persistently ill psychiatric patients. Relevant rotations include the inpatient psychiatric units, the Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs), and Service and Research for Recovery in Severe Mental Illness program.
  4. A minimum caseload of two outpatients in psychotherapy treated with evidence-based psychological interventions (e.g., the repertoire of clinical tools available in such models as interpersonal psychotherapy, IPT; dialectical behavior therapy, DBT; or cognitive-behavior therapy, CBT). All interns are expected to carry an outpatient caseload of at least two patients seen through the WPIC Psychotherapy Training Clinic (PTC). As part of this experience, interns are partnered with licensed PhD supervisors to obtain weekly, individual supervision.
  5. Completion of a research project. All interns are expected to devote 10% effort toward developing and completing a research project in conjunction with a research mentor. Interns are expected to identify a research mentor during the first 4-6 weeks of the training program. Typical research projects include analyses of archival data sets, development of a peer-reviewed paper or poster presentation, a specified literature review, or development of a small pilot study. This requirement ensures that interns gain experience in programmatic clinical research during their tenure at WPIC.  For interns who choose to stay in the department for postdoctoral clinical research fellowships, research initiated during internship year provides a basis for the remaining years of postdoctoral research training.


A representative schedule for an intern with a primary adult focus could include:

First quarter (September–November)
Diagnostic Evaluation Center (two days)
Services for Teens at Risk (two days)

Second quarter (December–February)
Services for Teens at Risk (two days)
Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute (two days)

Third quarter (March–May)
Pain Evaluation and Treatment Institute (two days)
Behavioral Medicine in Oncology (two days)

Fourth quarter (June–August)
Inpatient Unit: Psychotic Disorders Inpatient (three days)
Behavioral Medicine in Oncology (one day)

A schedule for an intern with a focus on childhood and adolescence could include:

First quarter (September–November)
Family Therapy Training Center (one day)
Child Development Unit (two days)
Sleep Medicine (one day)

Second quarter (December–February)
Family Therapy Training Center (one day)
Eating Disorders Clinic (two days)
Sleep Medicine (one day)

Third quarter (March–May)
Eating Disorders Clinic (two days)
Women’s Intensive Outpatient Program (two days)

Fourth quarter (June–August)
Diagnostic Evaluation Center (two days)
Children’s Hospital Consultation/Liaison Service (two days)

Throughout the year interns also participate in ongoing activities, which occur as rotation schedules permit (during unscheduled hours in outpatient rotations; late in the day during inpatient rotations and Friday afternoons):

  • clinical research practicum (10 percent effort)
  • longitudinal outpatient cases (PTC) and supervision
  • group supervision and didactic experiences (Friday mornings)



Five candidates are selected as interns each year. For the first year, interns are awarded a stipend of $24,000. In addition, $1,000 is available for professional development activities (for example, travel to scientific meetings), and individual or family health insurance is provided. Ten days of vacation are granted and six days may be used for professional activities. The first year of the program is considered a predoctoral internship, whereas the later years are supported as postdoctoral fellowships through a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) institutional training grant. Prior to beginning the postdoctoral program, trainees must have completed all of the requirements for the doctoral degree. New postdoctoral fellows are paid based on current NIMH stipend amounts. The Department of Psychiatry supplements these stipends as well, and the training grant also includes support for travel to scientific meetings ($1,000 per year). Only those students who expect to complete their doctoral requirements prior to the second year of the program will be considered for postdoctoral fellowships.


Trainees selected for the WPIC program must come from APA-accredited PhD programs in clinical psychology. In addition, we belong to the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS) and endorse its mission statement, which emphasizes the integration of research and clinical training and a commitment to empirically informed approaches to clinical work. We encourage applications from students in graduate programs that belong to the Academy, but we do not limit admission to students from these programs.

Our program emphasizes training for clinical psychologists who have strong research backgrounds and who are interested in academic careers. Accordingly, we request that applicants submit a curriculum vitae that describes research experience (research assistant/associate experience, familiarity and experience with research assessments, experience on federally funded projects) and research productivity (publications and presentations). In the screening and selection process, we pay most attention to the academic vitae of applicants. Candidates must have demonstrated interest in and aptitude for conducting clinical research that exceeds the minimum requirements of a master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. In addition, there must be evidence of written and verbal skills in scholarly communication, such as publication of peer-reviewed papers or presentations at national and regional professional meetings.

The internship program at WPIC provides intensive clinical experience, enabling interns to treat patients suffering from major psychiatric disorders. Therefore, it is essential that candidates have considerable supervised clinical experience. Students from clinical training programs that do not provide extensive practicum experience are unsuitable for the WPIC program.

Following internship, many trainees remain at WPIC to assume postdoctoral research training fellowships. Alternately, a proportion of trainees begin full-time positions as faculty members or senior research staff at various universities. Our goal is to identify and encourage interns whose ambitions focus on careers in academic research settings.


For those who elect to stay at WPIC for further research training, the postdoctoral years consist of a full-time apprenticeship in clinical research. Trainees usually continue under the supervision of the mentor with whom they worked on a part-time basis during internship; occasionally, fellows start with a new mentor. In addition, trainees may select a secondary research preceptor. A trainee who is interested in mood disorders, for example, might choose to work with a secondary mentor whose interests include psychopathologies frequently associated with affective problems (for example, eating disorders, personality disorders). Research mentors are chosen from a large number of WPIC faculty (see below for a partial listing). Although the emphasis is on research, the nature of the work is usually linked to further enhancement of clinical skills. Thus, up to 20 percent effort might be devoted to further clinical training (that is, integrated clinical and research experiences).

Postdoctoral fellows develop several specific competencies, including:

  • experience in assuming responsibility for the conduct of clinical research
  • advanced clinical experience in a research-related area
  • preparation of competitive grant applications


At the postdoctoral level, we offer a core seminar in collaboration with other
postdoctoral training programs at WPIC. This seminar addresses topics of
professional socialization including:

  • opportunities for external research funding (including federal agencies, private foundations, and corporate sources)
  • development and submission of applications for research funding (including peer review of applications as they are being written)
  • peer review and funding processes within federal agencies
  • research communication skills (including the development of manuscripts for publication, discussions of how to serve as an editorial reviewer, and development of oral communication skills)
  • research ethics (including potential conflicts between research and clinical priorities)
  • procedures for obtaining consent from human subjects
  • development of collaborative relationships in a multidisciplinary medical setting
  • strategies for finding jobs (including the pros and cons of academic positions in medical settings versus arts and sciences departments)
  • alternate career paths within academic settings
  • preparation of a curriculum vitae
  • dissemination of scientific finding to the public and practitioners

The seminar concludes each spring with the annual fellows review the status of their current work, report important results, and describe future directions.

Trainees may enroll in courses offered by various departments of the University on an individual basis. Tuition support for such courses is available. Since trainees are involved in research within their area of clinical interest, advanced clinical training in the specialty area is also encouraged.


Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicWPIC, part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), opened in the early 1940s to serve as a psychiatric facility for teaching and research. Today, WPIC houses the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as well as research laboratories and patient care facilities. The training programs offered by WPIC constitute a major educational resource for mental health professionals in southwestern Pennsylvania. WPIC, an integral component of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, operates numerous outpatient clinics and inpatient units, providing a variety of training experiences for the mental health professional. Research programs are designed to improve treatments for psychiatric disorders, to explicate the etiology and pathogenesis of major mental illnesses, and to improve current diagnostic procedures. Investigations range across the spectrum of basic and applied study of psychopathology.


Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh has earned a reputation as a center for science, education, and the arts. Extensive redevelopment has occurred in the metropolitan area, with a significant shift away from heavy industry and a new emphasis on biomedical and applied technology enterprises. Cultural activities abound in Pittsburgh, with regular performances by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, one of the world’s premier orchestras; the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre; the Pittsburgh Public Theater; and the Pittsburgh Opera. Museum lovers will enjoy The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, including the outstanding Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Science Center, and Andy Warhol Museum. Other attractions, within minutes of the University of Pittsburgh campus, include several large parks, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, the National Aviary, Phipps Conservatory, and the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center.


Michele D. Levine, PhD
Co-Director, Psychology Internship Program
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

Tina R. Goldstein, PhD
Co-Director, Psychology Internship Program
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Paul A. Pilkonis, PhD
Director Emeritus, Psychology Internship Program
Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

Marsha D. Marcus, PhD
Director Emeritus, Psychology Internship Program
Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

Erika E. Forbes, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Ellen Frank, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

Frank A. Ghinassi, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Gretchen L. Haas, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Benjamin L. Handen, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Psychology, and Instruction and Learning (Education)

David J. Kolko, PhD
Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychology, and Pediatrics

Brooke S. G. Molina, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

Michael Pogue-Geile, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry

Stephanie Stepp, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Holly Swartz, MD
Medical Director
Professor of Psychiatry

Jennifer Wildes, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry


This list represents only a sample of possible research mentors. We attempt to match interns with faculty mentors who best suit their training needs.  For a full list of faculty members, please visit

David A. Brent, MD
Childhood Depression, Suicide

Meryl Butters, PhD
Neuropsychological and Imaging Methods, Late-life Depression/Dementia Interface

Daniel J. Buysse, MD
Sleep Studies

Erika E. Forbes, PhD
Child and Adolescent Affective Disorders, Neurobiology of Affect Regulation

Peter Franzen, PhD
Sleep and Sleep Disorders, Affective Neuroscience, Adolescent Development

Jay Fournier, PhD
Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience of Personality and Depression

Anne Germain, PhD
Sleep, Trauma, Military, Neuroimaging
Tina R. Goldstein, PhD
Behavioral Interventions for Bipolar Disorder in Youth

Gretchen L. Haas, PhD
Psychotic Disorders, Suicidal Behavior

Benjamin L. Handen, PhD
Autism, Psychopharmacology, Alzheimer’s Disease in Down Syndrome

Brant Hasler, PhD
Sleep/Circadian Rhythms, Affective Neuroscience, Mood and Substance Use Disorders

Alison Hipwell, PhD
Developmental Risk Factors, Developmental Psychopathology

David J. Kolko, PhD
Child Psychopathology, Behavior Therapy

Michele D. Levine, PhD
Women’s Health Behaviors, Smoking Cessation, and Obesity

Oliver Lindhiem, PhD
Parenting, mHealth, Statistics and Measurement

Marsha D. Marcus, PhD
Obesity and Eating Disorders, Behavioral Medicine

Karen A. Matthews, PhD
Behavioral Medicine, Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Carla Mazefsky, PhD
Autism, Emotion Regulation, Psychiatric Inpatients

Brooke S. G. Molina, PhD
Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Adolescent Substance Abuse

Sarah Pedersen, PhD
Alcohol Problems, Impulsivity, Intoxicated Decision Making

Paul A. Pilkonis, PhD
Personality Disorders, Treatment Research 

Stephanie Stepp, PhD
Borderline Personality Disorder, Adolescent Development

Holly Swartz, MD
Bipolar Disorder, Maternal Depression, Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Rebecca Thurston, PhD
Behavioral Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, Menopause, Women's Health, Integrated
  Care Models

Jennifer Wildes, PhD
Eating Disorders
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