Patton State Hospital is the largest forensic hospital in the United States, housing over 1500 patients (about 300 female). The patient population is ethnically and socioeconomically diverse, and there is a strong emphasis (experiential and didactic) on developing and furthering cultural competence during the internship. Patton has a monolingual Spanish-speaking unit and a unit for deaf and hard of hearing patients.
Most criminal forensic legal commitment types are represented including not guilty by reason of insanity, incompetent to stand trial, prison to hospital transfers, parolees, sex offenders, and civilly committed patients who are too dangerous to be managed in a less secure setting.
Patton's internship has a strong emphasis on developing assessment, treatment, and consultation skills. Interns complete a large number of assessments during the year covering a wide range of topics and referral questions. Interns in our forensic concentration gain significant exposure to forensic assessment and interns in our neuropsychology concentration gain significant exposure to neuropsychological assessment. In addition to conducting assessments throughout the year, interns co-lead psychoeducational and process therapy groups. Each intern carries at least 3 long term treatment cases (at least 1 male, 1 female, and 1 from a cultural background different from the intern). The primary theoretical orientation covered in seminars is cognitive behavioral. Interns also have opportunities to conduct therapy with other treatment approaches depending on intern interests and supervisor availability. Didactic seminars are run throughout the year with sections on cultural issues, ethics, assessment, psychotherapy, forensic psychology, neuropsychology, foresic case law, and supervision.
While one goal of internship is to develop strong general clinical skills, focused concentrations are available in forensic psychology, neuropsychology, and general clinical psychology. Continuing education workshops are provided at Patton. All interns participate in ongoing research groups (see website for current research projects). Benefits include vacation, dissertation and sick time, and health, dental, and vision insurance. Patton also has postdoctoral fellowships in Forensic Psychology (one year fellowship approved for AAFP experience waiver) and Neuropsychology (two year APPCN fellowship).
COVID19 UPDATE--Due to the COVID19 pandemic, modifications have been put into place to ensure the safety of interns and patients while also continuing to meet the training needs of interns and the goals of the internship. During the COVID19 pandemic, interns have been doing a mix of on-site training and teleworking. Telework days are rotated so that interns are not sharing live office space on the same days. Staff wear masks whenever at the facility and N95 masks and face shields are provided to interns for visits to patient units. Interns do not provide in-person treatment to individuals known or suspected to have COVID19. Many safety procedures are in place including daily temperature checks and health questions that must be answered before any staff member enters the facility.
Interns continue to complete a similar number of assessments and have a similar number of individual therapy cases. Interns are provided with identical seminars and supervision, but these activities are conducted via live video-conference. Assessment report writing generally occurs while teleworking through an HIPPA-compliant online platform, which allows secure access to electronic documents stored at the hospital. In order to reduce the number of individuals in a room at any given time, instead of running treatment groups, the group members are visited weekly for brief individual check-ins by group facilitators.