• court room

Training Activities

The Program provides specialized forensic training through the following types of weekly activities:

  • Applied Forensic Clinical Experience (about 32 hrs./week)
  • Weekly Seminars (about 4-5 hrs./week), and
  • Research Experience (about 4 hrs./week).
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Applied Forensic Clinical Experience

Every resident obtains applied forensic experience in several different types of forensic settings. 

There are two broad types of forensic settings for adults in Massachusetts: inpatient forensic evaluation units, and court clinics. (Court clinics consist of groups of professionals who provide on-site forensic evaluations and consultation to the courts.) We believe that it is consistent with good preparation for a forensic psychology career for residents to obtain experience in both of these types of settings. In addition, we have one rotation, assessing individuals with problematic sexual behaviors, in a community setting. 

We have three positions available which includes work in inpatient settings, court clinics, and community settings. The inpatient settings include Department of Mental Health state hospitals. Each resident is also assigned to a court clinic for a rotation. In addition to court-ordered evaluations, there are opportunities to provide violence risk assessment consultations to hospitals and community providers as well as assessments of individuals with sexually problematic behaviors. Additional rotations, dependent on the interest of residents, may also be available.

Forensic Experience Training Sites

We collaborate with several public sector forensic evaluation services and teams throughout Massachusetts to provide the above training experiences. The following are brief descriptions of those sites.

Inpatient Sites

Inpatient Sites

WRCH small.jpgWorcester Recovery Center Hospital (WRCH): is adjacent to the UMMS campus, is a Department of Mental Health facility that provides both treatment and evaluation services to both men and women. Forensic evaluation services are provided by a  team of Forensic Psychologists through a contract with UMMS Law and Psychiatry Program. This team provides the courts pre and post trial evaluations (e.g. competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility, aid in sentencing, as well as need for commitment) of defendants, as well as prisiones in need of treatment.  Violence risk assessments are also provided to the treatment teams regarding patients with violence histories who are being considered for increased privileges or discharges. Consultations may also be provided to outpatient providers regarding clients with significant histories of violence. In addition, similar services may be provided at other Department of Mental Health facilities.  

Outpatient Sites

Outpatient Sites

Adult Court Clinic Services (District and Superior Courts): are provided by specially designated forensic psychologists and psychiatrists. Professionals in these settings provide forensic mental health screening evaluations (e.g., competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility, aid in sentencing, civil commitment, commitment of individuals with substance use disorders) , consultation and liaison to judges, court personnel, and community mental health agencies. Supervision of residents in the court clinics will be provided by highly experienced forensic psychologists. We have arrangements with several court clinics in different parts of the Commonwealth to provide placements for our residents. The decision about court clinic placements is a flexible one, taking into account the needs of the courts as well as the geographic preferences of the residents. 

Mentally Ill Problematic Sexual Behavior (MIPSB) Services: In addition, Residents will participate in a rotation to provide exposure to the assessment and treatment of Department of Mental Health clients who have engaged in sexually problematic behaviors. The rotation will include conducting assessments that incorporate clinical interview, review and integration of collateral information, and empirically-based actuarial and structured professional judgment measures. In addition, the rotation provides exposure to evidence-based treatments for these individuals, as well as dynamic risk assessment measures that examine changes in treatment over time for this population. These evaluations are conducted at the Brocton Multi Service Center in Brockton, MA.

Supervision

Supervision

Supervision of all forensic evaluations is provided by forensic psychologists who have been certified by the Department of Mental Health. Supervisors at all sites prepare written evaluations of Residents each quarter.  These are sent to Dr. Packer, the Program director. The director reviews these evaluations with the Residents and sets goals and expectations for satisfactory completion of the rotations. Residents are asked to provide mid-year and final evaluations of their supervision (and all other aspects of the training program). In addition, fellows will have weekly individual supervision sessions with Dr. Packer to integrate their clinical and didactic experiences as well as regular sessions with their research supervisor (Dr. Gina Vincent) focusing on research topics.

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