General Clinical Program (GCP): Psychological Services for Children, Adolescents, Adults, and their Families Program
The GCP provides psychological services to a broad population that request psychological services for a wide variety of reasons. The clients are also referred from public and private agencies, schools, as well as from professional private practices. Parents or legal guardians often solicit services to treat their children diagnosed with or suffering from symptoms related to ADHD, Major Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Eating Disorders, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, Learning Disorders, among others. The GCP also serves self-referred adults presenting similar diagnosis, as well as other conditions related to family problems, substance abuse, mood, personality, and adjustment disorders, trauma, partner relational problems, and occupational problems, among others. The CA serves a wide-range population with the exception of clients who are involved in legal disputes, those who may be chronically mentally ill or those with chronic histories of substance abuse.
Interns assigned to the GCP provide individual, couple, family and group psychotherapy and psychological assessment services. The Center provides psychological services to a diverse population such as: preschoolers, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly. Interns are involved in crisis intervention management, administrative and clinical guidance to practicum students and case consultation to school directors, parents, judicial system, and social workers.
Domestic Violence Program (DVP)
The DVP provides specific psychological services to women and their children that have experienced domestic violence. These services may include orientation, counseling, consultation, individual, family therapy, psychological assessment, and referrals, among others.
The main purpose of the Program is to provide clients with essential skills for overcoming the trauma of the experience, and enable them to acquire a sense of empowerment on their life conditions and move on from abusive relationships.
Interns assigned to this program will gain competencies in: understanding the legal concepts required to advocate for those who have experienced domestic violence, crisis intervention, development of strategic safety plans for clients who may be in imminent danger, psychological and psychometric evaluations focused on the emotional traumatic effects domestic violence has had on the victims, play therapy for children secondary victims of domestic violence, therapeutic strategies to work with domestic violence and sexual abuse and individual and family therapy. Interns will also gain competency in providing consultation to other professionals in the area of trauma and psychological effects of domestic violence. Interns participate in clinical case conferences every three weeks with the director of the program, clinical supervisors and practicum students.
The Sexual Abuse Support Program for Children and their Families (PAF)
The PAF operates under the support of the Administration for Families and Children of the Government of Puerto Rico. The Family Preservation Grants of the United States Government funds this program. This is a specialized program that annually provides individual and group psychotherapy to approximately eight hundred and fifty, sexually abused children and adolescents. This program has facilities located in Puerta de Tierra, a mile and a half away from the main CA’s site.
The main objectives of PAF are to:
a. Provide psychotherapeutic services (individual, family or group) to sexually abused children and their families.
b. Perform forensic sexual abuse allegation assessments.
c. Provide psychological consultation to Social Workers and foster parents from the Administration for Families and Children of the Government of Puerto Rico that are in charge of the care of children who have been sexually abused, to police and prosecutors.
d. Promote and develop specialized training to mental health providers in order to determine the best practice for assessing and treating sexually victimized children.
e. Develop and promote research in this area of specialization. Doctoral students at UA regularly conduct their research with data from this Program. PAF continues to encourage research among doctoral dissertation students, interns and staff.
The interns recruited to this program will have the opportunity to be trained in forensic assessments, identification of sexually victimized children, consultation with interdisciplinary groups, and effective evidence-based treatments and approaches with this specialized population. The interns will also have the opportunity to engage in research, if interested. PAF receives referrals from Social Workers of the Department of Family and Protective Services. The process of assessing allegations of sexual abuse is based on a Forensic Comprehensive Model (Kuehnle, 2009, 1996; Cantón Duarte y Cortés, 2008; Faller, 2007, 2003), along with the guidelines of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC, 1997). PAF is involved and collaborates with the legal procedures, ensuring that child protection and therapeutic treatment occurs shortly after the allegations.
The clinical staff conducts weekly multidisciplinary case conference meetings to review the client’s psychotherapeutic treatment plans, goals, the forensic evaluation process, and results.
The Interns who complete their internship in this specialized program have the opportunity to participate in a forensic scenario, refining their individual, group, family clinical skills, and forensic assessments and skills.
Interns receive specialized training in the management and treatment of sexual abuse. Some of the areas or topics that are covered in the didactics are: child development, assessment of allegations of sexual abuse and treatment for victims of sexual abuse and their families. They also perform a broad variety of case consultations with social workers, attorneys, physicians, prosecutors, and other professionals related to the legal system, including training and consulting in expert witness dynamics, as well as writing forensic reports. Interns participate in clinical case conferences with an interdisciplinary team every third week.