Department of State Hospitals - Patton: Psychology Training - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between the internship, fellowship, and practicum training programs?

The three training programs are designed for different levels of training. All training programs require enrollment in or graduation from a doctoral program (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology.

The practicum placement is designed for doctoral students in their third or fourth year of graduate school. The practicum is an 18-hour per week volunteer placement focused on developing psychological assessment skills in a forensic setting. Because the practicum is a part-time placement designed to be completed concurrently with graduate coursework at the student’s graduate school, it is geared toward students from local graduate schools.

The APA-accredited internship is a full-time (40 hour per week) internship placement that is usually completed in the final year of a clinical psychology doctoral program. Because this is a full-time program, our interns come from graduate schools around the U.S. and, sometimes, outside of the U.S.

The postdoctoral fellowship is designed for recent graduates of clinical psychology doctoral programs who wish to receive advanced training in forensic psychology or clinical neuropsychology. The forensic fellowship is a one-year program, and the neuropsychology fellowship is a two-year program.

We do not have any formal training programs for undergraduate students, but we occasionally have volunteer positions for undergraduate students who wish to work as research assistants. These positions do not involve direct patient contact, but occasionally research assistants are able to observe treatment groups with patient consent.

What is the application process?

The application process is different for each of the three programs. The DSH-Patton internship is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and our intern positions are selected through the APPIC match. Details on the match process can be found on the APPIC website. This internship site agrees to abide by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept, or use any ranking-related information from any intern applicant. A description of our internship application process can be found on the Application Procedure portion of our website. Once completed applications are received, qualified applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview. To reduce the cost for applicants, all interviews are conducted via an internet-based teleconference platform. Although internship offers are made in February, actual employment in September is contingent on passing a physical examination (including a drug-screening) and a security clearance following fingerprinting.

Our fellowship has a separate application process, which is outlined in the fellowship application portion of the website. Our neuropsychology fellowship/residency is a member of APPCN and participates in the APPCN match. Our forensic fellowship does not participate in a formal matching process.

Our practicum does not participate in the Southern California Association for Practicum Training (SCAPT) match process but does follow the SCAPT early notification dates. More information can be found on the Practicum link on this website. We do not have any “captive” practicum positions.

Is this the same internship that is listed in the APPIC Online Directory as "Patton State Hospital"?

Yes. This is the same training program that is listed in the APPIC Online Internship and Fellowship Directories as “Patton State Hospital.” Our hospital officially changed its name from “Patton State Hospital” to “Department of State Hospitals – Patton” (DSH-Patton) in 2012. However, because our training programs has been known for more than six decades as the “Patton State Hospital” training programs, we have preserved this name and tradition for the training programs. Therefore, although the hospital website uses the new name throughout, the APPIC Online Directory Listing and other materials retain the name “Patton State Hospital,” as this is the official name of our training program.

What are the minimum qualifications required to apply to the internship program?

Internship applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program (preferably APA Accredited) in clinical psychology, must be recommended by their clinical program, and must meet our prerequisites. The Clinical Psychology Intern (CPI) civil service position requires that interns have completed a core curriculum and a minimum of 500 hours of assessment and therapy practica in clinical psychology. These hours are not required to be direct contact hours. Since 1990, all successful applicants have completed over 1,000 practicum hours (including assessment, treatment, and supervision). The core curriculum should include mental measurement, personality assessment techniques, psychopathology, psychological treatment modalities, and theories of personality. Pre-internship practicum placements should include experience in the administration, scoring and interpretation of intelligence tests and personality assessment instruments. The applicant should have experience in writing integrated assessment reports. Because all of our interns participate in research groups, applicants should have experience conducting research projects.

What are the minimum qualifications required to apply to the fellowship program?

To begin the fellowship, fellows must have completed all requirements for receipt of the doctorate in clinical psychology. At the least, fellowship applicants must be completing a doctoral program (APA Accredited strongly preferred) in clinical psychology at a recognized university or professional school, completing a predoctoral internship in clinical psychology (APA accredited), and must meet our prerequisites. Internship training must be of at least 1,800 hours duration, and experiences should include, at a minimum, administration, scoring and interpretation of intelligence tests and personality assessment instruments, and experience in providing individual and group psychotherapy. Successful applicants for our neuropsychology residency typically have completed neuropsychology focused practica and a neuropsychology focused internship. Successful applicants for our forensic fellowship typically have completed forensically focused practica and a forensically focused internship. The applicant must have experience writing integrated assessment reports. Successful candidates commonly have demonstrated interest and experience in the area of specialization sought, have worked in settings with the severely mentally ill, and have excellent writing skills.

What personal characteristics are necessary to succeed in DSH-Patton's training programs?

In general, our most successful trainees possess strong time management skills. Our training programs are very demanding and require trainees to balance time spent in supervision, providing treatment, conducting assessments, attending seminars, writing reports and conducting research. For interns, in order to assist with time management and get the most out of the training experience, it is very helpful to complete the dissertation prior to beginning internship.

What graduate programs have interns come from in the past?

Historically, interns have come from a large variety of clinical doctoral programs from around the country. Since 2011, interns have come from the following graduate programs:

  • Alliant International University
  • Drexel University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Florida State University
  • Fordham University
  • Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
  • Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana
  • Kent State University
  • Loma Linda University
  • Palo Alto University
  • Rosemead Graduate School of Psychology
  • Sam Houston State University
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Texas A & M University
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Hartford
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Tulsa

What postdoctoral fellowships and employment offers have recent interns obtained after internship?

Our internship has a very strong track record of placing interns into competitive postdoctoral fellowships and employment settings across the country.  In the last several years, our forensic interns have matched at many of the top postdoctoral forensic fellowships in the country including:

  • University of Massachusetts Medical School Forensic Fellowship
  • University of Virginia Forensic Fellowship
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Forensic Psychology at the Forensic Service of Central Regional Hospital
  • Forensic Psychology Fellowship in the Dept. of Psychiatry, Georgia Regents University, in partnership with East Central Regional Hospital
  • Minnesota State Operated Forensic Services Forensic Fellowship
  • University of Southern California Institute of Behavioral Sciences and the Law Forensic Fellowship
  • Larned State Hospital Forensic Fellowship
  • Patton State Hospital Forensic Fellowship

During that same time period, our neuropsychology interns have matched at competitive two-year neuropsychology fellowships including:

  • UCLA-Semel Institute Neuropsychology Fellowship
  • Easter Seals Capital Region and Eastern Connecticut Neuropsychological Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center Neuropsychology Fellowship
  • Kaiser–Roseville Neuropsychology Fellowship
  • Cleveland VA Neuropsychology Fellowship
  • VA Palo Alto Healthcare system MIRECC Fellowship
  • Patton State Hospital Neuropsychology Fellowship

Our clinical track interns have matched at top clinical postdoctoral fellowships including:

  • Central Texas VA Postdoctoral Fellowship in Severe and Persistent Mental Illness
  • Gateways Mental Health Psychiatric Inpatient postdoctoral fellowship in Los Angeles
  • Kaiser Permanente North Valley Fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology

Many of our interns in the last several years have also accepted full time staff psychologist positions at various placements immediately after internship.  Our former interns from the past several years are currently successful in a wide variety of positions including:

  • Staff psychologists and Senior Supervising Psychologists at Patton State Hospital
  • Staff Psychologists and Senior Supervising Psychologists at various prisons within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Civilian research psychologist contracted with the United States Air Force
  • Assistant Professor at California State University Monterey Bay
  • Assistant Clinical Professor at Auburn University
  • Assistant Professor in Forensic Psychology at University of New Haven
  • Director of a competency restoration program at one of California’s largest jails
  • Several psychologists in forensic private practice
  • Many of our former interns from the past several years have also been appointed as part time faculty members at various universities and graduate institutions

How many supervisors will I have during the year?

Interns are generally supervised by multiple supervisors each year. Each intern is assigned a “Coordinating Supervisor,” who serves as a mentor and who provides a minimum of one hour of individual supervision per week. Each intern also has an “Assessment Coordinator” who serves as a primary assessment supervisor. The Coordinating Supervisor and Assessment Coordinator for the neuropsychology intern are both neuropsychologists from our Neuropsychology Consultation Service. Each intern also works with approximately five to ten additional supervisors. Neuropsychology fellows are primarily supervised by the four neuropsychologists in our Neuropsychology Consultation Service. Practicum students generally rotate through four different supervisors during the practicum year.

How many hours of supervision will I receive each week?

The total number of weekly supervision hours varies greatly depending on the trainee’s caseload at any given point in the training year. At a minimum, each intern receives two hours per week of individual supervision and three hours of group supervision. At least one hour of weekly individual supervision is provided by the coordinating supervisor. Interns are expected to develop specific competencies in Assessment, Treatment, Diversity, Consultation, Research and Forensic Issues. Both Intern Performance and Program Performance evaluations are part of the process. At the end of the year, written evaluations are provided to each intern’s school and a certificate of completion is awarded to the intern.

Fellows receive a minimum of two hours of individual supervision and three hours of group supervision weekly. Written feedback is provided at the beginning, middle, and end of the year.

Practicum students receive a minimum of one hour of individual supervision and 1.5 hours of group supervision every other week.

Trainees in all three programs will be directly observed while providing clinical services on a quarterly basis and will receive written and oral feedback regarding the observation.

What resources are available to interns during the training year?

DSH-Patton’s training programs has access to a wealth of internal and external training resources including an excellent staff library, computers, voicemail, teleconferencing ability, assessment materials, assessment software, a research lab, and dictation equipment. Additionally, interns and fellows complete a mock court proceeding at the end of the year, to facilitate preparation for forensic testimony. Fellows in both tracks also complete an oral examination fashioned after the ABPP oral examinations for Forensic Psychology or Clinical Neuropsychology (depending on the fellowship track). There are many in-service and community training conferences/workshops scheduled throughout the year.

What is the salary?

Salary funding for the internship and fellowship is through a California civil service appointment for Clinical Psychology Intern (CPI). The annual intern salary for the 2023-2024 training year is approximately $50,628. There are no unpaid positions. Fellows are hired as limited term psychologists under the classification of Psychologist (Health Facility), and the fellowship salary is approximately $101,040 per year unlicensed and approximately $119,280 licensed. Our fellows generally obtain licensure approximately 12 months into the fellowship. Therefore, neuropsychology fellows who are licensed are able to receive the higher pay for a licensed psychologist during their second year after they obtain licensure. The internship and fellowhip positions both include medical and dental benefits, holiday time, plus accrued annual leave or sick/vacation time depending on which plan the trainee selects.

The practicum positions are unpaid volunteer positions.

Where do interns and fellows live?

There are several nice apartment communities within a 15-20 minute drive from the hospital. Many trainees also opt to live closer to Los Angeles in cities including Pasadena and Rancho Cucamonga. Although California has a higher cost of living than many other areas of the country, the cost of living in the areas surrounding DSH-Patton is one of the most affordable in California.