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Postdoctoral Psychology Fellowship

The Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University Counseling Center (UCC) is designed to provide advanced training to clinical and counseling psychologists who wish to build a career and assume leadership positions within a fast-paced, multidisciplinary university counseling center setting. The UCC is a large and well-utilized counseling center that provides an array of services to undergraduates and graduate and professional students. Services include individual and group counseling, cognitive and psycho-educational testing, biofeedback, outreach, medication management, and crisis care services. Under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, postdoctoral fellows assume many of the functions and responsibilities of Center staff and are afforded ongoing opportunities, both formal and informal, for collaboration and consultation with a wide range of mental health providers and campus providers. Below you will find a more complete description of the postdoctoral fellowship experience, including our training philosophy, training responsibilities, potential opportunities for concentration on particular populations and presenting problems, practical considerations of the position, and application information.

Click here to review the UCC Postdoctoral Fellowship Training Program in Health Service Psychology 20-21 Information Brochure

The postdoctoral year is one in which the fellow is transitioning from the status of “student-in-training” to that of licensed professional. The UCC training staff recognizes this important developmental transition and seeks to provide a training experience that both supports and challenges fellows to make meaningful contributions through their direct clinical service, as well as through consultation, weekly staff meetings, and case conference discussions. While fellows function within a training capacity, they are viewed and approached as valuable members of the clinical staff. From this perspective, fellows are seen as being early in their career, but at an advanced level in terms of training. Thus, emphasis is placed on assisting fellows in continuing to cultivate their knowledge, skill, and overall professional identity, as well as to meet their hours towards licensure. Trainees are expected to serve as colleagues to the clinical and administrative staff, and also serve as models of professionalism for the practicum students and doctoral interns who train at the UCC.

The UCC utilizes the biopsychosocial model in conceptualizing and attending to the students we see. Our staff considers the interplay between these three areas and the larger cultural context in which they unfold to be of key importance when approaching assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning. The emphasis placed on diagnosis and treatment planning, combined with the many services located at the UCC requires that staff and trainees fully invest in a team approach to serving our students. To this end, the training philosophy of the Center is also grounded in the spirit of thoughtful collaboration and communication.  

While the foundation of what we do at the UCC is grounded in a generalist model, postdocs are able to adjust their roles to maximize their interests, strengths, and talents while also assuming the shared responsibilities of being part of a collaborative team.

We are committed to an ongoing dialogue about individual differences in order to work effectively with the entire student body at Vanderbilt. We strive to offer culturally responsive and empirically supported services in a space that feels welcoming, safe and affirming to all students. Our therapy, assessment, and outreach services are delivered in a caring and compassionate manner that recognizes the unique characteristics, experiences, and identities of the individual student. We support and challenge each other’s understanding of our own biases and experiences through active reading and dialogue during monthly Diversity Alliance discussions and other staff trainings.

Given the diverse nature of the Vanderbilt student population, postdocs are expected to approach their work from a multicultural perspective. Knowledge of and sensitivity to individual and cultural diversity is essential in all areas of practice, including individual and group therapy, assessment, individual supervision, group supervision, campus outreach, and training seminars. Vanderbilt students are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, and gender identity, allowing postdocs to gain exposure to the interplay between multicultural issues and mental health. There is also diversity in terms of presenting concerns, which typically range from moderate to severe in nature. Consequently, postdocs have an opportunity to work with clients presenting with higher acuity and complexity.

Primary responsibilities associated with the postdoctoral fellowship position are as follows:

  • Individual and group psychotherapy
  • Two hours of weekly individual supervision by a licensed psychologist
  • One hour of group supervision facilitated by a licensed mental health provider
  • Coverage of Urgent Care services
  • Participation in weekly staff meetings and case conference discussions
  • Assistance with the training of practicum students by assuming responsibility for Practicum Seminar during the spring semester
  • Fellowship project
  • Fellows are expected to contribute to the center through the completion of a fellowship project. Like the clinical training at the UCC, this project is considered to be flexible enough to allow the fellow to pursue particular areas of interest. The ideal project will be grounded in, or informed by, existing research/literature and will be undertaken with the aim of enhancing the clinical, administrative, and/or organizational goals of the center. Group therapy initiatives, outreach presentations, organizational assessment, and comprehensive literature reviews of pertinent clinical phenomena are only some examples of possible fellowship projects. Fellows will be able to discuss their project ideas with their assigned research supervisor at the beginning of the training year, followed by the creation of a more formal and comprehensive outline of the plan, which is ultimately reviewed by the UCC training director before the project is initiated. There is no set timeline for project completion but the postdoctoral training year will not be considered successfully completed until the project is brought to fruition.

In addition to the core experiences associated with the fellowship position, secondary experiences exist that will enable fellows to pursue particular areas of interest. Such areas include:

  • Acting as liaison/consultant to specific departments, including Athletics Department, the School of Medicine, and the Biomedical Research, Education and Training program
  • Providing psychological testing/assessment
  • Participating in treatment teams (trauma, alcohol/other drug, DBT, and eating disorders)
  • The provision of supervision (based on availability of supervisees)

The diversity of UCC clientele represents an additional opportunity to pursue specific clinical interests. Our clients present with a wide range of concerns and cultural backgrounds. As such, fellows can expect to develop rich caseloads that vary in terms of complexity, presenting concerns, and student identities. Postdoctoral fellows are challenged to consider the full complexity of the clients they serve and identify not only their clinical needs, but also appropriate resources within and outside of the Center that will assist them in achieving their goals. To this end, postdoctoral fellows work closely with other psychologists, as well as campus partners and other members of our multidisciplinary staff, which consists of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, licensed professional counselors, and licensed clinical social workers. Collaboration is a hallmark of the UCC, and postdoctoral fellows can expect ongoing opportunities to cultivate their knowledge and skill in this area.

For further information or for informal inquiries, please contact Frances Niarhos, Ph.D., HSP at frances.niarhos@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 322-2571 with any questions related to the postdoctoral fellowship position. To apply for the position, please submit an application, including a CV, letter of interest, and two letters of recommendation (at least one from applicant’s internship site) through APPIC’s Centralized Postdoctoral Application System (APPA CAS; https://www.appic.org/Postdocs/APPA-CAS-Postdoc-Application-Information

The deadline for completed applications is December 27, 2020 at 11:59pm.  

Number of Positions: 2

Salary for 2020-2021: $52,704 (paid monthly)