Rehabilitation Psychology Fellowship Structure
Shepherd's Rehabilitation Psychology Training Program
Clinical service requirements vary depending upon the specific clinical rotation and supervisor. In general, the fellow maintains a clinical caseload consistent with Baltimore Guidelines and State of Georgia requirements for postdoctoral training necessary for licensure and board certification. Each year, fellows participate in a minimum of 60% clinical activity, including assessment, intervention, and consultation duties. The fellow’s specific interests and training goals are considered while structuring rotations. The fellow will complete rotations in both inpatient and outpatient settings with clinical responsibilities appropriate to the rotation.
Additional training goals of the fellowship include:
- Evidence-based assessment and interventions with individuals and families experiencing problems related to physical and cognitive impairment, ability, limitation, and participation restriction that focus on individual and family functioning, including affective, cognitive, personality, and behavior functioning as well as social, educational, vocational, and recreational participation.
- Interprofessional collaboration and consultation at the level of the clinical team, program, and community to provide comprehensive and effective care for individuals with disabilities and to maximize rehabilitation team and program functioning.
- Sufficient scholarly activity through submission of a study or literature review for publication, presentations, grant proposals, or outcome assessments.
- Eligibility for state licensure in the state/province in which the fellow intends to practice.
- Eligibility for board certification in rehabilitation psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.
Required Primary Rotations
The fellow will complete two major rotations as part of the fellowship requirements. Both rotations aim to facilitate individual and family adjustment to a change in health status while addressing psychological issues that may affect rehabilitation progress. These programs serve up to 55 inpatient beds across two hospital floors at Shepherd Center and may include issues related to substance use, grief, loss, psychiatric conditions, mental status changes, dual diagnosis, or pain management.
The fellow will help formulate and execute treatment plans, individual and family therapy, and design and implement family and patient education programs. Additionally, fellows may have the opportunity to provide clinical supervision of graduate students completing the rehabilitation psychology practicum rotations and to present internally and externally on the fellowship.
The fellow will be embedded in Shepherd Center’s Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder Inpatient Program, which is dedicated to patients with diagnoses including traumatic spinal cord injuries, non-traumatic injuries (e.g., spinal tumors), and spinal cord disorders and diseases (e.g., transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome). The inpatient program also treats patients with dual diagnoses (acquired brain injury and spinal cord injury). These programs extend across two hospital floors at Shepherd, making up 55 beds in total.
The fellow will be responsible for leading two adjustment groups per week, one for patients and the other for family members.
Primary Supervisors: Punam Rahman, PsyD, ABPP; Katie Harris, PsyD; Lauren Thomas, PsyD
The fellow will be embedded within Shepherd Center’s post-acute Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) day and outpatient settings. Shepherd’s SCI Day Program provides comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation services to individuals with spinal cord injury and other neuromuscular conditions to increase the level of independent functioning at home, work/school, and in the community.
The fellow will be responsible for leading the patient adjustment group, “Roll With It.”
Primary Supervisor: Tyler Brown, PsyD; Jill Koval, Ph.D., ABPP
Minor Rotations (Select One or More)
Each fellow in satisfactory standing is expected to complete either two minor rotations (the equivalent of one day per week for a three-month duration at the rotation site) or one major rotation (the equivalent of one day per week for a six-month duration at the rotation site) during the second year.
Additional opportunities for minor rotations may be available or developed based on individualized interest. Some minor rotations may not be available every year, and some require state licensure for participation.
In the outpatient brain injury rotation, the fellow is exposed to chronic neuropsychological disorders and syndromes with the primary objective of developing a comprehensive understanding of the long-term sequelae of cognitive and emotional function following an acquired brain injury (ABI). With a focus on capacity determination, considerations for family education, and community re-entry, the fellow will provide individual, family, and group psychotherapy as it relates to ABI and substance use. Additionally, the fellow will design, execute, and monitor neurobehaviorial plans. The consultation will happen alongside the rehabilitation team and physicians to provide education regarding the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional consequences of ABI.
Primary Supervisors: Valerie Ellois, Ph.D.; Kristian Nitsch, Ph.D.; Gary James, PsyD
Through the mild traumatic brain injury minor rotation, the fellow will gain a better understanding of comprehensive assessment and treatment for military and civilian populations with persisting symptoms following concussion, focusing on return to play, return to learn, and return to work. Responsibilities of the fellow include providing individual and group interventions inclusive of brain injury education to patients, family members, and the treatment team while implementing behavioral interventions as necessary. Opportunities for cognitive assessment may also be available.
Additionally, the fellow will consult with rehabilitation team members and physicians to provide education regarding the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional consequences of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).
Primary Supervisors: Kirsten Allen, PsyD, ABPP; Katie McCauley, Ph.D.; Gregory Brown, PsyD
In the multiple sclerosis minor rotation, the fellow will gain experience learning about the disease, effects, and disease progression of multiple sclerosis while learning to conceptualize and provide cognitive assessment and therapeutic interventions. Consultation opportunities are also available through participation in the interdisciplinary teams and by shadowing physicians and mid-level providers in rounding during clinics.
Primary Supervisor: Susan Shwartz, Ph.D., ABPP
In the pain clinic minor rotation, the fellow will be embedded in the interdisciplinary treatment team, working alongside our dedicated pain management psychologist to provide pain management consultation to all patient populations at Shepherd Center. These services include providing group education and therapy, individual therapeutic interventions, and family education and intervention. The fellow may also have the opportunity to observe surgical pain management interventions.
Primary Supervisor: Wendy Magnoli, Ph.D.
As a scientist-practitioner model and evidence-based practice, research plays an integral role across all programs at Shepherd Center. The fellow will be expected to contribute to existing research throughout their two years of training and to identify individual research interests. Ample support is available for training and mentorship in research methodologies, statistical approaches, and guidance with writing and submitting publications, posters, or talks.
The fellow will have access to several research resources including the Noble Learning Resource Center (NLRC); SPSS and REDCap systems; as well as consultations with researchers in the Shepherd Center Research Department. Regular meetings will involve project development, research article reviews/critiques, and ongoing patient and database updates.
In 2022, Shepherd Center was awarded a $500,000 three-year grant from Andee’s Army to research, plan, develop, and implement a peer support training program and app specifically for adolescents with neurological injury or disease. Throughout the two years of training, the Rehabilitation Psychology fellow will play an integral part in this pioneering study, contributing to the design, implementation, and dissemination of the feasibility and continuity of this unique program. Additionally, the fellow will be expected to submit at least one presentation, poster, or publication for public dissemination during their training.
To date, focus groups, consisting of teenage patients and their families, have been formed to identify target areas for intervention after community re-entry. Shepherd Center has also partnered in training with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation as well as the Kessler Rehabilitation Center to encourage simultaneous growth and collaboration.
Fellowship Didactic Opportunities
Didactics are experiential training opportunities designed to expand knowledge in basic psychological principles, research methodology, psychometrics, general clinical psychology, as well as practice and professional issues. Didactics may be composed of various formats, including lectures, case presentations, research discussions, and mock board certification preparation. Below is a sample of training opportunities and topics available to the fellow.
- Neurorehabilitation Seminar: a collaborative, joint training seminar for both the clinical neuropsychology fellows and the rehabilitation psychology faculty
- Professional development opportunities
- Offsite courses at Marquette University (Neuroanatomical dissection course) and Morehouse School of Medicine (Neurobiology)*
- Diversity sequence and monthly diversity seminar
- Neurology and neuroradiology grand rounds at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
*In the event that these courses are not offered, other resources will be identified.
Supervision is part of all aspects of the fellow’s clinical, research, and teaching activities, and supervising faculty have licensure in Georgia. All fellows are assigned a primary supervisor or a group of supervisors for each clinical rotation – leadership styles and modes of supervision vary according to the setting. Each week, the fellow will receive one to two hours of individual supervision and approximately two hours of group supervision obtained through clinical and didactic activities.
Additional informal supervision regularly occurs as the fellow manages the demands of clinical services. The fellow receives supervision on case presentations, performance in team meetings and seminars, consultative/supervisory work, writing skills, and overall professional conduct. Supervisory sessions also address professional development, career planning, and interviewing skills.
Fellows will have more than 1,500 hours of supervised work experience needed for licensure in Georgia and all other jurisdictions of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards by the end of the fellowship. In addition, all fellows will sit for the written part of the national licensure examination, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), during the two-year fellowship. Fellows should complete the first part of the EPPP by December of the second year of the fellowship.