South Shore Mental Health and Children’s Hospital Boston Partner to Bring Family Talk to IHT
Since joining forces in 2014, Dr. William Beardslee’s team at Children’s Hospital and a group of dedicated SSMH clinicians have been busy adapting FAMPod’s* Family Talk Preventive Intervention program for use with In-Home Therapy (IHT). T he core program, commonly known as Family Talk, was designed for clinicians to help parents identify the impact of their depression on their children and develop coping strategies to improve communication and resilience among family members.
Adaptions to the program for IHT began with completion of the core Family Talk training by the SSMH team. With their recommendations for adjustments to accommodate IHT, a new Family Talk training module was created. The new module, aptly named “Shifting the Focus” helps clinicians teach parents to consider the effects of their own mental health problems on a child in the family who has been treated at home for severe emotional disturbance. The IHT module was also adapted to address post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and other mental health conditions in parents.
“Our collaboration with South Shore Mental Health will allow for broader dissemination of the Family Talk Preventive Intervention,” said Dr. Jackie Martin, a Clinical Child Psychologist at Children’s Hospital Boston who is working closely with the SSMH team on the project. “With the completion of the ‘Shifting the Focus’ module, the hospital is looking forward to sharing the training with other agencies that provide In-Home Therapy to families across the state.”
During the partnership, the SSMH team also contributed to the creation of a training video for IHT professionals. Working alongside actors playing family members, the clinicians portrayed therapists providing treatment for children and their parents.
To date, more than 70 South Shore Mental Health clinicians have participated in the Family Talk “Shifting the Focus” training for IHT. Training will continue in the spring for new staff with ongoing consultation from Children’s Hospital.
A Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI), In-Home Therapy is available to MassHealth clients age 20 and under who are at risk of inpatient hospitalization, transitioning from acute treatment, or in need of support beyond the scope of outpatient services. Clinicians and therapeutic training and support staff work closely with families in their homes to strengthen parenting skills, promote effective communication, and achieve safety and stability. The SSMH IHT team makes home visits between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM seven days a week with on-call support available 24 hours.
SSMH Welcomes Clinical Psychology Interns
Each year, more than 130 students from across the U.S. submit applications hoping for acceptance into SSMH’s doctoral psychology internship program. After a lengthy application review, interview, and National Match process, six students are invited to join the program. This year’s group comes to us from Fielding Graduate University, St. John’s University, University of Massachusetts-Boston, George Washington University, Regent University, and University of Indianapolis.
Director of Clinical Training Dr. Bruce Roberts oversees the psychology internship program which prepares doctoral students for careers in clinical psychology. “We’re always excited to welcome our new intern class,” said Dr. Roberts. “They represent the best and brightest in the field, they’re already very skilled, and each will make great contributions to our work with clients during their time with us.”
Throughout the program, interns work alongside experienced psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, clinical nurse specialists, and regional and renowned experts whose multi-disciplinary approach to treatment offers insight that is ideal for clinicians in training. Clinical seminars, supervision by licensed staff, client casework, and agency-wide training also afford the students opportunities for learning and growth that are invaluable as they prepare for careers in the field.
“It’s not unusual for interns to continue on with South Shore Mental Health for their post-doc year,” according to Dr. Roberts. “Some even end up staying on with us as well-trained licensed staff. We view their internship as a full-year interview, so we know them quite well.”
Two of this year’s clinical psychology interns are on the adult track, which focuses on couples and clients over the age of 18. Three are studying child, adolescent, and family psychology, and one is concentrating on early intervention which is dedicated to newborns and children under the age of three with a variety of developmental delays.
Whatever their track, South Shore Mental Health’s trainees will be in high demand, and most will go on to great achievements in the field, whether with us or elsewhere. This year, we are joined by Fanta Atkinson, Kristy-Lee Jean-Pierre, Marisa O’Boyle, Emily Ring, Aleksandra Wantke, and Kaitlyn Welsh.
South Shore Mental Health’s clinical psychology doctoral internship program is a member of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) and has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1963, making it one of the oldest accredited psychology internships in the country. For more information, contact Dr. Bruce Roberts.
SSMH Launches Patient Portal
South Shore Mental Health is excited to share the news that a patient portal has been added to the agency’s Avatar ™ electronic health record. With this enhancement, clients who enroll can securely access information housed within their medical records. Clinical summaries, problem lists, medications, and demographic information is now available through the portal. As use of the portal grows, clients will also be able to view lab results and check upcoming appointments, as well as schedule new appointments and connect with SSMH clinical staff via secure e-mail. Stay tuned for news on more enhancements!View Full Newsletter