Forensic Psychology Fellowships
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), Western State Hospital (WSH), Special Commitment Center (SCC), and Child Study and Treatment Center (CSTC) sponsor year-long fellowships in forensic psychology. The fellowship track is an independent training program run in parallel as part of a consortium. Psychology applicants must have completed their doctoral degree and it is recommended that degree be from an APA-accredited institution (see below)*.
The programs have a large and diverse faculty with advanced training in forensic mental health. The fellowships are designed to promote a wide variety of experiences in mental health law, criminal and civil forensic practice, consultation, treatment of the mentally ill offender, and research. Fellows will select a primary training track and have the opportunity for minor rotations in the other programs.
Adult Forensic Psychology
This track offers specific training in the pre-trial evaluation of mentally ill offenders (including competency to proceed, mental state at the time of the offense, and risk assessments); assessment and treatment of insanity acquitees; possible rotations in several civil forensic settings; evaluations of juvenile offenders; evaluation of inmates in community detention facilities; consultation and education activities with community mental health services providers attorneys, courts, and rehabilitation facilities; scholarly research activities and professional education. This program is administered through The Washington Institute for Mental Health Research and Training (WIMHRT). Questions specific to this program should be directed to Ray Hendrickson, JD, PhD , (253) 761-7621.
Juvenile Forensic Psychology
This track offers training in conducting pre-adjudication evaluations for juvenile courts (including clinical diagnosis, competence to proceed, mental state at the time of the offense, and risk assessments), coordinating restorative services to juveniles adjudicated incompetent to proceed, consulting with attorneys, and, occasionally providing court testimony. Training also includes inpatient treatment of adolescents with severe emotional, behavioral, and thought disorders (including individual, group, and family therapy with an emphasis on community involvement). Therapeutic approaches include behavior and milieu management, psycho-educational skills development, adventure-based recreational therapies, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Questions specific to this program should be directed to Fran Lexcen, Ph.D. (253) 756-2970.
Sex Offender Evaluation (Special Commitment Center – SCC)
This track offers training in conducting annual review evaluations of individuals who have been civilly committed as sexually violent predators. These evaluations involve a review of treatment progress, assessment of whether the individual's risk to sexually reoffend has changed and whether release to a less restrictive alternative placement is in the individual's best interest. Training may include providing deposition and court testimony. Research opportunities are available on a limited basis. Questions specific to this program should be directed to Bruce Duthie, Ph.D. (253) 583-5936.
Primary Clinical Training Sites:
Western State Hospital (WSH) is a roughly 1,000-bed psychiatric hospital serving the western half of Washington State. WIMIRT is also located on the campus. The majority of forensic psychiatry and adult forensic psychology fellows' time will be spent in the Center for Forensic Services (CFS), which has specialized wards for forensic evaluation, competency restoration treatment, and the treatment of insanity acquittees. There is also an Outpatient Services Program dedicated to conducting forensic evaluations in jails and in the community. During the year, the psychology fellow will have the opportunity to affiliate with pre-doctoral interns from WSH's APA approved internship program and supervise psychology practicum students. The forensic psychiatry resident will have an opportunity to supervise and teach general psychiatry residents coming to WSH for their forensic psychiatry rotation.
The Child Study and Treatment Center (CSTC) is a 47-bed hospital for children and adolescents; its grounds are contiguous with Western State Hospital. Within CSTC there is a 7-bed security unit that houses forensic patients and others with special needs. During the year the fellow has an opportunity to collaborate with WSH and SCC postdoctoral fellows and pre-doctoral interns from WSH's APA approved internship program.
The Special Commitment Center (SCC) is the first established civil commitment facility for sexually violent predators (SVPs) in the country. Although this fellowship is located on the mainland in Steilacoom, the SCC is housed on McNeil Island and regular travel via ferry is required. During the year the fellow has an opportunity to affiliate with pre-doctoral interns from WSH's APA approved internship program.
Secondary Training Opportunities:
WSH and SCC Fellows will have the opportunity for minor rotations in the other programs. In addition, fellows may accompany faculty who are conducting private evaluations in a variety of areas including personal injury, family law, workplace, and disability. They may also participate in outpatient treatment sessions.
The forensic faculty teaches weekly 3-hour seminars over the academic year addressing the full range of forensic topics required by the APA for accreditation, and other supplemental forensic topics. In addition, fellows are required to participate in a weekly psychololegal discussion group that reviews and discuses landmark cases and other essential readings in the field.
Fellows also participate in training exercises (mock legal procedures) with law students from the Seattle University School of Law. When possible, fellows are also given the opportunity to gain direct experience providing expert testimony in criminal and civil court. Additional ongoing educational opportunities are offered covering: psychological assessment, developmental psychopathology, forensic report writing, and expert testimony.
Fellows complete a research project or a scholarly work under faculty supervision during the year. The fellow may join an ongoing project or choose to begin a project in his/her area of interest.
All of the fellowship programs are located in wooded and attractive Steilacoom, Washington, in the South Puget Sound area. Steilacoom is located minutes from Tacoma, one hour from Seattle, two hours from Portland, Oregon, and four hours from Vancouver, B.C. The scenic Puget Sound and surrounding mountains offer unparalleled recreational opportunities.
Salary and Benefits:
The stipend for the postdoctoral fellowship in psychology is $49,056 per year. The CSTC stipend is in line with the postdoctoral stipends of NIH per year plus benefits. Benefits include vacation leave, sick leave, educational leave and medical/dental insurance.
Funding for the positions are in the budget of the sponsoring institutions but a guarantee is not possible until the governor has signed the requisite budget bill.
Entrance requirements for Psychologists:
- Graduation from an APA accredited doctoral program in psychology is preferred but not required*. If the candidate has not received the degree at the time of application, s/he must supply letters from the director of his/her training program and dissertation chair (when applicable) attesting that the candidate is expected to receive the doctoral degree before the fellowship start date.
- Completion of an APA accredited pre-doctoral internship program is preferred but not required*. A letter from the director of the program attesting that the candidate is expected to complete his/her pre-doctoral internship before the start date is required.
*The Child Study and Treatment Center Fellowship will continue to require graduation from an APA accredited doctoral program and completion of an APA accredited predoctoral internship.
Entrance requirements for Psychiatrists:
Applicants must be PGY5 and above.
- Documentation that the above entrance requirements have been met.
- Statement of interest and career intent, including clear indication of which training track(s) are being applied to. You need not apply to more than one but may do so if you wish.
- Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies.
- Three letters of recommendation.
- Curriculum Vitae.
- Sample of a completed and sanitized clinical report (forensic clinical evaluation preferred.)
- Sample of a scholarly/academic paper.
Application materials will be accepted and reviewed as early as September 15 in the year preceding the fellowship. Applications must be complete by midnight, January 31 of the year of the fellowship start date.
For more information or to apply contact the training directors listed above. Send all application materials to the directors of training listed above care of:
The Washington Institute
9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW
Tacoma, WA 98498-7213