Bruce Duthie, Ph.D., ABPP
Forensic Services Manager
Special Commitment Center
P.O. Box 88450
Steilacoom, WA 98388-0646
Phone: (253) 583-5936

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Forensic Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship

Special Commitment Center

Steilacoom, WA

September 1 – August 31

The Special Commitment Center (SCC) sponsors a one-year long post-doctoral fellowship in forensic psychology focused on evaluating sexually violent predators.

The primary goal of the fellowship is to train specialists in the practice of forensic psychology. Fellows will learn to research, evaluate and synthesis information for preparation of legally mandated evaluations. Additionally, fellows have an opportunity to participate in research with a forensic population. There may be limited opportunity to provide treatment.

Clinical Training Site:

The Special Commitment Center (SCC) is the first civil commitment facility for sexually violent predators (SVPs) established in the country. Although the office space for the fellowship is located in the Forensic Services Department on the mainland, the main SCC facility is located on McNeil Island requiring regular travel via ferry. This facility houses approximately 270 residents. Fellows may also have the opportunity to evaluate SVPs residing in a transitional facility or other placement in the community.


The core faculty in the forensic services department of SCC consists of eight doctoral level evaluators and one doctoral level manager. All of these faculty members are licensed psychologists and available for supervision. Typically, the fellow is assigned to one psychologist for supervision for the first six months of the fellowship and then transitions to another psychologist for the following six months.

SCC operates in conjunction with Western State Hospital (WSH) to provide an APA pre-doctoral internship training site. While the interns are matched to the WSH internship, they all complete one rotation at the SCC.

Training Scope and Sequence:

The postdoctoral fellowship focuses on the development of proficiency in forensic psychological evaluation. The primary focus is on legally mandated annual reviews for sexually violent predators civilly committed under RCW 71.09. 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 observing and/or providing deposition and court testimony.

However, there are opportunities to complete other types of evaluations. Additionally, fellows are required to attend weekly didactic training through the Forensic Seminar series and Intern Seminar Series offered at WSH. Fellows are expected to provide one presentation for the Intern Seminar Series (a 1.5 hour presentation).

Fellows receive a minimum of two hours of individual supervision per week as well as group consultation/ supervision for approximately two hours once per month. Additional supervision is provided on an as-needed basis. Fellows may have opportunities to provide informal supervision to interns. Additionally, there are scholarship and research opportunities.

Fellows receive formal evaluation twice per year, once after six months and again at the end of the fellowship.

Other Practice Settings:

Depending upon availability and agreement, fellows may choose to complete minor rotations with associated agencies such as Western State Hospital, Center for the Study and Treatment of Children, or private practice settings.

Salary and Benefits:

At the current time, postdoctoral fellows are hired as SCC employees, in a union represented, non-permanent position as a Psychologist 3.

The salary for the postdoctoral fellowship is $47,016 per year. Benefits include accrued personal leave, sick leave and educational leave as approved. Medical and dental benefits are provided.

Application Requirements:

  1. Completion of a doctoral degree from an APA accredited program is preferred but not required. If the candidate has not received the degree at the time of application, then a letter is required from the director of their training program and the dissertation chair attesting that the candidate is expected to receive the doctoral degree before the fellowship start date.
  2. Completion of an APA accredited pre-doctoral internship program is preferred but not required. Evidence of completion of the pre-doctoral internship is required. If the candidate has not completed the internship at the time of application, a letter is required from the director of the program, attesting that the candidate is expected to complete the pre-doctoral internship before the fellowship start date.

Application Material:

  1. Documentation that the above two entrance requirements have been met
  2. Statement of interest and career intent
  3. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies
  4. Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicants clinical/ assessment skills. It is expected that at least one of these letters would come from the applicant’s pre-doctoral internship program.
  5. Curriculum vitae
  6. Sample of a completed clinical report(forensic clinical evaluation is preferred)


Application materials will be accepted and reviewed as early as September 1 in the year preceding the fellowship. Applications must be complete and postmarked by December 31, of the year preceding the fellowship start date. Interviews may be scheduled as soon as possible following the application deadline.

Contact Information:

Send all applications materials to:
Diane Pearson
The Washington Institute (16-300)
9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW
Tacoma, WA 98498-7213
(253) 756-2741

Program content questions:
Bruce Duthie, Ph.D., ABPP
Forensic Services Department
Special Commitment Center
(253) 583-5936

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