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Oklahoma Forensic Center

Location: Vinita, Oklahoma
Mailing address: P.O. Box 69, Vinita, OK 74301
Funding: $19,500
Time on site: 36 hrs.
Primary on-site supervisor(s): Samina Christopher, Ph.D.; Scott Orth, Psy.D.; Peter Rausch, Ph.D.
Contact person: Samina R. Christopher, Ph.D., Director of Forensic Psychology

Oklahoma Forensic Center (OFC) is the largest inpatient behavioral health facility in the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services system. It is located in a rural area of Oklahoma, about 60 miles northeast of Tulsa, and serves all 77 counties of Oklahoma as the only inpatient forensic facility. OFC serves both men and women with 200 inpatient beds, a mock courtroom, group rooms, and other areas important for treatment, such as recreational areas. OFC serves two populations: 1) pretrial defendants who were deemed incompetent for adjudication, and 2) individuals adjudicated as Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). In addition, OFC provides outpatient evaluations of adjudicative competency for 17 counties.

Consistent with the Practitioner-Scholar model, OFC places high importance on using science and research to inform clinical practice. This is demonstrated by our commitment to research, as one of the sites for the original standardization of the MacCAT-CA. In 2003, a performance improvement project was implemented to identify a model report format for competency evaluations based on national and local standards as outlined in the literature. In 2004, OFC developed and implemented a research-based competency restoration treatment program whose materials have been distributed throughout the United States. In 2007, OFC developed a comprehensive model of violence risk assessment utilizing the best practices in the field. In 2009, OFC evaluated the effectiveness of its individual competency restoration program. In 2011-2012, OFC evaluated the utilization and quality of our psycho-educational groups. As an intern at OFC, you will find that we routinely discuss the current literature and value how science can inform practice.

A variety of opportunities for general clinical and forensic practice are available. The intern is viewed as an important member of the clinical staff and will be given an increasing level of responsibility and independence as the internship year progresses and as competency in providing direct clinical services is demonstrated. Interns will have opportunities to gain input and knowledge from a variety of mental health professionals and disciplines. Interns will also occasionally provide education to OFC staff through presentation on forensic evaluations, and there will be the opportunity to participate in Psychology Department meetings.

Training experiences are tailored to meet the intern's individual goals and interests. Assessment is a primary area for training, including evaluations of dangerousness and adjudicative competency as the most common. There is also ample opportunity for generalist types of assessment within these evaluations, including testing for personality, psychopathology, cognitive functioning (including neuropsychological screening), malingering, etc. In addition, the Psychology Department is often called upon to assist with diagnostic screening or other general referral questions. The intern will be exposed to a wide number of testing materials, with emphasis placed on appropriate selection, administration, scoring, interpretation and report writing. Due to the diversity and quantity of assessment opportunities available at OFC, the intern is able to develop and hone a broad base of skills.

Interns will also be involved in both individual and group therapy during the course of the year, leading groups and conducting some limited short-term and/or long-term individual therapy. Groups typically focus on competency restoration, process or psychoeducational topics, such as coping skills, anger management, substance abuse treatment, managing mental illness, etc. Interns are encouraged to develop and implement groups that fit their specific areas of interest, although treatment manuals are available, as are materials from the many structured groups OFC has offered throughout the years. Throughout the year interns will have two primary supervisors who are licensed psychologists, each supervision experience lasting six months. The intern will work closely with his/her supervisor to develop a plan for training, but will have the opportunity to also work with other psychologists and department staff. In addition, they will be exposed to the process of courtroom testimony by observing supervisors, occasionally in a case they co-authored.

To learn more about the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, go to www.odmhsas.org

 
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