Internship for Doctoral Students

Dear Prospective Intern:

Thank you for your interest in the Doctoral internship positions at the YCS Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health and Dr. Helen May Strauss Clinics. Located in East Orange and Union City, New Jersey, the YCS Institute is a training, consultation, and clinical service institute with a foundation rooted in early relational mental health. The Institute’s services are provided through the HMS clinics, two outpatient settings dedicated to serving children and families ages 0-21. Our clinics are licensed by the state and approved as Medicaid providers.

Children are referred for various presenting problems including disruptions in early relationships, behavior problems, attention issues, abuse/neglect, parental substance abuse, developmental delay, domestic violence, Autism Spectrum Disorders, trauma, multiple out-of-home placements, and parenting difficulties. Occasionally, children or parents may present with more severe psychopathologies such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicidal behavior, or personality disturbances. Some families self-refer, while others are referred from local hospitals, physicians, childcare centers, nursery schools, public schools, child protective services workers, and other mental health facilities. Our families come from diverse backgrounds and cultural intersections, with many residing in underserved communities.

Children may receive psychiatric, developmental, and/or psychological evaluations as well as individual, family, dyadic (parent-child), or group therapy at both clinics. We also offer active parent-infant services, including parent-child groups and dyadic treatment. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, our therapy services and groups transitioned to telehealth for the remainder of 2020. Psychological assessments resumed in person in September 2020, following CDC and state guidelines. Currently, all services are available in-person, with telehealth options still accessible to families.

The YCS Institute offers two Internship tracks: the Institute Track (2 positions) and a Bilingual/Spanish track (1 position). Institute and Bilingual interns participate in intakes, assessments, treatment planning, and various treatment modalities. Institute track interns primarily focus on therapy for infants and young children ages zero to 12 and their caregivers, while Bilingual track interns work with infants, children, and adolescents aged 0-21. Interns in both tracks manage caseloads of 16 clients and may co-facilitate groups (e.g., mother-baby, social skills). Additionally, interns conduct psychological and developmental evaluations for individuals aged 0-21, including clients in YCS residential and developmental disability programs. Interns also have opportunities for supervision and providing secondary supervision to externs. Rotations include outpatient services, early childhood consultation, and collaboration with other sites supporting children and families.

Interns collaborate with child protective services, the school system/Child Study Team, and the court system as families are often involved in various community systems. Thursdays are dedicated to training, including case conferences, seminars, peer supervision, testing supervision, and dyadic/group therapy supervision. Additional early childhood mental health trainings may be offered throughout the year, such as DIR/Floortime DIR 101, DC:0-5 diagnostic system, and Brazelton Touchpoints.

Our program is committed to fostering an inclusive, equitable, and respectful training environment that celebrates diversity in all its forms. We strive to cultivate competent clinicians capable of providing evidence-based psychological services to diverse patient populations. We warmly welcome applications from students representing diverse backgrounds.


Is the internship APA approved?

Yes. YCS has been an APA-accredited internship site since April 2016. The next APA site visit will occur in 2025. Questions related to the program’s accreditation status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation

American Psychological Association (APA)
750 1st St., NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 Email:
Is there a stipend?

Yes. Interns receive a stipend of $27,300 for 12 months with full employee benefits (after a probationary period) including health and dental coverage (individual or family) as well as two weeks paid vacation, paid sick time, and paid holiday time.

Are there other students at this placement?

Yes. There are two tracks and three interns. We also have part-time psychology practicum students from local universities. Additionally, we often have practicum students from other fields, including social work and public health.

What kind of supervision is available?

Interns have a primary supervisor and secondary supervisor for weekly individual supervision. Group supervision is offered for dyadic/group treatment and assessment cases. In addition, there is a weekly case conference during which staff and students alike take turns presenting cases. Supervision is based on attachment, relational, psychodynamic, and family systems orientations.

What kind of training is available?

In addition to the case conference, students meet for a weekly didactic series which covers a variety of infant and child related mental health issues. The Institute sponsors a conference on infant/childhood mental health which interns and practicum students attend.

What instruments do I need to know for assessments?

Students should have experience with the Wechsler series, especially the WISC-V, and achievement measures. Experience with projective measures such as Rorschach, CAT and/or Roberts is strongly preferred. Since most universities do not teach infant assessment, we do not expect students to be experienced with developmental measures, such as the Bayley Scales of Infant Development or autism symptom measures, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. However, those students who have this experience are encouraged to apply. Interns will test a wide range of clients from infancy to young adulthood.

What rotations are offered?

The YCS Institute strives to provide a variety of rotations to match an intern’s area of interest or an area in which they would like to grow. We currently offer rotations in residential, outpatient, and community consultation settings. See the Internship Manual for more information.

Is consultation part of the internship?

Interns may have the opportunity to provide consultation to outside agencies that have contracted for infant and preschool mental health services by teaming with senior staff. These agencies have included hospital neonatal intensive care units, preschool disabled programs, early intervention programs, home-based health care providers, etc. Interns also collaborate with a variety of individuals involved in their clients’ lives (e.g., parents, grandparents, caregivers, caseworkers, school staff, other therapists, etc.)

Do I need prior experience with infants and preschoolers?

Applicants with prior early childhood experience are preferred. Individuals whose prior experience is limited only to adults (that are not caregivers) or adolescents will not be considered for the Institute track.

How do I apply?

For more information about applying for a doctoral internship and the Match process:

Through AAPI online submit the following materials:

• Submission of APPIC application.
• Curriculum vitae
• Transcript from your graduate program(s).
• Three letters of recommendation. One must be from a clinical supervisor. The other two letters may be from advisors, mentors, or other supervisors.
• An integrative report of an assessment case.

What are the deadlines?

Application deadline is in November (check the APPIC website for details). You will be notified of your interview status by December 15th. Interviews will occur in January.

Is an interview required?

Yes. All interviews will occur virtually.

Does YCS have additional onboarding requirements?

YCS requires a background check, including fingerprinting, of all employees and volunteers.

For more information please see our APPIC Directory listing:

For more details on admission criteria, application and selection processes, the program’s aims and expected competencies, requirements for completion, resources, administrative policies and procedures (e.g., non-discrimination policy, grievance procedures, due process policy, etc.) and accreditation status, please see our Internship Manual below.

If you have further questions, please e-mail our Training Director, Samantha Spencer, Psy.D.

 PDF iconInternship Website

 PDF iconInternship Admissions, Support, and Initial Placement Data