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, clinical service, and research institute concerned with infant and preschool 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 a variety of presenting problems including: disruptions in early relationships, behavior problems, attention problems, abuse/neglect, parental substance abuse, developmental delay, domestic violence, Autism Spectrum Disorders, trauma, multiple out of home placements, and parenting problems. On occasion, there is the child or parent with more severe psychopathology including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicidal behavior, personality disturbance, etc. Some families are self-referred, while others are referred from local hospitals and physicians, childcare centers, nursery schools, public schools, child protective services workers, and other mental health facilities. Our families come from a diversity of backgrounds and cultural intersections, and many reside in underserved communities.

Children may be seen at both clinics for psychiatric, developmental, and/or psychological evaluations; for individual, family, dyadic (parent-child), or group therapy. The Institute also maintains an active parent-infant services component, offering parent-child groups and dyadic treatment. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, our therapy services and groups transitioned to be provided via telehealth for the remaining of 2020. On September 2020, the clinics started completing psychological assessments in person, following CDC and state guidelines. Currently, all services are available in-person. However, options for telehealth are still available to families.

The YCS Institute currently offers two Internship tracks: the Institute Track (2 positions) and a Bilingual/Spanish track (1 position). Institute and Bilingual interns are involved in providing intakes, assessments, treatment planning, and the full complement of treatment modalities. Institute track interns primarily provide therapy to infants and young children ages zero to 12 and their caregivers. Bilingual track interns will work with infants, children, and adolescents 0-21. Institute and Bilingual interns are expected to carry caseloads of 16 clients in addition to any groups (mother-baby, social skills, etc.) they may co-facilitate. All interns also provide psychological and developmental evaluations for individuals aged 0-21, including for clients in YCS residential and developmental disability programs. Interns have the opportunity to learn about supervision and provide secondary supervision to an extern. In addition to providing outpatient services at their primary site, interns are also required to complete rotations, which may provide the opportunity to provide services to older children or children requiring a higher level of care than the outpatient setting. Options also include early childhood consultation and collaboration with other sites supporting children and families.

As families are often involved in a variety of systems in the community, interns also work with child protective services, the school system/Child Study Team, and the court system. All interns spend Thursdays together for training. Weekly training experiences include: case conference, didactic seminars, peer supervision, testing supervision, and dyadic/group therapy supervision.

Additional trainings in early childhood mental health may be offered throughout the year. Examples of trainings that interns have previously completed are DIR/Floortime DIR 101, DC:0-5 diagnostic system, and Brazelton Touchpoints.


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, projectives, and achievement measures. Some personality testing is required. Also, a battery of parent self-report measures is typically used during intake. Since most universities do not teach infant assessment, we do not expect students to be experienced with infant measures such as the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. However, those students who have infant assessment experience are encouraged to apply. Assessment experience with the Bayley and other infant measures will be offered during the course of the internship year. Experience with projective measures such as Rorschach, CAT and/or Roberts is strongly preferred. 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, partial hospitalization, and community consultation settings. In YCS residential settings, the rotations may be either testing rotations or therapy rotations, providing individual or group therapy in the residential setting. This provides interns the opportunity to work with older children and adolescents as well as with a more severe pathology than in the outpatient setting. Additionally, we offer rotation with Montclair State University’s Center for Clinical Services, where interns are involved in providing a group called Mindcrafters, which supports children with difficulties in self-regulation. New rotations include an early childhood mental health consultation rotation (ECMHC), in which an intern can provide consultation in an early childhood setting.

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.


Do I need prior experience with infants and preschoolers?

Applicants with prior early childhood experience are preferred and this criterion may be more important than whether the applicant is from a clinical, school, or counseling psychology program. Both assessment and treatment experience of children are desirable. Individuals whose prior experience is limited to adults or adolescents will not be considered for the Institute track.

How do I apply?

Through AAPI online submit the following materials:

  1. A copy of your APPIC application.
  2. A copy of your CV.
  3. Transcript from your graduate program(s).
  4. Three letters of recommendation. One must be from a clinical supervisor. The other two letters may be from advisors, mentors, or other supervisors.
  5. 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 16th. Interviews will occur in January.

Is an interview required?

Yes, all interviews will occur virtually. Additional information: YCS requires a background check, including fingerprinting, of all employees and volunteers.

If you have further questions, you may e-mail Dr. Samantha Spencer,

We at the YCS Institute look forward to hearing from you.


PDF icon Internship Admissions, Support, and Initial Placement Data
PDF iconGoals and Objectives.pdf
 PDF iconInternship Manual.pdf