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 Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, 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, bi-polar disorder, suicidal behavior, personality disturbance, etc. Some families are self-referred, while others are referred from local hospitals and physicians, day care 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 a large group of them are facing structural barriers such as poverty, housing, transportation and access to healthcare. Their ethnical background includes African-American, Caribbean and Latinx families.

Children may be seen at the Institute 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 which include a “mommy and me” style experience, a developmental learning component, and dyadic therapy for those who need it. The Union City clinic hosts the Entre Familias Program, a bicultural/bilingual preventive program dedicated to reduce the acculturational gap between Latino children ages 8-11 and their immigrant parents. 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.

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 6 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. 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.

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 all day on Wednesday and Thursday morning together for training, including: attending case conferences, didactic seminars, peer supervision, testing supervision, and mother/baby supervision.

Additional trainings in early childhood mental health may be offered throughout the year. Examples of trainings that interns have previously completed are Circle of Security 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 2023. 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 $23,575 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 leave (accrued), and paid holiday time.

Are there other students at this placement? Yes. There are two tracks and three interns. We also have part-time practicum students from local universities. Additionally, we have had interns from another APA-accredited internship site complete rotations at the YCS Institute.

What kind of supervision is available? Interns have a primary supervisor and secondary supervisor for weekly individual supervision. Group supervision is offered for 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 from attachment, relational/psychodynamic, and family systems orientation.

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 intern 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 a Youth Group rotation, which focuses on providing youth aging out of YCS residential programs with the knowledge and skills to succeed in adulthood. Interns may also have a rotation at a nearby hospital (Rutgers UBHC University Hospital, Newark, New Jersey), leading a group on the Child and Adolescent Unit Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). New rotations include an early childhood mental health consultation rotation (ECMHC), in which an intern can provide consultation in an early childhood setting to build social-emotional skills in the classroom 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. Photocopy of a transcript from your graduate program(s).
4. Three letters of recommendation. One must be from a clinical supervisor. 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 15th. Interviews will occur in late December and January.

Is an interview required? A face-to-face interview is strongly preferred. However, when that is not possible, a telephone interview may be arranged. Due to COVID-19 public emergency situation, we will provide an update about the format of the interviews towards December. You should know that the YCS parent organization requires a background check, including fingerprinting, of all employees and volunteers. This process does not take place until a prospective intern has already been officially offered an internship placement, however. Therefore, those individuals who would fail such a background check should take this into consideration when applying. Hopefully these materials have answered any questions you have about this internship and have also motivated you to apply. If you have further questions, you may e-mail Dr. Dayna Zatina Egan at

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

Summary of opportunities as part of the doctoral internship Program:

• Infant-Parent (Dyadic) Psychotherapy
• Infant/Relationship Assessment
• Individual Play Therapy
• Assessment (Bayley scales, FEAS, Wechsler scales, etc.)
• Family Therapy
• Participate in training and Individual Supervision and consultation activities
• Team Case Discussions
• Elective Rotations

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