Dr. Solomon Carter Fuler Mental Health Center (DSCFMHC)
DSCFMHC provides inpatient psychiatric evaluation and treatment to adult patients (60 patients, male and female, age 19 and above) sent by Massachusetts District and Superior Courts, and stepped down from private hospitals and the prison system. Forensic evaluations are conducted by a staff of five forensic psychologists addressing issues such as competence to stand trial, criminal responsibility, sentencing concerns (aid in sentencing), and various types of risk assessments. Patients are also assigned to a multidisciplinary treatment team (psychiatry, psychology, social work, occupational therapy, nursing) that provides clinical evaluation, treatment planning, treatment from various modalities, and aftercare planning. The orientation is one of multidisciplinary treatment, with psychopharmacological, psychodynamic, and cognitive behavioral orientations predominant. Two clinical psychologists, in conjunction with psychology practicum students/interns, provide clinical treatment services in the form of initial psychological and risk assessments, psychological testing (including neuropsychological assessments), group therapy, and individual therapy as needed. All DSCFMHC psychologists are licensed and carry faculty appointments with Tufts School of Medicine.
The patient population is diverse culturally and diagnostically; however individuals with severe and persistent mental illness predominate. A wide range of diagnoses, including psychotic, severe affective, and neuropsychological disorders are represented, as well as co-occurring substance abuse problems and personality disorders. The length of stay is variable, including patients who are discharged after a 20 to 40 day evaluation period, to those who are committed for longer treatment. The criminal offenses of which patients may have been accused or convicted include the entire range of potential criminal offenses, from misdemeanors (trespassing, disorderly conduct) to felonies (arson, murder).
This site will provide students with an opportunity to develop both a knowledge base and clinical skills relevant to the practice of clinical psychology in adult inpatient settings. The student will also gain an understanding of law-mental health issues.
Interns will be provided didactic seminars, supervision (individual and group), opportunities to observe psychology staff in their work including working alongside them, the experience of being part of a multidisciplinary treatment team, and direct patient contact. The student will also be afforded opportunities to observe court hearings and visit other sites that are part of the forensic mental health system. The student will develop competencies in: establishing a role in the multidisciplinary team approach, gathering and integrating psychosocial data to assist with diagnostic assessment and treatment planning, administering and scoring a variety of psychological tests (i.e., cognitive/neuropsychological, personality inventories, projective, malingering), co-leading psychoeducational and psychotherapy groups, and understanding the general principles and methods of forensic practice including risk assessment."