Psychological Services Center

Director: Seymour Pardo, PhD
The Long Island University Psychological Services Center, under the direction of Dr. Seymour Pardo, serves as a training practicum experience for clinical psychology doctoral students and as a setting where members of the L.I.U. community receive free psychological services. Second year Ph.D. students are assigned to the Center for approximately 12 hours a week as their practicum placements. In addition, the PhD student therapists, if their schedules allow, have the option to continue with some of their clients during their third year and beyond in addition to their subsequent outside practicum placements, thus allowing for long term therapy experience.

The Psychological Services Center has multiple goals. Our clinical goal for the Ph.D. students is for them to see a wide variety of clients for initial intake interviews from which initial formulations and recommendations would be made, to administer and interpret psychological tests, and to see up to seven clients in ongoing psychotherapy, all in the context of intensive supervision, and leading to professional growth. All members of the full time clinical faculty, three part time faculty members, and approximately 30 carefully selected clinical adjuncts serve as supervisors. Each second year Ph.D. student sees two supervisors from whom they receive individual supervision. The students also attend a weekly therapy case conference as part of their practicum class, a weekly intake conference attended by all full time clinical faculty members, and a weekly testing supervision group. Continuing advanced students have one hour of weekly individual supervision from a Center supervisor in addition to supervision received at outside placements.

Our goal for the L.I.U. community is to offer our clients high quality psychological services free of cost to students and staff. The Center also supports ongoing psychotherapy research by students and faculty by systematically collecting data both on therapy outcome and the ongoing therapeutic process. This research serves to help improve our services to our clients, enhance the research training of our Ph.D. students, and contribute to knowledge in the field of Psychology.

Each year, we see approximately 150 clients for over 2,000 sessions, some for just a few sessions and others twice a week for a few years time. Presenting problems of all types are seen, ranging from adjustment problems to acute psychotic disorders. There is also rich diversity in the ethnicity of our client population; the clients we see are 39% Black, 27% Caucasian, 18% Hispanic, and 12% Asian and East Indian, with 38% of our clients having been born outside the United States, coming from about 35 different countries.

We offer our clients a safe environment in which to explore the issues that interfere with their ability to live as full a life as they would like and we help them make the changes that make further growth possible for them. Similarly, the Center offers our PhD student therapists a supportive and extremely helpful environment in which to meet challenging experiences through which their clinical skills continue to grow and flourish.

Psychotherapy Research Program

Coordinator: Lisa Wallner Samstag, PhD
The Psychotherapy Research Program at LIU, which began in 2000, offers a comprehensive range of clinical assessment and research tools for PhD students. It is designed for two purposes: First, to provide therapists in their second and third years of training with psychometrically sound measures of psychological symptoms, interpersonal functioning, and session process to integrate into the clinical case formulations and ongoing treatment with their clinic patients. Self-reported patient and therapist instruments are completed at regular intervals, starting when the patient first applies for treatment at the Psychological Services Center. These measures are repeated across longer-term treatments, allowing for the evaluation of changes in functioning and session quality over time. Full psychological test batteries that are complete by some patients may augment self-report questionnaire results.

Second, the Psychotherapy Research Program affords students an opportunity to conduct independent research on topics related to the development of the therapeutic relationship and treatment outcome with patients and therapists from multicultural backgrounds. Working in collaboration with their mentors, students in the Clinical PhD program are eligible to make use of certain archival data for second year projects and dissertations. Those students with a particular interest in psychotherapy research may take Research in Psychotherapy (PSY 710) in the fall semester of their second year, to hone ideas for dissertation projects and develop expertise in additional observer-based measures of therapy process.

Interested students are also encouraged to participate in any number of ongoing faculty psychotherapy research projects in the department, focusing, for example, on alliance development and alliance ruptures, attachment, annihilation anxiety, acculturation, and quality of object relations in psychotherapy populations. Listed below is a sample of recent psychotherapy research dissertation topics:

  • Lucy Bischel (in progress) Countertransference, the alliance and therapist-patient complementarity: An interpersonal investigation of the relationship between therapist mental activity and the working alliance.
  • James Ellis (12/11) The impact of meditation training on the capacity for therapists-in-training to identify alliance ruptures
  • Cory Head (12/11) Psychology doctoral training: An investigation of the changes in clinical development occurring during graduate school.
  • Asaph Rom (5/10) The relationship among patients maturity of defense mechanisms, the working alliance, and self-disclosure in outpatient psychotherapy.
  • Todd Kray (01/10) Evaluation of the therapeutic alliance and patient-therapist emotional exploration in time-limited therapy
  • Stephanie Nichols (5/09) The process of internalization in psychotherapy and its relationship to the working alliance in psychotherapeutic change.