Psychological Services Center

Director: Matthew J. Morrison, PhD
The Brooklyn campus Psychological Services Center, under the direction of Dr. Matthew Morrison, 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 3,000 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. We are also proud to serve a client population that is uniquely diverse, reflecting a rich cross-section of our Brooklyn community.  The clients we see represent the international character of the campus and the community; 38% were born outside the US, and they hail from about 35 different countries.  Our faculty supervisors and student-therapists hold respect for diversity as an integral part of our mission.

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.

Interested in taking advantage of free counseling on the Brooklyn campus?  Get information about current hours and offerings here.

Psychotherapy Research Program

Director of Psychotherapy Research: Lisa Wallner Samstag, PhD

The Psychotherapy Research Program at L.I.U.-Brooklyn, which began in 2000, offers a comprehensive range of clinical assessment and research tools for Clinical Psychology PhD students who staff the Psychological Services Center. It is designed to provide PhD student-therapists in their second and third years of training with psychometrically sound measures of psychological symptoms, interpersonal functioning, and session processes. These assessments are essential for clinical case formulations and the ongoing evaluation of effective treatment process with clinic patients. Self-reported patient and therapist measures 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 are completed by some patients, augmenting self-report questionnaire results.

The Psychotherapy Research Program also affords Clinical Psychology PhD 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 diverse backgrounds. Working in collaboration with their mentors, students in the Clinical PhD Program are eligible to utilize certain archival data for second year research 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. Clinical Psychology PhD 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, personality disorders, acculturation, and quality of object relations in psychotherapy populations.