Clinical Traineeship Program

For more than 20 years, AHP has offered a yearlong clinical traineeship for graduate students pursuing counseling careers. The program builds skills in clinical assessment and brief psychotherapy to people living with or at risk for acquiring HIV, as well as members of the broader lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.

AHP offers clinical trainees opportunities to learn and practice mental health assessment and psychotherapeutic skills with a special emphasis on treating HIV-impacted and LGBTQ-identified clients. AHP trainees learn about the psychosocial impacts of both living with HIV and AIDS and being a member of the LGBTQ community.

The program accepts trainees from a variety of schools and disciplines. This diversity of experience stimulates peer learning throughout the year.

Emphases and Learning Objectives
AHP is committed to providing a coherent, multifaceted training experience that ensures students develop clinical competencies within a framework that emphasizes:

  • Teaching the evidence-based approach of Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy (Hanna Levenson)
  • Supporting appreciation for the range of psychotherapeutic perspectives
  • Recognizing the importance of culture in psychotherapeutic work
  • Advancing racial and ethnic diversity in the mental health field

Students who participate in the program will:

  • Develop a solid understanding of the unique psychosocial needs of the LGBTQ community and individuals
  • Obtain comprehensive knowledge of the psychosocial impacts of HIV
  • Learn risk prevention and reduction skills
  • Develop assessment skills that inform treatment planning consistent with requirements of Medi-Cal and other publicly funded contracts
  • Recognize the importance of flexibility in treatment approaches, especially approaches used in community mental health care settings that emphasize ongoing care management for clients with chronic disorders

Many AHP clients will have HIV or AIDS and suffer from a variety of mental health and substance abuse concerns. The vast majority of our clients are low income and are either uninsured or rely on Medi-Cal or other publicly funded forms of health care. Although a portion of our LGBTQ clients are not living with HIV, many of these clients often struggle with issues similar to those faced by our HIV clients: poverty, chronic health concerns, isolation, identity, stigma, depression, and substance abuse.

Program Commitment and Requirements
The traineeship requires a weekly commitment of 20 to 22 hours and runs 11 months from mid-August to the middle of the following July. This is a rich and demanding internship, and we strongly prefer applicants who have had some direct clinical experience, for example, conducting individual or group psychotherapy, handling intakes, undertaking case management, or performing crisis intervention. We also prefer applicants who have knowledge and experience with issues affecting the HIV or LGBTQ communities. Individuals who have completed their graduate degrees and are seeking supervised experience toward licensure may apply.

Trainees are required to attend two hours per week of group supervision and one hour per week of individual supervision from an AHP licensed mental health professional. If possible, AHP will match trainees with supervisors by discipline, according to trainees’ school requirements, and/or by trainee preference.

Components of the Clinical Traineeship
Orientation. Over the course of three weeks in August, trainees attend a series of six hour-long orientation workshops covering key issues:

  • Agency overview
  • HIV and LGBTQ-related psychosocial issues
  • Paperwork and documentation requirements
  • The role of culture in our work
  • Introduction to Brief Dynamic Therapy
  • Information Technology Systems
  • Accessing Substance Abuse & Case Management
  • Assessing Safety & Risk Factors
  • Getting to know your cohort

Client Caseload. In September, trainees receive therapy clients assignments, begin conducting intakes, and meet with their individual supervisors. Most trainees will carry a caseload of six to eight clients and some will have the opportunity to co-facilitate a group.

Group Supervision. Each trainee is expected to use group supervision to examine his or her work with clients, including counter-transferential reactions, and will get feedback on their case presentations (and give feedback to their peers). Trainees will present cases, describing how they have used the Time-Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy model. Trainees may also incorporate other working models into their case presentations.

Didactics. AHP organizes weekly didactic sessions on a variety of relevant clinical topics. The didactics are taught by a cadre of mental health professionals, including UCSF faculty psychiatrists, psychologists, LCSWs, and MFTs, many of whom are members of the LGBTQ community. In addition, included in the didactics professional development issues are addressed. Examples of topic presented in didactics are:

  • Therapist use of self-disclosure in a LGBTQ mental health center
  • Cultural identity and impact of similarities and differences on the clinical relationship
  • Working with Transgender and Gender Variant Clients
  • Overview of HIV Medical Issues
  • Overview of LGBT Health Disparities
  • Working with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Introduction to Time Limited Dynamic Therapy

Case Presentations. During the second half of the year, trainees present a completed case for group discussion. This case, which focuses on a completed course of therapy with a client, provides an opportunity for trainees to lead a group discussion about the utility—its strengths and limitations—of the model they used.

Application Procedure
To apply, please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and two letters of recommendation. The cover letter should include why you are interested in working at AHP and with members of the LGBTQ or HIV-impacted communities, and any prior direct experience within these communities.

Applications sent after these dates will be considered only if trainee positions remain available after on-time applications are processed. Since AHP typically receives many more applications than available positions, all applicants are strongly encouraged to apply before the postmark deadline dates.


Mailing Address

Send application packages to:
Michelanne Baker, PsyD
UCSF Alliance Health Project
1930 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102