Dr. Perna has been training psychology interns, social work interns, and psychiatric residents for years. He began supervising trainees at McLean Hospital, which is Harvard Medical School's largest psychiatric teaching site-located in Belmont, MA.
At CCS, he has partnered co-supervisors Caitlyn Rinaldi, LICSW and Kaeley Majewski, PsyD, in developing a multifaceted training program that covers a wide range of clinical interventions. Please take a look each of their training profiles as supervisors as well as our expectations related to potential trainees:
Competitive trainees typically have prior experience in school settings, inpatient psychiatry placements, residential programs, court clinics, and/or college counseling centers. Experience in writing comprehensive testing reports/clinical summaries is essential and writing samples are reviewed and discussed within the interview process. Critical thinking skills are evaluated throughout the interview process based on a clinical case presentation. We encourage trainees to present their case using a powerpoint presentation, however, a handout is acceptable. We look for clarity of thought and a firm grasp of all clinical facts in presentations as well as the integration of evidence-based interventions. Warmth, rapport, and interpersonal sensitivity are all critical components to a successful candidate interview.
"We felt that we used to talk about ourselves too much in our interviews-so we created this training page-now we spend more time focusing on each candidate and learning about their past training experiences and expectations for their career."
Caitlyn Rinaldi, LICSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Social Work Systems Supervisor
My approach to training is based on my background in systems-centered interventions that include family therapy, collateral agency coordination, and the complete integration of treatment throughout the patient's outpatient treatment team.
My direct supervision of trainees focuses on a process recording approach to supervision (Click Link). I ask trainees to pick one of their more challenging clients and record every detail of their weekly sessions. The goal of supervision is to teach trainees how to attend to relevant clinical details, note the chronological role-out of clinical/relational information throughout the session, and connect the session's material to prior sessions or historical information that was discussed at intake.
I apply a variety of treatment models to this process, including DBT-informed treatment, CBT interventions, family-systems work, and community-based systems processes.
I also work closely with trainees to help them understand how they can integrate Copernican's cloud-based clinical documentation software and group collaboration software into their practices.
"At CCS, treatment is a team sport"
Kaeley Majewski, PsyD
College Transition Program Clinician
Anger Management Testing Supervisor
My approach to supervision is rooted in my philosophies as a person-centered, relational therapist. My goal is to provide a supportive mentorship to facilitate effective learning and growth in supervision. I aim to provide an environment where a supervisee can be open about their experiences and learn ways to fully engage in their clinical work. It is important to guide trainees through developing a sense of their clinical competencies and to help them learn more about what their strengths are as clinicians.
I also work with trainees to develop advanced clinical writing skills with progress notes, treatment plans, and testing reports. I especially enjoy working with trainees on their assessment abilities. We employ a model of integrative report writing that incorporates both testing and other aspects of a client’s clinical work. I teach supervisees about the various stages of report writing. I begin by reviewing the foundations of report writing with the goal of developing the necessary critical thinking skills to write more advanced, integrative testing reports.
I have worked with a wide range of clients across the lifespan using a variety of treatment models such as Relational-Cultural Therapy (RCT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I enjoy working with supervisees to teach them the foundations of these models and ways to implement these models in their clinical work. I supervise individual, family, and group therapy sessions. Trainees are free to observe and are observed in order to improve their clinical techniques and approaches.
A large part of my role is working with clients who are struggling with college transition. I have trained at several colleges/universities in the area including Wellesley College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Curry College. I have worked with college students with a wide range of mental health and learning challenges. I enjoy helping supervisees to learn more about clinical work with adolescents as they navigate the challenges of emerging adulthood. Our trainees play an active role in our College Transition Program and I help them to orient themselves to diverse, systemic, emotional, learning, and social challenges often associated with the transition into and out of college. At times we help with transitions between colleges if a student feels that another school would provide them with a better academic or social fit.
David A. Perna, PhD
Lecturer in Psychology,
Department of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
My guiding philosophy as a supervisor is based on the belief that training should be fun and engaging while at the same time rigorous and thorough. I constantly remind trainees of the strengths/gifts that they bring to their clinical work while keeping in mind how they should develop more advanced skills as the year progresses. I emphasize the development of the critical thinking skills that they will need as they progress in their career separately from content-focused interventions that allow us to promote substantive change in the lives of their patients.
Supervision focuses on:
The core of supervision focuses on co-conducting groups. Please refer to the wide array of groups offered at CCS (click). Group Intervention strategies are taught to address a range of developmental ages and an array of diagnostic presentations. After each group we process the group dynamics, the trainee's countertransference experiences, and the various options for intervention moving forward. Clinical threads from family/individual/school interventions are woven into the group process and group dynamics are discussed as a means for Co-therapy/observation of intakes, school meetings, and family therapy sessions are also utilized throughout the training year.
I work closely with trainees to help them hone their writing techniques, allowing them to weave a patient's personal narrative into a given document. The goal is to allow the patient to be understood as a "Holistic" individual by their school team, psychiatrist, probation officer, BSEA hearing officer, DMH worker, or lawyer. Holism promotes effective communication, and in turn, better clinical, educational, and legal outcomes.
I have had the opportunity to work in a wide array of clinical settings, including a medium security prison, the California juvenile justice system, various school systems, a major teaching hospital, and a community-based hospital. I have also served as the Director of a Child/Adolescent Anger Management Program at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School running an outpatient anger department in addition to developing a specialized anger management classroom in the hospital's Acute Residential Treatment Program.
I tell all of our trainees, "Sometimes we worry, but we never worry alone." We rely on our team for support and direction every day. . .
Trainees also complete customized testing batteries that are designed to clinically track onto our Anger Management Treatment Program's curriculum. Batteries may include:
School meetings typically include a review of school-based reports including:
Trainees produce written reports related to typical clinical interactions (Treatment plans, Weekly clinical notes) in addition to psychological testing, single case-agreements, IEP development, developmentally specific educational reports, criminal court litigation documentation, behavioral plans, documents related to educational litigation, and single case agreements requests filed with insurance companies, Completion of Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and Department of Mental Health Services (DMH) referrals with a schedule of attached supporting documentation is also standard.
Please refer to the Clinical Tutoring Page (click) in order to understand how learning and clinical interventions are combined to address the unique needs of our adolescent and college transition populations. Many of our trainees learn a tremendous amount in these sessions. Specifically, how expressive writing impacts a patient's stress levels and learning progress in their school placements.
Trainees also see group participants in individual/family therapy treatments and in their roles as Clinical Tutors (click). We discuss how to harvest relevant clinical information via a thorough, developmentally informed intake and a review of prior testing. This information is integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan that coordinates all aspects of the patient's treatment.