Therapy Externship in Clinical Psychology

Revised July 2015 

South Campus (SC) is a private therapeutic day school that was founded in 2001 to serve students in Southern Lake and Northern Cook Counties who are in need of an alternative school program which is supportive, therapeutic and educational. The program serves students between the ages of 6 and 21 years.  SC utilizes educational, therapeutic, family and community connections to promote academic achievement and personal/emotional growth.  The staff at SC is fully committed to helping each student make academic progress and develop the skills and behaviors necessary to succeed back in their home school or in a less-restrictive environment.  The staff has found that the development of supportive, nurturing relationships with all students is integral to this process.

Ms. Betty Lindquist, Dr. John Schuler, and Mr. Tom Dempsey, founders of the program, chose to base the mission of SC on philosophical principles similar to those held at Counseling Connections, a multi-disciplinary group practice, specializing in the therapeutic needs of children, adolescents and adults.  The professionals at Counseling Connections (founded by Ms. Lindquist and Dr. Schuler) have been serving the community since 1981, and have worked closely with the schools, courts and social service agencies of Lake and Northern Cook Counties.

With regard to treatment philosophies, the clinical staff of SC use a cognitive-behavioral/problem-solving approach as well as narrative principles to help students overcome problems at hand, practice more successful behavioral alternatives and explore ways to “re-write” their frequently negative life stories. Our goal is to work with students to build on their strengths and gifts, and fight with them against their weaknesses and obstacles.  The environment is based in a positive nurturing model where “natural consequences” for behaviors are frequently utilized.  SC avoids using restrictive and punitive methods of behavioral management and does not have a time-out room.  Physical management/restraint is only employed as a last resort, when the child is determined to be a danger to her/himself or others.

The Therapy Practicum Program in Clinical Psychology at South Campus has been designed to help externs acquire and refine their clinical skills in key areas of practice, while functioning as a valued member of a multi-disciplinary team.  There is an emphasis on training in fundamental clinical skills with a primary focus on individual, group and family therapy.  Externs are provided with opportunities to work with frequently challenging/complicated children, adolescents and their families who often exhibit a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues.  Externs also get an opportunity to work with people of all ages, and diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  There are two on-site licensed Clinical Psychologists. Supervision and clinical training program is led by the SC Senior Psychologist as well as other training staff. The practicum program is therapy-based, thus formal diagnostic opportunities are not available to the externs.

The primary training goal/objective is to promote Externs’ professional growth in such a way that they feel more confident in their ability to function as Clinical mental health providers, with the ability to practice in accordance with the highest standards of care.


  • Individual, group and family treatment with children and adolescents
  • Mandatory attendance days: Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Monthly parent/guardian group meetings
  • Attending multi-disciplinary staffings for students
  • Writing and presenting Treatment Summaries, Social Developmental Histories, and IEP goals for staffings
  • 1 hour of individual and 2 hours of group supervision and didactics per week with a licensed clinical psychologist and other clinical staff (the additional hour of group supervision is dependent on the extern’s schedule)
  • Consultation with Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, as well as a Certified Art Therapist, as related to caseload needs.
  • Monthly meetings with SC’s consulting psychiatrist regarding students assigned to the extern
  • “All Staff Meetings” – three times a week at 7:45am to discuss the day’s events, problem solve and develop plans for the future
  • “Institute Days” - in-school staff training which covers school-related, therapeutic and behavioral topics and interventions
  • Supervisors require a minimum of one audio/videotaped therapy session per year.


  • 12 consecutive months (which is interspersed with holidays, winter & spring vacations and abbreviated summer school calendar). At least 24 hours per week, minimum 3 days/week (7:45am - 3:45pm).
  • Externs are required to participate in a minimum of 600 hours of supervised clinical experience throughout the year; this time is spent in direct service, indirect service, training and supervision.
  • Externs are expected to spend at least 200 hours in direct, face-to-face student service.
  • Traditionally the Externship program would begin at the start of the academic year (mid-August); however, alternate start dates may be required.
  • Additional requirement of drug screening for all new staff and possible random drug screenings throughout the year.

Evaluation is an active, ongoing process throughout the Externship period.  All evaluations will entail an active discussion, regarding areas of strength and weakness, between student and supervisor.  Formal, written evaluations will occur every six months throughout the course of the Externship year.  These evaluations will be filled out by the Senior Clinical Psychologist and will be reviewed, in detail, with the Extern.  Any serious concerns will be discussed with both the student and the other Training Staff.  Please see Due Process Documentation for a full explanation of procedures.


  • Free student cafeteria lunch daily
  • Monthly consultation with Psychiatrist
  • Daily consultation with Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Certified Art Therapist
  • Convenient location
  • Free Parking
  • School hours (7:45am - 3:45pm, Monday - Friday), 197 days a year and vacation time (2 weeks for Winter, 1 week for Spring, 1 month for Summer and all national holidays)


Vanessa Davidson, Psy.D.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Senior Clinical Psychologist

Leslie Brankin, Psy. D.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Diagnostic/IAES Coordinator/ Training Facilitator

Kati Hefferon, Psy.D.
Illinois School of Professional Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Michael Greenbaum, M.D.
Board Certified Psychiatry and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry
University of Illinois-College of Medicine

Kara Anast Psy.D
Licensed Clinical Psychologist/ Psychodiagnostician

Charlette Edwards, Psy. D. 
Forest Institute of Professional Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist / Psychodiagnostician

Individuals who have met all requirements for practical experience from clinical/counseling psychology training programs, must submit the following materials:

  • All graduate school transcripts.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Cover Letter

Application Note: If you choose to mail items, application materials must come in one envelope.

This information can be submitted via email, mail/fax. Email preferred.

Vanessa Davidson, Psy.D. 
Senior Clinical Psychologist
South Campus                                              
909 E. Wilmette Road, Suite F                                        
Palatine, IL  60074 
fax 847-359-8301

Note: If you choose to fax your information, please mail a hard copy of all documents as well.

If you have any further questions, please call call Dr. Davidson at (847) 359-8300 ext. 216.