Catholic Social Services

Catholic Social Services Clinical Program

Clinical Match Code - 141614
School Match Code - 141624

3700 Sheridan Blvd. Ste. 1
Lincoln, Nebraska 68506
Fax 402-489-2046

Training Director

Tony Palmer, Ph.D. 
Telephone: 402-489-1834 

Agency Overview

The Catholic Social Services (CSS) Clinical Program is a comprehensive, community-based psychological service delivery system. The CSS Clinical Program was designed and implemented through Catholic Social Services in 1995 to serve individuals throughout the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. As a program within Catholic Social Services, it shares in the mission of the Catholic Church.

Catholic Social Services was founded in 1932, as part of the Catholic Church's charitable response to the Great Depression. Programs were developed to care for children, displaced families, and the poor. Catholic Social Services continues this tradition of care today, offering assistance in the areas of housing, emergency relief, refugee and immigrant services, adoption, and psychological services. Although services are available to anyone regardless of religious affiliation, the CSS Clinical Program is primarily funded through the diocesan Catholic population (approximately 17% of the total population), and approximately 85% of the clients are Catholic.

The CSS Clinical Program attempts to provide services across the diocese, which covers nearly 24,000 square miles. The Catholic Church of the diocese operates 136 parishes, 26 elementary grade schools, six high schools, one residential school for the intellectually disabled, and one college-level seminary. A second college-level seminary also provides priestly training within the diocese; however, it is run by a non-diocesan religious order. Three Catholic hospitals and two homes for the aged operate within diocesan boundaries. There are 18 women religious communities serving in the diocese, with 122 active Sisters. There are 95,000 registered Catholics in the diocese, served in parishes and other institutions by approximately 151 active diocesan priests.

Program Description

The CSS Clinical Program was designed in response to the results of a comprehensive diocese-wide assessment conducted in 1995. Information gathered during the assessment strongly indicated that psychological services within the Catholic structure were necessary. Moreover, families throughout the diocese expressed mental health needs related to strengthening marriages and addressing teen risk behaviors.

The CSS Clinical Program provides educational and consultative services to all parish communities, and facilitates information sharing across the diocese. Services provided by the Clinical Program address the general well-being of the Catholic Community as well as the needs of individuals within every age group. A psychological service continuum was designed to address the broad spectrum of needs requested by the constituencies within the diocese. This continuum involves a full range of psychological services, from indirect efforts at prevention and parish support (e.g., publications, mailings, public speaking, consultation) to direct assessment and intervention with individuals, couples, and families. A scientist-practitioner model is emphasized in all areas of training. Moreover, because the delivery of services is directed primarily to the Catholic population across southern Nebraska, a strong working knowledge of the Catholic faith is imperative.

The primary objective of the CSS Clinical Program is to provide the highest standard of psychological services in an environment that respects the psychological and spiritual needs of its clientele. While remaining grounded in an empirically-based approach to mental health care, CSS seeks to integrate into its services a philosophy and language that provides for effective working relationships with people of Christian faith. The CSS Clinical Program has been recognized nationwide as a leader in the integration of modern scientific psychology and the traditional Christian view of the human person. As such, we are striving toward the development of a psychological framework that effectively addresses both the physical and spiritual nature of the person. Consequently, CSS is an environment where the clinical staff engages regularly in the study and discussion of traditional philosophical and theological principles. We work collaboratively to apply these principles to the psychological and social needs of individuals and organizations within the Lincoln Diocese. In support of these efforts, psychologists, theologians, and philosophers outside the agency are frequently involved in the didactic components of the CSS Clinical Program.

Another unique aspect of the CSS Clinical Program is the emphasis on community outreach and prevention. In order to more effectively serve those outside of the Lincoln area, a model of outreach and consultation has been developed. Specifically, both direct and indirect services are provided in rural areas of the diocese. Satellite sites have been organized in the David City, Auburn, Nebraska City, Falls City, and Hastings areas. Clinical staff, including interns, travel weekly to these sites to provide direct counseling services to clients in these areas. Additional services are provided at the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Bilingual services for Spanish-speaking clients have been added to a satellite site at the Guadalupe Center. Indirect services are provided to outlying areas through consultation with priests and Catholic school personnel on an as-needed basis.

Consistent with the needs of our community and the guiding philosophy of CSS, clinical interns are expected to establish or develop their competency in several key areas:

  1. Knowledge of primary psychological foundations including development, learning, psychopathology, behavior analysis, biological bases, social foundations, and cultural diversity.

  2. Competence with a full range of psychological services, including preventive/indirect services and remedial/direct services, as well as an ability to think systemically and ecologically about client and community mental health needs.

  3. Mastery of primary psychological techniques including cognitive and personality assessment, consultation, and psychotherapy.

  4. Effective integration of principles of the Catholic Faith with empirically based treatment modalities.

  5. Knowledge of and ability to work with individuals in the Catholic structure (e.g., priests, women religious, parochial school personnel, parishioners, specialized social service groups).

  6. Appreciation of the unique needs of clients from a broad range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

  7. Competence in managing a diversity of clinical roles consistent with the strictest ethical and legal guidelines.

Given the mission of the agency in supporting the needs of the local diocese, CSS interns may be particularly well suited for employment either in other diocesan or parish-based mental health service systems, or in academic settings that provide for the integration of psychology, philosophy, and theology.

Structure of Internship Activities

The CSS Clinical Program funds one or two doctoral interns in the clinical track each year and one intern in the school track, beginning August 1 and concluding the following July 31. The School Psychology internship track is described more fully below. Each intern is expected to work 40 hours per week. A majority of the interns' time is spent engaged in direct clinical services and consultation. Training and supervision are strongly emphasized as well. Interns have a minimum of three hours of face-to-face supervision and two hours of group supervision each week. In addition, regular didactic training is provided at CSS and monthly training is provided through the various consortium sites. Site visits to at least two other consortium sites are required during the training year.

Direct Clinical Services

The Immaculate Heart Counseling Center in Lincoln provides care to Catholics and non-Catholics and individuals of all ages. The Counseling Center clientele reflects the ethnicity of the Lincoln community, with the majority of clients being Caucasian. Program service fees come from direct payment, third-party payment, and charity grants that are provided by donations to the agency.

The CSS Clinical Program also operates out of several satellite sites located in parish facilities. Clinicians travel to these outreach sites (e.g., Auburn, Nebraska City, Falls City, David City, St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at UNL, and the Guadalupe Center) on a weekly basis to offer direct and indirect services. Although interns travel regularly to satellite sites, the primary internship location is the Immaculate Heart Counseling Center in Lincoln.

Psychological and Academic Assessment. CSS provides a full range of psychological and academic assessment services to the general public. When available, psychological evaluations are provided for candidates to seminaries and religious orders. Consistent with the objectives of training, interns are expected to become proficient with traditional methods of psychological assessment (including the MMPI-2, MMPI-A, WISC-IV, and WIAT-II) and adopt a scholarly approach to the use of these methods within outpatient, educational, and religious settings.

Counseling Services. The clientele at CSS is quite diverse, encompassing a broad range of ages, SES, and presenting problems. Interns gain experience treating marital problems, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, personality disorders, parenting concerns, and childhood behavior problems. Individual, family, and group therapy is conducted based on the clients' needs. As the interns conduct clinical services, they are expected to broaden and strengthen their knowledge of empirically-based interventions and to begin to effectively integrate that framework within a traditional Catholic anthropology. Interns work collaboratively with parish priests, educational personnel, physicians, and other significant professionals with clients' consent.

Crisis Response Team. Clinicians at CSS are part of a Crisis Response Team that represents a joint effort with the Diocesan Education Office. CSS provides organizational assistance and crisis counseling in parochial schools and parishes up to 72 hours following a traumatic event (e.g., death of a student). Interns are trained as members of the Crisis Response Team.

Crisis Pregnancy and Post-Abortion Healing. Psychologists and counselors from the CSS Clinical Program assist pregnant women and their families in exploring alternatives available to them, including parenting and adoption. The interns are taught to assist women with the many difficult decisions associated with unplanned pregnancy. CSS also offers counseling services for women facing emotional difficulties following an abortion.

24-Hour Emergency Service. In order to facilitate accessibility to crisis counseling services throughout the diocese, a counselor is on call 24 hours a day to answer emergency phone calls. Interns receive training to handle such emergency situations and will be included in the rotating "on-call" schedule.

Indirect Service Delivery

Consultation. In an effort to provide comprehensive services, CSS clinical staff frequently consult with other mental health professionals, priests, and school personnel as appropriate for each client. Consultation serves as a means to provide multi-systemic interventions for individuals and families. In addition, CSS clinical staff continue to foster an ongoing relationship with church leadership and educational personnel in an attempt to actively respond to the needs within the Catholic community.

Public Speaking/Training Workshops. The CSS Clinical Program personnel are available to speak to various groups about topics including parenting skills; helping teens with sexual and abortion-related issues; suicide prevention; coping with the death of a student, friend, or family member; and building strong families. Speaking engagements are typically held at individual parishes in order to strengthen relationships and build the local community. In addition, CSS can provide workshops aimed at helping individuals in the community provide specific services to their parish and school communities. These workshops and speaking engagements offer valuable opportunities for interns to develop or enhance professional presentation skills.


Given the diversity of clinical roles and the complexity of integrating the Catholic faith with the practice of psychology, interns will receive specialized training. Two to three hours of weekly readings can be provided to facilitate establishing a foundation for the integration of the Catholic faith. In addition, presentations on a wide range of clinical and spiritual topics are conducted by CSS clinical staff or by affiliated psychologists, theologians, and philosophers. Furthermore, interns are allowed paid time off to attend local and regional APA-accredited in-service training opportunities.

In addition to the training provided at Catholic Social Services, interns also participate in a monthly consortium-wide didactic seminar covering various applied professional topics. It is through these monthly seminars that interns learn about the varied consortium sites. These seminars provide interns with exposure to diverse treatment settings, including schools, residential treatment facilities, and campus counseling centers.


CSS interns participate in a minimum two hours of individual supervision each week with the Training Director and a minimum of one hour of supervision by a secondary supervisor. Initially, interns are encouraged to observe other staff members or provide conjoint services with them. Interns attain greater independence as their comfort level and expertise increases. In addition to individual supervision, interns participate in weekly staff meetings that include group discussion of current cases.

Facilities and Benefits

Each intern is provided with his/her own fully furnished office, equipped with a variety of software packages, access to the Internet, University of Nebraska Library services, and email. Interns also have access to all available counseling materials and secretarial support.

The internship stipend for the year is $24,000. Health and dental insurance is available to interns. Ten paid vacation days and 5 personal/sick days are provided, as well as approximately 12 paid holidays including Holy Days of Obligation. Interns also receive time off for approved professional development activities (e.g., dissertation defense, attendance at approved professional conferences).

Employment will be contingent on satisfactory completion of a background check. A credal oath is required.

School Psychology Internship Track

The Mission of the Catholic School System of the Diocese of Lincoln is to form students spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically, in partnership with parents, and in harmony with the specific gifts given by God to each student. In order to fulfill this mission, these schools are committed to integrating the best programs and means of education with Catholic faith and moral values.

Type of Facility. Lincoln Diocesan Schools comprise 7,671 students, 27 grade schools, and 6 high schools. Psychological services may be provided to families and school age children who are in the Lincoln Diocesan Schools. The school population has been increasing annually over the past 10 years.

Internship Training Model. Interns within the Nebraska Internship Consortium who are matched in the School Psychology track of Catholic Social Services will receive training that adheres to a consultation-based scientist-practitioner model of school psychology service delivery, including collaboration and problem-solving activities that incorporate developmental, cognitive-behavioral, and/or ecological theoretical perspectives. Interns are expected to utilize data-driven decision making and support the implementation of empirically based intervention strategies. Interns typically will spend their time in assessment activities, in consultation problem solving activities, in individual therapy, and in professional development and other administrative duties. Faculty consider attendance at conferences to be an important part of professional development as well as a means of establishing important contact for future employment. Thus, all interns are encouraged to attend educational workshops and professional conferences throughout the year. Additional resources available to the intern include office space for providing clinical services and other work-related tasks (office space may be shared with other providers at the agency’s discretion); an individual laptop computer with network capabilities; insurance and other client billing services; file setup, maintenance, and storage; client reception and scheduling; participation in all clinical staff retreats; payment of professional liability insurance; reliable transportation to schools; and computer and technical support at schools.

Rotations. Interns within the Nebraska Internship Consortium who are matched in the School Psychology track of Catholic Social Services are assigned 2-3 schools for the entire school year. In addition, counseling services will be provided at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Counseling Center.

Professional Development Training. Interns receive professional development through individual supervision, weekly group supervision, staff meetings, district-wide training, and state/local/regional workshops.

Research Training. Interns within the Lincoln Diocesan schools have the opportunity to collaborate in research activities. Interns are encouraged to present research findings from their dissertations at local, state and/or national conferences.

Services. While not likely to provide all of the following services, the school psychologist intern must be able to:

  • Work with students to:
    • Provide counseling, instruction, and mentoring for those struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral problems
    • Increase achievement by assessing barriers to learning and determining the best instructional strategies to improve learning
    • Promote wellness and resilience by reinforcing communication and social skills, problem solving, anger management, self-regulation, self-determination, and optimism
    • Enhance understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Work with students and their families to:
    • Identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success
    • Evaluate eligibility for special education services (within a multidisciplinary team)
    • Support students' social, emotional, and behavioral health
    • Teach parenting skills and enhance home–school collaboration
    • Make referrals and help coordinate community support services
  • Work with teachers to:
    • Identify and resolve academic barriers to learning
    • Design and implement student progress monitoring systems
    • Design and implement academic and behavioral interventions
    • Support effective individualized instruction
    • Create positive classroom environments
    • Motivate all students to engage in learning
  • Work with administrators to:
    • Collect and analyze data related to school improvement, student outcomes, and accountability requirements
    • Implement school-wide prevention programs that help maintain positive school climates conducive to learning
    • Promote school policies and practices that ensure the safety of all students by reducing school violence, bullying, and harassment
    • Respond to crises by providing leadership, direct services, and coordination with needed community services
    • Design, implement, and garner support for comprehensive school mental health programming
  • Work with community providers to:
    • Coordinate the delivery of services to students and their families in and outside of school
    • Help students transition to and from school and community learning environments, such as residential treatment or juvenile justice programs

Post Internship Employment

Post Internship Employment: Catholic Social Services has trained interns with widely varying backgrounds, experiences, and professional aspirations. Following their internship experience interns have been employed in a variety of settings.

CSS Clinical Staff and Affiliated Faculty

Fr. Christopher K. Kubat, M.Div., M.D. 
Executive Director of Catholic Social Services
Creighton University
Mount St. Mary's Seminary

Tony Palmer, Ph.D.
Internship Training Director and
Director of Clinical Services
Licensed Psychologist
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Areas of Focus: Process-experiential approaches to psychotherapy, psychotherapy process research, psychotherapy training and supervision

Peter Martin, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Institute for the Psychological Sciences
Areas of Focus: child, adolescent, and marital therapy; anxiety; depression; forgiveness therapy; integration of Christian Anthropology

Eve Rosno, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
University of Kansas
Areas of Focus: child, adolescent, and family therapy; parenting; consultation; behavior problems; ADHD; anxiety; depression; personality and psychoeducational assessment; trauma; phobias

Nick Stevens, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Institute for the Psychological Sciences
Areas of Focus: virtue and character formation; depression; anxiety; relationship difficulties; family of origin issues; communication within the marriage and family; parenting; adolescent and adult therapy; group therapy; psychological assessment (personality, cognitive)

Ian Butler, M.A.
Licensed Mental Health Practitioner
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Areas of Focus: male sexual issues; marriage and family; trauma resolution; identity issues

Ann Peters Miller, M.S. 
Licensed Mental Health Practitioner
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Areas of Focus: marriage; depression; bereavement; post-abortion issues

Becky Walkowiak, M.A.
Licensed Mental Health Practitioner
Doane College
Areas of Focus: health-related issues; depression; anxiety; marital problems

CSS holds open house events before interviews.