Catholic Social Services Clinical Program

Clinical Match Code - 141612

3700 Sheridan Blvd. Ste. 1
Lincoln, Nebraska 68506
402-489-1834
Fax 402-489-2046

Director of Integrated Training and Formation

Peter Martin, Psy.D. 
Telephone: 402-489-1834 
Email: pmartin@cssisus.org

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. Services are available to anyone regardless of religious affiliation, though the majority of CSS clients are Catholic.

The CSS Clinical Program attempts to provide services across the Lincoln diocese, which covers nearly 24,000 square miles. The inclusion of Telehealth services has made this effort more successful.

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, families, and groups. Clinical sessions can be provided both in-person and remotely via telehealth. 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 and evidence-based practice in an environment that respects the psychological and spiritual needs of its clientele. While remaining grounded in an evidence-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 the Christian faith.

The CSS Clinical Program has been recognized nationwide as a leader in the integration of contemporary scientific psychology and the traditional Christian vision of the human person. As such, we are striving toward the development of an integrated psychological framework that effectively addresses both the physiological and spiritual aspects 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 involved in the didactic components of the CSS Clinical Program.

Another unique aspect of the CSS Clinical Program is its emphasis on prevention and community outreach. 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. Telehealth options allow for outreach to the entire diocese. Outreach sites are organized at the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, St. Gregory Minor Seminary in Seward, as well as several parochial schools in the Lincoln area. Clinical staff travels weekly or bi-weekly to these sites in order to provide direct counseling services to clients. Indirect services are provided to outlying areas through consultation with priests and Catholic school personnel on an as-needed basis.

The CSS Clinical program offers both in-person and telehealth counseling services. Telehealth counseling services includes both video and phone options to those who prefer the comfort of their home or are outside of the Lincoln area. Our video telehealth services are provided through our Electronic Health Records System (EHR), which is HIPAA-compliant and secure.

Interns are required to obtain PLMHP licensure in the State of Nebraska prior to the August 1st internship start date. Consistent with the needs of our community and the guiding philosophy of CSS, clinical interns are expected to develop or establish their competency in several key areas:

  1. Knowledge of primary psychological foundations including trauma-informed care, attachment theory, development, learning, psychopathology (including symptom and personality disorders), behavior analysis, biological bases, social foundations, and cultural and religious-spiritual 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 strategies including cognitive, psychological and psychospiritual personality assessment, consultation, and psychotherapy.
  4. Applied integration of principles of the Catholic faith with empirically supported treatment modalities tailored to the spiritual and religious preferences of the client.
  5. Knowledge of and ability to work with individuals in the Catholic structure (e.g., priests, women’s and men’s religious, campus missionaries, 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 two to three doctoral interns in the clinical track each year, beginning August 1st and concluding the following July 31st. 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 two hours of individual supervision as well as two additional hours of individual or group supervision and/or didactic activities each week. Regular faith-integrated didactic training is provided at CSS and monthly seminar training is provided through the various consortium sites. Visits to 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 as well as 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 reimbursement, and financial assistance that are provided by donations to the agency.

The Counseling Center also provides on-site services at outreach sites located at the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at UNL, St. Gregory Seminary in Seward, and at several parochial schools. Clinicians travel on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to offer direct and indirect services. Although interns travel regularly to outreach sites, the primary internship location is the Immaculate Heart of Mary Counseling Center in Lincoln.

 Psychological, Psychospiritual, and Academic Assessment. CSS provides a range of psychological, psychospiritual, and academic assessment services to the general public. When available, psychological and psychospiritual 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-3, MMPI-A, WISC-IV, and WIAT-II), as well as attachment-based psychospiritual assessments (including the Attachment to God Inventory and the Holy Trinity & Mary Drawings), 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 family issues like parenting concerns and childhood behavior problems, marital problems, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, and personality disorders. Individual, couples, family, and group therapy are conducted based on the clients' needs. As the interns conduct clinical services, they are expected to broaden and strengthen their knowledge and application of evidence-based practice and to begin to effectively integrate that framework within an orthodox Catholic vision of what it means to be human. Interns work collaboratively with priests and religious, educational personnel, physicians, and other significant professionals with client consent.

 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 consults with other mental and medical health professionals, priests, religious, and school personnel as appropriate for each client. Consultation serves as a means to provide effective multiple systems 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 personnel are available to speak to various groups about topics including (but not excluded to) parenting skills; effective communication; helping teens with sexual and abortion-related issues; suicide prevention; forgiveness and anger reduction; integration of psychology and spirituality; healing perfectionism; grieving the death of a student, friend, or family member; and building strong families. Speaking engagements may be held at individual parishes in order to strengthen relationships and build the local community. In addition, CSS can provide in-person workshops and webinars aimed at helping individuals in the community provide specific services to their parish and school communities. Clinicians also regularly discuss faith-integrated topics on local Catholic radio. These workshops and speaking engagements offer valuable opportunities for interns to develop or enhance professional presentation skills.

Didactics

Given the diversity of clinical roles and the complexity of integrating the Catholic faith with psychology in the applied setting, interns will receive specialized training. Various relevant readings are provided to facilitate establishing a foundation for the integration of the Catholic faith. In addition, didactic presentations on a wide range of clinical and psychospiritual 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 and site visits that interns learn about the varied consortium sites. These seminars provide interns with exposure to diverse treatment settings, including medical centers, residential treatment facilities, and campus counseling centers.

Supervision

CSS interns participate in a minimum of two hours of individual supervision each week with the Training Director or other licensed psychologist and a minimum of two hours of other interactive supervised experiences such as group supervision, case conferences, seminars, in-service training, etc. Initially, interns are encouraged to observe and shadow other clinical staff 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 frequent staff meetings that include group discussion of current cases.

Facilities and Benefits

Each intern is provided with his/her own fully furnished office, computer equipped with a variety of software packages, access to the Internet, online library services, telephone and company email. Interns also have access to all available counseling and testing materials as well as secretarial support. The annual stipend is $28,352. Health and dental insurance is available. During the internship year, interns receive 5 days of personal time off and 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, etc.).

Catholic Social Services requires the satisfactory completion of a standard background check. This includes a search of the National Criminal File and Social Security Number verification and County Criminal File search. The National Criminal file search includes the National Sex Offender Registry, Federal Fugitive Registries, State Criminal Repositories, and ChoicePoint proprietary information. CSS also requires completion of the Safe Environment Training.

Post Internship Employment

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

CSS Clinical Staff and Affiliated Faculty

Katie Patrick, M.A.
     Executive Director of CSS
Seton Hall University

Courtney Miller, Ph.D.
     Vice President of Clinical Services, IHMCC/CSS
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Areas of Focus: Child/Adolescent Therapy; Family Therapy; Parent Training; School Consultation; Psychological/Psychoeducational Assessment; EMDR; OCD

Peter Martin, Psy.D.
     Internship Director of Integated Training and Formation
Institute for the Psychological Sciences (Divine Mercy University)
Areas of Focus: Individual Adult Therapy; Marital Therapy; Process Group Therapy; Adult Attachment and Psychospiritual Issues; Personality Disorders; Trauma; Internal Family Systems Therapy; Forgiveness Therapy; Integration of Christian Anthropology

Natalie Brei, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Areas of Focus: Child/adolescent therapy; primary care and school consultation; behavioral parent training; ADHD, habit reversal; autism/special needs; pediatric health concerns (toileting, feeding, sleep); trauma; anxiety; depression; psychological/psychoeducational assessment

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

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

Catholic Social Services will hold an Open House and Interviews in early January. Further details will be forthcoming upon acceptance of the applicant for an interview. The format will be based on APPIC recommendations and COVID-related health concerns.