Behavioral Psychology


Clinical training includes ongoing rotations at Western State Hospital, a Joint Commission accredited inpatient facility in Staunton, VA, and at the Behavioral Medicine Center at the University of Virginia Health System.  Fellows receive training in delivering a range of evidence-based practices in both individual and group formats in psychiatric and academic medical settings. There is significant opportunity to seek out training experiences of interest and to customize the fellowship experience.  On each rotation, fellows work with and receive supervision from faculty members who specialize in that service area.

The fellowship program is a one-year, full-time training experience (with a possible renewal for a second year).  The fellowship start date is somewhat negotiable, but typically occurs between July and September.  The fellowship is administered by the Medical Psychology Fellowship Program in the UVa Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences. Each fellow is appointed to the Housestaff of the University of Virginia Health System and awarded a certificate by the UVaHS upon successful completion of the training program.

Clinical Focus (80%)

Severe Mental Illness

Three days each week are devoted to Western State Hospital, with a focus on WSH interiorempirically-supported service provision for individuals with severe mental illness.  Common diagnoses include Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and co-morbid substance use disorders.  At Western State hospital, we use a comprehensive recovery and psychosocial rehabilitation approach to service delivery.  Fellows work on an acute care unit for the first half of fellowship and on a long-term ward for the second half, and there are opportunities to work hospital-wide providing behavioral consultation.  Fellows work as part of an interdisciplinary unit team of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nursing staff, and other professionals to develop integrated treatment plans and provide direct care via individual psychotherapy and psychosocial rehabilitation groups.  Fellows complete core training experiences in severe mental illness and psychosocial rehabilitation.  In addition, fellows will choose from among many training options, including training for staff, individual psychotherapy, and supervision of practicum students.  Fellows learn to integrate assessment data and psychiatric history into complex case conceptualizations and gain experience with working with persons from various socioeconomic statuses and ethnic and cultural backgrounds. They lead behavioral and cognitive groups and have significant freedom to design groups of interest to them. Didactic opportunities are available and encouraged.

Behavioral Medicine

Two days each week. The Behavioral Medicine Center provides psychological services for a broad age range of patients, including pediatric and geriatric.  The fellow will conduct a variety of outpatient psychological evaluations, including assessments specifically tailored for different patient populations, including bariatric surgery, solid organ transplant, and pediatric elimination disorders.  In addition, the fellow will provide psychotherapy services to individuals presenting with a wide variety of medical and psychiatric conditions.  Patient referrals to the clinic are made by other clinics and departments in the UVA Health Sciences Center, as well as by the UVA Employee and Faculty Assistance Program and UVA Student Health.  While treatment plans and approaches are primarily evidence-based and cognitive-behaviorally oriented, fellows will also be encouraged to utilize interventions based in other theoretical perspectives when appropriate, including dynamic and interpersonal.  Fellows typically conduct no more than one evaluation per week, and maintain a caseload of 10 weekly/bi-weekly psychotherapy patients.

In addition to these clinical activities, fellows will be provided with 1-2 hours of individual supervision with an attending psychologist(s) each week, and one hour of weekly group supervision.  There are two didactic hours per month, which include presentations from other UVA psychologists and physicians.  Fellows will also participate in administrative activities in the clinic, including a weekly meeting of all clinical staff and trainees.  See Behavioral Medicine page for information on the clinical component of Behavioral Medicine rotation.

Educational & Professional Development at WSH (10%)*

  1. Meetings with the Program Director and postdoctoral fellows across sub-specialty areas during the academic year to discuss administrative issues and professional development.
  2. Western State Hospital Grand Rounds
  3. A variety of forensic education programs provided through UVa Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy, if desired (space permitting)
  4. Involvement in hospital-wide committees that focus on the application of psychological knowledge throughout the hospital (e.g., Behavioral Management Committee, behavioral training of direct care staff).

Research Focus (10%; negotiated on a case by case basis)*

Fellows may have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects at WSH, including:

  1. Assessing the interaction skills of direct care staff
  2. Case studies

* see Behavioral Medicine description for other education and professional development and research focus.

Location of Fellowship

Behavioral Medicine Center, University of Virginia Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences (Charlottesville, VA).  See the description provided for the Behavioral Medicine Fellowship.

Western State Hospital (Staunton, VA)

wsh_oldWestern State Hospital (WSH) is a 246 bed public psychiatric treatment facility located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia approximately 40 miles west of Charlottesville. The hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission. WSH serves 34 counties and 12 cities, and admits individuals who are 18 to 64 years of age.  All patients admitted to WSH must have been assessed by a mental health professional in the community and judged to require inpatient psychiatric treatment.  Each area of the hospital is described in the following text.

Acute Care

The Acute Care (admissions) area is comprised of four units, each with approximately 28 individuals with severe mental disorders.  The majority of these individuals meet involuntary commitment criteria (viz., inability to care for self, dangerous to self or others due to mental illness) at the time of admission. The primary goal of care in this area is to provide intensive diagnostic evaluation and treatment directed toward stabilizing florid psychiatric symptoms (generally, acute psychosis and/or suicidality) and returning patients to their community as quickly as possible. There are two coed civil wards serving patients 18-64 years,  an all-male forensic unit (viz., patients who have pending legal charges, are not competent to stand trial, or who have been adjudicated NGRI), and a coed ward that is mostly forensic.  The fellow conducts diagnostic interviewing and assessment, brief individual and group therapy, and behavioral treatment planning.  The fellow’s primary base of operations is one of the  co-ed acute care units, where he or she serves as a member of the treatment team.

Extended Rehabilitation

The five Extended Rehabilitation units serve patients who have persistent impairments and who are not ready to be discharged from an acute care unit. These patients exhibit refractory psychiatric symptoms and challenging behaviors that impair their ability to function in a community setting.  There are several Psychosocial Rehabilitation Day programs that provide an array of therapeutic groups and activities to individuals from these units. The psychologists conduct a variety of structured group therapies, in addition to ore traditional group therapy in these programs. Psychologists on these units are also involved in developing and refining unit contingency management procedures and individualized treatment plans. They also conduct serial assessments to assess progress.  They fellow’s primary involvement on the extended rehabilitation units is to serve as a consultant on complex cases, provide psychosocial group treatment, and, if desired, provide individual treatment.


A separate Neuropsychology Laboratory provides intellectual, personality, and neuropsychological evaluations on a consultation basis for patients throughout the hospital. The focus of assessment or consultation may range from brief, focused neurocognitive assessments to a full neuropsychological battery. Dr. Monique Wilson directs this service.

WSH also offers seminars that are available to psychology fellows. These include the weekly grand rounds for WSH professional staff and the monthly in-services specifically for the psychology department faculty. Dr. Jeff Phillips is the Director of Psychology at Western State Hospital.  Fellows are also required to attend the Monthly Psychology Fellows Meeting held at UVa.

Core Faculty

Western State Hospital

  • Erin Gallagher, Psy.D., Supervisor
  • Lee Ann Bass, Ph.D., Supervisor
  • Jeff Phillips, Ph.D., Director of Psychology

Behavioral Medicine Center (UVa Health System)

  • Amit Shahane, Ph.D. (Behavioral Medicine Center, Director)
  • Jaclyn Shepard, Psy.D. (Behavioral Medicine Center, Director of Training)
  • Virginia Andersen, Ph.D.
  • Joanna Yost, Ph.D.
  • Heather Bruschwein, Psy.D.
  • Casey Cavanagh, Ph.D.

Current Fellow

  • Jared Ramos, Psy.D.

Admission Criteria

  • Completion of a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from an APA-approved program
  • Completion of an APA-approved predoctoral internship in Clinical Psychology.

Materials Required

  • A completed application (available for download from the website).
  • A copy of your most recent curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation from those familiar with your work.


APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY: Currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 year


Erin Gallagher, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist
2 Pine/Acute Admissions
Western State Hospital

103 Valley Center Dr, Staunton, VA 24401

(540) 569-3984