How important is a neuropsych track internship in obtaining a neuropsych post-doc internship?

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Jan 17, 2011
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I'm considering not applying in Phase 2 of the match because there are not good opportunities for neuropsych training.... During Phase 1, I had 8 interviews at some top neuropsych track sites, I received feedback that I was ranked and competitive - but obviously was not ranked high enough. I was wondering if neuropsych folks could shed light on whether an internship that is generalist with only one Neuropsych rotation (4 months) significantly affects your chances of obtaining a Neuropsych post-doc position? As a graduate student, I have had broad assessment and therapy experiences in fairly diverse patient populations and settings (university, community mental health, and in-patient) and also have had 5 first authors pubs (& 4 non-first author) in peer-reviewed mid tier journals. Thanks for your input!

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It's going to mostly depend on your level of grad school neuropysch training. If you've had quite a bit, then a generalist internship isn't necessary a bad/harmful thing when it comes to postdoc applications. However, if your grad school neuropsych training is on the lower side, then a generalist internship could hurt you.

I've certainly known a small handful of folks who had more generalist grad school and internship experiences who then went on to find neuro postdocs, but they weren't as competitive as the more focused folks, and they typically had a lot of ground to make up once they started fellowship (which is already a busy two years to begin with). It's possible, just not ideal.
Thanks for replying. I believe I am somewhere in the middle. I have good "hands-on" experience and have worked with a lot of populations to include older adults, SMI in and out patient, and a university clinic - however, my program lacks didactics/formal training so I sought neuropsych experiences in my practicum and research placements...
If I'm reading that correctly, it sounds like you weren't able to find formal neuropsych practica, but were able to get some degree of neuropsych exposure on other practicum and research placements? If so, then that, coupled with the lack of formal coursework, means that a neuro-oriented internship is probably going to be in your bests interests. Again, it wouldn't be impossible to find a solid postdoc without one, but it's going to mean you'll likely be at a bit of a disadvantage compared to many of the other applicants, particularly if the sites are looking for folks who're ready to hit the ground running.

If you do go the generalist route (which is a decision only you can make, of course), then I'd strongly recommend you pick a very, very structured neuro postdoc that includes significant didactic and structured supervision opportunities and responsibilities (e.g.,. medical school neuroanatomy course, weekly multidisciplinary case conferences and grand rounds, etc.) as opposted to something more informal like a private practice gig.
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