Supervisor Joshua Ruberg, PhD; Benjamin Felleman, PhD; Samantha Rafie, PhD
Facility Mission Valley VA Primary Care & Behavioral Medicine Clinic
Address 8810 Rio San Diego Drive, San Diego CA 92108
Phone (858) 253-2662
Email joshua.ruberg@va.gov Benjamin.felleman@va.gov Samantha.rafie@va.gov
Placement Type Primary Care Mental Health and Behavioral Medicine program at VA Mission Valley
Patient Type

Primary care patients with psychological complaints. Patients are adults of all ages (21 through 89, avg. age 50), primarily male with some women (25%-35%). Most common presenting issues: Depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance use disorders, suicidal ideation, loss/grief, cognitive decline, other stress, relationship issues, medical compliance issues, chronic pain, adjustment issues, and insomnia/sleep issues.

Experience Type

Practicum student will conduct clinical services through telemedicine at the initiation of the training year but there will likely be opportunities during the training year for face-to-face encounters pending VA COVID-19 guidelines and student comfort with this modality. Practicum experience will include: (1) assessment and triage of primary care patients with mental health issues. Typical assessments are brief semi-structured interviews that include a few brief self-report measures (e.g., PHQ-9, PCL-C), with some opportunity for brief neuropsychological screening; (2) Brief individual intervention (3-8 sessions, tapering to monthly or fewer) for a variety of psychological problems and health conditions, primarily using mindfulness-based approaches, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; (3) depending on the student’s schedule and interest, group therapy for a variety of health conditions including chronic pain, tobacco use, and insomnia. Groups will be offered in virtual format until health guidelines permit gathering in group settings. Groups are likely to remain virtual for the entirety of the 2021-2022 training year. There will also be ample opportunities for virtual interaction and consultation with the entire PCMHI/BMED team which includes psychiatrists, nurses, and psychology and psychiatry trainees at varying stages of training, as well as regular collaboration with primary care staff including physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers and clinical pharmacists.

Number Of Students 1
Experience Necessary Interviewing skills, some experience with one-one psychotherapy, comfort working in medical environment
Time Commitment 10 hours
Practicum Length Full Year
Start Date 07/01/2021
Limiting Factors Team meetings are on Mondays 1130-1230 pm. Psychotherapy groups (e.g., CBT for pain, ACT for pain, Pain Education) are also conducted on Mondays. It is preferred that the student attend at least one of the groups for part of the year. Student schedule can be changed during the year to attend groups.
Other Issues Advanced practicum students with interests in telemedicine and health psychology are encouraged to apply.
Description Revised 03/30/2021