UCLA PEERS Practicum - Clinical & Research



(Open to UCLA students only) 

The UCLA PEERS®(Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) Clinic provides evidence-based group interventions to help teens and young adults foster meaningful friendships. Teen and young adults are instructed on the important elements of socialization (i.e., conversational skills; peer entry and exiting strategies; handling teasing, bullying, and rejection; changing bad reputations; choosing appropriate friends; handling arguments and disagreements; and having appropriate get-togethers with peers). Young adults are additionally instructed on dating etiquette, handling peer pressure, and handling chronic bullying. Separate parent/caregiver and teen/young adult sessions are conducted concurrently for 90-minutes each week. Sessions are structured to include homework review, didactic presentation, role-play demonstrations, and behavioral rehearsal exercises. Parents and caregivers are taught how to assist their teens and young adults in making and keeping friends by providing performance feedback during weekly in vivo socialization homework assignments.

The PEERS Clinic also provides parent-assisted group intervention for preschool-aged children. The preschooler intervention addresses fundamental social skills such as greeting friends, initiating and maintaining play, sharing and turn taking, body boundaries, helping friends, and having appropriate play dates. The session format is similar to that of the teen and young adult groups, with the exception of a parent coaching component where parents receive real life performance feedback from the treatment team on social coaching their children during mock play dates.

Client Population Served:

The UCLA PEERS Clinic serves individuals across three age groups. The teen intervention is appropriate for youth between the ages of 11-18 years, the young adult intervention is appropriate for individuals between the ages of 18-28 years, and the preschooler intervention is appropriate for children between the ages of 4-6 years. For the teen and young adult groups, PEERS is appropriate for individuals with a variety of presenting problems, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and adjustment disorders. Teens and young adults have at least average cognitive functioning, are attending school and/or are employed, and are having difficulty making and keeping friends. For the preschooler group, PEERS is limited to children diagnosed with ASD with at least average cognitive functioning.

Current Position Openings: 

Two doctoral-level practicum positions are available for the 2014-15 academic year. Practicum students are required to commit to 20 hours per week (weekly schedule may vary) for a minimum of one academic year. 

Resource Allocation: 

Trainees will be provided with a shared workspace (#27-384 and #27-384B, Semel), computer, and phone in the UCLA PEERS Clinic, located at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. All groups are held at the UCLA Semel Institute. 

Supervisors (Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences): 

Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Founder and Director, UCLA PEERS Clinic

Mina Park, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Clinical Instructor, Post-Doctoral Fellow, UCLA PEERS Clinic


Training and Supervision: 

Prior clinical experience working with individuals diagnosed with ASD or developmental delays is preferred; however, this practicum is also available for those who wish to gain experience with this population. 

Weekly group supervision (1-2.5 hours per week) and individual supervision (1 hour per week, if co-facilitating sessions) are provided. In addition, trainees will be work alongside and receive ongoing supervision from the supervisors throughout the weekly sessions. Supervisors are licensed clinical psychologists. 

Time Requirements: 

Time requirements will vary by groups and availability of the practicum student. 

Young Adult Groups:Young adult social skills groups meet every MONDAY from 5:30-8:00 pm. Group supervision is conducted for 30 minutes from 5:30-6:00 pm. The social skills group is conducted from 6:00-8:00 pm for 16 weeks. An additional 30-60 minutes of electronic medical records charting is completed per group. Social skills groups are ongoing throughout the year. 

Preschool Groups:Preschool social skills groups meet every TUESDAY from 2:30-5:30 pm. Group supervision is conducted for 90 minutes from 2:30-3:30 pm and 5:00-5:30 pm. The social skills group is conducted from 3:30-5:00 pm for 16 weeks. An additional 30-60 minutes of electronic medical records charting is completed per group. Social skills groups are ongoing throughout the year. 

Teen Groups:Teen social skills groups meet every WEDNESDAY from 4-8 pm. Group supervision is conducted for 30 minutes from 4:00-4:30 pm. Two social skills groups are conducted from 4:30-6:00 pm and 6:30-8:00 pm for 14-weeks. An additional 60-90 minutes of electronic medical records charting is completed per group. Social skills groups are ongoing throughout the year. 

Intake Interviews:Intake interviews with families are conducted throughout the week to assess appropriateness of fit for groups. Intakes are scheduled for 60-90 minutes each and include 30-60 minutes of electronic medical records report writing per interview.

Application process: 

Candidates are required to submit:

  1. Letter of interest
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Two letters of references
  4. Letter from the Training Director of the University attesting to the student’s qualifications
  5. Evidence of professional liability coverage provided by the candidate’s doctoral training program 

Please email all materials to Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson at: elaugeson@mednet.ucla.edu 

Deadline for applications is March 15th.

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