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Psychology Trainee Program


The CDD Psychology Department has the primary objectives of:

  • Service to persons with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families
  • Training of professionals as future leaders in the field of developmental disabilities
  • Dissemination of research and program evaluation conducted at CDD

Licensed psychologists focus on early identification and intervention for individuals with a variety of neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychologists participate in comprehensive, interdisciplinary assessment teams, conduct single discipline psychological evaluations, and provide evidence-based therapies.

Psychologists also offer training to graduate level practicum students, pre-doctoral psychology interns as part of an APA -accredited Pre-Doctoral Internship, and psychology postdoctoral fellows. Under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, students are trained in infant and early childhood assessment and evidence-based therapies (Applied Behavior Analysis). Training for interns and graduate students begins in mid to late August. Postdoctoral Fellowships typically begin in mid-August but start time is negotiable.


  • Selects instruments designed to assess referral questions, administers appropriate instruments, provides structure and limits in assessment correctly, demonstrates accurate, comprehensive inquiry as necessary and synthesizes assessment data so that conclusions are clearly stated.
  • Accurately diagnoses socioemotional/behavioral disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficity Hyperactivity Disorder, and Intellectual Disability.
  • Effectively facilitates interpretation of findings to the family and/or individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Serves as effective therapist for ABA/PCIT for families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Develops appropriate treatment goals and monitors progress.
  • Understands the ethical issues, principles and values of the discipline; implements ethical principles in daily practice.


Most assessments are physician referred as rule out of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The problem is usually one of differential diagnosis with psychological, medical, social, and language components.

Many diagnostic and treatment activities involve an interdisciplinary team, with the objective of helping trainees gain an understanding of other disciplines while representing psychology as team members.

The psychology division is part of the APA -approved University of Tennessee Professional Psychology Internship Consortium. In addition to internships, traineeships are offered for clinical and school psychology doctoral students. A postdoctoral fellowship is also offered.

All training experiences are supervised, with the type of experience depending upon the level of training and the needs of the trainee. Fellows, interns, and graduate trainees gain experience in the use of psychological techniques with patients ranging from infants to adolescents and their families.

Trainees represent psychology in the interdisciplinary staff conferences and consult with a variety of disciplines and programs. In addition to the training activities at the CDD, trainees have direct contact with other agencies in the region.

Other Training Opportunities

Training in behavioral interventions for developmental skill acquisition and the reduction of disruptive behaviors is available through two therapy clinics:

Who Can Apply

A limited number of stipends are available for graduate trainees. Applicants for stipends must be citizens of the United States or non-citizens admitted to the United States as permanent residents, with no other means of financial support.


To request an application for a graduate level practicum placement in clinical/school psychology or the postdoctoral fellowship contact the Chief of Psychology, CDD, 711 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105 or call 901.448.6511. To request an application for the APA – approved University of Tennessee Professional Psychology Internship Consortium please follow the link to the Consortium website or contact Melissa Hoffmann, PhD, Director, 711 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 or call 901.448.5944.

Last Published: Mar 15, 2021