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Pediatrics – SPARK Center


Practicum / Internship Program in Mental Health

The SPARK Center is a well-known training site for many local area colleges and universities. The Center offers year-long internship and practicum training to graduate students in the fields of clinical and counseling psychology, early childhood education, expressive art therapy, mental health, public health and social work. The training program is designed to allow graduate students to work in a multi-disciplinary setting with ethnically-diverse and underserved groups.

Mental health trainees at The SPARK Center provide a range of behavioral health services, including the following:

  • Intake assessments, behavioral/emotional evaluations, cognitive testing and neuropsychological assessments
  • Individual, family and group therapy
  • Milieu therapy
  • Home-based counseling services
  • Crisis interventions
  • Case management and consultation

Interns and practicum students receive weekly supervision from licensed mental health professionals. Trainees also participate in weekly multi-disciplinary case review meetings. In addition, monthly didactic seminars are provided on relevant mental health-related topics (e.g., Basics of HIV/AIDS, Impact of Domestic Violence and Trauma on Children, Interventions with Refugees and Victims of Trauma, Psychiatric and Psychopharmacological Interventions with Children and Adolescents, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Children). In addition, there are many opportunities for interns and practicum students to participate in grant writing and research activities as well as engage in HIV prevention and education programs at the Center.

Candidates who are interested in applying to the training program must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least in the second year of their training at the start of the internship/practicum.
  • Have previous child-related experiences (e.g., as clinicians, counselors, teachers, etc.).
  • Have a background in the field of mental health, social work, counseling or clinical psychology.

Potential candidates should also demonstrate past experience and strong interest in working with children and adolescents with significant histories of trauma, disruptive attachment and behavioral and emotional problems. Candidates must also be comfortable working within a multi-disciplinary, medical and therapeutic milieu.
Prior to the start of the practicum/internship training year, all trainees must undergo a background check (e.g., CORI). In addition, trainees must submit copies of their immunization records, recent TB test results or screening, and a letter from a Primary Care Physician or a recent physical examination indicating that they are in good health. Proof of liability/malpractice insurance coverage from the graduate school program must be provided prior to the start of the internship/practicum training.

Application Procedures

Application materials are typically reviewed, and interviews are conducted, during the months of January through April for placements in the fall. Prospective applicants should submit a résumé, a letter of intent and two letters of recommendation to our Mental Health Director:

Martha Vibbert, PhD
Executive Director
SPARK Center/Boston Medical Center
255 River Street
Mattapan, MA 02126

Application materials may be mailed to Dr. Vibbert at the address listed above, faxed to 617.534.2057, or sent via e-mail, as noted above.   For more information about the practicum/internship program, please contact Dr. Martha Vibbert at 617.414.0501.

Contact Us

Barbara Hughes
Program Coordinator / Director of Events
Call: 617.414.0502
Fax: 617.534.2057
Email: SPARK@bmc.org


Boston Medical Center
Department of Pediatrics
The SPARK Center
(Supporting Parents & Resilient Kids)
255 River Street
Mattapan, MA 02126


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Call: 617.414.0505
Fax: 617.534.2057


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