Staff Spotlight

Nawal, Kaylee, Alex and Jessica, Psychology Residents

Psych residents

Continuing our highlight of Psychology Month, we are excited to shine a light on Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) Psychology Residency Program, one of Canada’s longest-running psychology residency programs.

The Program is run by the Allied Health Professional Practice Department of VCH and accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association. This highly competitive program receives approximately 90 applications annually from across the country for only 4 residency positions in Adult Mental Health and Neuropsychology.

Residents work full-time and collectively provide approximately 4,500 hours of direct patient service under the supervision of registered psychologists in acute, rehabilitation and community settings. The residency is the final year of the resident’s doctoral graduate training in psychology, and successful completion of the residency allows them to register with the College of Psychologists.

VCH has a strong track record of hiring psychology residents into psychology staff positions, which benefits VCH and patient care.

Hear from the Psychology Residency Students

We recently got to hear from the four psychology residents to see what motivated them to choose VCH for this critical step in their careers. One clear unanimous response from all four residents is the diverse training experiences the program offers.

Kaylee Misener was drawn to the VCH residency program for a number of reasons. “First, there is a strong commitment to EDI and Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation,” she says. “The efforts made here are ahead of the curve in Canada and the attitude towards continued learning and growth are strongly aligned with my interests and values.”

Second, she says the diversity of training experiences across settings, presenting concerns and therapeutic approaches across the lifespan is a significant strength of the residency program. “Psychology residents completing their training here are exposed to many diverse opportunities which can really round out their training regardless of background,” she says.

Jessica Ferreira says that one of the main reasons she chose VCH was because the diverse training experiences offered aligned with her interests. “During my residency, I will have the opportunity to not only work with individuals who have complex mental health challenges (e.g., trauma, suicide), but also to gain experience working with those who have physical health conditions that intersect with mental health (e.g., sexual health, pain).”

Nawal Mustafa tells us that her interest in VCH’s residency program is attributed to the unparalleled training opportunities offered in neuropsychology, such as assessment and intervention in tertiary mental healthcare and providing cognitive remediation to treatment-resistant patients. “The culture, collegiality, and work-life balance also make the experience here an enjoyable and memorable one,” she says.

For Alexander Terpstra, he was motivated to complete his residency at VCH because of the diverse opportunities for training in clinical neuropsychology, including working with individuals with HIV, epilepsy, neurodegenerative conditions, and brain injuries. “I am also confident the strong emphasis on well-rounded training in clinical psychology will prepare me to work in a variety of clinical settings post-residency,” he says.

As a group, the residents agree that their experience so far is going really well. “We have all been learning a lot at our respective rotations and we have also been working together to develop a peer support program for medical residents focused on psychological health and safety”, they say. “This work has been really interesting and rewarding. We’ve also had opportunities to connect outside the structure of the program with a beach picnic, concerts, and other fun events planned!”

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