Forensic Psychology Fellowship – Western State Hospital

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and Western State Hospital (WSH) sponsor a yearlong fellowship in forensic psychology. Applicants must have completed their doctoral degree and it is preferred that the degree be from an APA-accredited institution.

The program has a large and diverse faculty with advanced training in forensic mental health. The fellowship is designed to promote a wide variety of experiences in mental health law, criminal and civil forensic practice, consultation, treatment of the mentally ill offender, and research. The forensic program offers specific training in:
  • pre-trial evaluations of mentally ill offenders (including competency to proceed, mental state at the time of the offense, and risk assessments);
  • civil commitment evaluations;
  • assessment and treatment of insanity acquittees; 
  • rotations in civil forensic settings;
  • evaluation of inmates in community detention facilities and other community locations;
  • consultation and education activities with community mental health services providers attorneys, courts, and rehabilitation facilities; and
  • scholarly research activities and professional education.
The program is administered through the resources of DSHS and Western State Hospital. Questions specific to this program should be directed to the program director, Jacqueline Means, Psy.D., telephone 253-761-3334; fax 253-512-5452.

Clinical Training Site and Opportunities
Western State Hospital (WSH) is a roughly 800-bed psychiatric hospital serving the western half of Washington State. The training site locus is on the WSH campus. The majority of the adult forensic psychology fellow’s time will be spent in the Center for Forensic Services (CFS), which has specialized wards for forensic evaluation, competency restoration treatment, and the treatment of insanity acquittees.

In addition to providing evaluations to individuals admitted to Western State Hospital, Fellows will also have an opportunity to participate in the Outpatient Services Program, which is dedicated to conducting forensic evaluations in jails and in the community. During the year, the psychology fellow will have the opportunity to provide supervised supervision of predoctoral interns from WSH's APA accredited internship program and psychology pre-doctoral practicum students.

The forensic faculty teaches weekly 3-hour seminars over the academic year addressing the full range of psycho-legal topics. In addition, fellows are required to participate in a weekly psych-legal discussion group that reviews and discuses landmark cases. Fellows are also given the opportunity to gain direct experience observing, and possibly providing, testimony in criminal and civil court. Fellows have the opportunity to complete a research project or a scholarly work under faculty supervision during the year. The fellow may join an ongoing project or choose to begin a project in his/her area of interest. The goal of the didactic program and training experience is to prepare the fellow with the necessary knowledge to prepare for independent practice in forensic evaluation as well as ABPP certification, as desired.

The fellowship program is located in wooded and attractive Steilacoom, Washington, in the South Puget Sound area. Steilacoom is located minutes from Tacoma, one hour from Seattle, two hours from Portland, Oregon, and four hours from Vancouver, B.C. The scenic Puget Sound and surrounding mountains offer unparalleled recreational opportunities.

Salary and Benefits
The selected fellow is appointed to a 12-month position as a full-time employee with a salary of approximately $65,000 and benefits. Benefits include vacation leave, sick leave, educational leave, and medical/dental insurance as well as retirement investment options.

Funding for the positions is in the budget of the sponsoring institution but a guarantee is not possible until the governor has signed the requisite budget bill.

Application Procedure

Entrance requirements
  1. Graduation from an APA accredited doctoral program in psychology is preferred. If the candidate has not received the degree at the time of application, s/he must supply letters from the director of his/her training program and dissertation chair (when applicable) attesting that the candidate is expected to receive the doctoral degree before the fellowship start date.
  2. Completion of an APA accredited pre-doctoral internship program is preferred.  A letter from the director of the program attesting that the candidate is expected to complete his/her pre-doctoral internship before the start date is required.
  3. Documentation that the above entrance requirements have been met.
  4. Statement of interest and career intent.
  5. Transcripts of all undergraduate (unofficial satisfactory) and graduate studies (official required).
  6. Three letters of recommendation.
  7. Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  8. Sample of three (3) completed and sanitized clinical reports (forensic evaluations preferred). 
Application materials will be accepted and reviewed as early as October 1 in the year preceding the fellowship. Applications must be complete by midnight, December 31 of the year preceding the fellowship start date.

Contact Information
For more information or to apply, contact the training director. You may send all application materials to the director of training, Dr. Jacqueline Means, to the address or email listed below; however, applicants are encouraged to use the APPA CAS portal for submission of applications and transcripts. Unofficial undergraduate transcripts may be mailed or faxed, 253-512-5434.

Jacqueline Means, Psy.D.
Office of Forensic Mental Health Services
Western State Hospital
9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW
Tacoma, WA 98498-7213
Phone: 253-761-3334