The Critical Role of Field Supervisors in the Military & Veterans Psychology Program
Preparing Interns for Hands-On Work
Peggy Laneri, PhD, Director of the Worcester Vet Center in Worcester, MA, served in the U.S. Army for 22 years, during which time she earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology. She began her work at the Worcester Vet Center in 2013, establishing a training program that allows students to gain experience working with veterans of all ages. Laneri and her staff of clinical social workers and mental health counselors collaborate in order to train students and determine when they are ready to be assigned cases, which can often be as soon as two weeks, depending on how quickly a student develops a skill set and exhibits readiness for the work. Interns from William James College attend a weekly team meeting where they can present their cases and receive both individual and group supervision. “We’re a really nice team, and we always keep our doors open so that interns can pop in and ask questions as needed,” says Laneri. Interns at the Worcester Vet Center work with veterans from eras dating back to World War II and the Korean War, with the majority of the veterans having served in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. The families of veterans also come to the center to receive care.
“Dr. Laneri’s military and civilian experience, her commitment to women and military leadership, and her place on the board of the VFW make her both an expert and role model for her interns.”- Michael McGrath Fourth-year Clinical PsyD student William James College
Michael McGrath, a fourth-year Clinical PsyD student at William James College and one of the student leaders of the military student organization at the college, was Laneri’s first intern at the Worcester Vet Center. “Dr. Laneri is one of those incredibly competent people who exudes professionalism. Because of her sense of calm under pressure, she helped me to develop the ability to distinguish between client circumstances that are true emergencies and those that are evolving situations. She is a font of quiet compassion who inspires everyone around her to be better at what they do. Training with Dr. Laneri at the Worcester Vet Center is the most satisfying work I’ve ever done. I felt supported and able to focus fully on the work. Dr. Laneri’s military and civilian experience, her commitment to women and military leadership, and her place on the board of the VFW make her both an expert and role model for her interns.”
Robert Dingman, EdD, Director of the Military and Veterans Psychology Concentration at William James, says, “At William James, our students gain theoretical knowledge, as well as access to research about psychotherapy and assessment. However, we wouldn’t have a professional school of psychology if we didn’t have relationships with people who train students in the field. It’s a difficult thing for MVP students without military experience to learn to sit with vets and become comfortable navigating their range of experiences. Supervisors like Dr. Laneri and Dr. Amodio allow students to work through their own feelings as they become accustomed to clinical work with this unique community.”
- In the Community