McLean’s PBac Clinical Fellowship: What You Want To Know

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

McLean Hospital offers a two-year Post-Baccalaureate Clinical (PBac) Fellowship Program for college graduates interested in pursuing a career in mental health.

This guided, entry-level professional experience is shaped by the four pillars of McLean’s mission: excellence in clinical care, groundbreaking state-of-the-art scientific investigation, training the next generation of mental health professionals, and serving the hospital and our communities.

Learn more about the Post-Baccalaureate Child and Adolescent Clinical Fellowship Program and apply now!

What Is the PBac Fellowship?

According to Dr. Fairlee Fabrett, director of McLean’s Post-Baccalaureate Child and Adolescent Clinical Fellowship, this is a wonderful opportunity if you’re thinking about pursuing a career in the mental health field. “Maybe you’re not ready. Maybe you don’t know what it is that you want to do, and you need a break between college and graduate school,” she says.

Sophie was inspired to apply to the post-bacc because they weren’t really sure what they wanted to do after college. “I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do research or clinical work, and I really wanted to get more of that clinical experience.”

Ted was inspired to apply to the post-bacc by the opportunity to help people, but also the opportunity to receive mentorship. “And with that mentorship, it was with peer mentors as well as professional mentors. And those two things together, I found, were a very unique experience for this particular post-bacc, and that is what really drew me in.”

Annie is part of the PBac fellowship’s DEI program. “At the post-bacc, we’re using that as an opportunity to try new recruitment efforts and get other people, other minorities, in the program,” she says. “As a post-bacc member, I want to pay that forward and show other minorities that we are there because we are qualified and not because we are a person of color.”

The fellowship is a two-year full-time job in one of McLean’s child and adolescent treatment programs. There are programs for every level of care across an array of diagnoses. The fellowship is very clinical, and the role really depends on the program where you are working.

“My main role as a fellow is to be in the milieu, interacting with the kids. We do a lot of exposure response prevention therapy, one-on-one and in the group setting,” says Madison. “And I also spend time doing some independent research and helping some doctoral interns with their [work].”

Sophie also shares their clinical experiences: “I do group therapy and then I work one-on-one with the patients providing crisis support, answering questions, as well as collaborating with all the clinicians to help provide care to the patients.”

According to Wesley, “Mostly, I’ve learned a bunch of DBT skills and coping skills that we use with the kids on the unit—whether that’s giving them ice to change their temperature or doing some breathing and mindfulness exercises. It’s also been cool for me to kind of learn how to do those things with them and kind of model those skills because those aren’t skills I was really familiar with before starting at the job.”

For many, the best thing about the post-bacc is the cohort. “You get to hang out and get to know people that are on your same level of education, maybe career goals, and you get to spend time with them, learn from them, build friendships, and get tips about where you want to apply [after this fellowship] and get help in applying, too,” says Fabrett.

“My favorite part of the post-bacc is having a group of people that I can connect with who are in a similar stage of life as me,” shares Sophie. “We can connect about having similar positions. Being in that similar space of exploring our careers, we can just relate to the life stage that we’re in.”

“I’m able to really bounce off ideas and get emotional support from people that can understand where I’m coming from and understand the things that I may be struggling with,” says Sophia. “And so I think the post-bacc really did a great job of supporting me as I transitioned up here into a new role.”

Wesley says that at first, he was “kind of in the back of my head thinking like, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do this. This is a pretty emotionally heavy job, especially at the inpatient units. And over the past year and a half, I’ve experienced and seen some things that were really intense and were a lot on me, but I think that I handled all of those things really well, and I handled it better than I was expecting.”

“I have been able to come out of my shell in ways that I never thought I could,” says Sophia. “And I think being able to see such a diverse perspective of patient interactions is something that I don’t think a lot of clinicians can bring to the table. And I’m excited to see where I can go with that.”

According to Ted, “One of the most important things I’ve learned about myself during my time at the fellowship has been that I can do hard things, especially for the sake of other people.”

“My advice to the future post-baccs would be to trust yourself,” says Annie. “Don’t underestimate yourself, and with the teams that we have and the groups that we have, you will feel supported and you can get through the hard days.”

Fabrett concludes, “What I really love about running the post-bacc is that I get to be part of people’s lives as they’re making really important decisions. Mentorship to me is key, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at if I didn’t find really good mentors along the way. I want to be a mentor to you.”