Clinical Training

The clinical training component of our program consists of graduated levels of clinical exposure and experience including an introduction to clinical procedures through coursework, intensive supervision on cases that increase in number over two years of on-site practicum, exposure to a range of cases and procedures through vertical teams and clinic meetings, and extensive experience with select populations through externship assignments.

Students are required to complete six semesters of training in the Psychological Services Center. The pre-practicum semester introduces students to clinical procedures and teaches interviewing skills. In subsequent semesters students are assigned to vertical teams, supervised by clinical faculty, that include four to six students at different levels of training. The sixth and final semester is a practicum in supervision. Students enrolled in practicum function as staff in the Psychological Services Center and contribute to diagnostic and therapeutic activities in a manner consistent with their levels of training and experience. Caseloads become larger as students progress through their training. Supervision takes place primarily in the vertical teams. All clinical work conducted by students is either audio- or video recorded to facilitate supervision. Students enrolled in practicum in the Psychological Services Center also attend a weekly clinic meeting where case conferences and clinical issues are presented by students, faculty, and community professionals.

After receiving the Master of Arts degree, students are expected to gain one year of clinical experience on an externship prior to going on internship. Externship placements include residential and outpatient facilities for adults and children with mental disabilities, the child development clinic operated by a local hospital, local school districts, and the Psychological Services Center.

Students are expected to develop clinical competencies during the pre-practicum and their first four semesters of practicum. If the faculty believes a student is not making satisfactory progress in the development of their clinical skills they may be designated "at risk" for termination from the program. While "at risk," students are helped to remediate deficiencies with additional supervision and training experiences.