PROFESSIONAL CLINICAL TRAINING
The development of appropriate professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes is a process that begins with the student’s doctoral program and continues through the individual’s professional career via practice, consultation with colleagues, and formal continuing education. At the predoctoral stage, students’ professional development occurs within the context of both formal coursework and clinical training experiences supervised by faculty and professionals in the field. Such supervised professional training experiences are called “practicum” during the first three years of the program. The culminating clinical experience is the predoctoral “internship,” usually taken in the fourth year of the program. The Clinical Psychology PsyD program at the California School of Professional Psychology at the Los Angeles campus of Alliant International University has two field training experts who work closely with students throughout the placement process for practicum and internship sites and assist students in securing placement sites that meet their training goals.
Students begin their professional clinical training in their first year of the program as part of the school-based mental health program run through our on-site Psychological Services Center. The goals of this experience are to introduce students to the role of the professional psychologist, provide students with exposure to problems and populations served through community mental health services, provide didactic training that supports the attainment of foundational knowledge related to core competencies necessary to the practice of professional psychology, and introduce students to evidenced-informed and evidenced-based practices.
In their second and third years of the program, students complete at least 800 hours of practicum training each year in a variety of community settings such as medical centers, inpatient mental health facilities, drug and alcohol treatment programs, residential or day programs, community mental health centers, and outpatient clinics. Students assume a greater degree of clinical responsibility for assessment and intervention while being closely supervised at a level appropriate to the students’ training and abilities.
Our Psychological Services Center is one of the practicum options for students interested in community mental health. Students typically receive a minimum of 1900 hours of clinical training prior to internship.
Students admitted to the program in or after Fall 2014 are a full-time APA-accredited or APPIC internship in order to graduate. Many students will complete their coursework, clinical dissertation, and practica in the third year of the program, leaving the fourth year free for full-time internship. The internship experience integrates the student’s academic and clinical experiences and prepares them for their professional role as a psychologist. Students may also choose to modify their academic schedule, distributing their coursework over four years in order to take a fourth practicum in their fourth year; these students take their full-time internship in their fifth year. While full-time APA-accredited and APPIC internships are available in the Los Angeles area, students should be prepared to apply to a geographic range of internship sites.
Tenika Jackson, PsyD
Office of Professional Training, Practicum Liaison
Timothy Gunn, PsyD
Office of Professional Training, Internship Liaison
The CSPP-LA Clinical PsyD program trains practitioners to be critical reviewers and consumers of research. Students begin their clinical dissertation development in their second year, and are expected to complete their dissertation by the end of their third year, before the commencement of their full-time APA-accreditied/APPIC internship training in their fourth year. Clinical dissertations require mentoring by a Clinical Dissertation Chair (i.e., PsyD program core faculty) and the Dissertation Consultant (i.e., dissertation committee member), and also involve clinical input from and interaction with at least three field consultant-practitioners who are experts on the dissertation topic. Upon thoroughly reviewing and critiquing the professional literature and interviewing experts to gain input on current clinical perspectives, students are expected to demonstrate their abilities to professionally apply and disseminate the knowledge that they have gained to the mental health community. the method by which students demonstrate this competency will be determined by the students dissertation committee.
As a result of collaborative work together, students and faculty have presented their scholarship at a number of professional conferences, including the meetings and annual conventions of the following professional associations:
• American Psychological Association
• Western Psychological Association
• Los Angeles County Psychological Association
• United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Conference
• National Academy of Neuropsychology Conference
• National Conference of Child and Adolescent Psychology
• American Psychology-Law Society Conference
• Annual Conference of the Southwestern Social Science Association
• International Conference on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma
• International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
• International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
• National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect
• International Family Therapy Association
• American Group Psychotherapy Association
• International Congress of Psychology
• National Summit on Interpersonal Violence & Abuse Across the Lifespan
• American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
• Chadwick Center Conference on Responding to Child Maltreatment
• American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
• Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted National Conference
• New England Conference for the Gifted and Talented