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, while students are taking their course work, and “internship” during the fourth and fifth (if taken half-time) years. Our program has two several field training experts who work closely with students throughout the placement process for practicum and internship sites in order to 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. We also offer specialized training in pediatric neurodevelopmental assessment through our on campus Neurodevelopment Assessment Clinic. Students typically receive a minimum of 1900 hours of clinical training prior to internship.
Students are encouraged to pursue a full-time internship in their fourth year. The internship is a culminating experience that integrates the student’s academic and clinical experiences and prepares them for their professional role as a psychologist. As an alternative, students can pursue a half-time internship in the fourth and fifth years. The Family/child and Couple Emphasis area (FACE) on the Los Angeles campus also offers a half time internship experience through the Ronald McDonald House.
Tenika Jackson, PsyD
Office of Professional Training Liaison for Practicum
Timothy Gunn, PsyD
Office of Professional Training Liaison for Internship
Students are encouraged to work closely with faculty on research projects. Beginning in their second year of the program students choose their own topic of scholarship and work with their faculty mentor on their clinical dissertations. Over the course of two years, students apply skills they have learned in statistics and research design to actual research projects with an applied focus. These projects involve faculty expertise in areas such as cultural diversity, health, family dynamics, sibling relationships, child maltreatment, group psychotherapy, pediatric neuropsychology, gender identity, women’s issues, neurodevelopmental conditions, ecopsychology, and community psychology.
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