Clinical Training & Concentration in Correctional Psychology
Sacramento’s Clinical PsyD program emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical practice. Students receive supervised clinical training through five semesters of practicum and one year of full-time pre-doctoral internship. Practicum students are placed through a network of more than 35 agencies throughout Central and Northern California. Potential sites include hospitals and other medical settings, schools, correctional facilities, group homes, clinics, universities, and state and county programs. Placements are available in agencies utilizing a variety of theoretical approaches and serving demographically and culturally diverse populations.
Skills learned in the classroom are quickly put to practice as students participate in their professional training experiences (or practica). Students begin practicum during the 2nd semester of their first year. This first year practicum requires 12 hours per week for 17 weeks (approximately 200 hours) and draws on the skills learned during the first term in courses designed to prepare students for practice (such as Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice, Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law, and Intellectual Assessment). In the second and third years, practica are 16-20 hours per week for 50 weeks (approximately 800 hours each year) and utilize psychotherapy and assessment skills in a variety of settings. Liaisons with the Office of Professional Training assign students to agencies based how the available training experiences match individual practicum learning plans, developed for each student to provide a breadth of experiences in keeping with the student’s level of experience and career goals.
In their final year of study, students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate one year, full-time internship (approximately 2080 hours) and are strongly encouraged to seek an APA-accredited internship, although APPIC or CAPIC member internships are permissible. The Office of Professional Training assists students as they negotiate the internship application process.
Concentration in Correctional Psychology
Correctional psychology is the application of foundational knowledge in clinical psychology to clinical work with offender populations. Correctional psychologists work as members of treatment teams in challenging environments, often assuming leadership and management roles in these settings. In California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, for example, chief psychologists typically carry clinical and administrative responsibility for the mental health program at the prison to which they are assigned. In addition, correctional settings offer a number of APA and APPIC pre-doctoral internships, as well as less formal opportunities to complete post-doctoral supervised professional experience. Few educational programs prepare students specifically for these challenging opportunities.
Designed for students whose educational goals include pursuing a professional career in correctional or forensic psychology, this concentration supplements strong training in clinical psychology with eight units of elective units:
Introduction to Correctional Psychology (1 unit): An overview of the correctional context including purposes of mental health services in these settings, needs of offenders and systems, roles of psychologists on interdisciplinary treatment teams, legal issues, and safety and security.
Forensic Ethics (1 unit): Application of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists to professional practice in correctional settings. Requires completion of Introduction to Ethical Practice and Law.
Prison Culture and Self-Care (1 unit): Exploration of prison culture and its effects on individuals living and working in such systems. Topics include coping with stress and burn-out, vicarious traumatization, and problem resolution for conflicts with interdisciplinary treatment team members.
Psychological Assessment in Corrections (2 units): Examines psychological assessment in correctional settings, including identification of offenders with mental illness, evaluating suicide risk, and determining intellectual disabilities for the purpose of placement and treatment planning. Also reviews providing consultation to custody for offender management, including evaluating violence risk assessment and competency. Requires completion of Intellectual Assessment and Personality Assessment I and II.
Evidence-based Interventions for Offenders (2 units): Development of treatment plans, treatment implementation, identification and applications of evidence-based interventions specific to offender treatment including individual and group psychotherapies, and overview of outcome studies. Requires completion of, or current enrollment in, Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches to Interventions or Group Psychotherapy (ideally both).
Development and Criminal Behavior (1 unit): Examines development of criminal thinking and behavior patterns as well as personality development and pathology. Requires completion of, or current enrollment in, Social Bases of Behavior, Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior, Biological Foundations, and Developmental Psychology/Lifespan Development.