Professional Clinical Training Opportunities
The professional development of doctoral students of clinical psychology occurs within the context of both formal coursework and supervised clinical field training experiences in a variety of mental health service settings. The Clinical Psychology PsyD program requires students to complete three years of practica and a full-time pre-doctoral internship. Every student receives guidance and support through the clinical training placement selection and application process from the Practicum and Internship Training Directors, licensed professionals who work with students to develop and implement individualized training plans that expose students to a variety of clientele and professional role models. This intensive mentorship also supports students’ abilities to obtain clinical placements that are well-suited to each student’s skill level, clinical interests, and longer-term professional goals (including the successful acquisition of a full-time APA-accredited internship placement).
Students begin their clinical field training in their first year with Practicum I, a year-long experience (September – May) totaling approximately 250 hours, which students can count towards their pre-doctoral hours requirements for licensure. Most first-year students complete a school-based practicum (with required on-site hours and on-campus didactic/group supervision) through Gateways to Success, a program that places trainees at school sites within the Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD). Students who enter the program with a clinical Master’s degree and practicum experience during their Master’s program may be placed at another agency to see individual clients (pending availability at other practicum sites).
In their second- and third-year practica, students obtain part-time professional training placements (15-20 hours per week) at diverse agencies throughout the Los Angeles area. In these settings, students assume more clinical responsibility for assessment and intervention while continuing to receive close supervision, appropriate to their training level and abilities. All training sites and placement are carefully reviewed and continually monitored on an ongoing basis by the Practicum Training Director, to ensure consistency and quality of training.
For all practicum placements, students are required to participate in a minimum of one hour of weekly supervision provided by a licensed psychologist; many practicum sites also require group supervision. Practicum supervision requirements also include a minimum of two hours per week spent in didactic training.
Prior to graduation, students are required to complete a full-time internship; this culminating experience integrates academic and clinical experiences and prepares students for their professional role as a psychologist. The program is committed to helping its students obtain APA-accredited internships. While the completion of an APA-accredited internship is not required to complete the program, all students are required to apply to a minimum number of APA-accredited internship sites, and are required to participate in Phases I and II of the APPIC Match process. Students should be aware that various postdoctoral training positions and some employers (e.g. the Veterans Administration) require that successful applicants have completed APA-accredited internships. For their full-time internship experience, many students leave the Los Angeles area in order to gain specialized training at APA-accredited/APPIC internship sites. Full-time APA-accredited/APPIC internships provide a stipend to students during their internship year. Most other internships (e.g., CAPIC) and practicum sites do not offer stipends. Students should not count on training stipends as a means of financing their education.
Students become eligible to apply for internship only after achieving post-proposal status on their clinical dissertation and advancing to doctoral candidacy; students are required to pass the proposal meeting by the end of finals week in the spring semester of their second year in order to apply to internship in the fall of the third year. In special cases via faculty advisement and with Program Director approval, students may be allowed to modify their program to five years by adding an extra practicum experience in their fourth year and complete the required full-time internship in their fifth year/
For all internship placements, students are required to participate in a minimum of one hour of weekly supervision provided by a licensed psychologist who serves as primary supervisor, who is available to the intern 100% of the time that the student is at the agency, and who is employed by the agency at least 50% of the duration of the student’s internship. A minimum of two hours of weekly didactic training is also required. At least two psychologists must be involved in internship training.
Methods of Evaluation
For all field training placements, students receive mid-year and final evaluations of their clinical performance from their primary supervisor, which are submitted to and reviewed by the Office of Professional Training (as well as by the student’s faculty advisor). To receive credit for successful completion of a field training placement, students must receive scores meeting or exceeding expected and level-appropriate minimum levels of achievement (MLA) in multiple areas of competency evaluation. If a student fails to attain an MLA for one or more competencies on a mid-year or final evaluation, he or she may be required to complete remediation in order to demonstrate achievement of competency. Required remediation varies by the severity of the student’s difficulties, and may include repeating a training year. Occasionally, students are dismissed from the program for egregious unethical or unprofessional behavior or for not completing required remediation and attaining required MLAs.
Expected field training evaluation scores that meet MLAs are as follows:
|Prac. I||Prac. II||Prac. III||Internship|
|Ethical & Legal Standards||2||2||2||3||3||4||3||4|
|Individual & Cultural Diversity||2||2||2||3||3||4||3||4|
|Communication & Interpersonal Skills||2||2||2||3||3||4||3||4|
|Consultation & Interprofessional/
|Professional Values & Attitudes||2||2||2||3||3||4||3||4|
1 = Inadequate: Student knowledge and skills in this area are deficient; remediation and close monitoring required.
2 = Developing: Student demonstrates introductory knowledge and skills in this area, but is not yet ready to take the responsibility required to perform in this area without significant supervision.
3 = Emerging Competence: Student demonstrates effective knowledge and skills in this area in most situations, and is approaching competency.
4 = Competent: Student demonstrates competent knowledge and skills in this area that are typical of a trainee ready to proceed to pre-doctoral internship.
5 = Advanced: Student demonstrates advanced knowledge and skills in this area that are typical of a highly experienced trainee.