Within the Program, students complete three years of practicum placement, along with a full-time internship. To start, students will complete foundational coursework in the first year of the Program, which helps them to begin to develop foundational knowledge and professional competencies in order to transition to supervised training in the second year of the Program.
In the second year of the Program, students complete their first year of practicum training, which consists of a 12-month placement at CBU’s community mental health center. As students’ first practicum experience, supervised training at CBU’s clinic prepares students for an external practicum placement in the third year of the Program.
In the third year, students obtain an intervention-focused training placement, working with clients in a psychotherapeutic capacity. In the fourth year of the Program, which is the final year of practicum training, students gain important experience conducting psychological assessments, learning how to administer a battery of tests and write up the results in an assessment report.
These three years of practicum prepare students for the next step, which involves a full-time internship placement in the fifth year of the Program. Along the way, students work with the Director of Clinical Training (DCT) to ensure their training needs are being met, and that they are developing the necessary professional competencies to move towards independent practice upon graduation from the Program.
Clinical Training Coursework
PSY700 Theories of Psychotherapy (3 units)
PSY702 Psychiatric Disorders (3 units)
PSY712 Cultural Diversity (3 units)
PSY713 Law and Ethics in Clinical Psychology (3 units)
PSY720 Clinical Practice I: Basic Skills (2 units)
PSY730 Clinical Practice II: Advanced Skills and Treatment Planning (2 units)
PSY740 Clinical Practicum I: Professionalism (2 units)
PSY750 Clinical Practicum II: Interpersonal Skills (2 units)
PSY760 Clinical Practicum III: Reflective Practice (2 units)
PSY770 Clinical Practicum IV: Evidence-Based Practice (2 units)
PSY780 Clinical Practicum V: Interdisciplinary Systems (2 units)
PSY790 Clinical Practicum VI: Client Advocacy (2 units)
PSY791 Clinical Internship I (1 unit)
PSY792 Clinical Internship II (1 unit)
PSY793 Clinical Internship III (1 unit)
Clinical Training Competencies
Students are assessed via several clinical competencies, organized around a variety of competency-based domains. Students focus on developing professionalism and healthy relational functioning as they apply the science of clinical psychology to practice in the areas of assessment, intervention, consultation, supervision, and multidisciplinary systems and advocacy.
- Professional Values and Attitudes
- Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Ethical, Legal Standards, and Policy
- Reflective Practice, Self-Assessment, and Self-Care
- Evidence-Based Practice
- Interdisciplinary Systems
In each practicum placement, students complete at least 500 total hours of supervised experience, which includes direct client services (e.g., individual, group, couples, and family therapy), as well as indirect hours (e.g., report writing, training, supervision, client advocacy). Given that students’ practicum hour requirements are linked to a six-course practicum sequence (Clinical Practicum I-VI), students should be making sufficient progress towards the 500 hours in each practicum course.
In their various practicum settings, students have the opportunity to work with clients from a plethora of backgrounds, cultivating the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors necessary to work with a diverse public. In these supervised settings, students develop other key foundational and functional competencies, such as the development of professional values, awareness and application of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, reflective practice and self-care, building and maintaining healthy professional relationships, evidence-based practice, intervention skills, and assessment skills. Therefore, students work with the DCT to ensure their training sites meet their training needs in order to ready themselves for a full-time internship placement in the fifth year of the Program; this includes monitoring sites to make sure they use direct observation to evaluate students’ development of salient professional competencies, provide formal evaluations to offer valuable feedback, and employ supervisors who are properly credentialed.
In the third and fourth year of the Program, students work with the DCT to identify full-time internship sites they would like to apply to, which should include a list of possible placements from around the country that fit with students’ previous practicum experiences (e.g., populations served, theoretical orientations utilized, diagnoses treated, clinical settings), strengths, and future goals. Building on prior experiences, students work towards securing an APA- or APPIC-accredited full-time internship, drawing from the guidance of the DCT.
In this fifth-year experience, students continue to develop key professional competencies, which will eventually prepare them for independent practice. Given the internship match process is highly competitive, students will spend a considerable amount of time preparing application materials, and are advised to be as flexible as possible, applying to a wide variety of sites that will meet their training needs from around the country.
Clinical Competency Exam
In the fall semester before the full-time internship year, students will complete a clinical competency exam, which will loosely follow the ABPP Clinical Psychology oral and written evaluation for board certification. This portfolio will include a professional statement, along with write-ups of both an assessment and intervention case.
After securing client consent for each case and removing all identifiable client information, students will submit an audio file, as well as transcript, chart materials (e.g., progress notes, completed assessment instruments, a completed assessment report), and write-up of the case, wherein students reflect on their experience.
In addition, students will complete a written portion of the exam, which involves an ethical dilemma.
This type of an exam allows students to build on the prior knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors they have learned in coursework and practicum placement, demonstrating the necessary competencies to succeed in internship placement. Students are advised to begin studying for the exam at least two to three months before the exam date, building on prior experiences from coursework and the practicum sequence.
Clinical Competency-Based Evaluations
Within the Program, students are evaluated on clinical competencies that are organized around different clusters (adapted from the APA’s Benchmarks Model: http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/benchmarks-evaluation-system.aspx). The Program has adopted APA’s Competency Benchmarks Rating Form to evaluate students’ performance on a five-point Likert scale (“0” = “Not at all/slightly” to “4” = “Very”). Within each competency area, students must receive at least a “2” rating (“moderately,” which the Program defines as the average range), although the dissertation and clinical competency exam both require a “3” rating (“mostly”) to pass, due to the salience of these tasks.
The rating form assesses foundational and functional competencies via several mediums, including coursework, an annual/rotation evaluation, an annual self-evaluation, and the clinical competency exam.
Delivered through each medium will be a specific assessment method. A wide variety of assessment methods will be used (e.g., papers, exams, recorded performances, self-assessments, a comprehensive exam, an annual evaluation), some formative and some summative, based on recommendations from Kaslow et al. (2009). Assessment methods, linked to the assessment mediums, will focus on three levels of training in order to cultivate sequential learning, evaluating students’ skills, attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors at the “Readiness for Practicum,” “Readiness for Internship,” and “Readiness for Entry to Practice” levels.
For coursework-based assessments, faculty will enter the ratings (based on the standardized, five-point assessment rubrics that are drawn from the Competency Benchmarks Rating Form) into an e-portfolio tracking system. Students must also score at least an 80% on the graded portion of the assignment-based assessment method. For other assessment methods, data will be entered into an e-portfolio tracking system when it is available, and based solely on evaluations from the relevant five-point subscales in the Benchmarks Evaluation System. In turn, the Program Director will monitor the system to ensure students are scoring within an acceptable range on the five-point scale.
In addition to this proximal data (collected during the Program), the Program also tracks students’ distal data two and five years after graduation, inquiring about how students experienced the Program’s ability to prepare them (through competency-based education) for their career path, along with how they are currently doing in the field of health service psychology (e.g., whether or not they are licensed, employment settings, university affiliations).