Practicum Training/Clinical Training Sequence
- Category: Clinical Psychology
Clinical training is scheduled to provide increasing levels of clinical responsibility and to train students in empirically supported approaches to assessment and treatment. In the first year, students receive formal coursework in adult psychopathology, cognitive behavior therapy, and clinic and crisis-management procedures to prepare them for later practicum experiences. Within their first two years of study, students complete an introductory course in clinical ethics. Initial clinical experiences may be arranged through the student’s research mentor, and are geared to the student’s level of experience and the mentor’s target populations. In the spring or summer of the first year, students receive a multi-part orientation to the Psychological Clinic, including an overview of ethical considerations, procedures for managing risk of self-harm, crisis management and other emergencies, HIPAA rules, and details on clinic operations. After completing the clinic orientation students have the opportunity to start taking cases in the clinic starting in the summer of their first year (i.e., before the fall of the second year). Some students will begin clinical practice training in the first year through the research of their Advisors, and when this happens, the Advisor will ensure that proper orientation and preparation takes place prior to direct service contact.
In the second year, students are required to see a minimum of one case in the Psychological Clinic, although in practice it is almost always more than one. There are two ways to meet this requirement: (1) by seeing cases in a specialty clinic operating within the Psychological Clinic (such as the Tourettes Clinic or the Youth, Anxiety, and Depression Clinic, or (2) seeing an individual case arranged through the Psychological Clinic. In the latter case, students should confer with their Advisor or Clinical Area Coordinator, decide on the kind of case to see and the kind of supervision desired, and then submit a Case Request Form to the Clinic Coordinators in the Psychological Clinic. The Clinic Director will then work with you to find an appropriate supervisor, with whom you will meet prior to your first session with a client. Students are provided with intensive clinical supervision, one hour of supervision for each hour of therapy, from faculty or community-based supervisors. (Some students may desire specialized training unavailable on campus and may take an external practicum in their second year, in consultation with their Advisor and the Clinical Area Coordinator.)
In the third, fourth, and fifth years, students typically participate in an internal or off-campus clinical practicum. There is a broad range of practicum training available to clinical students. Practica are coordinated by the Clinical Area Coordinator and the Executive Director of the Center for Applied Psychology and Practicum Director, Sue Furrer, Psy.D., who coordinates practica for both the Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs. Each year, there is a Practicum Fair that provides an opportunity for students to meet with a variety of supervisors, to learn about the wide choice of settings, and to begin to narrow their choices for their next practicum experience. A list of available practica and contact information is made available at the time of the Fair and can also be obtained online through the GSAPP online student services portal (note: you need a password to login): http://gsappweb.rutgers.edu/cstudents/login.php.
When students are in an on or off-campus practicum, they must develop a practicum contract with their supervisor and submit this for approval by the Clinical Area Coordinator and Practicum Coordinator (Sue Furrer). This contract lays out the goals the student sets for the year, describes the kind of work to be done, and serves as an agreement regarding supervision. This contract is used as the basis for the evaluation. These contracts and evaluations must be completed in an electronic system at http://gsappweb.rutgers.edu/cstudents/login.php.
Students should carefully record all clinical hours from the beginning of their training. Direct client contact for assessment or treatment, telephone contacts, case conferences, individual and group supervision, scoring of test protocols, and time devoted to maintaining clinical records and writing reports should all be recorded to assist in the internship application and licensure process. All students in APPIC graduate programs like ours have access to MyPsychTrack (http://mypsychtrack.com/) to track hours for internship at no cost using a coupon code provided by the Director of Clinical Training. An excellent form for the recording of clinical experiences is available at http://www.uky.edu/Education/EDP/cnpsred.html. Alternatively, students may invest in the Time2Track program: http://time2track.com/ (the cost is $36.95 per year) which is compatible with the APPI internship application system. Students are encouraged to use one of these programs from the beginning of first year.
Students are also required to submit a clinical evaluation form to their supervisors for both individual cases and for practica. The evaluation form asks for feedback on the key clinical competencies that the program seeks to impart to students. Typically, we request that supervisors share these forms with students and then submit them to the online evaluation system at http://gsappweb.rutgers.edu/, as well as to the students’ advisors, in mid-December and mid-May so that this information can be part of the semi-annual evaluations of student progress that take place in January and June of each year. As noted, the new electronic system may assist with meeting these timelines.
Each semester, students are required to attend a monthly Grand Rounds in which faculty, invited speakers, and/or students present clinical cases or cover clinical issues, approaches, or techniques. The Grand Rounds are typically held Fridays from 12:15 to 1:45 PM. Grand Rounds are designed to supplement clinical training and bring all students together to discuss clinical practice and research-service integration.
Model training sequences are shown in the Clinical Psychology Handbook. A general outline of a four-year and a five-year model are provided, followed by a detailed sample of activities and hour accrual for a student in residence five years. These are examples. You and your advisors will devise a training plan tailored to your needs and goals.