Practicum Training/Clinical Training Sequence

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 three years of study, students complete an introductory course in clinical ethics. Clinical training in the program is provided in a standardized, incremental, and graded manner for the first 3 years of training. During the first year students are expected to register for 0.5 credits in the GSAPP clinic each semester. In the fall of the first year, students receive a multi-part orientation to the GSAPP 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. Students also attend weekly case conferences as a part of clinicactivities. For the remainder of the first year, students receive training on structured and unstructured clinical interviewing, and enter the rotation to complete new case intakes for the GSAPP clinic. These intakes provide the students with experience taking psychological histories, assessing clinical symptoms, and determining desired treatment outcomes and goals for the client. On average, first year students will conduct 1-2 intakes per month. Initial clinical experiences may also be arranged through the student’s research mentor, and are typically geared to the student’s level of experience and the mentor’s target populations.

In the second year, students are required to register for 3 credits per semester in the GSAPP clinic. This is to ensure that students are receiving a structured and graded introduction to clinical practice. The second year in the GSAPP clinic is more intensive than the first. Second year students are expected to see a minimum of one to two cases in the Psychological Clinic at any given time, though in practice it is almost always more than one, and to complete one comprehensive assessment per semester. Students are provided with intensive clinical supervision, one hour of supervision for each hour of therapy, from faculty or community-based supervisors. Students also attend weekly case conferences in the clinic.

During the third year, training for students becomes more intensive and/or specialized. In the third year, students are required to complete a one year practicum, but this practicum can be tailored to individual interests. Students can select from the following options: (1) To continue another year in the GSAPP Clinic with the same expectations outlined during Year 2 (though caseloads are typically higher), (2) by seeing cases in a specialty clinic operating within the Psychological Clinic (such as the Tourettes Clinic, the Youth, Anxiety, and Depression Clinic, Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Women Helping Women, or the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Clinic), or (3) with the permission of the DCT a student may enroll in an external practicum in the local or extended area to pursue further specialized training. The program specifies that it does not wish students to engage in internal or external practicums that require more than cumulative 16 hours per week, save DCT permission in rare circumstances.

In fourth and fifth years, students typically participate in additional internal Rutgers-based or off-campus clinical practicum. There is a broad range of practicum training available to clinical students. Practica are coordinated by the DCT. Each year, GSAPP hosts 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):

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 DCT. 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 Or provided in hard copy form to Anne Sokolowski in cases where a practicum site does not have access to GSAPPweb.

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 below. A general outline of 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.


General Model Clinical Training Sequence
                          Clinical Training Activities

Year 1             
    Required .5 Credit/Semester Enrollment in GSAPP Clinic; Completion of Orientation, Procedural and Ethical Training; Completion of 1-2 intakes/month
Year 2     Required 3 credit enrollment in GSAPP Clinic; See 1-2 clients minimum through the GSAPP clinic and complete at least 1 assessment/semester as a part of the Assessment Team
Year 3     Required 3 credit enrollment in GSAPP Clinic OR 3 credit enrollment in DCT approved Rutgers-based practicum (8-16 hrs)
Year 4      Optional: 3 credit enrollment in DCT approved Rutgers-based OR external practicum (16 hrs)
Year 5     Optional: 3 credit enrollment in OR DCT approved Rutgers-based OR external practicum (16 hrs)