University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

The Clinical Training Program

Developing Competent Scientist-Practitioners

therapist and client The Department of Psychological Science offers graduate study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree with a specialization in Clinical Psychology. The program in Clinical Psychology, which was started in 1969, is designed to develop competent scientist-practitioners who can function in research, academic, or applied positions. The program provides opportunities for the student to conduct research which is clinically relevant. In addition, the Clinical Training Program strives to prepare the student in empirically-based assessment, intervention and prevention skills through course work, practicum, and internship.

We subscribe to a scientist-practitioner model of graduate education in Clinical Psychology (pdf) and are committed to offering a balance of clinical and research training. All students are required to receive substantial training in both research and clinical practice. Furthermore, students are required to be involved in selected teaching experiences to acquire skills in this area. Minimum expectations in course work are delineated in the Model Ph.D. Program Schedule, and minimum expectations in clinical, research, and teaching experiences are delineated in the Doctoral Comprehensive Portfolio (pdf).

Goals, Objectives, and Competencies

Consistent with the philosophy of an integration of research, clinical, and instructional training, the University of Vermont Clinical Psychology Program espouses four integrated training goals:

Goal #1: Knowledge in Basic Psychology, Research Methodology, and Clinical Psychology

Objectives for Goal #1:

  1. exposure to and understanding of the foundations of psychology including the scientific literature and theories on which it is based
  2. exposure to and understanding of and use of scientific approaches to psychology including rigorous methodologies
  3. exposure to and understanding of the development and causes of psychopathology and empirically supported approaches to assessment and therapy
  4. integration of basic psychology, research methodology, and clinical psychology

Competencies Expected for these Objectives:
  1. quality written and oral presentations on the scientific literature and underlying theories
  2. application of principles and techniques from psychometric theory, experimental design, and inferential statistics to design one's own work and to critically examine the literature
  3. quality written and oral presentations on psychopathology, its assessment, and its treatment
  4. development of quality written documents and oral presentations that integrate basic psychology, research methodology, and clinical psychology

Goal #2: Development of Strong Clinical Skills

Objectives for Goal #2:

  1. assess clients
  2. formulate case conceptualizations
  3. implement evidence-based treatment strategies
  4. develop competencies in ethics, cultural diversity, and professional behavior
  5. make oral case presentations

Competencies Expected for these Objectives:
  1. learn and use standardized assessment instruments
  2. use of a framework for understanding the causes and maintaining conditions for psychopathology
  3. use of evidence-based intervention strategies
  4. develop an understanding of the role of social, cultural, and individual variables in the assessment and treatment of psychopathology
  5. work effectively with clients from a variety of socio-cultural backgrounds
  6. write clear, detailed and conceptually framed case notes and reports
  7. ability to organize and present clear and conceptually framed oral case presentations

Goal #3: Development of Strong Research Skills

Objectives for Goal #3:

  1. critique the scientific literature
  2. conceptualize and design research
  3. conduct research
  4. analyze research data
  5. present research data in written and oral formats
  6. exposure to the grant funding process

Competencies Expected for these Objectives:
  1. apply research skills to conduct all phases of the research process
  2. quality oral and written presentations
  3. apply for research funding and/or gain knowledge about grant funding

Goal #4: Develop Teaching Skills

Objectives for Goal #4:

  1. organize material for imparting information
  2. effectively communicate to students (junior graduate students, undergraduates)
  3. provide feedback to students

Competencies Expected for these Objectives:
  1. develop a syllabus or organized approach
  2. impart information in a clear and caring manner to students
  3. utilize an organized, systematic way to provide feedback on student performance

Within and across these four areas, both an understanding and an appreciation of the roles of individual differences and cultural diversity are provided. Furthermore, as noted below, students from diverse backgrounds are considered for admission and programmatic efforts are made to retain all students.

In order to train clinical psychologists who are scientist-practitioners, our program emphasizes the integration of the four components of coursework, clinical, research, and teaching. Our model of training stresses simultaneous early exposure to clinical activities, research training relevant to clinical problems, and course work to learn the fundamentals of research and clinical interventions and to develop teaching skills through presentations. Experiences relevant to teaching, as noted above, also occur in contexts outside of course work. Our Doctoral Comprehensive Portfolio describes the minimum expectations in clinical, research and teaching areas, and the Model Ph.D. Program describes course requirements.

Applicants

Since 2009, we have received between 180 and 310 applications each year for the Clinical Training Program, and typically admit five to seven of those students. About 75% of our clinical graduate students are women. The experiences (and ages) of our clinical students vary greatly, ranging from recent undergraduates to those who have worked for several years before entering graduate school. We actively recruit qualified students from underrepresented groups.

Of the 60 students who have enrolled in our program since 2003, 95% are on track to complete their Ph.D. or have completed it. Two students transferred to other Ph.D. programs (one with his major professor and one for personal reasons) and one student was terminated from the program.

Faculty/Student Mentor Relationship

In addition to core clinical faculty members, there are over 20 adjunctive, joint, and part-time Clinical faculty in the department and in nearby clinical settings. These individuals supervise both research and clinical activities of clinical psychology students.

When you apply, you must specify the names of one or two faculty members with whom you wish to do research. Particular attention is paid to the match between a student's interests and the plans and the expertise of our Department. Also see "Applicant Selection Process" under Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data.

Developmental Psychopathology Concentration

One concentration within the Clinical Psychology Training program that students can elect to take is developmental psychopathology. This area of psychology is concerned with the origins and progression of patterns of adaptive and maladaptive behavior across the lifespan. Training in this concentration at UVM is based on the following principles:

  1. Maladaptive functioning or disorder results from a failure to successfully negotiate developmentally-appropriate tasks.
  2. The behavioral difficulties resulting from a particular stressor may differ depending on when the stressor happens.
  3. Knowledge of normal developmental processes is essential for understanding the emergence of a disorder, associated impairments, and accumulating comorbidities over time.
  4. Understanding adaptation over the life course requires the integration of several scientific traditions, including developmental psychology, clinical psychology, and psychiatry.

Accreditation

The Clinical Training Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20002, 202-336-5979, APAAccred@apa.org).

Last modified March 04 2014 11:23 AM

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