PROGRAM PHILOSOPHY

The Clinical Psychology Training Consortium offers advanced training at the postdoctoral level for qualified individuals. The primary purpose of the fellowship is to provide a training program that assures the development of proficiency in a specific area of clinical psychology, with emphasis on clinical research and clinical service. Two years of postdoctoral training is considered optimal but a one-year commitment is available for some of the fellowship positions.   In order to graduate from the program as a postdoctoral fellow and receive a certificate of completion, the fellow must complete at least twelve months in the fellowship with a Ph.D.

The exact nature of training (e.g., direct care, exposure to ongoing faculty research, direct research involvement of the fellow, etc.) is decided on an individual basis by each of the trainees and their faculty mentors. It is the philosophy of the Fellowship Program that all postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychology should have both clinical and research exposure during their training. However, the Fellowships vary across settings such that in one instance research goals can be primary and clinical goals secondary while in another, clinical goals can be primary and research goals secondary. Allocation of time between research and clinical activities is negotiated in advance of accepting the fellowship. The allocation should be in keeping with the goals of the individual fellow.

The Director of the Training Consortium and the Track Coordinator oversee the fellowships across all the hospitals. All fellows meet with the Director once per year and more often as necessary. The training committee sets general policy, but most training issues fall to the individual faculty mentors/supervisors and "track" (i.e., child clinical, adult clinical, neuropsychology, and behavioral medicine) committees to decide. Each faculty mentor has the role of overseeing the specific goals of the trainee.

Specific training objectives are formulated at the beginning of the fellowship with supervisors. Evaluation is based on a competency-based format which emphasizes acquisition of special clinical skills and/or research abilities. Training objectives are achieved through an apprenticeship model where the fellow works closely with a faculty member in the provision of clinical services and/or in conducting research. The faculty member serves as primary supervisor and role model, and the close supervisory relationship permits the fellow to develop clinical and/or research skills as well as role identity. The amount of individual and group supervision varies across fellowships. The minimum amount of individual supervision is two hours per week. General guidelines for the research and clinical options are described below.

Research Emphasis. Fellows in the research track spend at least 60% and up to 100% of their time on research. The primary goal of the research track is to develop both the knowledge base and the skills to begin an independent research career within the chosen specialty area. This will include: 1) a critical understanding of the literature and the current issues in the field; and 2) the ability to independently develop a specific research project. Fellows whose positions have a primary research focus are most often provided with experience working on grant-funded projects. Close supervision is provided for experimental design, research techniques and grant writing.  Grant writing is a focus of the training in some, but not all, of the fellowships.

Clinical Emphasis. The goal for fellows who choose the clinical option is to establish clinical proficiency, while integrating a professional role that is well grounded in ethics, mental health practice, and law. By the end of the postdoctoral experience, the fellow who chooses a clinical emphasis should be thoroughly competent in the knowledge-base and proficient in the clinical skills required for their area of specialty. Criteria for competency are agreed upon at the beginning of the fellowship by the fellow and his/her primary supervisor. By the end of the first year of the fellowship, the individual should be able to practice with minimal supervision and be eligible for licensure. By the end of the second year, the fellow should feel sufficiently competent to function independently in a similar clinical program in a new location. Despite the clinical emphasis of the track, clinical fellowships require a minimum of 20% research experience. The fellowships with a primary clinical emphasis are APA accredited.