Clinical Psychology – PsyD Programs (Doctor of Psychology)
The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1994. Our PsyD program follows the practitioner-scholar model of training and emphasizes the knowledge and skills necessary for individuals to practice clinical psychology. Our faculty members clinical and research interests expose students to diverse theoretical perspectives within the field of clinical psychology.
Faculty members also are actively engaged in clinical practice by providing direct treatment services, consultation, and supervision. The facultys involvement in these professional activities informs the teaching, clinical supervision, and research guidance offered to our students.
In addition to their clinical practice, our faculty are involved in clinical research and other professional activities that enhance students training. Dr. Jeff Binder coordinates the programs acquisition of archival data and therapy session recordings from the Vanderbilt University Center for Psychotherapy Research, which was directed by Dr. Hans Strupp until his retirement. This valuable resource provides both psychotherapy training and research opportunities for our students and faculty.
Dr. Becky Jones is a member of the Georgia Psychological Associations Disaster Response Network Advisory Council and an authorized facilitator for Darkness to Lights Stewards of Children (D2L.org), a national nonprofit sexual abuse prevention training program. Dr. Jones is also actively involved in ongoing eye-movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) training and consultation, which she incorporates into her clinical work with trauma survivors. Dr. Nick DeFilippis is currently involved in an international research grant to study electrophysiological correlates of executive functioning. This research program includes development of a Portuguese version and new scales for his Booklet Category Test.
A number of our faculty are involved in committee work with the Georgia Psychological Association (GPA) and our students have been very active in the GPAs initiatives for emerging professionals in psychology. The program also has an active chapter of Psychologists for Social Responsibility that regularly sponsors speakers for our student-faculty colloquium series.
Our Training Model
The core element of our doctoral program is a solid foundation in the discipline of psychology. Training is grounded in the theoretical constructs and empirical findings of psychology. As such, our students are well-prepared to distinguish themselves as clinical psychologists among the expanding range of other mental health professionals. Alumni of the PsyD program have pursued various career paths in clinical psychology, including work in a wide array of clinical settings, academic institutions, and private practice.
The PsyD program of study is comprised of a 98-credit-hour curriculum that can be completed over a five-year period, including the internship year. Our program is designed to provide students with well-rounded generalist training in clinical psychology. We believe this generalist approach is critically important given the growing emphasis on accountability, evidence-based practice, working in multidisciplinary settings, and flexibility in adapting to newly emerging roles. To achieve our training goals, the PsyD in Clinical Psychology curriculum is organized around the following learning objectives:
Knowledge of Scientific Psychology - Students will understand key concepts underlying the science of psychology as a foundation for clinical practice. Specific competencies: Foundational Knowledge of Scientific Psychology and Scientific Inquiry and Methods.
Assessment - Students will conduct competent psychological assessments through application of psychometric theory, interviewing and diagnostic skills, and proficiency in using psychological tests. Specific competencies: Measurement and Psychometrics, Methods of Psychological Assessment, and Diagnosis.
Intervention - Students will deliver clinical interventions that are grounded in conceptual models of intervention and evidence-based practices. Specific competencies: Knowledge of Interventions, Intervention Skills, and Planning and Implementing Interventions.
Supervision and Consultation - Students will understand the processes of supervision and consultation and how to provide these services to individuals and organizations. Specific competencies: Supervision and Consultation and Interdisciplinary Practice.
Diversity - Students will apply knowledge about human diversity to clinical practice and other areas of professional competence. Specific competencies: Awareness of Cultural Identities and Culturally-Informed Practice.
Professional and Ethical Standards - Students will understand and apply ethical principles and professional standards that guide the practice of clinical psychology. Specific competencies: Professional Conduct, Knowledge of Ethical, Legal, and Professional Standards, and Professional Development.
Although the program's core curriculum requirements reflect a generalist approach that emphasizes achievement of a broad range of competencies expected of clinical psychologists, we offer program concentrations that allow student to focus their interests within the field of clinical psychology. Our students choose elective courses and clinical training experiences to pursue concentrated study in one of four areas: General Adult Clinical, Child and Family Psychology, Neuropsychology/Geropsychology, and Health Psychology.
Clinical Training Overview
Clinical training in the PsyD program at GSPP consists of supervised field experiences that students have with clinical populations in a healthcare delivery system. Students advance through a sequence of clinical training experiences that are progressively more challenging. Three levels of field training and evaluation are required in our PsyD program?the diagnostic practicum, the therapy practicum, and the pre-doctoral internship.
A primary goal of program's clinical training sequence is the development of competent clinicians who are able to deliver basic and effective assessment and therapeutic intervention skills, by means of supervised direct client contact. The foundation of our students training in clinical psychology is the accurate assessment and understanding of mental health problems. This assessment and understanding serves as the basis for recommending and/or implementing effective techniques for the alleviation or resolution of these problems, within a climate of respect for the client.
Appreciation of diversity and adherence to professional standards for clinical psychologists is emphasized throughout students' clinical training. Also, aspects of students' personal adjustment, interpersonal relationships, and professional conduct in all settings are relevant to our evaluation of their progress through the program. Overall, our goal is to assure that students are well qualified and have the potential to become competent and ethical professional psychologists.
Students are required to complete two years of practicum training a diagnostic/assessment practicum and a therapy practicum in the second and third years of the program. Students may also choose to complete an advanced practicum prior to internship training. Practicum placements are generally for nine months, from September to June. Students spend 16 to 20 hours per week in an agency, program, or professional practice that is formally affiliated with the clinical psychology program. Practicum training sites are developed and coordinated by the programs training office and include a range of clinical settings throughout the metro-Atlanta area.
These sites include community mental health centers, private practice offices, schools, hospitals, VA medical centers, university counseling centers, and neuro-rehabilitation centers. Our PsyD students receive a minimum of one hour of primary supervision per week from a licensed doctoral-level psychologist at the diagnostic and therapy practicum sites. An additional hour of secondary supervision may be delivered by another licensed professional or postdoctoral fellow, and may consist of group supervision, case conferences, clinical observation, or in-service training.
During each practicum placement, all students must also enroll in a weekly practicum seminar led by a faculty member on-campus. The faculty member does not provide direct supervision, but offers didactic training emphasizing diagnostic and intervention skills applicable to a variety of clinical populations, as well as an opportunity for consultation.
The specific content and emphasis of practicum seminar varies according to the practicum setting and expertise of the faculty member. Faculty members closely monitor students progress toward achieving competencies in clinical training throughout their program of study. This monitoring, by both academic faculty and practicum site supervisors, addresses both the issue of students suitability for clinical practice and their academic achievement in completing the programs curriculum.
Clinical Competence Exam (CCE)
Students are required to take and successfully pass a Clinical Competence Examination (CCE) following their successful completion of both the diagnostic practicum and therapy practicum. The CCE is a two-part examination that includes a written case presentation of a client treated during the students therapy practicum and an oral defense of that document.
The CCE is designed to assess students knowledge, clinical reasoning within a conceptual model, technical skills, therapeutic relationship skills, and ability to communicate case material professionally in both written and oral formats. The CCE serves as the capstone evaluation of a students readiness to proceed with internship training.
All doctoral students must complete a 2,000-hour predoctoral internship, which is the final experience in the clinical training sequence. The internship must be successfully completed in order for students to obtain the PsyD degree. During internship training, students are expected to assume significant responsibilities and to perform major professional functions under the supervision of licensed psychologists.
The internship experience should provide students with a variety of intensive and diverse opportunities that allow them to function in various roles expected of a clinical psychologist. Typically, full-time students begin the internship during their fifth year of enrollment. Our students have consistently achieved placement in predoctoral internships sites that are accredited by APA or designated as members of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).
Research Proficiency and the Clinical Research Project
The research component of our doctoral program prepares students to anchor their work as clinical psychologists in the empirical methods and findings of psychology. As such, our students are taught to evaluate theoretical and clinical propositions critically in light of the current professional literature. We have active faculty-student research interest groups in the areas of psychotherapy research, neuropsychology, health psychology, and child and adolescent psychology.
Students demonstrate doctoral-level aptitude for scholarly work through the completion of a formal Clinical Research Project (CRP) that addresses a research question relevant to clinical practice. The CRP is a training experience designed to provide students with a guided opportunity to integrate and apply findings from empirical research in order to address a specific issue in professional psychology. Working closely with faculty members, students identify an issue within applied psychology and conduct a scholarly review and synthesis of the empirical literature designed to address this issue.
The primary training goal of the Clinical Research Project is to help students develop the skills needed to become critical consumers of the empirical literature in psychology. Though not required, students may also choose to conduct an original empirical study to complete requirements of the CRP.
To be eligible for graduation with the PsyD in Clinical Psychology degree, students must meet the following requirements.
Successful completion of a total of 98 semester credit hours, including:
- 71 credit hours of core course requirements
- 12 credit hours of elective course requirements
- 12 credit hours over two years of practicum and practicum seminar
- 3 credit hours of Clinical Research Project
- Successful completion of the Clinical Competence Examination (CCE)
- Successful completion of a one-year, full-time predoctoral internship or its equivalent
- Successful completion of the Clinical Research Project
- A final cumulative GPA of at least B (3.0 on a scale of 4.0)
- Submission of a completed Petition to Graduate form to campus administration
Students are expected to complete coursework and practicum by the end of the fifth year of matriculation. All program requirements must be completed within seven years of matriculation into the program, unless an extension is approved by the program chair.
Matriculation through the PsyD in Clinical Psychology degree program curriculum is designed to help prepare students to sit for the national licensure examination. Licensure requirements and standards for professional practice vary from state to state; therefore, prospective and enrolled students are urged to examine the requirements of the specific state in which they plan to practice. State licensure requirements may be obtained from:
Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, P.O. Box 4389, Montgomery, Alabama 36103, 332.832.4580
Argosy University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to Argosy University.