Clinical training is considered an integral part of the doctoral program in clinical psychology.
Clinical practica are organized to ensure a progression of clinical training experiences that correspond with the sequence of the course curriculum. Clinical practicum training plays an important role in the integration of theory, research and practice. Clinical practice provides opportunities for students to integrate critical thinking and hypotheses testing into their clinical activities and to assimilate an empirical, scientifically informed approach to clinical practice. The department works collaboratively with a number of off-site practicum training sites in the Illinois and Wisconsin areas. These settings include but are not limited to hospitals, medical centers, community mental health centers, school districts, and private practices. The department also has clinical programs that are supervised by department faculty. Students gain experience in general therapy and assessment skills, as well as training specifically in the three training tracks offered in the department, psychopathology, neuropsychology and health psychology. Although the department has a cognitive-behavioral orientation, the practicum training at the different sites expose students to multiple theoretical orientations and intervention techniques.
Beginning in the first year, each student begins a series of practicum experiences that will total a minimum of 1000 hours (34 credit hours). Typically, students have an average of 2000 hours of clinical training by the time they apply for internships. Ideally a student obtains a breadth of clinical experiences including diagnostic interviewing skills, assessment and intervention skills. Clinical practica in Year 1 and Year 2 are designed to provide students clinical training in fundamental intervention and assessment skills. Training in the first two years is expected to prepare students for more advanced clinical training in years 3, 4, & 5 in track specific areas.