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Clinical Practica

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Clinical training is considered an integral part of the doctoral program in clinical psychology and plays an important role in the integration of theory, research, and practice. Clinical practica are organized to ensure a progression of training experiences that correspond with the sequence of the course curriculum. . Through clinical practice, students have the opportunity to engage in critical thinking and hypothesis testing 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 both Illinois and Wisconsin. These settings include, but are not limited to, hospitals, medical centers, community mental health centers, court systems, and private practices. The department also has clinical programs that are supervised by department faculty. Overall, 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.

Practicum placement typically begins in the second year of the program with students accumulating approximately 2000 hours of clinical training (direct client experience and supervision) by the time they apply for internships. Ideally, a student obtains a breadth of clinical experiences including diagnostic interviewing skills, assessment and intervention skills across a wide range of populations. While the first year of the program is spent on pre-clinical skill development, it is possible to begin working with clients at our Interprofessional Clinic (ICC) beginning in the spring of Year 1. Clinical practica in Year 2 are designed to provide training in fundamental intervention and assessment skills. That is, training in Year 2 is typically broad and general, while placements in years 3, 4, & 5 become increasingly more specialized and in keeping with each student's career goals as well as their training tracks.

From the beginning of the Year 2 until the approval of the Masters Thesis, students spend an average of 12-16 hours per week in clinical practicum training. Students first meet with the Director of Clinical Training (DCT) and their respective advisor to discuss training and career goals in order to determine the appropriate placement for the second year practicum. Placements include psychological assessments for schools and adult centers as well as psychotherapy at the Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Primary supervision is provided on-site at the clinical placement. However, students are also enrolled in a yearlong supervision course taught by an RFU clinical faculty member in order to obtain more supervision experiences and assure that off-site training matches our training objectives.

After approval of the Masters Thesis proposal, students may spend a maximum of 20 hours per week in practicum training. Students at this level typically choose practicum placements that are more intensive and closely match their area of interest (i.e., psychopathology, health psychology, and neuropsychology). The DCT works with the student to facilitate specific placements.

Sample Practicum Placements

Health Psychology
AMiTA-Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital
Loyola University Medical Center
Lutheran General Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
RFUMS Interprofessional Care Clinic
University of Illinois Medical Center

Pediatric Psychology
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Healthy Families
Shriners Hospitals for Children
University of Chicago

Advanced Neuropsychology Practicum - Private Practice
Chicago Neuropsychology Group
Loyola University Medical Center Neuropsychology Services
Medical College of Wisconsin – Adult Neuropsychology
University of Chicago Neuropsychology Practicum
UIC Adult Neuropsychology Service

Adult and Adolescent Substance Abuse Program – Lake County
Adult Substance Abuse Program – Women’s Residential Services
Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center
Division of Psychological services: 19th Judicial Circuit
DuPage County Psychological Services: 18th Judicial Circuit
Lake County Health Department of Probation – Drug and alcohol rehab
Naperville Pediatric Psychology and Development
Northpointe Resources
University of Chicago Department of Psychiatry
Warren Township Youth and Family Services

Our students have matched at many APA-accredited internship sites around the country, including from the following list:
Brown Alpert Medical School
Children’s Hospital Boston
James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Facility (VA)
Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
Kennedy Krieger Institute/John Hopkins School of Medicine
Lexington VA Medical Center
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Metrohealth Medical Center
Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Naval Medical Center, San Diego
Northern California Psychology Internship Consortium
Portland VA Medical Center
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/ University Behavioral Health
Rush University Medical Center
Southlake Community Mental Health/ Regional Mental Health Center
Southwest Consortium Predoctoral Psychology Internship
Springfield US Medical-Federal Prisoners
St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital
Tulane University School of Medicine
University of California-Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute
University of California-San Diego/ Veterans Affairs
University of Chicago Medical Center
University of Florida Health Science Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center
University of Michigan Human Adjustment
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
VA Chicago Health Care Center
VA Connecticut Healthcare System
VA Edward Hines, Jr.
VA John D. Dingell VA Medical Center
VA Gulf Coast Veteran Healthcare System
VA Maryland Healthcare System
VA Medical Center, Milwaukee Mental Health Division
VA Northern California Health Care System
VA Palo Alto Healthcare System