Medical and Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology - Military Track

The Clinical Psychology - Military Track's model of training is illustrated in Figure 1. The student will primarily be trained as a broad based clinical psychologist with an appreciation and understanding of the unique aspects of military and public health. Within this broader focus, the student can choose to pursue more extensive mental health or clinical health psychology didactic and clinical training. Figure 1 lists the required knowledge base and expected outcomes of the clinical program. The overall goals of the program are to develop a clinical psychologist with the following qualities: 1) effective provider of mental health services, 2) creative problem solver, 3) critical thinker sensitive to organizational needs and constraints, 4) effective manager and communicator, and 5) ability to evaluate process and/or outcomes related to a varied range of individual and systems level interventions contributing to an improved quality of health care.

Figure 1: Clinical Psychology Training at USU

Mission

Required Knowledge Base

Outcomes

Broad Based Training in Clinical Psychology

Application of principles and Techniques of Clinical, Organizational and Health Psychology within a Military and Public Health Service Context

  • Fundamentals of "Behavior" (Normal/Abnormal)
  • Fundamentals of Organizations
  • Clinical Skills and Competencies
    Assessment
    Treatment
  • Consultative Skills
  • Research/Program Evaluation Skills
  • Management Skills
  • Military Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Effective Providers of Mental Health Services
  • Creative Problem Solvers
  • Critical Thinkers Sensitive to Organizational Needs and Constraints
  • Effective Managers/Communicators
  • Possess Abilities to Evaluate Process and/or Outcomes

The Clinical Psychology - Military Track trains clinical psychologists who use their scientific training to understand the strengths and limitations of an evidence-based approach to clinical psychology. This training is directed at teaching clinical psychologists to be critical thinkers able to analyze and apply current and emerging research and to be accomplished providers of evidenced-based psychological services within the military context. The Clinical Psychology - Military Track is designed for students with a background in psychology who wish to pursue clinical practice in military settings.

Program Plan

A. Didactic Training

The program's curriculum and resources are directed at creating a learning environment and set of experiences that permit the student to: 1) develop a breadth of knowledge in psychology, 2) develop professional knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to specific areas of practice, 3) complete elective academic work and scholarly research, 4) integrate theory, research, and practice through didactic and field training components, and 5) develop sensitivity to and understanding of ways in which cultural and individual diversity affect research and practice.

Students will be required to demonstrate competence in each of the following knowledge and skill areas: 1) Research and Evaluation, 2) Professional Interpersonal Conduct, 3) Assessment, 4) Consultation and Education, 5) Training in Supervision, and 6) intervention. The program plan is designed to assist the student in obtaining competence in the above areas through didactic coursework that focuses on the scientific basis of psychology as well as the foundations of practice. During the final year in the program students will be expected to complete a full time internship. The progression of required coursework across the five years of the training program is provided in the Clinical Psychology Program of Study.

B. Academic Milestones

The major academic milestones for each year of training are provided in Figure 2. Coursework related to the bases of clinical practice is necessary to provide the student with a sound and broad foundation of the theory and practice of clinical psychology. The principles of the program are to expose students to the theoretical and empirical foundations of a wide range of systems of psychotherapy and behavior change as well as provide a sound basis for the understanding and identification of the full range of psychopathology in both mental health and general health contexts. While the details of various assessment and treatment approaches will be covered in courses, it is essential for the USUHS Clinical Psychology Student to understand the theoretical and empirical bases of these approaches. Such an in depth understanding should assist these future psychologists in the critical application of technology and allow them to respond to advancements in knowledge and techniques as an informed professional.

Figure 2: Clinical Psychology Program Academic Milestones

Year

Requirement

Description

Due Date

1

First Year Paper

  • Article (approximately 15-20 pages) based on research
  • Reviewed by advisor

End of Summer Semester

2

Ph.D. Qualifying Exams

  • Section from General Exam (1 Day)
  • Section from Clinical Exam (1 Day)

End of Spring Quarter

2

Second Year Paper/Master's Thesis

  • Empirical study conducted in close collaboration with advisor. Paper to be written in manuscript format appropriate for submission to a peer reviewed journal.
  • Submitted in format required by Graduate School for Master's Thesis

End of Summer Quarter

3

Written Proposal and Oral Defense for Dissertation

  • Complete a research proposal and defend the study to the dissertation committee

End of Spring Quarter (must be defended before applying for internship)

4

Complete Dissertation

  • Dissertation completed, defended, revised (if necessary), and submitted to graduate school

End of Spring Quarter (must be completed before internship)

Note: It is important to emphasize that in order to complete the academic component of the Clinical Program within the allotted time frame (4 years), all deadlines must be met.

C. Clinical Training

The USUHS program is based upon the goal of developing clinical psychologists with broad based clinical knowledge, strategic problem solving skills, and general clinical skills in addressing problems related to mental health, physical health and illness, and organizational systems. Given the program's goal of training individuals who will serve the national interest within the uniformed services (Army, Navy, Air Force), particular emphasis is placed on those problems encountered in the uniformed services. While training will provide an optimal basis for effective general clinical practice, emphasis will be placed upon the practice of clinical psychology within a military and public health context. This will occur in both didactic and clinical training and represents, in part, the unique nature of the USUHS Clinical Psychology Program.

The clinical practicum, clerkship and internship training experiences are designed to provide systematic, progressively intensive training in the application of psychological principles, techniques, and skills to human problems. This field training is graded in intensity and responsibility and is offered sequentially through practica, clerkship and internship.

The field training will be provided by full time and adjunct clinical faculty primarily at USUHS affiliated teaching hospitals and will focus on the development of assessment, intervention, and organization consultation skills for a wide range of problems. This experience will be coordinated and monitored by the full time clinical faculty in the Department.

Every effort will be made to provide a breadth of experience over the four years prior to internship including areas related to: adult, child, adolescent, family, outpatient, inpatient, and organizational consultation.

While the primary practica placements will be at affiliated teaching hospitals, the program also has affiliations with clinical programs in the D.C. area that provide unique training opportunities not available in existing teaching hospitals.

The clerkship (all three summers) represents a more extensive clinical experience under supervision for a minimum of 16 hours per week and maximum of 24 hours per week. This experience will be supervised at a minimum of 1 hour per week by a licensed clinical psychologist from the training facility. The clerkships are offered during the summer quarters. Clinical training will begin in year 1 of the program. Students will have received a minimum of over 1000 hours of clinical experience prior to internship.

The internship is a 12 month intensive training experience provided during the fifth and final year of the program. Training is available at one of the University's main affiliated teaching hospitals (National Naval Medical Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Air Force Malcolm Grow Medical Center) as well as other APA accredited military and civilian facilities throughout the United States.

D. Research Training

The student will work on the faculty member's research team during the first and second year and will complete a research study that may not represent original research but is an offshoot of the research advisor's ongoing program of research. This experience is designed to teach research skills through a mentoring model including the identification and conceptualization of a problem area, critical analyses of existing research, hypothesis generation, experimental design and control, data collection, data analyses and completion of a manuscript suitable for submission for publication in the scientific literature. This process will be accomplished by first completing a brief review of the literature on a specific topic area due the end of the Summer quarter in Year 1. An empirical paper based upon this research will serve to meet, in part, the requirements for the master's degree. Beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year, students in the Clinical Psychology - Military Track have the option, with the approval of their faculty advisors, not to do a formal Master's project. Students who select this option, will have to take a mandatory two-year dissertation preparation course in order to ensure that they have the requisite skills to successfully complete a dissertation.

In year three, each clinical student will be required to identify a research topic (doctoral dissertation) that is relevant to and supports the student's training and interests. Each student will work closely with a faculty member in the formulation of the research question(s) and design. The dissertation research is to be completed prior to the onset of the internship.