Clinical practicum is a supervised training experience designed to teach clinical skills.
All Psy.D. students begin their training with a pre-practicum course that prepares them for clinical work. In the classroom, they learn how to conduct biopsychosocial interviews, identify crisis intervention situations, and write progress notes and initial intake reports for prospective patients.
The pre-practicum is followed by nine semesters of fieldwork experience, beginning in the first year of the Psy.D. program and progressing through the third year of doctoral study. Through the practicum, which is undertaken in conjunction with the required academic coursework, each Psy.D. student engages in a planned sequence of developmentally graded professional experiences, including intake assessment and evaluation; individual, couples, family, and group psychotherapies; and psychological testing.
Students in clinical practicum work as health service psychologists-in-training at sites approved by the assistant director of clinical training for the Psy.D. program. The program maintains active affiliations with a variety of practicum sites that provide quality clinical experiences for students. Students may choose from over fifty approved sites, including regional and community hospitals, university medical centers, VA medical centers, mental health community centers, community service agencies, correctional centers, and private practice offices. Most practicum sites require a three-semester commitment from students, after which they may apply to different practicum sites to further develop their clinical practice abilities.
The designated practicum sites are committed to training professional psychologists and permit the student to be part of the clinical team. Albizu gives preference to sites that use evidence-based interventions, state-of-the-art psychological assessment techniques, and the biopsychosocial model of case conceptualization and intervention—all within an overarching philosophy informed and guided by respect for individual and cultural diversity.
At each practicum site, clinical work is supervised by a designated, on-site supervisor. The practicum supervisor, who is responsible for the student’s entire practicum experience at the site, must be a psychologist with a doctoral degree, licensed in his or her jurisdiction of practice and an employee of the agency or institution that has agreed to provide supervised experience. The Psy.D. faculty, program director, and assistant director of clinical training maintain free and open communication with practicum supervisors in order to effectively monitor and facilitate student progress. Students receive a minimum of one hour per week of face-to-face supervision. Additional individual and group supervision hours are encouraged.
Please note that student employment cannot be used to fulfill the practicum requirement.
Students are also required to complete a clinical internship during the fifth year of their doctoral programs. Students apply for competitive internships nationwide at medical schools, mental health centers, VA hospitals, university counseling centers, private hospitals, prisons, state hospitals, and other community sites.
Clinical Practicum Training Competencies
The cornerstone of the Psy.D. program is the balance between the sound psychological knowledge obtained in the classroom and the applied experience of the supervised practicum. Throughout clinical training, the student is provided with opportunities to blend theory and practice through an integrated and sequential learning process. The most significant learning occurs through this integration of academics and supervised experience.
The Psy.D. program’s view of clinical training is consistent with the accreditation standards of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the highly regarded guidelines for professional psychology training developed by the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (NCSPP). We believe the developmental and interpersonal processes of clinical training should be purposeful and directed. Consistent with this approach, the following competencies are developed through the clinical practicum experience:
Ethical and Legal Standards
Demonstrated knowledge of current ethical principles and Florida law pertaining to the practice of professional psychology. Demonstrated ability to consistently and appropriately apply these principals and laws, seeking consultation as needed, and to understand their implications in protecting the persons served, the profession, and general society.
Individual and Cultural Diversity
Demonstrated knowledge, sensitivity, and skill when working with individuals, groups, and communities representing various aspects of individual and cultural diversity, including, among others, ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability status, and special population. Demonstrated understanding of how interactions between and among individuals and communities are shaped by diversity variables.
Professional Values and Attitude
Demonstrated professional values, attitudes, and behaviors that reflect integrity, personal responsibility, and adherence to professional standards.
Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Demonstrated use of appropriate communication and interpersonal skills for all health service activities and interactions.
Demonstrated competency in conducting assessments ranging from the administration and interpretation of standardized tests to behavioral observations and clinical interviews.
Demonstrated knowledge of evidence-based practice and the scientific and theoretical bases of intervention. Performance of interventions using either evidence-based psychotherapy or environmental modification, depending on what is best suited to the situation.
Demonstrated knowledge of supervisory practices, including the need for supervisors to act as role models and maintain responsibility for activities they oversee.
Consultation and Interpersonal/Interdisciplinary Skills
Demonstrated consultation and interpersonal/interdisciplinary skills as reflected in collaborations with other professionals in health service psychology in order to address a problem, seek or share knowledge, or promote effectiveness in professional activities.