SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

areas of concentration??

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by The2abraxis, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
  1. The2abraxis

    The2abraxis 2+ Year Member

    129
    0
    Jun 3, 2008
    Orlando Florida
    I was looking at a few schools, and I noticed some had certain areas of concentration (general broad ones) when it comes to a PhD program for Clinical Psychology. I was wondering if one would have to do exactly one of those areas, or if one could suggest their own area of concentration. For example, UF has an area of conctration called Emotion Neuroscience and Psychopathology (ENP). I was wondering if one could focus on just the emotional psychopathology and the cognitive-behavioral aspect without focusing on the neruoscience aspect.

    Are there some schools that allow a student to make their own area of concentration? I dont know how this really works, if someone could help me out that would be great!
     
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    4,561
    929
    Feb 19, 2007
    I personally think WAY too much emphasis gets placed on the "concentration" thing these days. To me, its a level of hand-holding that simply shouldn't exist at this level. Your experiences should shine through in terms of your clinical experience, presentations and publications, awards, volunteer work, committee work, etc. Anyone who needs an extra "label" on their degree to figure out what their specialty is had to be seriously slacking off in grad school and probably shouldn't be graduating anyways.

    In some cases, its nice to have some guidelines (esp. for things like neuro that have some clear-cut requirements for post-doc). Certainly if ones interests align with a formal concentration than go for it. However grad school is all about making your own path. Check the course listings and make sure they offer relevant coursework and practicums that will allow you to get done what you need to do. If its a decent school (and I can't imagine UF being otherwise), they're going to help you get there. They might not create a separate "Emotion psychopathology" label just for you, but chances are they'll let you take advantage of any and all relevant opportunities that are available to you.
     
  4. The2abraxis

    The2abraxis 2+ Year Member

    129
    0
    Jun 3, 2008
    Orlando Florida
    ya i was wondering that too.

    So does a person have to have an "area of concentration" or its not completly needed?

    Im not sure I havent really heard much of it before. It would seem (like you said before) that classes, publications, clinical experience, etc... would dictate what kind of path one takes.
     
  5. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    4,561
    929
    Feb 19, 2007
    Absolutely not. In fact, I'd guess the vast majority of students do not have one.

    Well, I should specify, everyone should have a "focus". You should not just be going through willy-nilly taking random stuff without any real plan. There's no need for the school to have a formal label for what you've done though.

    For example, I'd say my specialties are health psychology and psychophysiology. We don't call it anything, but I'm only just finishing my first year and even if someone knew nothing about psychology they could tell that by reading my CV.

    What experience you can get matters. Whether that experience comes pre-packaged or you have to put it together yourself is the only difference.

    If the concentration is an obviously good fit, than fantastic. However I get the impression some folks "only" look for schools that have, say, a concentration in "x", which personally, I think is ridiculous. School z might have one or more of the leading faculty members on that topic, tons of opportunities for relevant coursework, practicums, research, etc. but just not have labeled it. To pass that up for what might be a weaker program would be foolish, but I've seen a fair number of posts that lead me to believe people might be doing just that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2008
  6. The2abraxis

    The2abraxis 2+ Year Member

    129
    0
    Jun 3, 2008
    Orlando Florida
    awesome. I'm just hoping I could get into the program and not be stuck to one of the "areas of concentration". they seem a bit too rigid, which if they make someone stick too, idk why someone would go to that program!

    so if a person got into the program, they would not be forced to pick concentration a,b,c,d and if one doesnt like it, they are stuck? hopefully schools dont do this :-D
     
  7. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    21,139
    2,015
    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    Faculty
    I think they *may* be helpful for some areas (health, neuro, etc), but in actuality you really aren't going to *specialize* until post-doc. Generalist training is needed to be properly trained, and if you can gain additional training in your future area of concentration....that is great. I'm a generalist, though I took a number of classes in health and neuro because I want to incorporate those areas, but my not being in the 'concentration' doesn't mean much, as placement into internship sites doesn't rely on those things.
     
  8. Cosmo75

    Cosmo75 Post-Doctoral Fellow 2+ Year Member

    443
    0
    Feb 25, 2008
    Chicago
    In my school we have "concentrations" which basically means your electives fall within a certain area where if you go "generalist" you can take whatever you want. I concentrated in health psych, so all of my electives were health psych. I had a minimum requirement to meet the concentration, but I didn't *have* to do it. I just chose to.
     
  9. The2abraxis

    The2abraxis 2+ Year Member

    129
    0
    Jun 3, 2008
    Orlando Florida
    ah that is what im hoping UF does. I gave em an email ;-)
     
  10. Cosmo75

    Cosmo75 Post-Doctoral Fellow 2+ Year Member

    443
    0
    Feb 25, 2008
    Chicago
    ^ I'd hope that they allow you to generalize if you'd like. Seems kinds silly to force people to concentrate in 1 area. So here's to good news back :)
     
  11. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    4,561
    929
    Feb 19, 2007
    I actually have to disagree with you there. You certainly won't be DONE training in a specialty (if there's one thing I've learned so far, you're never done training in anything even if you graduated 40 years ago), but you absolutely should be a decent part of the way there by the time you're done with grad school. Everyone trains as a generalist in grad school, but there should be plenty of opportunities to get involved in your chosen specialty as well.

    Heck, what about those who don't DO post-docs:)
     
  12. dontknowitall

    dontknowitall 7+ Year Member

    106
    2
    Jan 24, 2008
    New York, NY
    I interviewed at UF and learned about the ENP program. This path was created FOR Peter Lang. There is really only ONE grad student in the whole program right now. There was a girl interviewing with me who was heart broken when Lang basically told her he wasn't taking any new students.

    All that being said, UF was awesome and I highly recommend it. I don't know of anyone doing non-neuropsych emotion research there, however.
     
  13. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    21,139
    2,015
    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    Faculty
    :laugh:

    After reading what I wrote, I actually disagree with me too. :D
     
  14. The2abraxis

    The2abraxis 2+ Year Member

    129
    0
    Jun 3, 2008
    Orlando Florida

    haha ya it seems like it was made for him. so did you go to UF? if you did, did u stick to one of the 4/5 areas of concentration they have, or did u swerve to one of your own? I know they stress having one because it is one of the absolute requirements :love:
     
  15. Markro311

    Markro311 7+ Year Member

    185
    1
    Jul 2, 2007
    One of the concentrations my program offers is "Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy", and that's my concentration. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, and I don't think it's "willy nilly", "hand-holding", or "just another label." It's to make sure I'm most experienced in that theory of psychopathology, assessment, and intervention. Not to say "hey look at me, I have a concentration!" My program has specialties in CBT, child & adolescent, neuropsych (and a certificate program), and I believe marriage & family. There's also certificate programs for neuropsych, hypnosis, and substance abuse.
     
  16. The2abraxis

    The2abraxis 2+ Year Member

    129
    0
    Jun 3, 2008
    Orlando Florida
    what school do you go to? i was actually looking for one just in CBT haha :-D
     
  17. Markro311

    Markro311 7+ Year Member

    185
    1
    Jul 2, 2007
    Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. It does suck to have the massive amounts of loans, but I really liked the CBT and Neuropsych (although I won't be going this path - but I will take a course or two) concentrations in the program, and it's really important to me that they value community service and social justice/responsibility. I just completed a Community Service Practicum (non-clinical practicum all 1st years do), and I volunteer a bit at the school's Institue on Social Exclusion (which has recently been getting write-ups in some APA pubs).
     
  18. Jon4PsyD

    Jon4PsyD Go Red Sox 5+ Year Member

    255
    0
    Jan 20, 2006
    Boston, MA
    As far as I know, no one has to sign up for these concentration tracks (even if they are in programs that offer them), so what's the harm in having them?

    I think it's wonderful that someone who clearly wants to work with children and sign up for a Child & Adolescent Track and take a few extra courses in Developmental Psych and be placed in APPROPRIATE practicum sites to the population for which they wnat to work (something that does not always happen). Some programs that offer a Latino Psychology or Bilingual track even place students for practicum sites that are in Latin America. Clearly these concentrations aren't necessary but I think for certain students they can be incredibly valuable.

    Jon
     
  19. theSteppenwolf

    theSteppenwolf 7+ Year Member

    133
    61
    Jul 11, 2008
    Southwest
    I've been hearing recently that if you have a concentration in Neuropsychology you are also able to do Forensic work. Is this the case? I'm having a difficult time deciding between the two concentrations and feedback would be appreciated.
     
  20. Ollie123

    Ollie123 10+ Year Member

    4,561
    929
    Feb 19, 2007
    Missed this the first time through.

    I didn't mean to imply its bad to have the option to take them. I just think its bad the amount of emphasis that gets placed on whether or not the school formally calls it a concentration - as this thread proves, sometimes to the point where people wonder "Should I go there? They don't have an "x" track. Worse, I think some people looking at grad schools go out looking for those tracks, and miss out on alot of wonderful fits because they are looking for a program with formal tracks.

    My point was just that if two schools offer the same child psych classes and practicums, its relatively meaningless whether it is designated as a "track" or not. The tracks are packaging and advertising. I'm just encouraging people to do a more in-depth search of the opportunities programs have available, and not just look for programs with a "track" in x or y, since that will likely result in alot of missed programs. Many of the best health psych programs in the country don't have a "track" despite having as many or more health psych opportunities than many of the weaker programs that do...I think it might make people think they are a better fit than they actually are.
     
  21. The2abraxis

    The2abraxis 2+ Year Member

    129
    0
    Jun 3, 2008
    Orlando Florida
    at UF you have to sign up for a track :-[
     
  22. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Health Insurance Operations 10+ Year Member

    9,259
    2,745
    Apr 6, 2007
    Depends on what you mean by forensic work. It is nearly impossible to be a practicing clinician of any kind and not get pulled into some kind of litigation by a present or former patient at least once during the course of your career. This is just the inevitable result of the litigious society we live in.

    Neuropsych has this potential to "go legal" more than most specialties because people often use neuropsych test finding to make a case for getting SSD, or filing a law suit after an automobile or work related accident, as well as non-criminal competency issues (eg., medical decision making), etc. These non-criminal legal issues are often hard to avoid when practicing general clinical neuropsych. However, in these cases, only a minority of the time will you need to give a deposition or even take the stand in a courtroom. But, your eval can certainly play a critical role in the case, and your professional reputation will take a big hit if you made big mistakes or performed a sloppy eval. That being said, you certainly have the right to refuse such referrals if you run your own private practice and feel you cant handle it. I know several neuropsychs that are very wary of the warning signs that the eval will be used in litigation, and then avoid these referrals like the plaque. But all neuropsych evals still have the potential to go legal down the road, so its hard to avoid totally. This is why its is important for neuropsychs to be up to speed on the latest literature regarding malingering and symptom validity testing/issues. You should also know the basics of how to handle attorneys, subpoenas, and that kind of stuff. All practicing clinical psychologists should actually.

    As far as serious criminal forensic work (eg.,criminal responsibility, insanity defenses, competency to stand trial), this is something that most post-doc fellowships in clinical neuropsych will NOT prepare you for. These cases are much more complex and require a good understanding of jurisprudence, Frye and Daubert standards, admissibility of certain techniques and instruments, cross examination, competency issues vs state of mind issues, etc. Most of the time, attorneys and courts systems will refer to those specifically trained in forensic neuropsych for these matters.The people who specifically do this kind of work are often seasoned veterans in the field, have years of experience, and have worked their way up to this kind of work. Generally not something you do right out of post-doc. Trust me, you wouldn't want to even touch these high stakes cases if you weren't knowledgeable about these forensic issues. Way too much stress and way too much legal liability.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2008
  23. Neuro-Dr

    Neuro-Dr SDN Advisor SDN Advisor 5+ Year Member

    324
    1
    Jan 1, 2006
    My current feeling on NP is that we have moved beyond the treating clinician as expert in MOST cases. It used to be when I was in school and then first came out that you could see a patient clinically (say for care following TBI secondary to MVA) and then get called to give testimony. Now though, most attornies will order an IME through their expert on either side. It can happen that you can get called in, but you really in most cases evaluate patients with either the intent to provide expert testimony or to treat them.
     
  24. theSteppenwolf

    theSteppenwolf 7+ Year Member

    133
    61
    Jul 11, 2008
    Southwest
    I don't think I ever thanked you for this response. It was incredibly informative and helpful. Thank you!


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
  25. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Health Insurance Operations 10+ Year Member

    9,259
    2,745
    Apr 6, 2007
    Good Lord, that was almost 10 years ago
     
  26. theSteppenwolf

    theSteppenwolf 7+ Year Member

    133
    61
    Jul 11, 2008
    Southwest
    And after two masters programs, I'm just starting my doc program all these years later. I just happen to revisit this thread and remembered how helpful your post was at the time.
     
  27. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

    6,973
    4,691
    Feb 15, 2009
    Somewhere
    Psychologist
    Did someone just say that erg was helpful? And not rude, or condescending? Erg, you've lost your Old Guard card, turn it in right now. You're no longer one of us.
     

Share This Page