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PhD/PsyD Clinical Psychology: Childhood Trauma

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Orie, May 16, 2014.

  1. Orie


    May 10, 2014
    Austin, Texas
    I'm interested in a Doctorate Program in Clinical Psychology that specializes in Childhood Trauma in children and adults. Any ideas?
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  3. Icculus8

    Icculus8 2+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2014
    are you asking for programs with faculty members who research childhood trauma? They are a dime a dozen; many accredited clinical programs are going to have someone who has experience with childhood trauma. Do you have any more specific interests?

    I would suggest doing some research of your own on recent scholarly articles with a more precise focus that are of particular interest to you to narrow it down better.
  4. PhDToBe

    PhDToBe 7+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    There have also been 1-2 threads on this topic, with one occurring recently. It may be helpful for you to search the forum.
  5. Orie


    May 10, 2014
    Austin, Texas

    Thanks for the suggestion, PhDToBe. I am in the process of doing just that but was hoping that some of the forum members are familiar with a department that does not cater to training for research and academia but for hands on clinicians. Many clinical psychology programs do not, despite the name, focus on methods in psychotherapy to treat Childhood Trauma. I hope that clarifies things.
  6. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator Psychologist Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Jan 7, 2010
    This is a fairly common misconception. There isn't going to be a clinical psychology program out there (assuming it's APA-accredited) that doesn't provide hands-on clinical training. Programs will vary in the amount that they emphasize research vs. clinical work, but all accredited doctoral programs will provide training in both areas.

    As was mentioned, there's a recent thread floating around in which another member asked about trauma-focused programs, so that might give you some good ideas as to programs to begin investigating for a childhood/pediatric focus. As neither trauma nor work with kiddos is my specialty, the only suggestion I can think of off-hand would be LSU.
    futureapppsy2 likes this.
  7. All APA-accredited programs provide generalist training, as far as I know, so you won't find a focus on trauma interventions, but since trauma is central to much of what we do, don't worry you will get information and training in that area.

    Also, the doctoral program will provide you the skills to begin to develop the expertise yourself. I know that my interests directed my research during grad school and this has led to me developing varying levels of expertise in those areas. When it comes to trauma, for example, in your childhood development class, you would review the lit on childhood trauma and how that affects x,y,z; then in psychology of race and ethnicity you could write up and present how a specific ethnic class tends to cope with trauma, then in neuro-psychology you could focus on the role of trauma in brain functioning (some interesting stuff with cortisol and effects on hippocampus). Eventually, your research on your dissertation could reflect that and then your post-doc experience could refine that and by then you would realize that you have a significant amount of expertise in the area of trauma and you could begin to advise others on how to conceptualize and treat trauma.
    futureapppsy2 likes this.
  8. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2009
    The generalist part is generally right, but programs do tend to have some specialties within that generalist training. At my program we had an adult trauma specialist, a tic/trich specialist, and a BA specialist. For the OP, I would look for programs that have a faculty researching the area you want to work in. Then I would see about what in-house and practicum clinical opportunities are available.
  9. Agreed, I was thinking about that but got sidetracked a bit explaining. At my program, we had an expert in PTSD and a lot of good VA placement opportunities. Also, a strong neuropsych component and the director is a classically trained analyst who is equally versed in CBT and has written the book on supervision, another is definitely an expert on the neurobiology of attachment and how that relates to treatment. I could go on and on. As I look back, I wonder if others had equally broad training and educational opportunities? Don't know since I only went through mine. :)
  10. Orie


    May 10, 2014
    Austin, Texas
    Thank you all,

    You have been extremely helpful. I already have a PhD (Animal behavior with genetics, epigentics and complex systems focus) so I drew from my own graduate work experience where my dissertation work was the basis for other projects/positions I obtained after graduation. It sounds like a PhD in Clinical Psychology is a little different although I still think that finding a faculty member/supervisor specializing in my area of interest is essential for specialization as a clinician. I am currently searching for the right faculty member within CP programs that works in such area. I will also search for the appropriate thread within this forum to get better insights.

    Thanks again!
  11. CheetahGirl

    CheetahGirl Clinical Psychologist 10+ Year Member

    Feb 15, 2007
    formerly from Atlanta, GA

    In addition to the above suggestions, I'd like to add that you could also seek programs that provide psychodynamic training. Conceptualization often differs from more behavioral programs and the clinical training interventions are also geared towards deeper way of understanding how systemic problems (i.e., relationships, traumas, sense of self, attachment behaviors) affect a person's life (yes, the caricatured view of the patient with the problematic 'mother' does apply here). IMO, this type of training lends itself nicely to treating adults with childhood histories of trauma, as well as exposure to the interventions needed when you encounter a young child patient with both acute & chronic trauma (either single or on-going episodes).

    My clinical, research and training focus has been mainly trauma-related topics, including and not limited to childhood trauma in children and adults. I could PM you some schools in the NYC-NJ area that would support training in this area if interested, but first investigate if psychodynamic programs are right for you. I received fairly balanced training from my program that has a solid split among psychodynamic- & cognitive-behavioral-focused faculty. (for example, on my dissertation committee, I have one member who is more behavioral clinical psychologist, one more psychodynamic clinical psychologist, and one who is developmental the balance is evident even in my committee.)

    It is not always necessary to find a program that is researching exactly what you want to do (sometimes you come across these programs and their incoming cohort is 6, not 10 or 15 like some other they may be perfect for you, but you don't get acceptance there which requires you to broaden your prospects going into the application process). As smalltownpsych noted, you can make your experiences in graduate school benefit your incoming focus - it is not difficult to do if you seek programs that have faculty members with like interests (and most doctoral program websites have the courses listed so you can see the type of classes that each department offers, just in case a program specifically offers a class like "developmental trauma in adults/children," which I would imagine would pique your interest). Good luck! :luck:
    Orie likes this.
  12. cara susanna

    cara susanna 7+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    I agree that fit is more important, but University of Kansas has a great child program and I know at least one child trauma researcher who graduated from there.
    Orie likes this.

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