How important faculty with active private practices in a PsyD program?

frl

Mar 22, 2010
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Hi,
I have been accepted to a couple of Psy.D. programs. I am after the Psy.D. because I want to get into clinical work.

Anyway, my top choice at this point(I like the location, other students, faculty in my areas of interests, etc.) only has about half of their faculty actively practicing in some way. Is this normal for PsyD programs? In some other programs, it seemed like all of the faculty were practicing.

This is not ideal for me, as I want to be immersed in practice while in grad school. So I'm wondering if current students(or others who have been through a PsyD program) could speak to the importance of faculty with an active practice? While I want to learn from people with that real world sense of the field, perhaps faculty who are not currently practicing still have that sense from previous experience? I guess I'm afraid of getting an overly academic experience removed from actual clinical practice.

Any experiences/advice/opinions that relate are welcome. Thanks!
 

erg923

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Well I might suggest emersing yourself in the underlying science of clinical psychology before jumping into being immersed in the practice of it. This seems like the most logical progression to me.

The faculty's job is to teach you the science of psychology/clinical psychology. Practicum is where you apply that science. Onsite practicum supervisors (often not faculty) provide the most training/influence of your clinical skills during grad school. While it might be nice to have faculty with PPs so you can learn about the business aspects of the profession (and running your own PP someday), its certainly not necessary, as there are many other outlets for one gain this type of training and exposure.

Btw.....I went into a Ph.D. program and primarily wanted to be a clincian. Most do, and most Ph.D.s go into practice. Dont perpetuate the false dichotomy that one is for practice and one is for research. I recieve fantastic, scientifically based clinical training in my rather research heavy ph.d program.
 
Last edited:
Jan 29, 2010
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I agree with erg. Most of my clinical mentorship has been from practica. I'm in a PhD program, but many of my friends in PsyD programs echo this experience. It is helpful that faculty have some clinical background, but you'll get plenty of mentorship about clinical work in practica.

I don't think any experience can be 'overly academic,' and a program can be academic, enriched in research and also provide solid clinical opportunities.

If your concern is being ready for private practice, make it a point to ask about the clinical training that is available in the school or in the communities surrounding the school. And while you're in school, appreciate the didactics you receive. PsyD students often have academic classes that help them immensely in treating clients. I hope this alleviates some of your anxiety.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Hi,
Anyway, my top choice at this point(I like the location, other students, faculty in my areas of interests, etc.) only has about half of their faculty actively practicing in some way. Is this normal for PsyD programs? In some other programs, it seemed like all of the faculty were practicing.
That is not atypical. I would say less than half of the professors from my Psy.D. program were actively practicing, and the ones that were only did a case here or there because they were busy teaching, supervising within their clinic, and researching. I had a supervisor (adjunct professor) who had a more active neuro practice, but she wasn't carrying a full load of classes, so it made sense. I'd guess that most of the faculty at one time or another had an active practice (therapy/assessment or some combination there of), but that can sometimes run its course. I am already looking forward to the time when I won't have to do therapy anymore; bring on the assessment and consultation work! :laugh:

Just to add on to some previous comments....theory is very very important, as it informs our clinical practice. Active practice doesn't really seem that important as long as the faculty had sufficient experience previously in the area. For example, I feel confident to teach a course on eating disorders, even though I haven't worked in the area for a few years. I would want to brush up on some of the details, but if you receive sufficient training in the area I wouldn't see non-practice as a negative thing.
 

frl

Mar 22, 2010
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Thank you to all, your input is very helpful. I guess this concern arose because I visited at least a couple programs who pride themselves in having professors who are almost all also practicing. Given that I want to practice and not go into research, it seemed like it might be important to attend an institution such as the ones I visited. Perhaps it's not particularly important.
 

psychmama

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I agree with what others have said. My psyd program is similar to t4c. There are lots of faculty who practice part time, as well as many who do not practice at all. I had no trouble getting loads of clinical experience while in grad school, in part because my school has strong alumni network who volunteer to supervise privately and through various practica. I've made a number of good professional contacts through the school, even though not all of the faculty practice.