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Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Psych 111, Mar 26, 2011.
This is akin to asking, "Ignoring the huge hole in the side of my boat...do you think I'll have any problems sailing it?" There are plenty of APA-acred clinical psychology programs that provide training in forensic psychology, why go somewhere that has such a huge disadvantage?
The general consensus of the APA is that you should be receiving generalist training in doctoral programs. Specialization is something that should be occuring later, like in a post doctoral or employment. So, if there is a clinical forensic program it is obviously not generalist, they won't accredit it.
I dont really think thats the case at all. All the well known forensic psych programs in this country that I'm aware of ARE indeed APA Accredited. John Jay, Sam Houston, U Alabama-Tuscaloosa, Nebraska-Lincoln, Chicago School, Kentucky. What am I missing here?
Are you aware that almost ALL APA accredited internships require one to have attended an APA accredited program? Are you aware that the BOP requires its psychologists to have come from APA accredited programs? Are you aware that many post-docs require their applicants to come from an APA accredited program? Are you aware of the predoc internship match imbalance? Putting putting yourself at such a huge disadvantage (by attending an nonaccredited program) would not be very wise. I doubt you're going to find anyone hear who would actually recommend that someone attend an unaccredited program at this time.
Regarding the highlighted statements, I really think one artificially limits themselves when they make such absolute statements about what they want to do and do NOT want to do, BEFORE they are even in grad school and BEFORE they have had any formal graduate level training experiences. Interests change. Things change. Its just part of life. If they dont, you're not growing and maturing. Being focused is good. Being exclusionary and having tunnel vision when starting grad school is NOT. Not only is this dangerous to yourself, but its not particularly appealing to programs and admissions committees. Lack of flexibly and lack of willingness/interest to gain a variety of skills with a variety of populations is NOT something any training director wants to hear (or get a sense of) from potential applicants. Your statements are much more appropriate for someone 5 years ahead of where you are in this process (someone applying fir internship or post-doc).
If I think carefully about what makes a good "forensic psychologist"..... "a good psychologist" is what jumps first and foremost into my head. A clinical forensic psychologists should probably be well versed in assessment methods/techniques, assessment report writing, brain-behavior relationships, developmental psychology, parenting issues, psychometrics (so they can defend their test selection on the stand), differential diagnosis, statistics, psychiatric nosology and classification issues, laws, ethics, establishing rapport, empirically based intervention practices...the list goes on. See what I'm getting at? Its a long list and not all of them are forensic issues. Where does one gain great training experiences in the above issues? VAs, family clinics, medical centers, hospitals, counseling centers, etc. This is this exactly the reason why the APA and many people here are big believers in generalist training in clinical psychological science, followed by specialization either through a minor track within the program or during the post-doc.
John Jay isn't APA accredited, but their program meets NY state's requirements for licensure, so if you're staying in NY it's no biggie. All the other schools are APA accredited Clinical Psych programs with a forensic or correctional concentration/research interest/track, not Clinical Forensic Psych programs. The difference is the lack of generalist training, which is why APA won't accredit them.
FYI - The Bureau of Prisons will not hire someone who comes from a non-APA accredited program and I know specifically has turned down people that have come from Clinical Forensic programs. Something to think about it that is a direction you want to head...you can PM me if you want more info.
You know, thats interesting. I have little interest in forensic psych itself, but interviewed at several BOP sites for internship due to b-med stuff. I was pretty shocked that none of my 10 person interview group came from a "forensic program." There was one girl there from the psych-law concentration at Alabama-Tuscaloosa, but that was it.
I think it goes back to being trained as a generalist first then in forensic psychology.
Very few places of employment will consider applicants from non-APA acred. programs. APA-acred. is the standard, and with the competition as it is in the field, it is a very easy way to narrow down the applicant pool.
I understand the frustration with not getting into programs, but maybe it's a better use of your time to figure out why that may be and work on shoring up your weaknesses if you're going to apply again. I think a red flag was when you said you have no interest in research or teaching - then why get a Ph.D.? The programs you're applying to are probably thinking the same thing. It might be wise to think about why you want a Ph.D. above and beyond the Master's since it doesn't sound like you're actually interested in most of the training involved in getting a Ph.D.
Also, like many other threads like this, there is a huge sense of entitlement. Just because you want to go to a doctoral program, does not mean that you are entitled to. Taking a back-door into it by attending a non-accredited program with sub-par training doesn't do you OR the field any favors.
I think our consensus is its probably best to wait another year and apply again if your truley want/need the doctorate. Unaccredited programs, by and large, will create alot of headaches down the road and, as we discussed, can really impede your ability to work where you want to work.
I agree with the other poster about reflecting on why you have been rejected year after year despite seemingly competitive credentials (pubs, good GRE, experience, etc.) Whats your GPA? How are you coming across in your interviews? Have you done mock interviews with your current mentors? I also agree about reflecting on why you need the degree to do what you want to do in your career (eg., a Ph.D. program certainly entails alot of research for someone who says they dont like it ).
As far as predoc internship is concerned, the BOP is clear in their internship training brochures (and I know from interviewing with them as well) that breadth of clinical experience in the doctoral program is VERY important to them. They really prefer people to be generalists. After all, most psychologists there are just clinical psychologists in a forensic setting, not forensic psychologists by training. Only a handful of psychologists in the BOP do the forensic work anyway. I had zero forensic experience or coursework to speak of and was interviewed by several BOPs for internship this year. The majority of people I saw there came from generalist programs as well....or from well known, well-respected programs with forensic tracks (Arizona, Alabama, etc). Certainly not anyone from an unaccredited program. I am pretty confident that attending non-APA accredited program would be an exclusion from employment later down the line for them as well, but not quite as confident about that.
Fordham!!! But beside my bias, being at a site like Sam Houston or John Jay can actually be detrimental, one because you can get pigeon-holed as forensic only and two you may not get good general training or even exposure to areas like neuropsych. I, for instance, am doing both neuro and forensic, mostly because the fields can overlap a ton. I also think my research opportunities are vastly increased by choosing a general clinical program that has tracks.
Its funny because the majority of forensic people I have met (all but two) don't want to even consider working in a prison for a career! Just goes to show I suppose... Although BOP is good money
Most of those with forensic interests that I've met also lean away from prisons, so it's definitely not just your experience. I do think it's important to make those distinctions in the forensic realm, as it's a widely-varied field with a multitude of settings and opportunities (e.g., prison, custody, civil lawsuit, competence, etc.). Choosing on which of those areas you'd like to focus is definitely a good first step.
I agree with pretty much everyone's response to the original question. As someone who had to work forensic patients when first starting out, you learn a lot about the complexities and legal aspects, which I don't think that even the best program could do since mental health codes and criminal proceedings vary from state to state.
To me, being a specialist in forensic psychology is like wanting to get advanced training in psychoanalysis. Its absolutely fine to do it but only after you've gotten through a degree program. Its immensely important that you learn the "basics" before going into any sort of specialization.
Hi i am new to this site and unsure of how to do this. I recently was asked to come in for a interview at Chicago school of prof psy for the PsyD program in clinical forensic psy. I was recetnly researching online and have seen some pretty bad reviews. However unsure of how the process works and am now getitng a little nervous. are there things i need to be asking in my interviews that will affect my decisions, does anyone know about this program, and i noticed someone has mentioned most clinical forensic programs are not apa accredited is this true?
The Chicago School has a pretty good history when it comes to their PsyD program in clinical psychology (which is APA accredited). All of their programs obviously offer specializations which could be useful if but without APA accreditation, it can hurt your employment chances in the future.
Personally, I looked into the Chicago School a couple years ago and heard great things. Then once I was ready to apply I changed my mind after I spoke with their admissions office, faculty, and visited their campus in Chicago. I got a weird feeling about the school after I heard of all the expanding they are going across the country. Plus, no one gave me a clear answer on whether or not their curriculum would be compromised in the near future due to their national expansion. I also spoke with a guy who use to work in their IT department, and he made it clear that the corporate branch was clawing into the academic side of their programs, as evidenced by many changes in faculty and administrative personnel. With that all said, I thought their admissions people and faculty were very informative and were not trying to act like used-car salesmen, but the fact was that a lot of uncertainty was going on and that's not cool with me considering their tuition fees.
Yes. ALL clinical forensic programs are not APA accredited because they are specialist programs, not generalist programs - which is what the APA will accredit. There are clinical programs with a forensic emphasis (Alabama, Pacific, Spalding, Drexel, etc.) that are APA accredited.
As far as the Chicago school goes, I also interviewed there this past cycle (it was my absolute safety school) and I was far from impressed. They were almost dshonest about their internship match rates, claiming that they matched upwards of 90%, but this is their total match rate, not their APA match rate; which is below 50%. When this discrepency was brought up (by me) they quickly mentioned that their school doesn't emphasize the necessity of an APA accredited internship, instead they allow their students to create their own internship and doesn't that sound like fun....um, not at the expense of my educatio and training, no.
They also tried to push the clinical forensic degree on me, as that is also my area of study. When I commented that I wasn't interested in that degree due to it's lack of APA accreditation and the potential for future licensing issues, I was told that attending a non-APA accredited program wasn't really that of a deal, which shocked me. I definitely left there with a very bad taste in my mouth for that school on a whole, which was especially disappointing since I had heard it was one of the "better, more respected" professional programs.
I don't know anything about the Chicago campus but the students coming from the Orange County, CA branch of the Chicago school, whom I have run into at least, have demonstrable general clinical skill deficits. I'm talking; putting v-codes on Axis V, Personality D/Os on Axis I at the 4th year level.
Although this is n = a few, I would avoid, since the reputation is also less than stellar.
I know someone who came through their main campus a few years back, and they were/are a solid clinicial....though they told me that they had to seek out additional training and mentorship to fill in some training gaps. They were very concerned with the expansion, as the program was smaller when she started.
Their APPIC match rate for the past 10 years is 78.5 /shrug higher than national average and not bad for matching 58 people a year (http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=745625)
Yeah, I said their APA match rate was really low; that's different than the APPIC and for their clinical psyd program, which is APA accredited (unlike the clinical forensic program). An APA approved internship is really the standard to shoot for as many states require it for licensure and there are places that will not hire you without having completed an APA accredited internship. I don't see why someone would put themselves at a disadvantage right off the bat, but it's your future and your choice, I'm just trying to answer the question that was asked.
If you click on the section that's labeled student outcomes you can see their match rates for the last 5 or 6 years. Good luck.
**Edit** Interestingly enough, looking at their match rates I noticed that their's are somewhat confusing as they don't differentiate between APPIC and APA match rates on their website, they just roll them together. Another sign of dishonesty to me. If you look at the site of a more well respected program (not my program) such as Washington http://web.psych.washington.edu/psych.php#p=236 you'll see how they differentiate between the two, which give the student a better understand of the real match rate.