Questions about Clinical PHD/PsyD programs as an undergrad

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Tom4705

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I have a few questions regarding Psychology doctorate programs as I'm interested in being a clinical psychologist:

1. Are there any funded PHD/PsyD programs that go off of the practitioner scholar model (Vail model)? I have an interest in Psychotherapy and assessments and would prefer the training to emphasize that over research. Yet I don't want to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a PsyD program that isn't paid for.


2. Assuming one has a solid undergrad GPA (say 3.7 or higher), 2 years research experience, and letters of recommendation, is that enough to be competitive for a Clinical Psychology PHD program?

3. Beyond completing the doctoral program, what else is required to be a licensed/practicing psychologist? Do you need a post doctorate internship? Could you explain what that's about? Board certification?

4. Therapeutic modality. What is the modality that tends to be taught in clinical psych programs? CBT? DBT? Do you have any choice in the matter?


5. Any other advice greatly appreciated.

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[1] You aren't going to get into funded program that doesn't have some kind of research focus. The funded PsyD programs of which I am aware (Baylor, Rutgers, Georgia Southern) all have very small, PhD-like cohorts and are able to provide funding because they have more research requirements than the typical PsyD program. Furthermore, anyone here will tell you that research training is as important as clinical training when it comes to becoming a competent, flexible, scientifically-minded psychologist. There's a reason the funded PsyD programs manage to get funding and manage to keep such good reputations...because they are rigorous to enter and include PhD-ish research expectations. Research is inescapable if you want to study as a doctoral-level provider at a quality program.

[2] It depends on how good the research experience was (e.g., whether you did more than just grunt work), the extent to which your experience shows a level of intellectual readiness for PhD-level work, and the extent to which your experience provides a sold foundation/match with the labs to which you are applying to work as a graduate student.

[3] This depends on the state. Some require post-docs and some don't. Board certification is never required. Supervised practice hours post-PhD usually are.

[4] The vast majority of programs will primarily start students on the unified CBT protocol, but this is slightly variable by program. More specialized trainings will depend on the availability of appropriate supervision in your local training clinic and/or available externships. Generally, though, the unified protocol (i.e., transdiagnostic CBT) will the most commonly represented modality.

[5] If you want to be a competent, well-rounded, fully-equipped psychologist, you will maximize your chances at doing so if you embrace research and become as scientifically-minded as possible.
 
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Agree with the above. To add to what's been said:

1. There are a relatively small number of (at least partially) funded practitioner-scholar programs. That being said, the majority of individuals who complete Ph.D. programs in clinical/counseling/school psych go on to work primarily or solely as clinicians. Not sure what the current APPIC stats say, but the average Ph.D. student also actually has (or at least had) more clinical training hours than the average Psy.D. student. This is owing in part to Ph.D. students spending an average of about 1 more year in their training program than Psy.D. students. The idea that Ph.D. = researcher while Psy.D. = practitioner has not been accurate for some time (if it ever was); both training paths produce competent clinicians. There are also a number of highly productive and accomplished researchers with a Psy.D., it's just a more difficult path than with a Ph.D.

2. As was said, depends on the quality of that experience and your productivity. If you have any posters or publications from those 2 years, great. If not, you may still be competitive, but not as much as if you did have something published/presented.

3. Also as was said, it depends on the state. All states will require completion of an accredited doctoral program in clinical, counseling, or in some instances school psychology. All will require completion of a full-time one-year (or part-time two-year) pre-doctoral internship, which is usually done during your final year of your doctoral program (but typically at a different site than your graduate program). I believe most states still require a year of supervised postdoctoral experience, although none that I know of require completion of a formal postdoctoral fellowship. A fellowship is one way to get the supervised postdoctoral experience, but getting a "normal" job while working under someone's license and supervision is another way. No states require board certification for licensure (pretty sure this is also true for physicians), but for some specialties (primarily neuropsychology), it's ubiquitous enough that some/many employers require it.

Beyond that, all states require that you pass the EPPP. Some states require the EPPP part 2, some do not. After the EPPP, some states also have state-specific jurisprudence exams, and a smaller number then have oral exams or other requirements (e.g., state-specific training courses).

4. CBT is likely what you're going to see taught as the "bread and butter" modality in many/most graduate programs. But a lot can depend on your advisor. With some advisors and programs you may have more input and with others you'll have less. Regardless of modality, ideally, you'll get training working with a wide variety of populations and disorders, both short- and long-term.
 
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4. Therapeutic modality. What is the modality that tends to be taught in clinical psych programs? CBT? DBT? Do you have any choice in the matter?
A lot of your exposure to actual modalities and actual application will come from clinical training and external practicum opportunities.

So if you have an interest, you can advocate for placement at sites which do this kind of work (if your program does more in terms of arranging placements for all students) or search for sites on your own (and then get them vetted via your program’s policies/procedures).
 
Not sure what the current APPIC stats say, but the average Ph.D. student also actually has (or at least had) more clinical training hours than the average Psy.D. student.

The last numbers that I can find are from 2015, but I still think are still worth posting given how persistent the myth is:

Ph.D.Psy.D.
Doctoral Intervention Hours
Median612597
Mean667665
St. Dev. 291339
Doctoral Assessment Hours
Median175150
Mean231195
St. Dev.195178
 
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The last numbers that I can find are from 2015, but I still think are still worth posting given how persistent the myth is:

Ph.D.Psy.D.
Doctoral Intervention Hours
Median612597
Mean667665
St. Dev.291339
Doctoral Assessment Hours
Median175150
Mean231195
St. Dev.195178
2015 is the last year that the stats were stratified by program type. Every year prior to 2015 available on the APPIC website shows the same trend.
 
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The last numbers that I can find are from 2015, but I still think are still worth posting given how persistent the myth is:

Ph.D.Psy.D.
Doctoral Intervention Hours
Median612597
Mean667665
St. Dev.291339
Doctoral Assessment Hours
Median175150
Mean231195
St. Dev.195178
Yeah, so a bit of a wash with those SDs, but still technically more in terms of raw numbers.

Basically, you aren't going to get significantly more, or less, clinical training based on the degree type. It's going to be much more program- and advisor-dependent, and all folks coming out of a clinical/counseling/school psych doctoral program (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) should be clinically competent in a variety of areas.
 
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Is there information somewhere comparing the types of clinical experiences trainees have in PsyD vs PhD programs?
 
Is there information somewhere comparing the types of clinical experiences trainees have in PsyD vs PhD programs?

I feel like this is so dependent on program or geographic region than PhD/PsyD designation. For instance, in many large metro areas (NYC, Chicago, etc.), trainees from all programs in the area go through a mini-match type process for practicum sites. Programs in less populated locations will likely have several established relationships with local sites which can vary from AMCs, VAs, university counseling centers, etc.
 
OP, to tack on to what others have already said regarding treatment modalities: I believe APA requires programs to provide some education on various treatment modalities. Some programs may have more of bent towards one orientation than others. For instance, while my program leaned more heavily CBT, we still had to complete coursework related to psychodynamic therapy and third wave (e.g. DBT, ACT, MBSR, etc.) modalities in addition to CBT.
 
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Yeah, so a bit of a wash with those SDs, but still technically more in terms of raw numbers.

Basically, you aren't going to get significantly more, or less, clinical training based on the degree type. It's going to be much more program- and advisor-dependent, and all folks coming out of a clinical/counseling/school psych doctoral program (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) should be clinically competent in a variety of areas.

Yeah, some of the variability is likely b/c of the heterogeneity in 'PhD program', which can include everything from your R1 Clinical Science/Scientist-Practitioner program to the Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Fielding, Pacific, etc. Also, probably varies between clinical/counseling/school PhDs. I know that counseling places less emphasis on assessment than clinical and school, for instance. But even that might be program specific.

On the Psy.D. side, it might have to do with differences in quality of training (i.e., funded Psy.D. vs. FSPS Psy.D.).

But it doesn't change the overall point that Psy.Ds do not receive appreciably more clinical hours in their training in the aggregate.
 
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Is there information somewhere comparing the types of clinical experiences trainees have in PsyD vs PhD programs?
Here are some broad generalizations from my experience, which includes reviewing predoctoral internship applications:
- PhD counseling psych students are more likely to get experiences in university counseling center settings than PhD clinical psych students & PsyD students (since some PsyD programs are not located in schools that have a UCC, even if their students are interested in this setting)
- There seems to be a broader split with assessment experience for PsyD students - a group will get a lot of assessment/neuro hours while another group will be almost solely therapy focused to a fault, whereas PhD students are more balanced in their intervention experience.
- Counseling psychology students are generally less likely to get neuropsychology training (but still complete cognitive, ADHD and psychodiagnostic pracs) but I know 2 board certified NPs who went to counseling psych programs and specifically sought out these experiences.
- This might be overly broad but I think you’re more likely to see psychodynamic and eclectic therapy training in PsyD holders. Some counseling psych programs are very scientist practitioner CBT dominant while others may have more variety in research and preferred therapy modalities (like ones where more profs do qualitative research).
- Specific training will be heavily dependent on the types of training opportunities available locally. For example, if there is not a VA by a school, it will be hard for an interested student to get substantial experience with veterans versus if there is a VA, people may get that experience even if they don't really want to work with veterans due to necessity.
 
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