PhD/PsyD VA questions

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by clinpsyc87, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. clinpsyc87

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    Sorry if these have already been answered, I couldn't find anything on search.
    1. Is there a strong preference for clinical over counseling psyc phd?
    2. If all my research has been pediatric, will I still be competitive for a doctoral VA practicum/internship/career?
    3. Is there much opportunity to continue to do research in a VA prac/intern/career?
    Thanks!
     
  2. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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    1. Probably not, but Im sure it varies across sites.
    2. Probably not
    3. yes
     
  3. clinpsyc87

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    #2 worries me the most. I did a lot of adult research in undergrad just all grad research has been pediatric. I'm also a highly decorated combat vet. Maybe I can sell these to increase my odds of getting a doctoral practicum?
     
  4. smalltownpsych

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    A lot of posters on here work for the VA's so I will defer to their responses. My question would be if you are interested in a career in the VA, then shouldn't you begin looking at research in areas that align more closely with that career?
     
  5. clinpsyc87

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    My program is a strict mentorship model and I was only accepted with him because my ms was pediatric... it would be difficult for me to switch. I wish
     
  6. smalltownpsych

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    So you wouldn't be able to switch but is there a way to tie in potential future interests? Also, in my experience, the VA wasn't as interested in research interests at the practicum level. Not sure about internship level as I didn't match to a VA or even get an interview at the two I applied to so it might mean more at that stage.
     
  7. clinpsyc87

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    Hm. What kind of research besides neuro would help me? Did you do VA practicums?
     
  8. Ollie123

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    1. Doubt it. Could play a small role, but I imagine there are very few places that wouldn't consider someone from a Counseling background if everything else was a fit.
    2. Do you have clinical experience in VAs and/or other relevant settings? A pediatric background could potentially be framed as a strength assuming its pediatric psychology in the strictest sense. It would mean you have experience working in medical settings (fuses well with primary care and other VA emphases) and some VAs are now also pushing for more integrated family care. That said, if you have limited clinical experience with traditional VA populations, I imagine it will be a very tough sell at internship. For practicum...just make sure you are getting broad cutting clinical experiences earlier on.
    3. Varies by VA - those with strong academic affiliations will have tons of opportunities (e.g. West Haven, Boston, Palo Alto, Durham, etc. - far from exhaustive, just the ones I'm most familiar with). Note that it is usually of a different type than in many other settings and that in general you won't find many powerhouse researchers, giant labs, basic science support, etc. as in a typical AMC. Access to salary support for research varies and the nature of the work is often somewhat different. That said, I think there is more than enough opportunity for what most people want...its just usually not as great a fit for a primary appointment among the hardcore research crowd (though again - there are exceptions).
     
  9. clinpsyc87

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    Well my two years of ms practicum was inpatient psychiatric, while I was working in a pediatric psychiatry department basically initiating research projects for my supervisor. My worry is I won't even get a VA practicum. I think if I can do two years of VA practicum that will raise my odds of matching to a VA for internship
     
  10. Fan_of_Meehl

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    1. I have only worked for one VA site (so far) and I have never heard of anyone discussing this issue regarding prospective hires
    2. I think you could be very competitive...especially if your training (as it likely has) has involved a strong behavioral (esp. applied behavioral) component. Also, if you have worked in pediatrics in the area of trauma, anxiety, or mood disorders then I think that the basic theoretical underpinnings of the cognitive-behavioral approach for kids would be translatable to your work with adults. If I were part of the process of hiring you, the specific populations you have worked with would be less important than your ability to think critically/scientifically, ground your choice of intervention in relevant theoretical literature to the problem area or diagnosis you are addressing, and openness to altering your clinical theories/hypotheses/diagnosis based on additional information.
    3. As others have noted, depends heavily on the particular site...I would imagine that the VA's in larger metropolitan areas and those affiliated with medical schools or universities would, obviously, be more likely to promote research
     
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  11. WisNeuro

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    Depends on the mix of adult and child in clinical. Esoecially for neuropsych, we've had people that were >75% child and they didn't really have a chance in rankings. We're kind of looking for a coherent story. Everyone should have some child experience, but the VA likes to take people it thinks will conceivably practice in the VA in the future, so they prefer people who actually look like adult clinicians.

    1. Depends, neuro definitely prefers clinical over counseling, general tracks, I haven't really seen a preference of one over the other.
    2. Answered above.
    3. The VA's that I have trained/worked at had very active research programs, even outside the MIRECC. But yeah, there are definitely some that do not emphasize this in their clinicians. Look to the flagships, they'll be the ones with fairly extensive opportunities to continue research.
     
  12. RebelOwl

    RebelOwl Psychology Ph.D. Candidate

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    Just some anecdotal info, my PhD is in counseling psychology and I matched to an amazing VA without having done a practicum in that setting AND my dissertation is on adult survivors of pediatric cancer. Having said that, my clinical experience is balanced between pediatric and adult populations. My research also strikes that balance. I think if you can find some creative ways to work with your advisor to tailor your program to meet your goals and his goals along the way, you'll be just fine getting a VA internship and furthering your career in that area.
     
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  13. chelly78

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    Most of what you have asked has been addressed, but I will add that since you mentioned that you are a combat vet yourself, this does increase your chances. I'm not saying that this is a guarantee, particularly if you don't have clinical experience working with adults, but VAs do give preference to hiring veterans. The training director at my current VA internship told us that while hiring they were required to view applications from veterans before even being able to consider non-veterans.
     
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  14. TheEarDoc

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    Being a combat vet (especially if service connected) will go a long way.
     
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  15. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    It will, but it will not override poor fit/poor CV. At least at the flagships.
     
  16. clinpsyc87

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    Thanks for all of the responses! What kind of research would be best to help me fit? I have a lot of pubs just the last 4 years have all been peds. I haven't applied yet to PhD practicum so hopefully they are more accepting there and then I can apply to internship. Hopefully.
     
  17. WisNeuro

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    Where are you at exactly in your training? Picking up and pursuing a completely different line of research is usually a difficult thing.
     
  18. clinpsyc87

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    Just starting the PhD portion in a different school after completing my ms. I was told I can work part time on another faculty's research so maybe I could do that. Next year I pick a practicum so I need to use this year to set myself up to get picked at a VA practicum next year
     
  19. WisNeuro

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    Well, it depends on what interests you, really. Although one of the fairly prevalent things in the VA would help (e.g., anxiety/depression/PTSD/substance use/PVT/SVT/etc). Some of the stronger sites are still going to want to see a clear career roadmap and coherence, and may be thrown off if it seems you've just done things all willy-nilly with no clear direction.
     
  20. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    Just out of curiosity, not being as familiar with the VA system, which are the "flagship" sites? Are they usually ones with affiliations with AMCs?
     
  21. WisNeuro

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    Lots of VA's have that affiliation. I'd consider flagships the larger med centers with very active research programs. Houston, Boston, Minneapolis, Palo Alto, to name a few.
     
  22. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    Makes sense. Are these programs typically funded by VA grants, NIH grants, both?
     
  23. WisNeuro

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    Wide mix. A lot of the research is done under routine clinical care. But, there are a lot if multi-site, large scale projects and such going on.
     
  24. CApsych

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    My research is almost exclusively pediatric and I matched at one of the "flagships" described. I did two VA practica and discussed my interest broadly in behavioral medicine (for both adolescents and children). If you want a VA career I'm sure you can make it happen! PM me if I can answer any questions.
     
  25. WisNeuro

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    Those two VA practica were huge.
     
  26. AcronymAllergy

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    Yep. Even with a primarily child-focused person, having a couple VA practica can be a big deal, as it shows the person essentially knows what they're getting into and has displayed an interest in working in the VA setting/with the VA population. To have absolutely no experience with adults, or to only have tangentially-related experiences (e.g., one semester with "only" undergrads in a university clinic) would likely raise a red flag or three re: fit.
     
  27. Terri Dactyl

    Terri Dactyl Graduate Psychologist
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    Working for the VA is unlikely with a pediatric background; however, working for the military as a civilian is likely to be a huge opportunity since they have many positions for psychologists with a pediatric, early childhood, and/or family background to work with military families. Be ready to relocate.
     
  28. 123EW

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    My research is in pediatrics, and I had one pediatric practicum and 2 adult. No VA experience and I matched at a VA. I was able to apply the general underpinnings of my research toward the veteran population, and my adult practicum experiences have proven to be very valuable for working with vets. Most of my internship interviews were at VAs.
     
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  29. Therapist4Chnge

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    You can do research at VA hospitals as a trainee, it just depends on the site. Academically affiliated VAs are obviously easier places to find it, though there can still be options at non-affiliated ones.
     
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  30. PSYDR

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    My Sdn account was created at an academically affiliated VA lab while I was doing research...because they blocked ESPN.com.
     
  31. CheetahGirl

    CheetahGirl Clinical Psychologist
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    ...On your 30-minute lunch hour, of course. ;)
     
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  32. WisNeuro

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    Luckily, yahoo fantasy football still works
     
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