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WA / OR / CA Clinical Mental Health Programs

Discussion in 'Mental Health and Social Welfare' started by Rachel Ballard, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Rachel1002

    Rachel1002 SDN Bronze Donor
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    I'm looking at schools with either an MA or MS program in clinical mental health counseling in either California, Oregon, or Washington. It's been a bit tricky finding information on schools other than what the school provides, so I'm wondering if anybody knows about the reputations of any of the following programs that I'm considering applying to?

    My ultimate goal is a Psy.D and private clinical practice. I know CACREP is important, but it seems that there are good programs without the accreditation, and sub-par programs with it. My only concern is that I might want to change states, most likely ending up in California for the long haul. Is there anything else that I might want to look for in a school that would help me eventually achieve my goals?

    My ideal situation would be a full-time, in-person program, preferably with daytime classes. It's unlikely that I'll be working while also doing my master's, and if so it would be part time. I would also like to have my master's done as quickly as possible. Any information on the following programs would be very much appreciated. Also, if anybody has suggestions on schools that are not listed please don't hesitate.

    The programs I'm considering applying to:

    Western Washington University
    Palo Alto University
    San Francisco State University (non-CACREP)
    University of San Diego
    Portland State University
    Lewis and Clark College

    I've also considered the University of Denver, which is a non-CACREP school.
     
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  3. MAClinician

    MAClinician Masters level clinician
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    CACREP does not accredit PsyD programs. APA is the accreditation you want for PsyD. CACREP accredits masters programs in mental health counseling and PhDs in Counselor Education and Supervision. The PhD in CES is NOT the same as a PsyD. I'm confused why you are looking at CACREP if your ultimate goal is a PsyD in Psychology.
     
  4. Rachel1002

    Rachel1002 SDN Bronze Donor
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    My plan is to get a master's first before doing a PsyD program, so I'm looking at master's programs right now.
     
  5. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    Why not just go for a PsyD? A clinically oriented master's degree won't help.
     
  6. Rachel1002

    Rachel1002 SDN Bronze Donor
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    My BA is unrelated, and my undergrad grades are pretty unimpressive (3.2 GPA). I've been taking classes to help improve my GPA, as well as gain some outside experience that will help my resume, but I'm not sure I would be accepted into a PsyD program, especially because I have no research experience. I also thought that it might be a good idea to do a master's program first to make sure I'm committed to the subject and enjoy the field.

    What do you mean when you say a clinically focused master won't help? It won't help with what?
     
  7. Temperance

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    If your ultimate goal is a doctoral degree in psychology, then a research-based master's program would serve you better than a clinically-based one, especially if you have no research experience right now. A degree in clinical mental health counseling might not give you the sorts of research experience that would make you attractive to a doctoral program.

    Is there a reason you are set on the PsyD specifically? There are a great number of PhD programs that place equal emphasis on clinical and research training, which would be what you can expect from top-ranked PsyD programs anyway.
     
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  8. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    I apologize for being vague. What I mean to say is that it would be an error to treat a professional counseling masters degree as a “stepping stone“ toward a doctoral degree in psychology. As the previous poster noted, a research oriented masters degree will provide a better foundation to go on to doctoral study. Do consider both the PsyD and PhD degrees even if your primary goal is to enter clinical practice. But of course, first make sure that becoming a psychologist is really what you want to do.
     
  9. Rachel1002

    Rachel1002 SDN Bronze Donor
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    I see, thank you for the advice. I will look further into both PsyD and PhD degrees. My understanding was that PsyD was more clinically focused, while PhD was more research. My hope is to work my way to private practice psychotherapy, and I'm open to whichever road gives me the most experience with this and makes me the best therapist possible.

    As far as the masters program, what would you suggest instead of a counseling masters degree? Do you have any examples of programs that would fit the research oriented criteria? Thank you for your help
     
  10. Rachel1002

    Rachel1002 SDN Bronze Donor
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    Thank you for your reply and your help. I'm open to either PsyD or PhD. Really my career goal is private practice counseling, so maybe a doctorate isn't even necessary? I guess my understanding was that if I went the Psy.D clinical route, then I would be a better therapist all around than if I had just gotten my masters. I would basically only be getting my doctorate in an effort to be better at my job and to open more doors with who I could work with (i.e. possibly with the military), not necessarily for increased pay or recognition.
     
  11. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    It’s a good question to ask! I encourage you to look into the various mental health professions and decide which would be a good fit with your goals.

    Psychologists receive lengthier and more extensive training overall than master’s level counselors and therapists, but there are some advantages to pursuing a master’s level profession, such as entering practice sooner. No matter which profession you choose, continuing education and professional development will be expected of you, so there will be plenty of opportunities to hone your skills and learn new ones.
     
  12. artsyann

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    I am starting my masters in Experimental Psych this Fall. I didn’t have enough undergrad research to make it into a PhD program this year. I had returned to finish undergrad after many years so I only had 1.5 years left and only got minimal experience. The experimental program I am entering has great success with graduates going onto to doctorates. It’s also less credits than a clinical one, and since only 30 credits usually transfer to doctoral programs it made sense on several levels. It’s a very small program, no more than 16 per cohort, usually more like 10, so I think it will be a great entre into a doctoral program. My advisor has already started working with me even though the official start date isn’t until the fall, so I feel this will be a wonderful experience.

    So, in summary, I endorse getting a more research focused masters if you aren’t looking to practice at a masters level, which I am not.
     

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