As a central part of the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program, each student is expected to acquire a broad range of supervised clinical
experiences in the form of practicum and an internship. Practicum training is an organized,
sequential series of supervised experiences of increasing complexity that are designed
to ensure that over the course of their doctoral training, students are exposed to
diverse roles, populations, settings and types of interventions that prepare them
for internship training, and ultimately, meeting the requirements for licensure.
Students participate in doctoral practicum training during the third and fourth years
of the program. Students on practicum are required to complete a minimum of 16 hours
per week (20 hours per week recommended), for 50 weeks during the summer, fall, winter
and spring terms, for a minimum expected yearly total of 800 hours (1,000 hours recommended).
The practicum experience provides students with the formative opportunities to acquire
and refine the foundational and functional competencies that will prepare them to
be successful in the next step in their clinical training on internship.
The doctoral practicum provides students with supervised experience in a range of
different settings and work with diverse patient populations, including children,
adolescents, adults and older adults. It is vital that each student's training encompasses
diversity on a variety of levels, including setting, population, presenting problems
and level or type of intervention. Settings may include hospitals, integrated health
care settings, mental health clinics, forensic settings, residential treatment centers,
counseling centers and group practices. Populations may be diverse by virtue of age,
gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical disability, socio-economic status
or diagnostic category. Levels of intervention range from the individual, to the couple
or family, and to the group or system.
Affiliation with training sites is specifically tied to the program's overall and
interrelated goals: training students within the Vail practitioner-scholar model;
training students to provide clinical services based upon empirically-supported strategies;
training practitioner-scholars who are capable of becoming an integral part of the
interdisciplinary health care team; and, providing sufficient exposure to individually
and culturally diverse clients. The practicum site must share a basic commitment to
excellence in the training of psychologists and in the provision of psychological
services, must have the commitment to training of psychology students in empirically-supported
procedures, including cognitive behavioral interventions, and the means to work jointly
with the program in meeting these goals.
Each term of doctoral practicum is supported by a concurrent practicum seminar that
focuses in-depth on a specific theme that is related to the core competencies of health
service psychology. The practicum seminars run concurrent to each term of practicum
training, and further serve to provide didactic training and group supervision to
integrate experiences in the field with academic training with feedback. Each practicum
seminar is designed to highlight one of the professional competencies, within a planned
developmental sequence, so that concentrated learning and experience is integrated
into the student's identity as a developing psychologist.