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Psychology | Clinical PhD Program: Clinical Training

Practicum Training

In the Clinical Psychology Program, the first 3 years of practicum training are taught in-house, by core faculty and one associated faculty member. The practica are sequential and graded in complexity. 

The first year practicum is an experiential, relationship building, skill oriented practicum. The second year, taught by an associated faculty member, is an object-relations practicum where students build on the interviewing skills of the first year practicum and consider, in addition, historical and contextual issues related to client symptomatology and treatment. The third year practicum is a Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) practicum, where students build on their skills from years one and two and integrate them with CBT. The first two practica are housed in the AU Counseling Center; the CBT practicum is housed in the James J. Gray Psychotherapy Clinic in the Department of Psychology. 

Theoretical and empirical literature is integrated into each practicum experience in the context of readings and discussion. Each year-long practicum meets as a 3 credit/semester course, where students meet as a class for 2 ½ hours per week and receive additional individual and/or dyadic supervision. 

Externship Training

As a current requirement, students must complete an external externship (approximately 16 hours per week), typically during their fourth year. Students are encouraged to choose sites that match their focused research and clinical interests and typically participate in externships that utilize the Washington Area Externship Consortium. Following is a list of selected sites where students have completed externships in recent years:

  • American University Counseling Center
  • Arlington County Mental Health Center
  • Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington
  • Catholic University of America Counseling Center
  • Children’s National Medical Center (Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic; Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders; Child and Adolescent Anxiety Clinic; Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems Clinic; Pediatric Neuropsychology, etc.)
  • DC Superior Court Child Guidance Clinic
  • George Mason University Counseling Center
  • Georgetown University Counseling Center
  • US Naval Academy Midshipmen Development Center
  • Wake Kendall Group
  • Washington, DC, VA Medical Center (Substance Abuse Recovery Program; Primary Care Behavioral Health Clinic; etc.)

Internship Training

Clinical program students are required to serve a one year internship prior to the completion of the PhD The internship provides training in a range of psychological assessment and intervention activities conducted directly with recipients of psychological services. At least 25% of the trainee’s time is in face-to-face psychological services to patients/clients. The internship must also provide at least two hours per week in didactic activities such as case conferences, seminars, in service training, or grand rounds.

The internship experience must be completed in at least one year full time or two years half time.

Students are strongly encouraged to serve internships accredited by the American Psychological Association or Canadian Psychological Association. Following is a list of selected sites where students have matched and completed internships in recent years:

  • American University Counseling Center
  • Bellevue Hospital Center, New York University Langone Medical Center
  • Brown University Medical Center
  • Catholic University of America Counseling Center
  • Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry
  • Hudson River Psychology Internship Program at Rockland Psychiatric Center
  • Nassau University Medical Center
  • New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center
  • Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Hospital
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison University Health Services
  • Washington DC VA Medical Center
  • Yale University Child Study Center

The Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCUP) has listed Expectations for Internship Eligibility, created in 2011.


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