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Learning begins at the limit of what we know. Our ignorance is a challenge and a great resource, holding the potential for discovery.
It has been said that it takes at least 10 years to develop into a mature psychotherapist. This growth is not a linear process of simply acquiring skills and an increased efficiency in using these skills. It is a journey that often begins in pain and difficulty, whose curriculum is personal growth, and whose learning curve is analogous to the learning curve of life. It is bound up with one’s creativity and insecurities, facing painful aspects of oneself, coming to terms with hopes, vulnerabilities, and disappointments knowing the dark side of one’s personality as well as the light, and accepting the person who you are.
Training of clinical psychologists
Doctorate (Ph.D. and Psy.D.) programs typically involve some variation on the following five to seven year 90-120 unit curriculums:
- Bases of behavior-biological, cognitive-affective, and cultural-social
- Individual differences-personality, life-span development, psychopathology
- History and systems—development of psychological theories, practices, and scientific knowledge
- Clinical practice—diagnostics, psychological assessment, psychotherapeutic interventions, psychopharmacology, ethical and legal issues
- Coursework in Statistics and Research Design
- Clinical experience
- Practicum—typically three or four years working with patients under supervision in a clinical setting. Most practicum placements begin in either the first or second year of doctoral training.
- Doctoral Internship—typically an intensive one or two year placement in a clinical setting
- Dissertation—Ph.D. programs usually require original quantitative empirical research, while Psy.D. Dissertations involve original quantitative or qualitative research, theoretical scholarship, program evaluation or development, critical literature analysis, or clinical application or analysis. The dissertation typically takes 2-3 years to complete.
- Specialized electives—many programs offer sets of elective courses for specializations, such as health, child, family, community, or neuropsychology
- Personal psychotherapy—many programs require students to undertake a certain number of hours of personal psychotherapy(with non-faculty therapist) although in recent years this requirement has become less frequent
- Comprehensive Exams and/or Master’s Thesis: A thesis can invole original data collection and is distinct from a dissertation