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Philosophy and Aims of the Program

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The Clinical Psychology training program offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree through integrated academic, scientific, and professional training. During the course of the PhD program, students also earn a Master of Science degree in Psychology. The program provides students with intensive instruction in the theoretical framework of psychology and broad experience in methods of practice in clinical psychology.

The program’s broad aim to prepare highly competent Health Service Clinical Psychologists is reflected in six training objects for our students:

  1. Prepare doctoral level Clinical Psychologists who will be innovative researchers and clinicians within the scientist-practitioner model and possess broad knowledge of the science of psychology.
  2. Prepare doctoral level Clinical Psychologists with specific knowledge of and high levels of competency in clinical assessment and intervention. Program graduates will have a sophisticated understanding of the assessment of and empirically supported clinical interventions for psychopathology.
  3. Prepare doctoral level Clinical Psychologists who have broad knowledge about behavioral science research, as well as experience planning, executing, and evaluating research. Program graduates will contribute to the dissemination of scientifically and societally important clinical research.
  4. Prepare doctoral level Clinical Psychologists who can work effectively in integrated behavioral healthcare settings as members of interprofessional health care teams.
  5. Prepare doctoral level Clinical Psychologists who are aware of and sensitive to cultural and individual differences. Program graduates will effectively apply their knowledge of a broad range of individual differences to the clinical work, their research, and in their professional relationships.
  6. Prepare doctoral level Clinical Psychologists who know, respect and adhere to the ethical standards of the profession. Program graduates will model appropriate and ethical conduct in all professional activities.

Within the context of a general clinical psychology program, the Department of Psychology offers focused training in neuropsychology, health psychology, and psychopathology. The training emphasis of the program involves a biopsychosocial approach to the understanding and treatment of abnormal behavior and an emphasis on training in evidence-based assessment and intervention.. The training tracks prepare students for success in teaching, clinical service, and research within medical, mental health, and academic settings.. Students receive training in a broad range of assessment procedures and intervention approaches, with an emphasis on empirically supported interventions. Students gain experience with a range of medical, psychiatric, and neuropsychiatric populations through clinical and research activities within the greater Chicagoland area. Our graduates are well-prepared clinicians and researchers, thanks to their solid grounding in theory, practice, and research. The training ensures the development of broad-based clinical skills and encourages close, cooperative work with other healthcare specialists in the context of interprofessional teams, such as pediatricians, internists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, geriatricians, and psychiatrists.

The clinical psychology program enjoys full accreditation status by the American Psychological Association (APA). We strive to maintain a balance between academic course work, research training, and supervised clinical practice. In designing the core curriculum, the department follows the recommendations of the Committee on Accreditation. The course curriculum includes a sequence of required courses that expose students to the current body of knowledge in the following areas:

  • Biological aspects of behavior
  • Cognitive and affective aspects of behavior
  • Social aspects of behavior
  • History and systems of psychology
  • Psychological measurement
  • Research methodology
  • Techniques of data analysis

Students in the areas of health psychology, psychopathology, and neuropsychology take additional specialty courses in these areas. A sequence of clinical practice and participation in research round out the pre-internship years.

Overview of the Program from Dr. Rachel Greenley

Dr. Rachel Greenley (Department Chair) describes the RFUMS Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. This video provides an overview of the organization and structure of the program, including: the academic sequence; specialty track training in Psychopathology, Neuropsychology, and Health Psychology; and unique aspects of the program such as an interprofessional focus and opportunities to work with diverse and underserved patient populations.

Overview of the Training from Dr. Tamara Sher

Dr. Tamara Sher (Director of Clinical Training) describes the training model of the RFUMS Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. This video provides an overview of the sequence of training over the course of the program. As students progress through the program, their academic, research, and clinical training becomes increasingly specialized. Dr. Sher also provides an overview of available clinical training settings, including Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals, academic medical centers, correctional and forensic settings, and rehabilitation hospitals.