You’ve worked long and hard and put huge amounts of energy into your chosen profession, and now you’re entering your postgraduate year.
As you look for a great site that will utilize your skill-set, it’s also important to have a plan for making the most of this final year of training. In this article, I will share some of the things that I wish I had known prior to beginning my postgraduate year.
Behind every great applicant there are two main things: the paper and the person. The paper consists of the CV you’ve fine-tuned, the cover letters you’ve toiled over, the essays you’ve edited and re-edited, and anything else that a reviewer is receiving by e-mail or snail mail. You get a lot of time to perfect your materials and you wait for that exciting moment when you receive the invitation to interview.
In 1959, a Volvo engineer named Nils Bohlin saved a million lives with a single idea. Back then, cars used a two-point seat belt, which only crossed over the lap. This was better than nothing, but many passengers were still injured or killed during car accidents. Nils realized that by adding a third point to the belt which crossed the shoulder, he could dramatically improve passenger safety. This new idea became standard in the automobile industry, and in the 60 years since his invention saved well over a million lives and prevented countless injuries. All it took was moving from one strap to two. This same idea – the power of one to two – can be applied to your financial life as an early career professional. The Power of Multiple Revenue Streams Understandably, during your training you were probably more focused on moving from zero to one. Getting your first job as a professional and finally earning a paycheck is a huge moment, and worth celebrating. But just as a single strap leaves you vulnerable in a collision, a single paycheck may not be enough to provide financial security. Unemployment or unexpected expenses can happen even to the most qualified professional, and multiple income streams provide strong protection against dire financial straits. Plus, you have bigger... Continue Reading
Psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals have so much to offer the world through public speaking. However, many of us fear and avoid the stage, and so our impact on the world is limited to the therapy office. This Time2Track guest post is an excerpt from Dr. Kyler Shumway’s latest book, Get Psyched: The Therapist’s Guide to the Art and Business of Public Speaking, written to help psychologists, mental health professionals, and students share psychology from the stage. To learn more, go to KylerShumway.com/books. Sweat oozed through my suit jacket as I nervously picked my fingernails to the point of bleeding. What am I doing right now? Why did I say “yes” to this? Stupid, stupid Kyler! An audience of women and mothers had filled the church gymnasium the point of standing-room-only. The Salem, Oregon chapter of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) gathered from far and wide to hear the wisdom of my supervisor – a licensed clinical psychologist and expert on perinatal issues – to speak about women’s mental health. Instead, they got me. My supervisor fell ill to strep throat the day before, and so I was assigned a fate worse than death. I had 24 hours to prepare a 90-minute talk. On women’s issues. To a group of mothers. As a man, with no children of my own. This... Continue Reading
If you are currently an intern or you recently completed your internship, you are most likely frantically looking for postdoctoral opportunities. As you begin to look at various opportunities, it may be of great benefit to consider applying to a postdoctoral residency with the United States Army. Training Locations The US Army offers four APPIC postdoctoral sites across the country: Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas, Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) in Honolulu, Hawaii, Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC) in Seattle, Wash., and Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC) in Fayetteville, N.C. All postdoctoral residency training sites are dual-focused, aimed at developing strong generalist clinical psychologists as well competent U.S. Army officers and leaders. Each site offers slightly different clinical and leadership opportunities. Training Opportunities Texas BAMC residents participate in four individual three-month rotations: an administrative rotation, advanced military assessment, an external military rotation also known as the Embedded Behavioral Health (EBH) rotation, and a choice of an elective rotation (e.g., neuropsychology, health psychology, child and family, intensive outpatient clinic, inpatient, primary care, etc.). Residents will also participate... Continue Reading
The road to licensure requires what seems like endless years of studying and supervised clinical work, including passing state licensure examinations. But once achieved, you realize that the rigorous training you succumbed to in order to attain this milestone is completely worth it. However, why should you stop there? That question may give the impression that I am unreasonable and maybe even ridiculous, but we all know that to practice psychology, the key requirement is to meet your state’s education and licensure prerequisites and it does not require any type of board or specialty certification. However, with the evolving nature of health care and the demands of the nation’s mounting mental health challenges, it is a question that every licensed clinician needs to ask themselves. It is a question that I asked myself because after licensure, as a professional counselor, I knew that I needed to evolve as a clinician in order to always provide my patients with the best possible care and treatment through learning new, specialized skills. I recognized that having verification of a requisite amount of knowledge in a specialty area was a great way to advance my professional development, improve my marketability and broaden my career options as a clinical mental health professional.... Continue Reading
We are often bombarded with statements like, “Keep striving!” and “Never settle.” These seemingly motivational statements keep us on a path of determination that keeps us moving towards our goal. Or do they?
What if I were to tell you the key to grad school is not to “never settle” but rather to settle momentarily, until your next endeavor? That’s what I experienced, and that is where I think the magic happened.
I took 10 years to complete my doctoral program, and had two children in the meantime. By the time I was finishing my internship, most of my matriculating cohort had passed their licensure exams and were starting their careers. I had a sense of urgency come over me every day. I started looking at post-docs before I had finished my internship. I started thinking about opening my own practice before I landed a post-doc.
You did it! You finished all of your graduate school course work, defended your dissertation, completed your internship and now you are ready for the next step—a postdoctoral residency or fellowship (most commonly known as a “postdoc”).
After all your hard work, you only have one more obstacle to overcome and you’re on the road to licensure. Whether you have decided to complete a formal postdoctoral residency or to informally collect your postdoctoral hours for licensure, there are several factors to consider during your postdoc year. Not all paths to licensure are the same, and different approaches can ultimately get you to the same goal. However, there are some generally consistent guidelines regarding what the next steps look like.
A few years ago, my best friend (unintentionally) made me feel a bit anxious. We were talking about interpersonal psychology, social skills, and the key to a healthy friendship, when he turned to me and said, “You know too much about this to just keep it to yourself. You should write a book.”
Who, me? No way.
I’m a small potatoes farm boy, and I grew up in a town where it was a major feat to graduate high school, let alone college. Despite the fact that I was in a doctoral program, the idea of adding my name to the shelf felt too far from my core identity. Books were written by inspiring, knowledgeable, and wise people — not people like me.
And yet, my friend’s words stuck with me.
In the fall of 2018, I finally did it. I published my first book.
If you are thinking about postdoctoral positions, you have likely survived graduate school, the internship match, a doctoral dissertation defense, and are close to being able to tack “Dr.” to the beginning of your name for the rest of your life. Congratulations!
After the relief of securing internship training, it may come as a surprise when your internship supervisors encourage you to think about postdoc fellowships in just the first weeks of internship. Regardless of career goals, most clinical psychology students end up pursuing postdoc training. Postdoc training is required for licensure in most US states, and also required for American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) certification.