I had just returned from a 3-week respite in Spain, and I was riding the post-vacation emotional high.
The quaint cobblestone streets of Seville left me with feelings of joy and amusement; the romantic plazas of Madrid left me with love; the vast beaches of Barcelona left me with serenity and awe; and the seafood paella in each of these cities left me with each of the top 10 positive emotions (mostly gratitude).
I was rejuvenated, and I was eager to dive back into work.
My first day back to work was at a new therapy rotation. For the first time, I was scheduled for five consecutive 1-hour sessions (my previous maximum was two consecutive sessions). New schedule, new clients, new office – a perfect reset after vacation.
But by the time my fifth client left my office, I was feeling sheer exhaustion. I felt like someone siphoned every drop of energy out of me. I ended up napping for an hour on my therapy couch (indeed, therapy couches are a real thing) before driving home. I chalked it up to jet lag.
In reflecting upon how graduate students in psychology and related disciplines may begin to view logging clinical hours as a more meaningful endeavor, I explore the features of an effective practicum or internship plan.
The post is written based on the big idea that the development of a student’s professional skills should be treated as an integrated process, not a series of isolated activities.
I went to graduate school in a large city, and I was lucky to have over a dozen hospital sites to apply to once I knew I wanted inpatient experience. The problem was that I didn’t realize how much variation existed within the world of hospital training.
Knowing what kind of hospital you’re applying to will help you focus your cover letters, know what you’re walking into on interviews, and pick the site that best fits with the experiences you want.
Multicultural supervision requires a unique skill set, and there are important factors that supervisors and training sites should take into consideration when working with trainees of color. Many trainees of color in mental health fields find themselves being the only one that looks like them in primarily white spaces.
In reading these four suggested points, I hope that existing supervisors, early career therapists, and trainees who wish to one day supervise will take note. The face of our field is forever changing, and it is time that we consider factors that can promote the success and well-being of all future clinicians.
I have made it no secret that I do not want to pursue a career as a clinician. It’s not that I dislike therapy; it’s that I have a pie chart dilemma. The only steadfast rule of pie charts is that there is a finite amount of space. A bigger slice in one area means a smaller slice in another.
Students learn from their early graduate school days that they cannot be good at everything, and that they ought to pick a path—in clinical psychology, this choice is typically between clinician and researcher. I have chosen the latter.
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.
Now it’s time for the person to shine.
Doctoral students have the enormous task of balancing clinical work, research, teaching and coursework; all while ensuring they have enough clinical hours to be competitive for the process of applying for internship. If your clinical placement is not getting you the hours you need, it can add unneeded stress. Here are some tips for each stage of the process to help you advocate for your training needs successfully.