Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
Components of Clinical Training
Training in clinical skills involves three major components. First, the psychological assessment component includes training in a wide variety of psychological tests and assessment instruments. Courses are selected from the following areas: intellectual and cognitive assessment, personality assessment, and assessment of psychopathology using standardized self report, interview-based, and other methods, child/adolescent assessment using a multi-method approach, and neuropsychological assessment.
The second component involves seminars in psychological intervention focusing on the theoretical and scientific basis of psychotherapy. This sequence begins with an introductory course in clinical interviewing and psychotherapy. Advanced seminars include options of cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, and behavioral medicine. One goal of these courses is to examine issues relevant to the integration of psychotherapy research and clinical practice. Students are also required to take a multi-cultural course. Options include a course focusing on ethnic minority issues and community interventions. There are a number of clinically relevant elective courses available, in addition to the required curriculum.
The third major component of the clinical practice training involves a sequence of on-site clinical practica (which take place in our Psychology Clinic). The first practicum is part of the introductory clinical interviewing/psychotherapy course and includes training in basic aspects of clinical interviewing, such as establishing and maintaining a clinical relationship, as well as basic elements of empirically-supported interventions (with a particular emphasis on behavioral and cognitive approaches). The second practicum focuses on the clinical assessment and psychotherapy of adults, and a third practicum focuses on clinical assessment and treatment of children/adolescents and families. After these three practica, students continue taking advanced practica for an additional 4 semesters. Although these advanced practica involve further learning and consolidation of basic skills, they also involve developing more advanced skills, such as working with complex or comorbid cases, cases with organic or medical problems complicating treatment, couples therapy and group treatment approaches, and psychological, neuropsychological, and behavioral assessment. In general, the clinical practicum training seeks to develop a balance of intervention skills involving both standardized, manual-based protocols and individualized treatment planning. Weekly group and individual supervision often include reviews of videotaped assessment and therapy sessions. Practica are taught by the core clinical faculty, thereby facilitating the integration of scientist/practitioner training.
All on-site practica involve seeing clients in the Psychology Clinic, located in a wing of the Psychology Building. It is one of the largest sliding-scale fee agencies for delivery of mental/behavioral health services in west Texas. Approximately 30% of the clients seen at the Clinic are Texas Tech students or employees, the remainder are community referrals. Thus, students are exposed to clients ranging from young children to adults, including a wide range of psychopathology such as anxiety and mood disorders, personality disorders, developmental disabilities, adjustment disorders, and juvenile delinquency. In addition to providing an excellent setting for training in assessment and psychological intervention, practicum training in the Clinic helps students gain experience in other aspects of professional functioning. For example, students learn to effectively interface with other health and mental health providers, including those from community agencies, private practice, and agencies affiliated with the University (e.g., the student health and student counseling centers). The Clinic facility includes 11 therapy rooms, two family/group therapy rooms, a child play therapy room, and three testing rooms as well as a waiting area, receptionist office, and staff/therapist area. Most of the therapy rooms are equipped for video recording.
In addition to the formal clinical training which is part of the doctoral program, many students take advantage of a number of additional opportunities for clinical training and further clinical experience both within the Department of Psychological Sciences and at sites affiliated with the department. Within-department opportunities include working as a co-director in the Psychology Clinic, and doing assessment interviewing, psychological or neuropsychological assessment, or psychotherapy in clinical research studies conducted by faculty or graduate students. Opportunities for further clinical training and experience at affiliated sites include paid positions in various departments at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, work within the Lubbock and surrounding area school districts, work at assessment and treatment units of a detention or correctional facilities, and work with local clinical practitioners. All of these sites are closely linked to our program to ensure proper supervision and coordination with the student’s doctoral training. Some of the regular opportunities for clinical training and experience include:
Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) of the South Plains, Inc.: Students can participate in therapy and assessment practica. The clientele served at the CAC are sexually abused children from the Lubbock region. Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an evidence-based treatment for sexually abused children, is taught to students and utilized with children and their non-offending parents. Students also will receive experience in group and family therapy. Students receive weekly supervision.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Department of Neuropsychiatry: Students receive training and supervision in neuropsychological assessments.
Counseling Center, Texas Tech University: This APA accredited internship training site also offers practicum training in psychological and intellectual/cognitive assessment, counseling, and psychotherapy under the supervision of licensed psychologists.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (TTU PCIT Clinic): PCIT is an evidence-based intervention for families with young children (ages 2-7) with socially disruptive behavior problems (e.g., noncompliance, physical aggression, etc). In addition to conducting PCIT, students gain experience in conducting school and home observations.
Southwest Cancer Center, University Medical Center: Training at this multidisciplinary cancer center includes a range of psychological services offered to oncology patients, survivors, and their families. Includes training in end-of-life issues.
Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Units, University Medical Center: Training and supervision in a variety of psychological services offered within the Pediatric Intensive Care and the Neonatal Intensive Care Units in University Medical Center, the teaching hospital affiliated with the TTU Health Sciences Center.
Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center: Training in a range of psychological services offered in consultation to patients coming to the Outpatient Clinics as requested by resident physicians in training within the Department of Internal Medicine.
Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic: Assessment for personality and neuropsychological functioning, report writing, psychotherapy for mood and anxiety disorders, specialized PTSD services, suicide prevention.
Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Clinic: Supervised work with children who have experienced adverse or traumatic experiences of many kinds (including abuse). Trainees provide assessment (clinical intake) and psychotherapy to children and their parents with an emphasis on the use of evidence-based assessments and treatments.
StarCare-Practicum in Developmental Disabilities (Formerly State of Texas, Mental Health and Mental Retardation): Assessment of intelligence, cognitive and adaptive behavior functioning, scoring and write up of test data related to Determination of Mental Retardation, feedback to clients and agencies.
Lubbock-Crosby County Community Supervision and Corrections Department: Training in substance abuse and other counseling, risk/needs assessments as requested by staff or for legal reasons, and crisis intervention services.
Rehabilitation/Health Psychology: Training in health and rehabilitation psychology as part of an interdisciplinary team is provided through a licensed psychologist practicing in the Lubbock community and includes clinical interviewing; administration, scoring, and report writing of neuropsychological and psychological tests; and consultation to medical inpatient units.
Clinical Experience with Private Practitioners: A number of clinical psychologists in Lubbock employ clinical graduate students to assist in psychological and neuropsychological testing and assessment, including consultation to local hospitals.
Texas Tech University Athletics: Graduate students perform optimal performance screenings, provide individual and group therapy and counseling to student athletes, and work with multidisciplinary training and medical staff. Training may also include LD/ADHD and personality assessments.