Training Philosophy

This two-year full time Master’s program is designed to qualify students to provide mental health services in diverse settings, including but not limited to, community mental health centers, schools, hospitals, private practice, and managed care environments. Our clinical training philosophy emphasizes learning through doing. We believe theories of normal development and the development of psychopathology only come to life when clinicians work with real people with real life difficulties. For this reason, our students begin practicing within the first few weeks in the program. We also emphasize close relationships between faculty mentors and clinical trainees, which is facilitated by limiting each incoming cohort to 8 students. We feel that the best way to develop as a competent mental health clinician is for clinical trainees to work closely with their faculty supervisors, so that they can both understand themselves and their clients. Although we do not require it, we also strongly recommend that beginning therapists engage in their own individual therapy.

This training philosophy means that we very much value life experiences (including diverse life experiences and backgrounds) and clinical practice experiences when we evaluate applicants to the program. Since incoming students begin their clinical practice just weeks into the program, our program requires that incoming students have solid clinical practice experiences (either through volunteer or paid positions) to gain admission into the program.

We offer two different training tracks within the program

  • The Clinical Focus track represents our traditional training model, wherein students are trained to be mental health clinicians who are prepared to work in the community once they graduate.  Most students in the program will be on this clinical focus track.
  • The Clinical/Research Focus track provides clinical training as well as an additional research component. This latter option is ideal for students who want to gain clinical experience and further develop their capabilities as a researcher, either in preparation for a future Ph.D. program or to prepare to work in the area of clinical research.  Up to 2 students per year will be accepted into the clinical/research focus track. For students interested in the Clinical/Research Focus, we additionally require at least one year of research-related experience (either paid or volunteer positons).

Course Prerequisites: In addition to requiring at least one year of clinical experience, we require the following upper-division coursework to be completed (preferably before applying to the program): Statistics, Theories of Personality, and Abnormal Psychology.

Questions?  For more information on practice experience and applying to the program please see our frequently asked questions page.