Saint Louis University

Levels of Education and Training Opportunities in the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program

The Taxonomy for Health Service Specialties defines four areas of education and training opportunities within APA-accredited doctoral programs. A major area of study involves 2-3 years of didactics, supervised practicums, and the completion of the dissertation or research project in the area of specialty. An area of emphasis is defined as involving at least 4 courses and 2 practicum experiences in the specialty. An area of experience involves at least 1-2 courses and practicums in the area of specialty. An area of exposure involves at least 1-2 courses in the specialty.

Our program's major area of study is that of clinical psychology. Although there are no formal areas of pre-doctoral specialization in our clinical psychology graduate training program, students may elect one of the following education and training opportunities: Clinical Neuropsychology, Clinical Child Psychology, Health Psychology, Trauma Psychology, and Sports Psychology. Students interested in pursuing one of these areas should work with their advisor to establish an individualized curriculum and training plan.

Area of Emphasis, Experience, or Exposure

Clinical Neuropsychology
Elective graduate courses for students interested in the field of clinical neuropsychology include Fundamentals of Neuropsychology, Neuropsychological Assessment, Memory and Cognition, Physiological Psychology, and Psychopharmacology. Supervised clinical experience in neuropsychological assessment, consultation, and treatment is offered through the Psychological Services Center and various external placements. Faculty research in clinical neuropsychology focuses on cognitive changes associated with neurodegenerative disease, mild head injury, and healthy aging, along with developmental populations such as ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Faculty research also focuses on enhancing the evidence-based practice of clinical neuropsychology, including the examination of response bias and effort.

Areas of Experience or Exposure

Clinical Child Psychology
Elective graduate courses for students interested in clinical child psychology include Child Assessment and Psychopathology, Child Interventions, Couples and Family Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Interventions, and Psychopharmacology. External placements involving pediatric, child and adolescent assessment, consultation, and intervention are also available. Faculty research in clinical child psychology includes community psychology and primary prevention, religion and mental health, family conflict and adjustment, family violence, children of battered women, treatment of physical and/or sexual abuse, parent training, parent attitudes, and graduate training in clinical child psychology.

Health Psychology
Elective graduate courses for students interested in health psychology should consider taking courses in the following areas as they are available: Clinical Health Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Interventions, Psychopharmacology, Addictions: Assessment and Interventions, and Sports Psychology. Additional courses related to health psychology are offered in SLU's School of Public Health. External placements in the application of psychological services to enhance physical well-being and health are available. Faculty research in health psychology include pain and rehabilitation, sports psychology (including performance enhancement, player assessment, coping with athletic injuries), exercise adherence, eating disorders, obesity, health behavior change, depression, anxiety disorders, addictions, and interventions for health behavior change (including motivational interviewing, contingency management, and cognitive behavioral interventions).

Trauma Psychology
Students interested in working in the field of traumatic stress are offered elective graduate coursework in the Psychology of Trauma, Cognitive Behavioral Interventions, and Addictions: Assessment and Interventions. Additional courses related to traumatic stress can be found in SLUs School of Public Health. Supervised clinical training experiences with individuals who have experienced potentially traumatic events can be found within the Psychological Services Center on a trauma-focused clinical vertical team. On this team trainees will be guided by the New Haven Trauma Competencies guidelines for clinical interventions and will receive exposure and experience with empirically supported therapies for posttraumatic stress and other trauma spectrum disorders. These therapies include Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE). Faculty research in traumatic stress studies include the examination of factors associated with the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the impact of potentially traumatic events (especially family violence and sexual assault) and PTSD on health and health behaviors, the psychological impact of violence-related injury, and the association between the experience of potentially traumatic events and health disparities.

Sports Psychology
For students interested in sports and performance psychology, elective courses in Sports Psychology, Health Psychology and Cognitive Behavioral Interventions are available. Additionally, both research and practicum opportunities are available through the Sports Psychological Sciences and Consultation Lab (SPSC). The SPSC provides comprehensive sports psychological services to the SLU Department of Athletics, as well as to athletes and teams throughout the St. Louis community. Supervised clinical training opportunities include: (1) psychotherapy with student-athletes through the University Counseling Center, (2) performance enhancement interventions with individual athletes and teams, (3) biofeedback training, (4) sport-focused assessments, and (5) interdisciplinary consultation with coaches, trainers, medical staff, and athletics administration. Applied sport psychology research opportunities are also available including examination of flow states, motivation, self-focused attention and other dispositional and situational factors affecting athlete performance as well as effectiveness research, particularly with mindfulness-based interventions and biofeedback training.

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