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Clinical Child Psychology Program

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Clinical Child Psychology Graduate Program

The Clinical Child Psychology Training Program leading to the doctoral degree is affiliated with the Departments of Applied Behavioral Science and Psychology. It is accredited by the American Psychological Association in recognition of the broad and general traditions of clinical psychology with an emphasis on children. It uses the resources of both departments and includes a core faculty with specialty interests in clinical child and pediatric psychology.

Doctoral training develops scientist-practitioners capable of conducting research and interventions for a variety of human problems, particularly those involving children and families. Such work requires understanding, prevention, and treatment of mental and physical health problems from a psychological perspective. The program emphasizes acquisition of general knowledge and skills in the behavioral, social, cognitive, and biological bases of psychology and thorough knowledge of research methodology and statistical analyses. A particular strength is the developmental perspective. In clinical training, students take courses in assessment and intervention, child psychopathology, behavioral and family therapy, and ethical/legal issues. Special consideration is given to ethnic and cultural diversity, prevention, public sector and social interventions, and professional issues.

Didactic and practical experiences prepare graduates for the many roles open to clinical child psychologists. Graduates can take positions in research/teaching in universities, medical schools, and internship sites and direct service delivery in mental health centers, hospitals, and schools.

This program implements the recommendations of the national conferences on training and follows an articulated model of training in a comprehensive, integrated format. Course work and research/clinical experiences provide the bases in development, psychopathology, assessment and diagnosis, and intervention in mental health work with children, adolescents, and families.

Students can complete course work, practica, and research requirements for the doctorate in 4 years of full-time study followed by a required 1-year predoctoral internship at an approved site, although some take longer. Students are expected to, and indeed want to, participate maximally in research and clinical experiences. A master’s thesis, qualifying examination, and doctoral dissertation are formal milestones of progress in addition to regular evaluation in courses, practica, and yearly faculty review.

All students are assigned to a faculty member for academic advising. For research and clinical practicum, faculty members and students are actively involved in community settings including the Bert Nash Mental Health Center, the Lawrence School District, KU Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital, and other agencies.

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