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The Department of Psychology at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) is passionate about training.

We devote considerable time to it, we think about what skills we are aiming to develop, and we communicate both our progress and concerns to our stakeholders on a regular basis.

How much time do we spend training? Although we have never formally counted the hours that all the staff devotes to training, we can point to a number of objective indicators. One is the range of training experiences, actually four in all. These levels span the needs of doctoral students starting from their initial clinical experience with the first year summer practicum to the needs of post-doctoral fellows working with supervisors of international reputations. In addition to these progressive levels of training, we have developed distinct training organizational units that offer specialized training in one of several fields namely, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Clinical Neuropsychology, and Sex and Couple Therapy.

With respect to goals, we have always set our sights on being the finest clinical setting for training in Montreal. We attempt to achieve this by providing competent staff supervisors with dedicated time for training and teaching. These supervisors are active throughout the hospital in many diverse and exciting areas. Thus, we can provide an excellent interface between eager students and their best teachers – a diverse population of patients.

Our supervisors also represent a diversity of theoretical approaches and styles but all of them share of passion about teaching. Many staff supplement the regular supervision meetings by carefully reviewing video or audiotapes of their students’ therapy sessions. Others actually join their students in co-therapy arrangements in which the students can observe in real-time the clinical skills of a more experienced professional. In addition, all of the training programs have formal seminar series with high quality presentations. The Department, itself, maintains a growing repository of didactic aids: topical therapy books and manuals supplemented by a library of videotapes and audiotapes of clinical interest.

How do we assign students to various areas? Our training has always aspired to match the interests of the incoming students with the expertise of the staff while always keeping an eye on the future. It is useless to train young people to perform jobs that no longer exists, therefore we are focused on developing those competencies that will be best suited to future employment opportunities.

Another goal is to integrate clinical training in a seamless fashion with the students’ academic experience. We do not believe that students should abandon their critical thinking when they come to the hospital, nor should they forget relevant problems and clinical skills when they return to the university. Never should the university be ever content to farm-out clinical training to organizations with whom they have no dialogue regarding the content and success of that training. Although our ideal state of hospital-university communication is still some distance in the future, we have achieved some degree of success with the Psychology Department of McGill University whose representatives jointly plan and then evaluate the results of the summer learning experience in assessment skills. We hope to expand this two-way communication in all our levels of training.

As stated above, we offer a variety of structured experiences that attempt to integrate into the needs and stages of professional development of the doctoral student in Clinical Psychology. Thus, we offer training programs at the following levels:

The Assessment Practicum provides an intensive summer experience in the comprehensive application of assessment instruments applied to a wide variety of clinical challenges. The student will be expected to use all the information available to psychologists to help solve problems where assessment and/or measurement are relevant. The experience brings the student into contact with clients from clinics in our own Department, such as the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program or the Depression Education and Prevention Program, as well as patients referred by other professionals including the traditional referrals from the Department of Psychiatry. However, students are encouraged to broaden their understanding of assessment and to apply their skills in new areas of opportunity, including those outside the hospital environment.

The Post Practicum training program is a limited program tailored to the needs of students from Concordia, especially those seeking a Level IV Practicum placement as well as those from McGill seeking two or three supervised psychotherapy cases for Professor Binik’s clinical course. The program is designed to bridge the time gap in clinical training from the first year practicum in assessment to the later doctoral internship.

Concerning pre-doctoral internships, the Department of Psychology offers the following three programs:

Each program has its own curriculum with its own group of supervisors, seminars and training experiences that are described below in greater detail. Although we recognize the need for students to gain specialized knowledge, we are also aware that the job market might not be as flexible as our training programs. Therefore, we encourage students to apply for combined half-time internships among the four services - a route that many of our previous interns have found to be enriching. Besides increasing one’s domain of competence. it trains interns to be assertive by tactfully balancing the sometimes overly demanding service requests of multiple supervisors.

Due to financial constraints, we do not offer a full-time post-doctoral training year, however, many of our predoctoral interns have decided to spend additional training time in our Department, often extending this time past graduation. Sometimes these senior people have developed some joint economic ventures with our Department that allows them to bridge the financial gap until full-fledge employment.

Concluding Comments:

Although each placement, especially the predoctoral internships, might seem unique with strong theoretical or patient barriers defining separate territories, all the staff are dedicated supervisors who seek to develop professional psychologists who will be well-equipped to face future clinical opportunities.

Please view the programs that interest you below.

Send comments or questions to Dr. Jennifer Russell

Read Me First | Practicum | Post-practicum | Predoctoral Internships | APPIC Applicants
Postdoctoral Training | Application | français
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