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Clinical Psychology Program

Clinical Program Overview

The Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Washington is a Ph.D. program designed to achieve an integration of academic, scientific, and professional training. This program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association and is a founding member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science. The specific goals of the program are the following:

  1. Develop a broad foundation and understanding of the knowledge base in psychology and, more specifically, in the field of clinical psychology, as well as an understanding of current issues in the field.
  2. Create a training environment that fosters the acquisition and application of the knowledge base and skills needed to make significant research contributions, develop grant proposals, and contribute to the empirical and theoretical literatures.
  3. Produce skilled clinicians who understand and can apply empirically supported principles and techniques of assessment, intervention, and dissemination in clinical activities, supervision, consultation, and training.
  4. Promote and provide training experiences in the integration of science and practice.
  5. Foster appreciation for and knowledge of cultural and individual diversity, together with the ability to apply such knowledge in both research and practice.
  6. Provide a grounding in ethical and legal principles that relate to research and practice.

Our program develops competent and creative clinical scientists who are capable of functioning successfully in academic, research, clinical, community, and global dissemination settings. Within this multifaceted training framework, we seek to train students who are interested in research careers. Our training program is primarily an apprenticeship for a career that will encompass making significant contributions to scientific clinical psychology. The program is not appropriate for those interested solely in clinical practice and not in research.

In addition to our strong emphasis on research training, students in our program also receive excellent clinical training because we believe that in order to be a good clinical researcher, one needs to be a good clinician as well. At many levels, therefore, we seek to integrate clinical and research training. The program has its own on-campus training clinic, the Psychological Services and Training Center, and many clinical faculty offer specialized practica in their areas of expertise. For example, a practicum at our Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics offers an intensive practicum on treatment of adults and adolescents with multidiagnostic disorders comorbid with high risk of suicide. In addition, more then 40 external practicum training sites are available in the Seattle area. The quality of clinical training in the University of Washington Clinical Psychology Program is nationally recognized, and nearly all of our students are successful in obtaining either their first or second choice in the highly competitive national Predoctoral Internship Match Program.

This training program places a strong emphasis on flexibility so that students can identify and work toward their own specialized clinical and research goals while at the same time attaining the general knowledge and skill competencies required of clinical psychologists today. We have been successful in creating a learning environment that capitalizes on students' inherent motivation to learn and develop, and one in which students and faculty work closely together in collegial relationships. The program has a strong cognitive-behavioral emphasis that informs both its clinical and research activities.

The Clinical Psychology Program has a long and distinguished history, and it has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) from 1948 to the present. For information regarding the program's accreditation status you may contact The Commission on Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20002-4242. Phone number: (202) 336-5979; http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/.

The University of Washington’s doctoral program is a charter member of The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which is a coalition of doctoral training programs that share a common goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the understanding, assessment, and amelioration of human problems. Membership in the Academy indicates that the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Washington is committed to excellence in scientific training, and to using clinical science as the foundation for designing, implementing, and evaluating assessment and intervention procedures.

The Clinical Psychology Program is ranked among the top clinical psychology programs in the United States, and it has been the recipient of three prestigious awards in recent years: the Distinguished Program Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies for its success in training cognitive-behavioral clinical scientists; the Award for Innovative Practices in Graduate Education in Psychology from the American Psychological Association for its creative integration of clinical and scientific training; and the First Annual Clinic Innovation Award from the Association of Psychology Training Clinics for our development of the OwlOutcomes software platform to aid clinical decision making by routinely monitoring treatment process and outcomes on a session-by-session basis.

The Clinical Psychology Program places great value on ethnic and cultural diversity and makes available training experiences with traditionally underserved populations, including ethnic minority groups, those with developmental disabilities, and children. It has an enviable and long-standing record of training students from underrepresented groups--and nearly a quarter of our students are members of minority groups. Clinical students and faculty play a prominent role in a new departmental Specialization in Diversity Science, which provides for scholarly and research experiences in this emergent area and involves other departmental areas as well.

General Clinical and Child Clinical Tracks

The Clinical Psychology Program is a flexible apprentice-style program that allows students to gain specialty training in a variety of areas by working with faculty with whom they share interests. The breadth of training opportunities is exceptional, as the program has separate but overlapping General Clinical and Child Clinical tracks, administered by groups of faculty whose clinical and research interests focus primarily on either adult or child/adolescent populations. The two tracks overlap in terms of shared courses and faculty collaborations, and students in both tracks are encouraged to take core courses from the other track. The structure of the program thus allows for specialized training in child clinical psychology as well as a more general focus that spans the range of clinical populations. Applicants apply to either the Child track or the General track, specifying core faculty with whom they would like to work. (Please see the faculty links following the descriptions of the two tracks.)

General Clinical Track

In the general track, most of the faculty are involved in the development, empirical evaluation, and dissemination of psychological intervention and prevention programs directed at a range of clinical and non-clinical populations. Research areas represented among the general track faculty include treatment of multidiagnostic disorders having high suicide risk with Dialectical Behavior Therapy; anxiety disorders; depression; stress and stress management; alcohol and social-sexual problems; Functional Analytic Psychotherapy; and the development, evaluation, and dissemination of health psychology treatment and prevention programs in substance abuse, HIV, and other high-risk behaviors. As noted earlier, intensive practica are offered to both general and child track students in several of the treatment techniques developed by our faculty. More detail on specific interests of the General Track faculty can be found at the following General Track faculty page.

Child Clinical Track

In the early 1960s, the University of Washington played a key role in the development and establishment of clinical child psychology as an area of specialized training. Our program was one of the first to provide a specific training curriculum in clinical child psychology (See M. Perry, 1978. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 9, 677-684.) Since then, Child Clinical Psychology has been a formal track within the clinical psychology program. The child track is an apprenticeship for a career that will encompass making significant contributions to scientific clinical child psychology in academic, research, clinical, and community settings. Research areas represented in the child clinical track include early detection and treatment of autism spectrum disorder; national and international dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments for children and adolescents; familial factors realted to risk and resilience in socioemotional development; developmental psychopathology of substance abuse disorders; the role of temperament and coping resources in response to stressful life events and environments; and psychological and neurobiological processes in reactions to childhood trauma and deprivation. More detail on specific child faculty interests can be found at the following Child Track Faculty Page.

For more information on all aspects of the Program, including both the General and Child tracks, please see the Clinical Psychology Program Training Manual.

Scholarly Productivity of UW Clinical Students

The goal of the University of Washington’s clinical program is to prepare students for successful careers as clinical scientists. Accordingly, we try to create an environment that fosters scholarly productivity of the type that will be required in future activities at a major university or research center. From the time they enter the program, we mentor and encourage our students to publish in the psychological literature and to present their work at scientific and professional conferences. Much of this work represents important advances in the application of scientific principles to enhance psychological assessment, an understanding of psychological disorders and resilience, and advances in psychological treatments.

As a result of their inherent interest in scientific work and the atmosphere that supports it, our students exhibit scholarly productivity that begins in the first year and increases thereafter. As of June, 2016, the 50 students currently in our program had authored a total of 204 scientific articles and book chapters and made 362 conference presentations. Twenty-one of them have competed successfully for external grants (e.g., National Research Service Awards from the National Institute of Health or the National Science Foundation) to support their research programs. Twenty of them have received research awards from within the University. Over the past 10 years, students averaged 7 publications and 12 conference presentations upon graduation. This level of productivity, together with the excellent clinical training they receive, allows our students to compete successfully for top clinical internships, postdoctoral appointments, and for positions in academic, medical, and other research settings.

For statistics on admissions, graduation, internships and other information, please click on "Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data" link above.  For a detailed examination of all aspects of our program, please view our Training Manual.