2007 Outstanding Training Program Award
Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies
These graduate programs and courses are offered by the Long Island, New York campus of Hofstra University.
The Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology is designed to provide doctoral students with assessment and therapeutic skill competence along with a solid scientific foundation in order to have careers working with the wide variety of psychopathology found among the mentally ill. The program employs a scientist-practitioner model of education. Program graduates have readily found employment in a wide variety of mental health clinics, group practices, public and private agencies as well as hospitals and medical centers. Many have chosen academic paths by becoming college and university faculty members, medical school faculty, research scientists, expert consultants or editors for psychological publishers.
The clinical psychology program is based upon cognitive-behavioral theory and represents the full psychotherapeutic spectrum of this orientation. Many behavior therapy and cognitive-behavior therapy skills are taught including operant and applied behavior analysis techniques, systematic desensitization, exposure therapy techniques, cognitive therapy, rational-emotive-behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, mindfulness meditation, etc. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and role plays, students begin to gain psychotherapeutic skills. Competency is further developed through practicum in the Psychological Evaluation, Research & Counseling (PERC) clinic on campus where students receive experience and supervision in psychodiagnostic methods, in interviewing and in psychotherapy with a wide variety of patients of differing ages, backgrounds and presenting problems. Therapeutic modalities of intervention include both individual and group work and may involve a number of the specialty clinics at PERC such as the Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) Clinic, the Anxiety Disorders and Depression Clinic, the Child and Parent Psychotherapy Services (CAPPS) Clinic, Institute for the Treatment and Study of Anger and Aggression, and the Phobia & Trauma (formally the Virtual Reality) Clinic. (More detailed information on the clinics may be found from links on the general PERC page.) Students participate in externship placements so they are further exposed to a wide range of clinical, community and educational problems that will help them to be prepared to fully function and be able to offer services in a variety of clinical settings. The final clinical experience of the program is the student’s participation in a full year clinical internship where they serve as staff members.
At the same time psychotherapeutic skill competence is developed, research skills are honed through a variety of statistics and method classes leading to research projects. From the first year onward, doctoral students are encouraged to participate with the research-active faculty of the clinical program. This mentorship model frequently results with our doctoral students becoming co-presenters of research and co-authors of publications. Student attendance and participation at national and international conferences is common. Recent foreign experiences with doctoral candidates have included trips to conferences in Russia, India and Greece. The culmination of a doctoral student’s research competency is the successful written and oral defense of their dissertation project.
The Learning Experience
Over the years some 800 students have successfully completed our program and our follow-up shows that they are gainfully employed as clinical, school, counseling, health or academic psychologists in 25 different states and in a number of foreign countries.
While most of our students come from the east coast of the United States, we have had students from Arizona, California, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah, as well as from the Caribbean Islands, Greece, India, Panama, Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey. We recognize and support the importance of individual and cultural diversity in terms of age, gender, disability, ethnic group membership, religion, and sexual orientation. It makes our students aware of the wide range of normal human behavior, reducing their tendency to view unfamiliar behavior as psychopathology. Our emphasis on cross cultural issues has led to student and faculty trips to many countries such as Denmark, India, Greece, and Russia (including Siberia). Our Program has made 25 scientific and cultural trips to these countries and we have made scientific presentations in each one.
Students receive a great deal of research experience in this program. All students take a year long course in research design and complete an original project. Many of these projects are reported at various conventions, particularly at the annual meetings of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies and the American Psychological Association. Dissertations have received support from NIMH, New York State Office of Mental Health, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), Hofstra University, and other organizations. When examining our graduates, using as criteria the types of jobs obtained, the high passing rates on licensing examinations, publications of the graduates, and their reports of professional satisfaction, we find that the Hofstra model works. Continuous accreditation by APA reinforces that belief.