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Psychology Training

Psychology Training

Training Model

The UTMB Psychology Training Program has a scientist practitioner model with a focus on profession wide competencies, thus it involves both research and clinical experiences. The following descriptions are applied to psychology training which is currently available at UTMB.

"The scientist-practitioner model produces a psychologist who is uniquely educated and trained to generate and integrate scientific and professional knowledge, attitudes, and skills so as to further psychological science, the professional practice of psychology, and human welfare. The graduate of this training model is capable of functioning as an investigator and as a practitioner, and may function as either or both, consistent with the highest standards in psychology. The scientist-practitioner model is ideal for psychologists who utilize scientific methods in the conduct of professional practice." (National Conference on the Education and Training of Scientist-Practitioners for the Professional Practice of Psychology)

Training, through clinical experience and learning didactics, is designed to develop practice competencies and expertise and build on a model where psychological practice is based on the science of psychology which in turn is influenced by the professional practice of psychology. Supervision is provided by licensed psychologists who carry professional practice responsibility for the cases being supervised. Competency is expected of the psychology trainee and are measured through sequential evaluation opportunities. Minimal competencies are expected of the psychology trainee through periodic (3) formal evaluations that include direct observation and self-report that evaluates the depth and focus, to ensure technical and professional expertise. Minimal competency skills are expected and the training program is designed to have a graduated complexity throughout the program as the psychology trainee obtains expected competency in the practice of clinical health psychology.

The psychology trainees will participate in advanced skill building in at least four additional hours per week from the following: interdisciplinary case conferences that specifically involve the case load of the trainee; departmental, campus, and teleconference seminars dealing with clinical or research issues; co-therapy with a staff person that includes discussion/supervision of the advanced skills expected in clinical health psychology; teaching; group supervision; and/or additional individual supervision as needed to develop the skills in the practice of clinical health psychology. The psychology trainee will spend a minimum of 50% of their time in direct psychological services care and will receive on-going feedback that addresses clinical competencies expected in the practice of clinical health psychology. These competencies have been integrated into the competencies evaluation form used at UTMB. The UTMB psychology trainees primary training method is supervised service delivery in direct contact with patients. Trainees are expected to demonstrate an advanced level of professional psychological competencies as measured by the UTMB Competencies Evaluation Assessment with a minimal skill rating of "3" or higher by the end of the year. These competencies relate to skills, abilities, proficiencies, and knowledge in the following content areas: theories and effective methods of psychological assessment, diagnosis and intervention; program development and evaluation that includes theory or practice of supervision and teaching; strategies of scholarly inquiry met through didactics and research projects; understanding of interdisciplinary administrative issues in psychology that requires efficient service delivery, practice, training, and research; professional, legal, and ethical conduct; and valuing cultural and individual differences in the practice of psychology throughout all of the above.

Clinical Health Psychology Clinical Rotations

Transitional Learning Center (Acquired Brain Injury), Anesthesiology Pain Service, Shriners Burns Hospital, Orthopedic Spine Service, and Transplant Surgery

Clinical Opportunities with the Clinical Health Psychology includes working with patients in the Anesthesiology Pain Clinic which has a focus on patients with chronic medical conditions that also have a significant pain component. Patients receive medical interventions and pain medications in conjunction with psychological therapy in a multidisciplinary clinic with a focus on rehabilitation. A number of physicians and clinics refer to this clinic primarily the Anesthesiologists for assistance in pain control via relaxation training, hypnosis and biofeedback and cognitive behavioral treatment. A major task includes evaluation for surgical procedures. Patients are also referred from UTMB Family Practice regarding pain and sexual functioning. Patients are evaluated by physicians to determine organic etiology in combination with the effects on quality of life and sexual functioning being addressed by psychology. The Orthopedic Spine Service offers services to patients with chronic low back pain. The Transplant Surgery (Liver, kidney, and Pancreatic cells) provides psychological evaluations of potential transplant patients to assess for suitability, quality of life, and psychological overlay. Clinical supervision is provided by Jeff Baker, PhD, ABPP.

Research Opportunities within Clinical Health Track

Clinical Health Psychology Research Focus

Postdoctoral fellows may participate in research regarding patients with a significant component of pain and/or quality of life. There are a number of on-going research projects and the psychology trainee is expected to be involved in ongoing research that is expected to lead to publication and/or grant funding. Research in clinical health psychology is combined with the clinical experiences in the above mentioned clinics. The ratio of clinical to research is expected to be 50% of each depending on the research faculty’s need.

Shriners Burns Hospital Track

Shriners Burns Hospital has a Clinical Health focus on children, adolescents, and families with a focus on working with children who have severe burns. Specialty training in research and patient care are provided in pain management, rehabilitation and quality of life. The Shriners Burns Hospital is 50% clinical and 50% research.