Field Placement Sequence
The first-year practicum introduces students to the role of clinician and provides a learning laboratory for professional ethics, treatment modalities, and psychodiagnosis. First-year students participate in practica exclusively offered and run by the Wright Institute, such as the Wright Institute School-Based Collaborative, the Wright Institute Recovery Services, the Solano County Jail Counseling Program, and others. The Wright Institute also works very closely with a small number of select agencies that provide training for first-year students, ensuring that each entering student is assigned a placement suitable to the training needs and clinical interests of doctoral clinical psychology students.
Each student meets weekly with an assigned clinician for individual supervision and also receives group supervision. In conjunction with the first-year Case Conference leader, the supervisors are able to support each student in developing their ability to assess clinical problems, formulate treatment plans, and apply interventions within a theoretical and empirical framework.
Students are given increasingly sophisticated placements in each subsequent year. In the second year, students learn to present case material in written and oral forms, reflecting a high degree of professionalism, sociocultural sensitivity, and theoretical complexity. Many excellent options are available for second-year training, including the Wright Institute Clinic, the Berkeley Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy Clinic, the Integrated Health Psychology Training Program, veteran centers, crisis intervention programs, and other community-based service agencies.
The third-year practicum enables students to advance their clinical skills, psychological testing and assessment capabilities. As mentioned above, third-year placements comprise an impressive list of the best service/training opportunities available in the region, including RAMS, Inc., UC Davis Counseling Center, Marin Community Mental Health, VA Martinez, VA San Francisco, Children's Hospital, Oakland, and other highly regarded sites.
Following three years of required practicum-level field placement training, students apply for APA-accredited internships offered through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). These prestigious internships provide excellent training and represent the highest degree of pre-doctoral achievement.
The vast majority of students complete their field training in the fifth year although with meticulous planning and determination to complete the dissertation proposal early, it is possible to complete the internship during the fourth year. Students are required to propose their dissertation before being permitted to apply for internship. Completing the dissertation before embarking on the internship places students in the best position to receive offers for post-doctoral training and fellowships. Students usually complete their dissertations during the fourth year and my take additional academic electives and/or gain additional part-time clinical experience (for example, the Wright Institute Assessment Service) as a means of strengthening their internship applications. Although not required as part of the training, students commonly arrange a fourth-year supplemental practicum. This practicum can be a low-hour, supervised experience that fills a gap in clinical training or strengthens particular skills, adding to one's curriculum vitae toward an internship application or career goal. Wright Institute students are very competitive for APA internships because of their three years of practica training and the reputation of our program and students. Our students who apply exclusively to APA internships are matching at the national rate.
Wright Institute Internships
Working closely with our internal placements and affiliated training agencies, the Wright Institute also provides internship training. Currently, we offer eight internship placements and plan to expand that number to 16-20 in the next three to four years, advancing the Wright Institute's match rate and maintaining our commitment to the highest quality training experiences.
Throughout the field training sequence, students meet with Field Placement Office advisors to discuss their training options. Due to the wide variety of available clinical activities, students are counseled in balancing their personal interests and broader training needs. The Wright Institute's legacy of social responsibility and socially relevant training provides a valuable professional asset for students applying for training positions or future jobs.
The Field Placement Office
Please see "Support Services" for additional information about the Field Placement Office and the Mentoring Program.