It’s that time of the year when the Clinical PsyD students have to start thinking about planning their A & P conferences. This usually happens during the summer session, in May or June. The A & P conference is a meeting in which a faculty member, your advisor, your current field site supervisor, your field site supervisor for the following year, and a peer get together in a room and talk about you and evaluate your work. You may think that this sounds scary, but in fact it is a really wonderful experience.
Last year was my first A & P conference and I have to admit I was really nervous. However, once I got into the meeting and heard all of the nice things people had to say about me, I was really excited. It was nice to get feedback from so many people. Plus, having a friend there just made everything that much better!
The hardest thing about the A & P conference is getting everyone together. Most professors and supervisors have busy schedules, so its difficult to find a date and time that suits everyone. However, somehow everyone manages to find a time and it usually works out. Last year I even attended an A & P conference for a friend where her supervisor couldn’t be there; we did a phone conference so he could give his input.
Your advisor is usually in charge of the A & P and different advisors have different ways of doing things. Some like the A & P to be short and concise, while others like to stretch the time out. Either way, most characterize the experience as a “love fest” with some focus on “growing edges” (both terms you will hear a lot here at MSPP).
So even though the A & P can be a hassle to schedule and a bit nerve-racking, it’s an invaluable experience. There’s really not many other opportunities in life where so many people that know your work well get together to discuss it. Plus it’s great for your future supervisor to know your strengths and weaknesses. So, though you may be scared at the prospect of the A & P, just remember it’s not that bad!