Halfway Through- A Review of the First Half of the Semester

The semester is already half over! I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my observations about MSPP’s Clinical Psy.D program up until this point.

I have to admit I didn’t really know what I was getting in to when I was accepted into MSPP. I had researched Psy.D programs, but I still wasn’t quite sure on what the process of earning a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology actually entailed. I wasn’t even clear on the differences between a LICSW, a Psy.D, and a Ph.D. I may not have much first-hand information about the other two programs, but it can go without saying that I now have a lot more information about what it means to work towards a Psy.D.

Here are some of my observations during my first few weeks at MSPP:

1. We Have a Strong Support System

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If you can relate to the above comic, it’s a good chance you aren’t a student at MSPP. I have found staff to be super supportive since day one. If I have a problem, there are multiple people I can reach out to. My advisor, as well as other staff and supervisors, have been excellent about addressing any of my concerns.

The fellow students are also supportive, making for a nice change of pace from undergrad. I’ve always felt as if I fall in to the ‘non-traditional student’ category. For probably the first time, I feel as if I blend in. Professors are very understanding about the pressures of graduate school, and accommodate for school work scheduling conflicts when possible.

2. We Have an Extensive Amount of Supervision

This is going off the above point. I didn’t realize how much supervision that I would be receiving at MSPP. I have:

  1. a site supervisor
  2. an off-site supervisor
  3. a seminar group of peers led by another supervisor
  4. a 4th year student supervisor

I thought the amount of supervision would be overwhelming. Once I understood everybody’s role in my education, however, I realized I was wrong. If at any time I feel uncertain about something at my work site, I can reach out to any one of these four supervisors. If I feel I need another point of view I can get a second, third and fourth opinion. Help is only an email or phone call away, and reaching out is encouraged.

3. We are All Working with Clients20080611

As previously mentioned I was unsure of what to expect coming in. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was to be working with clients so quickly. For me, my work site began the week after the semester began, and I was involved in working with clients shortly thereafter. I think that MSPP’s ability to do this stems from:

  1. Layers of supervision that is worked in to the program, and
  2. A selective admissions process to ensure that incoming students are appropriate for a Clinical Psy.D Program

Clients range from public or private schools to hospitals or shelters, and most anything in between.

4. We Dive Right In

In addition to working with clients, I have also administered two IQ tests and will be administering an additional IQ test in about a month. Although the tests were not official (they were done to build experience) I did not think that I would be taking a hands-on approach to learning after only a month at MSPP. To have an applied approach to psychology combined with reading material is much different from my undergraduate program, and I appreciate the real-life experience.

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     I try not to set expectations on new experiences. But, I suppose I manage a ‘baseline’ - a quasi-idea of what to expect. Thus far, my first semester has far exceeded whatever expectations I had. As a first year, I had no idea I would already be as involved in clinical work. I am excited for this hands-on approach, and comforted knowing that if an issue arises, I have an extensive support system behind me. I am pleasantly surprised at how my first year at MSPP is unfolding, and I consider myself lucky I was to have been accepted here. If the rest of my career at here goes as well as these past few weeks, I’ll be well on my way to becoming a capable clinician!

What’s your understanding of the Psy.D degree?
How did you hear about MSPP’s Clinical Psy.D Program?

About StephanieN

Stephanie is a first year clinical PsyD student at MSPP in Newton, Massachusetts. She graduated Cum Laude from Clark University with a bachelor's in Psychology. Her interests are in community mental health and homelessness, as well as chronic mental illness including severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis. In her spare time, Stephanie likes to spend time playing with her daughter and (attempting) to cook new foods.
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