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Need a mentor for the application process to Clinical Psych PhD programs
January 24, 2014 1:39 PM   Subscribe

I am doing a post-bac program in Psychology and hoping to apply to a Clinical Psychology PhD program (I know that for practitioner focus, PsyD's are recommended but FUNDING IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME. I have already gone into ~$100K of debt to do this post bac program as a result of career change. If there are PsyD programs that provide funding I would be into that too. Just looking to shape a strategy here). I want to know how I can find a mentor who can give me good advice through this process because I'm kind of at a loss when thinking about and structuring my approach to applying.

More info: My Post Bac program does not provide the best guidance. It is more of a self-starter type of program where the "program" is just a platform through which students can take courses in psychology after having a BS/BA in another field. We have social events and we also have access to specific Q&A sessions for all undergrad students interested in graduate study in Clin. Psych, but the PostBac faculty adviser's background is in experimental psych PhDs and she seems most suited to provide guidance for those post-bacs interested in non-clinical psych, and seems to strongly discourage people from applying to Clinical Psych PhDs ("It's really difficult - reconsider your choices" kind of thing). I do recognize that I have chosen a difficult track, but I want to be a therapist so changing my career track is not the point of this question nor is the point to be more realistic about my goals, etc.

The program has a Faculty adviser who is supposed to meet with students interested in Clinical Psych but she is EXTREMELY busy and difficult to get a hold of; this is not just my perception, almost every other clinically-minded post bac feels the same way. She is wonderful but just, I need a little more than what she can provide. My institution basically has only one professor for undergrad and post-bac students interested in Clinical Psychology, as the school is very heavily experimental-psych focused. The Clinical track for this school is in a separate institution whose faculty is ... just not as available. I have gotten the sense that since they are light years ahead in their careers than I am, and since they are research-focused being in an academic program rather than being practitioners (i.e. Therapists), they may not be particularly interested in mentoring me anyway.

Anyway the point of all that is to say that I don't currently have access to the type of advice and support that I really need. So I am posting here to ask if there is anyone who has successfully applied to and been accepted to (and bonus points if you already are a therapist) a more practitioner-minded, rather than reseach-minded, Clinical Psych program, who would be willing to play a light mentorship type of role to me, or would be willing to entertain the idea, or can at least point me to the direction of resources that can help me out here.

I feel slightly bordering on overwhelmingly at a loss when I think about applying to programs, and I think a lot of it is because I did my undergrad in a different field, and a lot of it is because I just don't really have the right information to guide me in this process. I think information coming from a personal source would be better to me than just Googling stuff, if that makes sense.

Thanks!
posted by bengalibelle to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sure. Memail me.
posted by quiet coyote at 2:27 PM on January 24


I should add that, while I'm in a more research-oriented program, a lot of the advice transfers, and I regularly advise students on how to get in to practice-oriented programs. I've also been on the admissions team for my program twice if that adds any credentials.
posted by quiet coyote at 2:46 PM on January 24


You can be a therapist without the Clinical Psych doctorate. MSW programs ( + 2 years supervised work + license test) will qualify you to do therapy on your own. Yes, there are some advantages to doing the Clinical Psych doctorate (pay rates, for one) but if you are just planning on doing therapy and don't want to supervise a group of therapists, or work in inpatient hospital setting an MSW would be cheaper and way less competitive. I have my MSW, and am currently working on my LCSW. IF you are interested in the route, you can memail me.

I am looking for doctorate programs myself, but NOT in Clinical Psyc. My opinion is that it is way to competitive, and I already can do much of what a Clinical Psyc does. The training is a bit more comprehensive, which I really would have liked to have in my MSW program. I'm also more researched focused.

I did apply to one Counseling Psyc program. I didn't get in (but I got into the MSW program at a very well known school) Things to do to help with getting into Clinical Psych programs: start as early as possible. Identify some research interests. Contact school professors, by e-mail and by phone. Read their papers! Try to talk to current students about their experiences. Always ask about the politics of the division. Ask questions about how long it takes for individuals to finish their doctorate. If you are planning to go outside your local area, you are most likely making a 5-7 year commitment to stay in the same place, which can be daunting. Are you planning on working when you complete this? If you ask what their policies are and how they accommodate schedules. Some places are work friendly, some places are completely not. Have as many people as possible look over your application, and letters. Ask for recommendations WAY in advance so if one of them is slow, everything will be in on time. It helps to give them a list of schools you are applying too (so if you have more than one letter, they can modify it slightly so it doesn't read awkwardly),qualifications, things that you have done, and skills you have, so they can make the letter more personal without too much work. I've had people ask for me to write my own recommendation letter and then they would sign it, which was VERY anxiety provoking, but it was very nice to know the quality of the letter and exactly what was in it before hand. Oh and get all the required tests out of the way. Most schools I've looked at require a GRE score. You can google online what their minimums are and what type of score gets a scholarship.

Good Luck!
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:17 PM on January 24


Sent you a memail.
Any future readers interested in cheap/good PsyD options should feel free to contact me!
posted by whalebreath at 6:20 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forums/psychology-psy-d-ph-d.57/ you can also check out this forum, which is full of advice and other students applying to clinical psych programs
posted by whalebreath at 6:45 PM on January 25


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