Practicum Offerings for Students

As the on-site clinical training facility for students in Pace University’s PsyD Program and consistent with the training program’s philosophy and goals, the Thomas J. McShane Center for Psychological Services:

  • Develops professional competencies reflected in the training program
  • Develops multicultural practice competencies that are important to diverse populations
  • Provides the opportunity to participate in research that studies the efficacy of treatment
  • Provides intensive clinical training through individual and group supervision
  • Provides feedback with respect to the development of professional competencies

Students provide psychotherapy to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Our goal is to provide each patient with effective psychotherapeutic intervention and to provide each student with exposure to a variety of patients and opportunity for in-depth treatment experiences. Students will begin to see patients in their first year under close supervision from practicum and individual supervisors with post-doctoral training. Typically they schedule each patient one to two times a week. Students consult with their individual supervisors one hour a week for one year. After one year with a supervisor, in order to gain an array of experiences, they are then assigned a new supervisor.

The patient populations represent a wide range of ethnicities and cultural diversity such that issues of human diversity and personal value systems are continually addressed. All child cases involve consultation with the child’s parents and school. When necessary, outside agencies are consulted.

Diagnostic Testing

Students test individuals from the community who seek understanding of personality or learning problems. Some are referred by schools, agencies, colleges, or the workplace. Students may also test children and adults who are in psychotherapy at the clinic, in which case testing is used to inform diagnosis and treatment. Under close supervision, students learn to select, administer, score and integrate data into a meaningful report. Students will receive continuous feedback from the supervisor and will provide feedback to the individual tested.

Practicum Options and Requirements

The Psy.D. program provides opportunity for students to obtain specializations in psychotherapy, diagnostic testing, diagnostic interviewing, psychotherapy outcome research, autism, and mother/infant observation. Because every student is expected to be well prepared for hospital and agency externships and internships where the emphasis is on intervention and testing, at least three years of psychotherapy practicum are required including Summer I following the first and second year (a total of eight semesters). This amounts to provision of psychotherapy under individual supervision for a minimum of 225 contact hours including hours with the patient and individual supervisors.

All other practicum experiences are optional.

  • Psychotherapy
    Students are required to take three years of psychotherapy practicum where they learn techniques of psychotherapy and to conceptualize, write-up, and present their cases. Supervision techniques are acquired as they respond to cases presented by their peers. Aspects of the treatment situation (transference, counter-transference, the working alliance, acting-out, resistance, and working through) are discussed. Issues of human diversity and personal value systems are continually addressed.
  • Advanced Case Seminar
    In addition to the three year psychotherapy requirement, students may also take the advanced case seminar where the focus is on discussing contemporary analytic concepts and papers related to the case they are preparing for their internship application.
  • Diagnostic Interviewing and Psychotherapy Outcome Seminar
    Students administer diagnostic interviews as part of the clinic intake procedure. They integrate information from the intake, the diagnostic interview, various self-report diagnostic tests, and other personality scales. Students then write a diagnostic report for the file and present this information in the seminar where it is used to make a differential diagnosis and assign the client to a student therapist. Information from these diagnostic tests is used in clinic research investigating psychotherapy outcome. Students may use diagnostic data as well as other measures of personality and therapist-patient variables for doctoral projects on related topics.
  • Neuropsychological Testing
    Advanced students who are admitted to this practicum will learn to select, administer, score and interpret tests designed to understand intelligence, neuropsychological processing problems, as well as problems related to personality and psychopathology. They are expected to be able to understand strengths and limitations of these tests with respect to making diagnostic and prognostic conclusions. Students prepare a written report of their findings and provide feedback to the individual tested or to the family.
  • Parent and Infant/Toddler Practicum
    Students observe parent-child interactions, participate in discussion groups with the parents, and videotape interactions among children and parents. They learn to understand normal and pathological development, to assess developmental and neurological status, and to design prevention and intervention strategies.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Students work directly with individuals with ASDs (in school or McShane settings), while reviewing current research findings and theories and linking them to diagnostic and treatment strategies.
  • Special Assignments
    Some students may have the opportunity to conduct groups and provide services to adolescents in the Upward bound Program or an affiliated high school.