So, I Want to be a Therapist in CA, Part II: The Credentials

Welcome to the chair.

In the previous installment, I discussed the difference between master’s-level and doctoral-level credentialing in California.

Here, I’ll discuss the kinds of non-school-based credentials you might seek and why (or why not), as well as the licensing boards for each.

PhD In Clinical Psychology (CA Board of Psychology)

A PhD tends to be more academic and research-oriented than a PsyD. Students receive intensive training in psych research and assessment. After graduate school, individuals often seek work in hospitals, research organizations, or other arenas where their specialized skills will be put to good use.

Despite the strong academic focus, persons in clinical PhD programs are also expected to gain clinical competency, which means that they complete coursework and do internships (totalling about 3000 hours) that focus on working directly with clients.

PhD students are required to complete a dissertation, participate in an approved internship, and pass a credentialing exam before becoming licensed.

Post-credential, PhDs can work in private practice, as well as agencies, universities, and other research settings.

PsyD in Clinical Psychology (CA Board of Psychology)

PsyD programs are often similar in content and scope to their PhD counterparts. The difference? PsyD programs feature a stronger focus on preparing students to become clinicians instead of research. Although research methodology and assessment are essential elements of a PsyD curriculum, the primary focus is on building clinical knowledge, both theoretical and practical.

Like their PhD counterparts, PsyD students engage in extensive clinical training and supervision. They, too, must complete a dissertation and sit for a licensing exam. Although some PhD students obtain grants and tuition wavers, such is rare for PsyD students. Both tend to take 4-5 years from the first class through completion of the dissertation.

After credentialing, PsyDs work in private practice, agencies, hospitals, academia, and more. Continue reading

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Could Amanda Knox Have an Autism Spectrum Disorder? (via TIME Healthland)

I still don’t know what ti make of this theory or it’s implications; as such, I’m going to think before I blog.

Amanda Knox, the 23-year-old American college student who was convicted of sexually assaulting and killing her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Italy in 2007, allegedly after an orgy gone wrong, got good news this week. Independent experts working on her ongoing appeal said that the traces of DNA used to convict Knox may have been contaminated and are “unreliable.” With the DNA evidence excluded, the only substantiation of Knox’s guilt includes a p … Read More

via TIME Healthland

Series: Autism and the Couch

This is the introduction to a multi-part series about mental health among persons with autism and their loved ones. Check back soon for further installments.

Maybe you’ve watched Rain Man. Perhaps you’ve seen a big-money ad from Autism Speaks or a similar organization. Maybe you’ve perused stories about the largely defunct vaccine debate. Ever heard of Jenny McCarthy?

Autism, it seems, is everywhere. And, in some ways, it is.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 1 in 110 children in the US have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). How many kids attend your child’s school? Live in your neighborhood, town, or county?

Do the math; autism is all around us.

Your charmingly quirky colleague who knows the city bus schedule inside and out? The silent child who lines up blocks at your son’s day care? Your relative, your friend, your lover? Chances are that you know somebody who has ASD and that person is likely nothing like Rain Man.

Affected individuals vary greatly in their levels of ability and impairment. Woven into this diversity are a few shared traits, which include social impairment, language difficulties and/or delays, and restrictive and repetitive interests.

That said,  persons with ASD are just as diverse as the rest of us.

The above-mentioned triumvirate of impairments can makes the world a challenging place for even the most well-adjusted and competent person with autism. As such, educational, occupational, and psychological support are essential.

Supply, unfortunately, has not caught up with demand.

People on the autism spectrum are especially underserved in the area of mental health. Indeed, I’ve met many children who are booked from morning to night–discrete trial training, psychical therapy, occupational therapy, social groups, tutoring, you name it. These kids are receiving services full-time, often without a careful eye on their psychological health.

Is it anybody’s fault? Not really.

As I mentioned above, need far exceeds resources, which is the crux of this series. Written for practitioners as well as persons affected by autism, this series will provide practical information and resources  along with insight and resources that mental health providers can use to betters serve ASD clients and their loved ones.

Please feel free to leave a comment or send feedback privately to alisonpanko@gmail.com