Child, Adolescent and Family Psychology in the Clinical Psychology Department of MSPP
Child and adolescent psychology is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field that places understanding and treatment within the complex matrix of development and relationships (family, peer, school, community, society). Children and families are consistently identified as underserved populations with diverse clinical needs. Psychologists who are well trained to provide empirically based professional services across the lifespan but with deeper understanding of child development (clinical assessment, psychotherapy and other interventions, consultation, program development and evaluation) are in great demand in a variety of roles and settings including outpatient clinics, medical and mental health services in hospitals, mainstream and special educational program in schools, private practice, juvenile and family courts, juvenile justice systems, child protection agencies, and social service agencies.
The doctoral clinical psychology program at MSPP offers two Concentrations that emerge from a foundation of broad and general training in psychology and focus upon child, adolescent and family psychology:
The Concentration on Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR) is a four year sequence to which students apply at the time of admission to the doctoral clinical psychology program at MSPP. CFAR provides broad and general training in clinical psychology while emphasizing child development, family dynamics, and broader systems issues bearing upon the well-being of children and families.
Doctoral study for CFAR students begins with a fundamental grounding in clinical skills, normative child development and strategies for supporting healthy family functioning, child wellness and positive youth development. Training in these fundamentals is supported by experiential learning in a variety of field sites for the first and second year practicum placements. During the first two years of study CFAR students are offered additional supports in Clinical Seminars and other classes in developing the core clinical competencies, becoming familiar with models for professional work with challenging and/or underserved populations, and making the most of the focused training that characterizes the third and fourth years at MSPP.
CFAR students in the third and fourth years focus primarily upon underserved children and families who commonly face multiple adversities, do not readily access existing systems of care, and/or tend not to benefit optimally from existing service models when they do access care. These may be families whose members are: involved in child protection, juvenile justice, or criminal justice systems; coping with physical, developmental, learning and/or psychiatric disabilities; facing substantial social, political and/or socioeconomic deprivation or disenfranchisement; recovering from natural disasters; addressing challenges arising from immigration or refugee status; responding to exposure to various forms of family, community or combat violence; and/or dealing with other adversities. Through classes and field placements, CFAR students acquire skills to identify risk and resiliency factors, promote resiliencies from a strength-based perspective, support positive youth and family development, and utilize empirically-based and emerging "best practices" strategies. Clinical skills in assessment and treatment/intervention are supplemented by professional practice skills in multi-disciplinary collaboration, consultation, advocacy, and multi-systems analysis and intervention. The CFAR Concentration includes the following components:
Coursework. In addition to courses which ensure broad and general training in clinical psychology, CFAR students complete:
- Foundations of Adversity and Resilience in Children and Families
- Children's Mental Health Policy and Systems
- Evidence-Based Psychotherapy for Children and Families
- Preventive Mental Health Programs for Children and Families
Fieldwork. Students complete no less than 50% of fieldwork, across the four years of study, working with children, adolescents, and/or families.
Doctoral Research. CFAR students conclude their studies with the Doctoral Project which is an opportunity for students to focus upon an area of particular interest, develop specialized expertise, network with others with similar professional interests, and identify potential career opportunities.
The CFAR student will graduate from MSPP with skills that can be applied across a wide range of settings, programs and systems, including: community-based prevention and primary care; educational and special education; health and behavioral/mental health; juvenile justice and child welfare agencies and programs; policy and advocacy; and child and family-serving governmental agencies.
For further information about CFAR, please contact Dr. Bruce Ecker at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Robert Kinscherff at email@example.com.