Publish 1-3 articles per day (on varied topics - see below)
At the beginning, we’ll publish articles on various topics (depending on what our writers are interested in), then we’ll start becoming more organized with the schedule (the goal is to publish a variety and balance of articles on every topic)
Studies unusual patterns of behavior, emotion, and thought; mental disorders; clinical psychology
Example article: Why Do Girls and Boys With Autism Have Differing Behaviors?
Theory of learning based on the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning; responses to environmental stimuli shape our actions
Example article: Why Behavior Change Apps Fail to Change Behavior
Analyzes how the brain and neurotransmitters influence our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings; combination of basic psychology and neuroscience
Example article: Top Ten Tips to Improve Children’s Memory
The study of mental processes such as attention, language use, memory, perception, problem solving, creativity, and thinking
Example article: Fear and Anxiety Drive Conservatives’ Political Attitudes
The study of the behavior and mental processes of animals
Example article: Three Reasons Why Pets Are More Pampered Today
The study of human behavior and mental processes under diverse cultural conditions (how behavior differs amongst cultures)
Example article: Eating Disorders in African Americans
The study of how and why human beings change over the course of their life; includes infant, children, adolescents, adult development, and aging ( basically the entire lifespan)
Example article: How Parents Can Help Their Children Without Psychiatric Meds
The study of human learning
Example article: Top 10 Science-Based Study Skills for the Classroom
The study of the responses of individuals to stimuli in controlled situations; focused on brain and behavior
Example article: Conformity and Asch’s Experiment
Specialty in professional psychology characterized by activities primarily intended to provide professional psychological expertise within the judicial and legal systems
Example article: Teens and Stalking-Like Behaviors
The study of psychological and behavioral processes in health, illness, and healthcare; concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioral, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness
Example article: How to Avoid Depression Induced by Social Media
The study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others (i.e. social interaction)
Example article: Are Violent Video Games Associated With More Civic Behaviors Among Youth?
The study of personality and its variation among individuals; focuses on the construction of a coherent picture of the individual and their major psychological processes
Example article: Personality Influences Reproductive Success
Is anyone interested in taking on one of these sections?
Friendly reminder that 1 in 84 or 3.2 million people in the USA suffer from Agoraphobia.
This includes but is not limited to fear of:
Using public transportation
Being in open spaces
Being enclosed in spaces
Standing in line or being in a crowd
Being outside of the home alone
So be nice to your friends who might ask you for help in one of these areas, don’t make fun of them for not wanting to go into Target alone or anything like that. Just be a bad ass safety buddy and help them get through fear/anxiety inducing situations, that’s what friends are for right?
Hi, my name is Amber. I’m from New Orleans, and I’m currently in grad school studying to be a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. There is a great need for POC mental health practitioners, especially in New Orleans. My goal is to help remove the stigma associated with mental health in my community and provide adequate mental healthcare to my community and beyond!
What does a quality clinical psychology graduate program look like?
I’ve gotten a lot of asks about how to tell which programs- mostly clinical psych, but I think other sorts of mental health clinician training programs -are high quality programs, with training in evidence-based practice, with focus in both clinical work and research, that will lead to most students gaining the skills they need for their careers. And on the flip side, how to tell if a program is not so high quality. Thanks to the anons and @the-e-r for sending in their questions!
So here is a list to consider when evaluating a potential program. I think this will most highly apply when looking at clinical psychology and probably counseling psychology doctoral programs, but for other sorts of programs many things will also apply.
Is the program accredited?
APA-accreditation is the minimum standard. You need this to get many jobs, and it will be very difficult to get licensed without it.
Is the program funded? If so, how?
If the program is a doctoral program and it is not funded, that is a huge red flag. I would discount it immediately. Master’s programs are often unfunded. How a doctoral program is funded will give you an indication of what the program’s priorities are and how it’s connected- is it mostly teaching? research? clinical practicum? a mix?
Is the program attached to a university? If so, what kind?
If the program is “free standing,” aka not attached to any regular university, that’s also a huge red flag. I would recommend not applying to any of those schools. Although the particular school a program is attached to will not necessarily tell you how good the program itself is (like- PGSP-Stanford is okay but not funded and not as good as you would assume given it’s quasi-association with Stanford) but it gives you a starting reference point, particularly regarding the faculty and resources available to the program.
How many students are admitted per year?
A quality clinical/counseling program typically admits between 5-15 people a year (sometimes but rarely less). Greater than that would be a red flag to me for any doctoral program, I would not consider a program that regularly admits 20 or more. (My guess is that this would vary depending on the master’s program).
What is the attrition rate?
Attrition is the number of students leaving the program for any reason, and should be listed on the program’s website. It can be tough since we’re talking such small class sizes- like if the program admits 8 and 2 leave, that’s 25%, which sounds big but may not be meaningful. So look at patterns over time. Are people often leaving? Does at least one person, or particularly, multiple people, leaving from every class admitted? That could indicate several red flags- a) they are cutting people after year 1 or 2 (and plan to do so), which is bad for you (and I just disagree with that practice); 2) students are leaving because the program is bad or at least one of the faculty are bad to work with; 3) the program is not good at selecting students to admit (and so picks students with bad fit or who aren’t ready or some other thing) and then might be doing a bad job helping those students. High attrition is a yellow flag, for me- something to investigate.
What’s the graduation rate?
This is the flip-side of attrition- you want people who are admitted to be largely successfully getting through that program and getting to a job.
How many graduates get pass the EPPP and get licensed?
Nearly every graduate of a doctoral clinical or counseling program should successfully get licensed. It’s really pretty rare that a clinical/counseling psychologist would not need or want to get licensed (even if they are researchers), and if the rate is low it usually means a) the program is bad in general or b) the program is very research focused and fails students in the clinical area.
What is the internship match rate? (For APA-accredited programs?) How does the program support students to get an internship?
You want an APA-accredited match rate of at least 90%. I would throw out all the programs with less than 85% (and really be very cautious until you get to 90-95%- most of the good programs are at least the low 90s). You want students who are matching on their first round, to internships that meet their training goals. The program should be helping students to achieve this by helping them find good internships, put together their materials, practice for interviews, etc.
Where do graduates go after graduation- both short term (like postdoc) and long term? How does the program help students get where they want to go?
Graduates of a good program should leave the program with a job, in their field, in their speciality, that they want. Do not accept a program where people end up in bullshit jobs after 3-7 (or more!) years of post-college education. Make sure some of these graduates are doing the kinds of things you think you might want to do.
How does mentorship work?
There are multiple kinds of mentorship models in doctoral programs. Most quality clinical and counseling psychology doctoral programs have students matched to a mentor from the beginning, that they will work with throughout grad school. That’s a green flag. It’s not necessarily bad if the program has another mentorship model, but there needs to be some kind of model. Some of the low quality schools have basically no mentorship model, which makes it hard to conduct research, develop as a professional and make networking connections.
What does a typical week look like for a student?
Talk to the program, and to individual students, about what typical weeks are like. This will give you an idea, again, about what the program’s priorities are for students. How much research time? How much clinical time? How diverse is it- do students get to create their own schedules to achieve their own goals? Is one teaching because they want to be a professor at a liberal arts school while the other is doing an extra practica at a school because they have a interest in development? That’s a green flag. If students are overworked and not getting to the things that matter to them- that’s a red flag. If they are spending a lot of time doing clinical work but not a lot of time getting clinical training- that’s a red flag.
What is the practica and who does the clinical training?
In a quality school, clinical practica should be diverse. Students should train in multiple settings with multiple populations under multiple supervisors. They should learn multiple techniques, and those techniques should be evidence-based. They should be able to clearly explain how to they train their students and why. It’s a red flag if students are only in the department clinic. It’s a red flag if training is mostly or entirely disconnected from the department. It’s a yellow flag if faculty do none of the clinical training- it can sometimes indicate the faculty are totally research focused, which can impair the connection between science and practice.
What are the faculty’s theoretical orientations? What is their training background? Their interests?
Who the faculty are will give you a sense of what they want the students to learn and to be as professionals. I tend to think a diversity of interests- research interests and clinical expertise -is important because it maximizes student access to resources.
What kind of research resources are there in the program? What kind of expectations do they have for students?
A program that prioritizes research should have resources available to students to aid them in that, whether that’s personnel (stats experts, for example), materials (an fMRI or stats software) or money.
What are typical topics for master’s theses and dissertations? Where is data collected? What kinds of resources are there for students to aid them in research?
By getting a sense of what’s usually done, you’ll know what the real resources are, and how prioritized research really is. If people are often doing undergrad surveys, then that’s a red flag. If people are doing complex research using a variety of procedures in a variety of populations- particularly clinical populations -that’s a huge green flag. But ask what’s available now, for you, given your interests, because access to resources and communities changes all the time.
What conferences do students typically go to? Is there any funding for conferences?
Conferences that programs go to will give you a sense of their priorities and interests. Do they go to APA? ABCT? APS? Does each lab go to a speciality conference for their area? There isn’t necessarily a wrong answer, but a good program will be involved with at least one conference and it should line up with your interests. They should also pay you to go- that’s a green flag.
What other sorts of training experiences does the program offer? (Outside of regular classes) Seminars? Clinical training? Do they have speciality “tracks” or “minors”? Do they have connections with other departments? Do they bring in speakers from other schools? Do they do professional development seminars?
A quality program should offer other training and professional development experiences, although what those might be will vary. But sometimes low quality programs use things kinds of things- especially “minors” or similar things -to sell the idea that their program is better than others. Watch that carefully. Sometimes a program with a “minor” or whatever does a have special training experience, which is great- but a “minor” will not be recognized beyond a line on your CV, so take it as a training experience and not anything more.
The thing about mental health work, when you’re out of school and you’ve got the clients and the 9-5 and the pressure, is that you need to know when to take a break. Because if you don’t, you’re going to burn out and you’ll become someone who needs the help more than you can give it. You gotta know when to take a step back and take care of you. You gotta find balance and then you’ll be able to survive and save people.
something one of my supervisors told me at my internship
1. There is a massive number of terrible programs in clinical psychology- both PhD and PsyD programs (and really, master’s programs) –and these programs admit huge numbers of students every year (like, 100 students compared to 5-15 in high quality schools). These schools are predatory, expensive, and low quality. They take advantage of students by delivering a poorer education with poor outcomes (like lower graduation and licensure rates) and a huge price tag, and they negatively impact the discipline and our clients by creating a subset of psychologists with poorer skills.
2. Mostly because of these terrible programs, there are too many psychology graduate students entering the field, and not enough internships or jobs for the graduate students to go into. As a result, a number of students get trapped at the internship match process- which is pre-graduation –and either don’t graduate or graduate far later than intended, potentially after attending a lesser quality, unaccredited internship, which will impact their ability to get licensed or work in desired jobs (for example, the federal government will not hire psychologists who did not go to an accredited internship). This is called the “internship bottleneck” and people are trying to fix it by increasing internships, which is a nice thought- but there are still too few jobs and too many graduate students (which again, many of whom are coming from terrible programs). So the better answer would be to get rid of the terrible programs and increase admissions standards.
3. APA accepts funding from several of the terrible programs I have mentioned, and shockingly, and has been slow to make necessary changes to improve things in the field- like, for example, increasing graduate school and internship standards (wonder why?).
4. APA and other groups have not done enough (or as much as other disciplines) to protect and advocate for the clinical psychology discipline. This leads to difficulty billing for things like assessment, or receiving the same amount of money as a doctoral level psychologist as a master’s level clinician, and receiving questions like, “So like, what does a psychologist do that a [insert other clinician here] can’t do?” This happens within mental health but also within science in general. We have not clearly advocated for clinical psychology as an essential scientific discipline, or medical discipline, and then it’s surprising when it gets cast aside by STEM or by the medical field (or called a “soft science” or put under the psychiatry umbrella).
5. Psychologists not only do a shitty job of advocating- we also constantly undercut our own skills in some settings (i.e., when interacting with MDs with years less experience in research) while being stupidly elitist in others (i.e., interacting with case managers who know their community far better than anyone else). This does not help us create our own niche, make it clear what our strengths are, and become a respected as a discipline and as individuals.
6. There is a massive underutilization of evidence based practice in typical clinical settings. Although we know that EBP works, and that the model can be adapted for different people and different settings, a huge number of psychologists report being “eclectic” and “integrative” and “holistic” and all kinds of words that might be something reasonable and evidence-based, and but also often mean “I just do what I feel like with no attention to what actually works.” And when we look at the data- that’s what we find, that therapists are often not using EBP even in situations where they would be relevant and effective.
7. That underutilization of evidence based practice in clinical work is partly due to a lack of communication and connection between science and practice. An average clinician is in a very different place- literally, they work in completely different places most of the time –than an average researcher. Most clinicians are not spending much of their time reading journals or going to conferences, and most researchers don’t spend much time practicing clinical work or talking to clinicians, particularly in typical clinical settings (rather than academic medical settings). That can all lead to a lack of trust and infighting between scientists and practitioners, causing rifts within clinical psychology and within mental health.
8. There is a huge amount of underfunding of key areas of clinical psychology research, particularly in applied areas like treatment and prevention. Most of the big money goes towards neuroscience, genetics, etc., right now- which isn’t a bad or unimportant area at all –but many of the big funders are not as interested in psychosocial or treatment questions which have the potential to have a more immediate impact on people in need.