Overview of Practicum Training
In addition to coursework and research, students in our doctoral program receive training in the direct delivery services. We approach this aspect of training in a manner that is sequential, graded in complexity, and cumulative. Practicum training begins with learning foundational clinical skills with volunteers during the summer between first and second year. Students then spend their second year seeing clients through the Psychological Services Center, where they carry a small caseload and work under close supervision by the Program faculty and staff. During the third year and beyond, students are placed at external practicum sites where they have access to a variety of training experiences, including assessment and treatment work with adult and juvenile clients, in a variety of service delivery contexts (e.g., inpatient, outpatient, correctional).
Practicum Sites Currently in Use
Psychological Services Center
The Psychological Services Center (PSC) is located on the SHSU campus and operated by the doctoral program. Services are provided by doctoral students under the supervision of Doctoral Program Faculty and Staff Psychologists. The PSC has a dual mission of providing general clinical services to the community and providing forensic services to the criminal justice system.
The PSC provides assessment and treatment to adults, children, families, and couples. The facility provides services to clients with an extremely wide variety of psychopathology ranging from adjustment disorders to severe mood disorders to active psychosis. All second year students are placed here for their initial therapy and assessment experience. Two advanced students are assigned as clinic coordinators to assist the Clinic Director with administration and engage in peer supervision of junior students. A number of more senior students generally pick up therapy and assessment cases.
In addition to the aforementioned clinical services, many students conduct numerous forensic assessments under faculty and staff supervision through the PSC. These evaluations address a wide range of psycholegal issues, including assessment of various competencies, criminal responsibility, juvenile transfer, and risk assessment with both adults and juveniles.
Each student assigned to the PSC participates in the monthly supervision seminar in clinical supervision conducted by the Clinic Director. This includes completing assigned readings and participating in class discussions. They are then required to function as peer supervisors in semesters that follow.
Austin State Hospital
This is a large inpatient hospital serving populations throughout the state. This allows students to experience a wide variety of severe psychopathology, as well as familiarizing them with interdisciplinary practice within a hospital setting. The hospital provides a range of forensic and general clinical assessment and treatment training opportunities.
Federal Prison Camp
This is a large minimum security federal prison for women. Specialty programming includes a structured residential drug abuse program and a program for women who have been the victim of trauma. Students have the opportunity to engage in psychotherapy (both short term and long term) in both group and individual formats. They also participate in initial intakes at the facility as well as crisis intervention.
Montgomery and Harris County Juvenile Probation
These agencies serve incarcerated and probated juveniles in the Houston area. Student clinicians conduct a wide range of assessments and some therapy, and are able to participate in some forensic evaluations. Clients come from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Montgomery County Department of Community Supervision and Corrections
Students assigned to this site provide therapy and assessment services to adults currently assigned to the agency. They also provide assessment services for the newly established Montgomery County Mental Health Court.
Montgomery County Jail
Students provide initial assessments of newly arrived inmates for psychological problems and needs. They also engage in crisis intervention and provide short-term counseling as needed. They work closely with both medical and correctional staff to assure that mental health needs are met.
Stuart J. Nathan, Ph.D. & Associates. This practicum site is a group private practice located in the city of Houston. Under the supervision of Dr. Andres Tapia, students take part in all aspects of neuropsychological assessment with a diverse population. The site places emphasis on providing differential diagnoses to referring treatment providers, generally in the domain of neurocognitive disorders.
Rusk State Hospital
Rusk State Hospital is a JCAHO accredited inpatient psychiatric hospital serving most of east Texas. Patients are both civil and court ordered; there is both chronic and acute care (length of stay ranging from a week to 30 years). Students may participate in both treatment and assessment.
Texas A & M Telehealth
This is a unique operation offering services to distant sites throughout southeast Texas via telehealth technology. Students have the opportunity to provide psychotherapy services to a variety of clientele at a distance using telemethods. In addition to experience providing therapy services, students will learn about the unique challenges and ethical issues of providing services via teleconferencing.
The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research
TIRR is an internationally known facility located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Students assigned engage in all aspects of neuropsychological assessment. TIRR also provides the experience of working with an interdisciplinary team in a hospital setting. There is also opportunity to attend invited speakers and grand rounds presentations.
UT Harris County Psychiatric Center
This is a University of Texas teaching hospital that provides comprehensive inpatient care to individuals with serious mental illnesses (including schizophrenia, severe mood disorders, and behavioral and adjustment problems). There is a rotation exclusively working with adults that is generally very short term. There is also a rotation working with children and adolescents who generally have longer stays. Students may be involved in both assessment and treatment.
Walker County Department of Community Supervision and Corrections
Students at Walker County have the opportunity to provide both therapy and assessment services to adults who are currently on probation. They also give crisis intervention assistance to those who may require medical referral or hospitalization. In addition, they provide consultation to officers in the department, both in terms of individual clients and the overall streamlining and improvement of the operation.