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Regardless of whether a student decides to pursue an academic career, a clinical career, or some combination of both, the practice of clinical psychology involves articulating current problems and issues, formulating creative solutions to those problems, and testing hypotheses by systematically gathering empirical evidence.
The clinical psychologist encounters diverse client populations and human problems. Implementation of effective services and programs requires an understanding of the complex array of biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors affecting human behavior. Accordingly, the Virginia Consortium curriculum contains instruction in fundamental content areas of psychology.
In the Virginia Consortium, education and training in the delivery of psychological services progresses in a developmentally-graded sequence.
During the first two years of the curriculum, the coordinated sequence of clinical courses and practica are generic in content and variable in theoretical orientation. Students learn the major theoretical models, though no single theoretical model, intervention modality, or client population is pre-eminent in the basic education of students. Research training is accomplished by working closely with a research mentor and through coursework, completion of a second year project or master’s thesis, and the dissertation. Required research methods courses include analysis of variance, regression/correlational design, research fundamentals, and empirically-supported therapies. The dissertation, an empirical study, completes research training.
In the third and fourth years of the curriculum, students pursue more focused interests through elective courses, practica, and an empirical dissertation.
Clinical training is completed in a full-time internship during the fifth year of the Program. Those substantive areas include biological, social, cognitive and affective aspects of behavior, human development, psychological measurement, and individual differences and multiculturalism/diversity. Both ethics and the history and systems of psychology are taught in required courses.
The mission of the Virginia Consortium Program is to graduate clinical psychologists who are prepared to pursue clinical, research, and academic careers through the following aims:
Ethical and legal standards
Individual and cultural diversity
Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
Communication and interpersonal skills
Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills