Doctoral programs in clinical psychology award a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology). A doctorate is required for licensure as a clinical psychologist. Programs provide training in both clinical research and patient therapy. Courses focus on counseling theories, clinical assessments, intervention strategies, psychopathology and human learning.
Here are concepts generally explored in clinical psychology courses:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Quantitative research
- DSM criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
List of Common Courses
The practical and the theoretical aspects of psychotherapeutic techniques is the focus of this course. Students concentrate on assessing patient behavior in order to help patients manage or change their behavior through various therapeutic techniques. Topics can include instruction in various models of psychotherapy, including Freudian or Jungian psychoanalysis, attachment theory and object relations theory.
Psychopathology training usually focuses on using the traditionally-accepted DSM-IV-TR system to diagnose a patient's mental condition. Topics often relate diagnosis to various therapeutic methodologies, such as psychodynamic, sociocultural, biological, cognitive, behavioral and humanistic approaches. The focus of this course is on training students how to apply the proper diagnostic process to their patients in order to devise the most effective treatment program.
Cognition and Behavior Course
In this course, students are introduced to current theories in learning, memory, perception and affective development. Students apply these theories in their efforts to understand, diagnose and initiate treatments that will help patients to manage their behaviors. This course often meets state licensing and APA accreditation requirements.
Patient Assessment Course
Patient assessment addresses the issues of intelligence and testing in the field of psychology. It can include training in the administration and interpretation of standardized intelligence tests in order to detect exceptionally high or low intelligence levels. Some programs include in this course discussions on personality testing and the cultural and ethical implications of applying these tests on adults and children.
Cultural Influences on Psychotherapy Course
This course prompts students to examine the effects of patients' cultural, racial and societal backgrounds on their personality. In addition, students will assess the manner in which these factors determine the course of treatment for a patient. Topics can also include specific aspects of cultural diversity, such as gender, sexuality and religion.
Ethical Considerations in Psychology Course
The rights of the patient and the ethical responsibilities of a psychologist in a therapeutic relationship are addressed in this course. Ethical principles taught in this course are based on those recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA). Students often use the APA's Code of Conduct to assess and discuss various scenarios that may present ethical problems for therapists or researchers.
Research and Statistics in Psychology Course
Clinical research and the importance of experimental and statistical methodologies are the focal points of this course. Students are trained to use critical thinking and other analytical skills when approaching current literature in the field of psychology. They also learn how to apply these skills while conducting their own experiments and research. Coursework usually involves data collection, reduction and analysis.