James Madison University

Practica

The Combined-Integrated Doctoral Program’s curriculum plan emphasizes the integration of knowledge and theory gained in course work with concurrent, sequenced practicum experiences that culminate in the student’s predoctoral internship and facilitate eventual licensure as a clinical psychologist and/or licensure/certification as a school psychologist. Throughout training, the program emphasizes that “best practice” interventions are theoretically grounded and evidence-based. Strong, positive interprofessional relationships are fostered in all practicum settings. Practica are central to the curriculum plan, as the program wants to ensure that students are prepared for their internship experiences and have the clinical skills necessary to be leaders in the delivery of mental health services.

At approximately 12-15 hours per week for the fall, spring, and summer semesters, students are expected to accumulate approximately 500 clock hours each year. These hours are distributed between 1) direct service (e.g., therapy, assessment, consultation, and supervision of Master’s-level students); 2) professional development/case preparation activities; and 3) receiving individual and group supervision. It should be noted that these practicum experiences are in addition to the practica the student may have completed in his or her previous graduate program, as well as any professional experiences acquired prior to entering the program.

Given the integrated nature of training in the Combined-Integrated Doctoral Program, students are required to complete a practicum and demonstrate competency in each of the three subfields that are integral to the program: Clinical, Counseling, and School psychology. Clinical practicum experiences are individualized whenever possible. Program students have access to a rich and diverse array of on-campus and off-campus sites and experiences. On-campus practica occur through three different sites:

  1. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, a comprehensive outpatient clinical practice);
  2. Interprofessional Services for Learning Assessment (ISLA), and
  3. The Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC, JMU’s student counseling center).

Depending upon availability, program students also have access to several relevant, off-campus practicum sites. The available sites include local public schools, the Virginia Child and Family Attachment Center (a clinic assessing attachment and care giving with multi-stressed families in foster care and adoptive homes), Page County Primary Care and Behavioral Health (a rural family medicine practice), the University of Virginia Counseling and Psychological Services Center (the counseling service for University of Virginia students), Western State Hospital (a state in-patient hospital for adults with severe mental illness), Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents (a residential treatment center for children with emotional, behavioral or substance use problems), Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (a comprehensive interprofessional center for persons with disabilities to receive individualized medical, psychological and vocational services), or Rockingham Memorial Hospital (a regional full-service hospital with a behavioral health unit). In addition to the above mentioned developed sites, students who have an interest in a particular training experience or population that is not currently offered are encouraged to discuss such interests with their advisor, Practicum Coordinator, and the Program Director to determine if a legitimate and high quality practicum experience is available and/or can be developed.