A Graduate Specialization in Clinical Psychology made possible through the partnership of the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton
The McMaster Psychology - Research & Clinical Training (RCT)
Programme’s primary educational model and professional objectives:

The Department of Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour’s Research and Clinical Training (RCT) Stream’s fundamental objective within the PhD program is to train scientist-practitioners skilled in core competencies surrounding the pursuit of scientific knowledge and the provision of psychological services.

As such, we are heavily grounded in the scientist-practitioner model and students are expected to complete independent research theses, complete coursework pertaining to the professional practice of clinical psychology, contribute first-author publications to the scientific literature, disseminate their research to the scientific community via conference presentations, and participate in practica and residency placements emphasizing evidence-based treatment and assessment techniques. In addition, attention to issues of diversity and individual differences are woven through the program in clinical practica, course work, and research activities. Consistent with these objectives, our students are expected to meet requirements for licensing as Clinical Psychologists in the Province of Ontario as well as other provinces.

In line with this mission, students are expected to meet the following objectives:

Goal 1: Develop Proficiency in Scientific Research

Objectives for Goal 1: Students will engage in rigorous training in scientific inquiry, including research methodology, experimental design, and statistics relative to psychology.

Competencies expected for Goal 1: Complete coursework and demonstrate competency in research methods, research design, and statistics. Demonstrate competency in the critical evaluation of scientific research. Demonstrate breadth of scientific knowledge through the successful completion of the comprehensive exam. Contribute actively to the development and execution of research protocols. Independently collect, analyze, integrate, and report on research data. Successfully defend research dissertation.

Goal 2: Develop Competence in Psychological Assessment and Diagnostic Skills

Objectives for Goal 2: Students will successfully complete relevant coursework in psychodiagnostics, psychopathology, and assessment. Students will complete clinical practica emphasizing development of competency in psychological assessment, behavioural observations, differential diagnoses, and case conceptualization based on assessments. Be able to conduct risk assessments and respond to crises in an appropriate manner.

Competencies expected for Goal 2: Complete Longitudinal Exposure Practica providing breadth of exposure to multiple populations, clinical settings, and diagnostic interviewing techniques. Complete coursework and demonstrate competency in psychological assessment and psychopathology. Apply information learned in coursework by demonstrating ability to select appropriate assessment methods, accuracy of test administration, conduct interviews, demonstrate effective listening and observational skills, accurately score assessment results, accurately interpret assessment results, accurate use of case conceptualization, ability to synthesize findings into a written assessment report, appropriately respond to referral question, integrate of empirical/critical thinking based on literature, integrate test data with DSM criteria and generate useful recommendations based on evaluation results.

Goal 3: Develop Competence in Psychological Intervention Skills

Objectives for Goal 3: Students will successfully complete relevant coursework in psychological intervention and will complete clinical practica emphasizing the provision of evidence-based treatments guided by case conceptualization.

Competencies expected for Goal 3: Complete coursework and demonstrate competency in evidence-based psychological intervention. Demonstrate competency in selecting and delivering evidence-based treatments in a therapeutic setting through clinical practica and pre-doctoral residency. Students will demonstrate skills in developing therapeutic rapport, demonstrate a theoretical understanding of empirically validated clinical approaches, develop case conceptualization skills, practice integrating theory into therapy interventions, and actively participate in the process of determining the most appropriate form of treatment for their patient/client. Students will also learn to set realistic and objective treatment goals, to use background information and consider information about individual differences appropriately, to select appropriate intervention goals based on case conceptualization, to pace interventions appropriately and to recognize and respond to crises in an appropriate manner.

Goal 4: Develop Knowledge of Ethics and Professional Issues

Objective for Goal 4: Through coursework and discussion in supervision during clinical practica, students will understand the application of the CPA Codes of Ethics, and Ontario licensure laws. Students will also be provided with opportunities to develop their
professional identity and gain an understanding of the multiple roles psychologists may play in an interdisciplinary healthcare setting.

Competencies expected for Goal 4: Students will successfully complete coursework in scientific and professional ethics in clinical psychology. Students will learn to develop effective professional interpersonal relationships and maintain professional boundaries in therapeutic relationships. Students reliably consider ethical issues and are able to identify and raise appropriate ethical concerns, anticipate possible ethical concerns, are able to reason through ethical dilemmas through supervision appropriately, and arrive at good ethical decisions. Students will also be sensitive to issues of confidentiality. During practica and residency, students will be active and co-operative members of the clinical team(s) they are assigned to, will engage in efforts to broaden their knowledge base (e.g., readings, workshops), and will reliably consider issues around professional development as these relate to their practice (e.g., boundary issues, gaps in knowledge).

Goal 5: Develop Knowledge of Issues related to Diversity and Individual Differences

Objectives for Goal 5: Through coursework, practica and predoctoral residency the consideration of issues related to diversity and individual differences are emphasized. Further, through discussion and supervision students will learn to recognize and address therapist/client diversity, and will learn to recognize the importance of individual differences and the avoidance of stereotyping.

Competencies expected for Goal 5: Students will be aware of and demonstrate sensitivity to issues of diversity (including cultural, language, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, age, religion, physical and emotional disability). Students will reliably consider issues of diversity or individual difference, will demonstrate self-awareness to their limits of competency in this area, and will seek appropriate consultation and/or supervision and additional resources (e.g., readings) to inform their practice.