Students are placed as externs (also known as practicums students) at a practicum site during each of their four years of training. Practicum experiences during the fifth year are optional. Practicum experiences reflect a graduated progression through increasingly integrated and independent experiences that allow for the integration of academic knowledge and practical experience.
The practicum experiences during the first and second years of training are specifically coupled with academic courses in psychological and behavioral assessment, behavioral and cognitive behavioral interventions, and other evidence-based treatments. The faculty instructors of the courses provide supervision of the skills being taught and discussions of the integration of academic knowledge with practical experience takes place in the classroom and in supervision. First and second year practica are housed in part in the Program’s on-campus training clinic, the Tulane University Psychology Clinic for Children and Adolescents.
Practicum experiences during subsequent years are uncoupled from specific academic courses, as students move from acquiring specific clinical skills to integrating those skills to provide a full range of health services in schools, hospitals, and community settings. Third and fourth year students rank their preferences for practicum site each year, with third year students typically limited to school-based sites and fourth year students typically limited to hospital/community-based sites. During the third and fourth years, students are supervised both by faculty trainers and on-site supervisors as they learn to accommodate different viewpoints and contexts in carrying out their work. Students will have experiences within practicum to learn how to deliver telehealth services.
Students enrolled in practicum also participate in group supervision. Each cohort meets together for small group supervision, which focuses on didactic learning, case presentations, and professional development. Once a month, the full program meets for large group supervision, which aims to build community, provide opportunities for shared learning, and foster self-reflection. Individual and group supervision is also provided to students at practicum sites. Students may occasionally be supervised via telesupervision, especially in the context of public health crises.
Students have access to assessment materials, scoring programs, and intervention resources through their practicum sites, the School Psychology Library, and the Psychology Clinic for Children and Adolescents.