CCAP Program

Read the Program Brochure

CCAP Program Statistics

Program Overview

Introduction

The program in Clinical Psychology: Applied Developmental is a CPA accredited clinical psychology training program that follows a scientist-practitioner model. The main objective of this combined MA and PhD program is the training of graduate students for work as clinical and academic psychologists through a prescribed curriculum offering both clinical and developmental perspectives on the difficulties children, youth and families may encounter.

Students entering the M.A. program do so with the understanding that they are expected to pursue admission to the doctoral degree by first completing the M.A. degree with a research thesis. Students entering the Ph.D. program from other universities do so with the understanding that they are required to complete all the required M.A. level courses for which they do not have equivalent course work. In this way we attempt to ensure that all of our doctoral graduates meet the requirements for registration as psychologists and for working as psychologists in clinical, school, academic, and research positions.

Mission

The Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (CCAP) Program’s mission is to cultivate excellence through developing and training child clinical psychologists within a scientist-practitioner model.  Children, adolescents, and their families face numerous challenges and also present with many strengths and resources to address these challenges and improve life.  Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists have much value to contribute to this end. 

Philosophy and Training Model

The Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology Program is based on the scientist-practitioner model. Our overriding programmatic goal is to prepare clinical child psychologists with an orientation that considers psychopathological processes and relevant diagnostic implications, while also incorporating a solid foundation in development, including the understanding of the inherent strengths and resources that children, adolescents and families possess.  Students are required to demonstrate thorough knowledge and skill in research, clinical skills (assessment and diagnosis, intervention, clinical supervision), and ethics, standards and professionalism.

A range of instructional experiences has been designed to operationalize our training model. Through formal courses and seminars, students are expected to acquire foundational knowledge and skills of the discipline. The relationship with the thesis supervisor and advisory committee serves to enhance their ability to undertake progressively independent research across the program. Topics in core clinical courses specifically address the developmental, academic, social, and emotional challenges that children and adolescents may face such that students are prepared to meet these challenges with relevant knowledge and skills on practica and internship. Clinical skills are further developed within a broad array of structured training experiences, including ongoing open practica and a focused CBT practicum in the program’s clinic: The Centre for Psychological Services, as well as external practicum placements, and predoctoral internship. Additional learning opportunities are available including monthly Clinical Program Meetings organized around clinical research, professional issues, and clinical issues, and special-topic workshops offered to the entire program. We purposefully cultivate a learning context to model and foster the highest professional standards in research, teaching, supervision, and clinical practice.

Values

The CCAP program attempts to foster the following values in our students and faculty as they carry out their teaching, research, and professional responsibilities:

Excellence

Ethical behaviour

Integration of science, scholarship, and clinical practice

Inclusion and responsiveness to diversity

Critical inquiry

Self-reflection

Compassion

Flexibility and creativity

Commitment to lifelong learning

Community engaged and impactful research

Engagement with and service to communities

Innovation

Goals and Objectives:

Within a competency framework, our program emphasizes three broad goals, each of which is associated with a number of more specific objectives:

1. The development of scholarly and research skills

2. The development of clinical skills

3. The development of ethical and professional conduct

All of these culminate in the defense of a PhD thesis and the successful completion of one year of internship year in a clinical setting. At the end of their formal training, graduates of the CCAP programme are prepared to undertake the professional life of a clinical psychologist (supervised practice) working with children and adolescents in clinical, clinician-scientist, and academic settings. These goals and objectives are described more fully below:

1. To provide training in scholarly and research skills related to the practice of clinical psychology.

Students are provided with experiences that develop their knowledge, ability to critically reflect on that knowledge and pose appropriate questions.  Students are progressively supported in their ability to conduct increasingly independent research as well as the ability to communicate their knowledge to scholarly and community audiences. In the MA, an ethics in psychology course (PSYC*6880) focusing on the CPA Code of Ethics and the TriCouncil Policy Statement on the Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans provides the foundation of ethical understanding which is built upon throughout the remainder of the program.

a. Students will acquire broad knowledge of theory and research in clinical child and adolescent psychology and in-depth theoretical and research knowledge within their research area.

Across all coursework, practica and research experience, students acquire a broad range of theory and empirical research integral to the science of clinical psychology. Students receive extensive didactics on psychopathological disorders of childhood and adolescence and also on the shaping effect of developmental and environmental contexts. Our complement of courses systematically and progressively addresses these topics (See Appendix A for CCAP Course of Studies).  In line with our mission, the CCAP Program emphasises foundational training in developmental psychology (PSYC*6630) early in the MA program to provide students with important knowledge about typical development in childhood and adolescence and build understanding of developmental research literature.  A course in developmental psychopathology (PSYC*6000) also emphasizes the acquisition of theory and empirical research related to a diverse array of childhood psychopathology.  Coursework is complemented by other learning opportunities in our monthly Clinical Programme Meetings in which internal and external speakers present on clinical research (in addition to meetings on clinical issues/competencies and professional practice issues).  Students are also encouraged to attend the Department’s Distinguished Speaker Series and other areas' colloquia to gain broader awareness of psychological research and scholarship.  Each student is also immersed deeply in their own program of research, gaining facility with theory and empirical literature relevant to their ongoing inquiry. 

b. Students will attain knowledge of statistics, methodology in research, psychometrics, and programme evaluation as a basis for investigating research questions posed and evaluating treatment/program effectiveness.

Our program has several required courses in research design and statistics (PSYC*6060), multivariate analysis (PSYC*6380), program evaluation (PSYC*6840) and psychological measurement (PSYC*7070).  This coursework and the mentorship provided by faculty research advisors supports students in undertaking their own program of research across the MA and PhD degrees.  At minimum, students focus on these two large projects that culminate in a written thesis or dissertation and two oral defenses of the respective documents. MA and PhD research involves the analysis of data (quantitative and/or qualitative) and ensures that all students will demonstrate the knowledge gained in methodology courses. Most students also engage in other research opportunities within their own lab or in research assistantships under the supervision of faculty other than their research advisor.  These mentoring relationships provide ongoing developmental experiences of putting research knowledge and skill into practice with diverse clinical, school, family, community and individual populations.

c. Students will develop the competence to conceptualize, formulate, and communicate findings of their independent research.

Literature reviews and critical reading of empirical studies in all of the content courses provide students with the basis for conceptualizing their research direction. Such foundational experiences are elaborated within the context of the student-research advisor relationship.  The program requires that students complete and defend a thesis at the Master’s level and a doctoral dissertation to ensure that they develop and demonstrate research competence. In addition, the PhD Qualifying Examination includes a component that requires students to synthesize and integrate the research literature broadly related to their dissertation work.

All courses require written and oral assignments that entail such requirements as literature reviews, thought papers, critiques, and oral presentations.  The Qualifying Examination gives students further experience integrating theoretical perspectives, methodological issues and research findings.  Generation and submission of a written MA thesis and PhD dissertation and the subsequent oral defense provide opportunities to demonstrate skill in communicating research findings in both an oral and written format. The majority of our students are involved in presenting their research at conferences and/or preparing manuscripts for publication, as well as collaborating with faculty on the preparation of additional manuscripts.  In sum, there are many opportunities to build on and assess the communication of research within the graduate programme.

2. The development of clinical skills

Our program places a strong emphasis on the development of our students’ competencies in assessment, intervention and consultation/supervision.  Responding to the challenges children and youth face requires that clinical psychologists working with children and adolescents be able to expertly assess the problems, strengths, and contexts in which their clients/patients are situated.

a. Students will acquire interviewing skills to work with children and the adults with whom they interact such as parents, teachers, and other professionals.

In their first year of training, students are trained and supervised by the Clinic Director to complete phone intakes for our onsite CPS clinic.  Also, in MA1, students take Cognitive and Integrated Assessment courses (PSYC*6690 and PSYC*6010). These courses are intentionally dovetailed with their practicum activities at CPS and include material on basic interviewing skills. In their first year, students will shadow faculty and senior student clinicians at CPS and, commensurate with their level of skill, participate directly in the provision of some services. In MA2, students complete a course in Clinical Diagnostic and Interviewing Skills (PSYC*6020) that has a major experiential component. During their open practica (PSYC*7991) at CPS in their MA2 year, students also participate as a junior interviewer and member of our In Person Intake Team in which they have the opportunity to lead and observe several intake interviews of children, adolescents and parents. Finally, all of the practicum courses (PSYC*7991, 7992, 7993, 7994) provide opportunities for supervised experience with interviewing.

b. Students will develop the knowledge and skills to conduct a broad range of psychological assessments of children and adolescents.

Students receive extensive training and supervision in assessment across our graduate program as detailed below.  A major strength of our program is the intentional dovetailing of the assessment courses taught by core faculty and practicum activity at CPS, which is overseen by Clinical Faculty Supervisors at CPS across the entire graduate program. All assessment courses (PSYC*6690 Cognitive Assessment of Children and Adolescents; PSYC*6610 Integrated Cognitive Assessment; PSYC*6700 Social and Personality Assessment; PSYC*6020 Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing) include didactic instruction in assessment theory, measurement constructs, and assessment instruments. All coursework is applied in practica, providing students with the opportunity to refine their assessment skills through working with children and families referred for psychological assessments.

Two terms of assessment didactics are provided in the first year of our program. PSYC*6690 provides theory related to psychometric theory and principles of standardized testing.  This course focuses on intellectual assessment with an emphasis on administration, scoring and interpretation of standardized intellectual assessment measures.  Students are also trained in qualitative and observational techniques to understand a child’s behaviour from both a developmental and psychopathology framework.  Students are introduced to basic case formulation and report writing through practical activities and case presentations. By the end of this course students are expected to demonstrate competency in the administration, scoring, interpretation and report writing of the WISC-V; in addition, they are introduced to and able to critically evaluate other measures of intellectual ability.  Students in PSYC*6010 learn to administer and interpret tests of academic achievement and psychological processes (e.g., tests of phonological processing, memory and language). The ability to integrate and write reports from test data from a variety of sources (observations, interviews, checklists, and cognitive tests) is a key learning outcome of this course.

In the second year of the program, students broaden their assessment knowledge and skill into areas of personality and psychopathology. In PSYC*6700, students are introduced to a broader range of assessment methods including projective tests, personality measures, adaptive behaviour instruments, and family measures (e.g., Family Relations Test). Specific instruments geared to particular psychopathological conditions and issues are applied to mock cases (e.g., individuals presenting with affective and mood disorders, anxiety disorders and phobias, oppositional and conduct disorders). Students are provided with detailed assessment information on these mock cases which entail complex psychopathology and are required to formulate each case and write a report stemming from it. Students also gain knowledge and practice with conducting structured clinical interviews and intermediate risk assessment methods in PSYC*6020.

All of these aforementioned assignments and onsite practicum experiences (PSYC*7991) serve as preparatory work for PSYC*7992 (Practicum II), the assessment based practicum that is normally completed within the psychological services department of a school board; less frequently, it might also be completed within assessment clinic in hospital or community mental health setting. In this setting, students handle referrals from intake interview through feedback to clients, parents and teachers. In their ongoing assessment training at the Centre for Psychological Services across the program via PSYC*7991, students receive further opportunity to refine report writing skills.

c. Students will develop skill in differential diagnosis and case formulation

All assessment courses use some form of case-based learning in which students are given mock cases to work through, including diagnostic considerations. PSYC*6690 and PSYC*6610 provide a solid foundation in methods of assessment and neurodevelopmental diagnoses (e.g., Learning Disorders, Language Disorders, Autism, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Developmental Psychopathology (PSYC*6000) and Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing Skills (PSYC*6020) provide concentrated study in the nature of and diagnostic markers of disorders of childhood and adolescence. PSYC*6020, Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing Skills provides practical training in clinical and diagnostic interviewing. Training is provided in structured interviews such as the ADIS, SCID, and KSADS. The major summative assignment in Foundations in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (PSYC*6580) is to demonstrate the ability to formulate a case from three major systems of psychotherapy (e.g., CBT, Family Systems and Psychodynamic).

d. Students will develop knowledge and skill regarding the provision of evidence-based intervention for children and adolescents

In the MA program, students are introduced to research highlighting the best evidence-based interventions for prominent child and adolescent disorders in the Developmental Psychopathology (PSYC*6000). 

In the PhD program, PSYC*6580 (Foundations in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy), PSYC*7994 (CBT Practicum), and PSYC*6610 (Advanced Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy) provide the academic background for the development of practical therapeutic skills to be applied and developed in a sequence of practica. Major theoretical approaches are covered in these courses, including Behavioural, Cognitive-Behavioural (including third wave ACT and DBT approaches), Psychodynamic, Family Systems, and Emotion-Focused. Our program emphasizes an in-depth and experiential focus on Cognitive-Behaviour therapy.  Students gain competency with the theory and practice of CBT for child and adolescent mental health challenges, gain facility with treatment manuals, group delivery and undertake at least two ongoing therapy cases with a CBT approach. 

During these classes, there are opportunities to role-play various aspects of therapy from obtaining consent to applying particular strategies or techniques. PSYC*7994 is taught within our onsite clinic and students engage in an applied practicum component supervised by a core clinical faculty member (students are to complete at least one therapy case within this course).  Students in their early years also have the opportunity to follow the cases of senior students or experienced therapists as part of their supervision group at the CPS. 

Across the PhD, students take on therapy cases at the onsite clinic supervised by Clinical Faculty Supervisors and the Clinic Director.  In ongoing individual and group supervision related to these cases, students refine their psychotherapeutic skills in a developmental supervision model. Other clinical faculty (beyond the immediate supervisor) may be brought in as consultants on individual cases. It is the joint responsibility of the DCT and the Clinic Director to ensure that students receive exposure to a broad range of therapy cases and sufficient breadth of intervention approaches across their PhD training. To that end, students participate in a community or hospital-based practicum with a strong intervention component in PhD 2 (PSYC*7993).  In these settings, they implement therapies for a variety of difficulties and disorders depending on the nature of their site.

On a more informal basis, students are exposed to a wide range of discussions of effective therapeutic decision-making in their supervision groups at CPS and in our monthly Clinical Program Meeting series.  These venues are used to discuss difficult cases and possible means of reaching clinically appropriate ends. Students, faculty and the Clinic Director participate in these gatherings. Using the experiences gleaned from coursework on intervention and their own casework, students are directed toward a consideration of their own process as clinicians and a broad understanding of factors that affect the outcome of therapy.

e. Students will develop consultative and supervisory skills.

Successful consultation requires good communication skills. These skills are developed across the program including in the assessment courses (PSYC*6690, 6010, 6700, 6020) and practica (PSYC*7991, 7992, 7993, 7994) with an emphasis on how to gather background information from others for a given case, how to provide feedback to parents and professionals, how to shape recommendations to be positively received and to how to facilitate their implementation. These skills are also partly developed through the course in Program Evaluation (PSYC*6840) in which students learn how to interview stakeholders as to their goals and objectives. In PhD3, students engage in our new Clinical Supervision, Consultation and Professional Development (PSYC*7996).  This course focuses on the Supervisory Relationship, Models of Supervision, Supervision Skills as well as broader consideration of professional development at this stage of training including a focus on consultation, preparation for internship and eventual registration as a psychologist. Students will become familiar with the professional literature relevant to supervision, gain competency with ethical, culturally-competent clinical supervision, and explore their own development as a supervisor. Students also gain supervised supervision experience at CPS as senior members of our In Person Intake Team and by supervising work of junior students on assessment or therapy cases.  

3. The development of ethical and professional conduct

A psychologist must abide by a rigorous Code of Ethics and relevant legislation in their professional duties (teaching, clinical work, research, etc.). For example, to respond effectively to the difficulties that our clients face, psychologists in training must be compassionate and sensitive to individual difference, adhere to ethical and legal standards and have an opportunity to learn, see modeled and practice complex ethical decision-making, including a consideration of the relevant provincial and federal legislation. These are qualities that we intentionally develop in our students over the course of their studies.

a. Students will acquire knowledge of the guidelines for ethics in psychology and standards of professional practice. They will develop expertise in reasoning about and responding to ethical dilemmas. They will also have a working knowledge of jurisprudence issues related to the practice of psychology.

All students in the Psychology Department’s graduate programs are required to take a quarter course in Ethical Issues in Psychology (PSYC*6880) taught by a core clinical faculty member.  Our students take this course in the first year of the MA program. This course focuses on the CPA Code of Ethics and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans – 2nd Edition as the two flagship sources of ethics for Canadian psychologists. Through this course, students gain experience in applying the CPA Ethical Decision Making Process to ethical dilemmas and critically reflecting on the application of the CPA and TCPS-2 codes of ethics on their professional activities. A second quarter course, Legislation and Professional Practice (PSYC*6890), designed specifically for our clinical students, follows the ethics course in the PhD program and builds on the ethics course by also incorporating an explicit emphasis on relevant provincial and federal legislation. The PSYC*6890 course includes a special "real world" assignment in which students are asked to design a draft policy or guideline to meet the needs of the CPS in a particular capacity while considering ethics, standards of conduct, and legislation (e.g., social media use, updated consent forms, considerations regarding electronic medical records). Ethics, legislation, and professional practice issues are also interwoven into all other clinical content courses, as well as course meetings accompanying practicum placements, and Clinical Program meetings. In addition, practicum supervisors discuss ethical and professional practice issues to increase awareness, knowledge and ethical practice.       

b. Students will be sensitive to issues of diversity and intersection of identities and will attend to these issues in their self-reflective practice, research and clinical contexts.

Coursework in most of the core courses addresses diversity issues across a number of dimensions (e.g., race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, socio economic status, etc.). For example, in most of the assessment courses (PSYC*6690, 6010, 6020, 6700) students are alerted to the importance of selecting instruments that take into account clients’ competency in English and are assisted in understanding how to interpret their findings in view of a client’s disadvantage and marginalization. They are taught to ensure that these factors are taken into account in their psychological assessment and reports and addressed in their recommendations to schools and other community agencies. In assessing the presence of specific disorders, students are alerted to the importance of cultural factors in the genesis and maintenance of specific behaviour problems. They are assisted in becoming aware of behavioural patterns that may prevail among members of different cultural or marginalized groups and how these practices may be misinterpreted by members of the dominant culture. In the area of intervention, students are alerted to the importance of taking into account their client’s culture of origin and the diverse practices/experiences  that may be relevant in determining treatment choices and forms of intervention. A sample of readings in diversity from across courses is provided in Appendix I. Group and individual supervision at the Centre for Psychological Services also frequently includes a discussion of diversity in its various forms. At the same time, however, students are taught not to stereotype members of different cultures/experiences without due consideration for the large degree of variability of individuals with diverse identities.

c. Students will identify with and seek to embody the professional role of psychologist.

Throughout the program, students work closely with and are mentored by core clinical and Clinical Supervisor Faculty within CPS. These faculty all model the highest standards of professional comportment as registered psychologists. Several of our Clinical Program Meetings have addressed professional development issues (e.g., self-care) and some coursework addresses relevant professional role development issues as well.  For example, in the CBT practicum course (PSYC*7994) students participate in several planned discussions to address various professional issues (e.g., self-disclosure and boundaries with clients). Students are encouraged to become members in professional associations including the CPA.  Students receive feedback on their professional and interpersonal skills on every practicum evaluation received across the program. The recently developed required course PSYC*7996 (Clinical Supervision, Consultation and Professional Development) aims to support students in their transition from graduate student to professional psychologist.