Clinical Training

The Clinical Psychology doctoral program encompasses broad scientific concepts while integrating the art of clinical practice. It also includes the core competencies outlined by the National Council of Schools and Program of Professional Psychology (NCSPP).

The clinical training sequence requires students to complete two years of practicum and one year of internship, and to attend quarterly clinical supervision and consultation groups. These requirements are described below.


Practicum training involves 16–20 hours per week of experience in clinical settings throughout the Puget Sound region. SPU works with a variety of sites, including medical centers, community mental health clinics, correctional facilities, and university counseling centers. You may apply to sites based on your clinical interests.

Clinical Psychology practicum definitions

  • Clinical skill set. Practicum involves the acquisition of a clinical skill set through supervised clinical practice.
  • Varied experiences. Practicum usually includes experiences in psychological assessment, diagnosis, psychotherapy, and treatment evaluation.
  • Professional skills development. Practicum may also include program development, third-party consultation, and other professional skills.
  • Approved supervisors. Practicum falls within the curriculum of the doctoral program; clinical supervisors must be a director of clinical training approved through a formal practicum agreement with the training site.
  • Evaluations. Practicum students and their supervisors must provide written quarterly evaluations to the director of clinical training.
  • Supervisory responsibility. Practicum supervisors maintain full clinical responsibility for all patients (clients) seen by students.

Practicum training competencies

Each student is evaluated on the following competency objectives, which appear on the Quarterly Practicum Student Evaluation form. Each quarter, you must meet with your clinical supervisor(s) to review each of these competencies.

Our program works to train you to develop the following competencies:

  • Application of evidence-based assessment and intervention skills through client and patient-care experiences at clinical practicum sites.
  • Establishment of therapeutic relationships with clients and patients.
  • Diagnostic interviewing skills and accurate diagnosing skills using the The American Psychiatric Association’s (2000) Diagnostic Statistics Manual (4th ed., text revision) (DSM-IV-TR).
  • Selection, administration, scoring, and interpretation of psychological and neuropsychological assessment instruments.
  • Effective report-writing skills.
  • Evidence-based psychotherapy skills — the ability to conceptualize clinical cases from a local clinical scientist model.
  • Case formulation skills from a therapeutic orientation(s), using an integrative view.
  • Skills in formulating interventions based upon diagnosis and case formulation.
  • Skills in learning cultural competencies through our students’ practicum clinical experiences.
  • The application of ethical principles and code of conduct guidelines to client and patient care practicum experiences.
  • Timely and effective case management in clinical practicum experiences.

Clinical supervision and consultation groups

Clinical Consult Groups (CCGs) are opportunities for small groups of students to consult with faculty members regarding applied clinical questions.

You are required to attend nine CCGs during each year of your practicum experience, and to be prepared to present one or more cases from your practicum position.

Each CCG will be organized around a particular clinical theme or method, and will frequently center on issues of professional development, ethics, and legal standards of practice.

Consultations are aimed at helping practicum students with case conceptualization and the learning of new clinical methodology, and to assist with better enacting a local clinical scientist model of practice. The CCG does not serve as a substitute for, extension of, or replacement for, onsite individual and group supervision provided by practicum site supervisors.


In the doctoral program you are required to complete a 12-month predoctoral psychology internship training experience. Each internship training site will have its own set of training expectations and objectives.

You will typically obtain internship training in medical centers or mental health settings. You are encouraged to apply to both regional and national training sites based on your clinical interests and professional goals.

The predoctoral clinical psychology internship application process at SPU follows the policies and procedures of the Association of Psychology Post-Doctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). You are expected to seek an internship through the APPIC matching process.

Amy Mezulis

Why I Teach at SPU

Amy Mezulis, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology

“I teach at SPU because of its balanced perspective on training both scientists and practitioners of clinical psychology. Mentorship is also a key component of our PhD program, and I strongly value the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way in the professional development of our students.”