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M.A. (Clinical Psychology)

Core Training

Core Training Activities during the M1 Year

The M1 course is divided into phases:

Orientation period: This is an intensive five or six week period of introductory study and preparation. Students begin to develop the basic skills necessary for effective assessment and intervention with children and families and adult individual clients. These skills are necessary for the practical work with children and families, and individuals which also begins during orientation.

Training period: This extends from March to October and involves academic study, clinical training and supervision, workshops, case conferences, case management, and routine clinical activities. The focus is on problems of childhood and adolescence and of families, although training on general diagnostic psychiatry and psychotherapy is provided. Different approaches to therapy, courses on mental handicap, and training for work in community settings are given.

Observed case intakes and presentations of formulations are arranged in June and there is formal feedback on progress four times in the year.

a) Academic/training sessions

The training falls into the following broad areas, psychological assessment, psychodiagnostics and clinical intervention.

Psychological assessment: Comprehensive training in the process of psychological assessment is provided. Students are trained in collecting and collating data from different sources, administering and interpretation of data from various psychological tests, writing reports and giving feedback to parents and other referring agents.

Psycho-diagnostics: Training includes courses in childhood and adult psychopathology.

Clinical interventions: Training includes input from various therapeutic models, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behaviour therapy and family therapy. Various approaches to community interventions are another major focus. Short courses in play therapy, group therapy, and brief interventions are included.

b) Case conferences

Teaching case conferences where students present their work for group supervision are held weekly.

d) Case management

From March trainees carry a case load of up to five clients (which may be an individual, family or group) at any given time. Normally fourteen to sixteen hours per week are available for clinical case management. All aspects of clinical administration and record-keeping are expected to be punctually and exactingly carried out, including appropriate liaison and reports to GPs, schools and other professionals concerned with a case.

e) Training

Trainees undertake at least one training intervention in a community setting. Emphasis is placed on consultation and collaborative planning with the organisation requesting the intervention. Trainees may be required to give educational public talks related to clinical psychology from time to time.

f) Supervision

Each student is assigned a clinical supervisor who takes responsibility for the clinical guidance and detailed assessment of that student's performance. The students meet with their supervisors for 1½ hours per week.

Group supervision: This is provided for specific work such as psychological assessment, group work and family therapy.

g) Clinic attendance

Trainees are expected to be at the Clinic from 09.00, with the working day typically ending around 17.30 or 18.00. From time to time trainees will be required to attend evening or weekend classes or workshops. There will be approximately five weeks of vacation during the academic year. The dates of vacations are in the timetable for the year, available in February, but usually will be the same as UCT vacation periods in April, July and September.

h) Feedback sessions Five feedback sessions in which trainees receive detailed comment on their progress and on problem areas are scheduled over the year. More feedback may be given as necessary where problems are identified.