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Clinical Training


The clinical psychology graduate program is devoted to training clinical scientists who are competent in the integration of science and practice. This training is conducted via coursework, foundational training at our in-house clinic (The Harris Center), and external practica. We also have an in-house APA-accredited predoctoral internship for students wishing to fulfill program requirements without having to relocate.

Course Work

Students enroll in several courses that directly inform their clinical training. In the first year, Dr. McGavran teaches Introduction to Clinical Psychology, which provides hands on training in therapeutic skills (i.e., asking questions, validation, risk assessment). Additionally, Drs. Martel and Adams teach the Psychological Assessment series that provides practical training in intellectual, diagnostic, and personality assessment. Dr. Widiger teaches Psychopathology, which provides the necessary information for students to recognize the mental health conditions that may present during their clinical training. In the second year, students enroll in Systems of Psychotherapy, during which Dr. McGavran provides an overview of specific therapeutic techniques (i.e., mindfulness, cognitive challenging) and the psychopathological mechanisms they engaged. Dr. McGavran also teach Multicultural Psychology, which encourages our students to consider the diverse perspectives of their clients. More advanced students are also required to take a seminar on an advanced topic in clinical psychology. For example, Dr. Martel teaches a course on therapeutic techniques for children, Dr. Sauer-Zavala teaches a course on transdiagnostic treatments for borderline personality disorder, and Dr. Badour teaches a course on trauma-informed therapy.

The Harris Center

Beginning in their second year, all graduate students works as therapists at the Jesse G. Harris, Jr. Psychological Services Center. Under the direction of Dr. Shannon Sauer-Zavala, the Harris Center is committed to providing accessible care to the community. Indeed, we offer a sliding fee scale that allows many of our patients to pay between $5 and $10 per session.

Foundational Therapy Training. Graduate student therapists typically start with one-on-one supervision, followed by group supervision as they progress through the program. The Harris Center typically serves adults and children seeking interventions for emotional disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression, PTSD, borderline personality disorder). There is also the opportunity to conduct diagnostic and intellectual assessments.

Assessment Training. At the Harris Center, we also provide assessments of learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD), intelligence and personality for both adults and children.

Advanced Training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Advanced students have the opportunity to gain in-depth training in providing DBT, an evidence-based approach for treating clients with borderline personality disorder and/or related emotional difficulties. Our comprehensive DBT program will include 1) individual and group services, 2) coaching calls, and 3) a consultation team.

Advanced Training in Program Administration. Students interested in gaining more experience in program administration may have the opportunity to serve as the Assistant Director of the Harris Center during their tenure at UK.

Click here for more information about training at the Harris Center.

Clinical Trials Training at The Clinic for Emotional Health

Our program also offers doctoral students with opportunities to gain experience being a part of clinical trials. Specifically, our students gain experience conducting structured and semi-structured psychodiagnostic assessments and delivering time-limited empirically-supported and evidence-based treatments for specific emotional disorders including depression, anxiety and related disorders (including OCD and PTSD), and borderline personality disorder. Each week, practicum students also engage in supervision, CEH staffing and case presentations, and CEH practicum seminar, which involves didactic training in implementation of empirically-supported and evidence-based treatments.

External Practicum Experiences

In addition to our programs in-house clinical training experiences (i.e., The Harris Center, CEH), external practicum sites are also available. Our students typically complete 2-3 external practicum experiences throughout their training. More information about specific external practicum opportunities can be found here.

Our Predoctoral Internship

In 2011, the UK Psychology Department initiated a doctoral internship training program in health service psychology, the University of Kentucky Internship Consortium Program (hereafter, referred to as ‘the Consortium’). The Consortium is exclusively affiliated with the UK Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology doctoral programs, meaning only students from these academic programs are eligible to apply. Our students often left the Commonwealth for their internship training and rarely returned once they finished the internship. We want to increase the number of these well-trained health service psychologists returning to the Commonwealth by providing an outstanding local internship based at the University of Kentucky. It is also recognized that UK Healthcare seeks to provide the highest quality of healthcare to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Medical outcomes research consistently demonstrates that the availability of health service psychology services to medical patients improves healthcare outcomes and reduces overall costs, particularly in primary care settings. The presence of a health service psychology internship program at the University of Kentucky increases the availability of psychology services to medical patients. Moreover, students in other healthcare professions have opportunities to work and learn from psychology interns who assist in healthcare delivery. Click here for a UKIC Fact Sheet