Master of Arts in Applied Clinical Psychology Online Open House

good morning and thank you for joining us today for the virtual fair to discuss the applied clinical psych program I’m Mitchell Patterson associate director for Graduate Admissions we’re delighted to have with us today Dr Gina Brelsford the professor-in-charge of the applied clinical psychology program along with our colleague Dr. Stephanie Winkeljohn-Black before we get started can the two of you provide a little history about yourself and your professional background to share with the audience. Sure so I am the professor in charge of the applied clinical program and what that means is you’ll probably meet with me first when you come to campus if you have other questions you can always ask me as well after this presentation. I’m an associate professor of psychology and my area of research is focused mainly on looking at how people’s views of religion and spirituality be it helpful or harmful relate to their functioning in in life either within themselves or within their relationships that’s my main area of interest and also very much interested in resiliency factors so this high area positive psychology and the things that focus on well-being gratitude satisfaction in life things of that nature and my retraining is focused on working with children and families so that was my my start and some very yummy systems oriented and a cognitive behavioral person as well so that’s my background excellent thank you I am an assistant professor of psychology and my two areas of research are around multi cultural factors in psychotherapy so how can we help trainees and masters programs be as culturally responsive as possible to their clients and I particularly do that around religious and spiritual issues so for example in the age of Islamophobia how are we able to work effectively with clients that might come from a Muslim background for example the other area of research ties directly into my clinical training as someone who works with college students in their mental health and development so I look a lot at college student coping behaviors whether that be substance use certain types of repetitive thinking or casual sex behaviors to see how that impacts their well-being excellent excellent well we’re going to move into the meat of the program today we’re at Dr Brelsford represents an in-depth presentation about the applied clinical psych program and we’ll come back to you the audience once that’s done for a round table discussion so without further ado I’ll turn it over to Dr. Brelsford okay so I wanted to talk to you a little bit today about our program and it’s an applied clinical psychology program due to the fact that we are very interested in a scientist practitioner model of training which essentially means that after you complete this program you’ll be very much well-versed in clinical work with a variety of populations in addition to being mindful of consuming and producing research so it’s a very balanced approach our program is it’s fascinating in the sense that we want folks to come in and have a generalist type of model meaning that you can you learn how to work with variety populations however you can you can certainly tailor that to your program of your line of interest clinically and research wise I’ll talk more about that later but we really want to provide you with a general aspect of being a good therapist and researcher but then you can expand out to be more focused on your our area of interest our program when accompanied by an additional 12 credits in the state of Pennsylvania allows one to sip relation sure as a an LPC or licensed professional counselor in addition some students choose to attend our program and they find that this is a good indicator of future doctoral success so some of our students are really interested in acquiring additional clinical skills additional research skills and then applying to either Psy.D. or Ph.D. program in either

clinical or counseling psychology and this program certainly sets them up to be in a good position for that we also we mostly have full-time students you can complete the program in a part-time fashion but as of currently most of our pillow works are on a full-time basis which allows you to complete the program in two years plus one additional summer if you are going full-time so the overall model as I mentioned is a great very much a scientist practitioner model but we also focus on the bio psychosocial aspects of the individual we’re very health oriented which essentially means that we want to edify students and the differences related to diagnosis however we’re very much focused also on resilience and wellness and how to meet people where they are and to deal with some of the symptomology that they’re facing we are very much a focus on developing therapeutic skills which includes both assessment and intervention so some of our students are very interested in types of clinical assessments such as intellectual testing neuropsychological assessment we don’t specifically we have one course that they may touch on assessment but some of our students actually are placed in the field in which they are doing mostly assessments related to neuropsychological issues or other types of into intellectual issues we also have courses focused on ethics we really want people to come out of the program with the high level professionalism have a very clear understanding of an acculturation of ethics which means how their own ethical and personal values interact with professional values within psychology for entrance into our program we require a few things we look at the package of the student so on paper unfortunately we only have certain things we can look at but we have to start from a baseline of at least a 3.0 within the last 60 credits of your coursework that being the focus due to the fact that potentially students may have taken more psychology focus classes the latter half of their educational career so we want to understand how you fit in in undergrad and it has to be a four-year degree also does something else to be very clear about we all to require that students received a B or better in most statistics a statistics course or and a methods course and so those are very important criteria that you must pass in order to move on to the next level of review you also must have 18 credits in psychology or a related area some students do have classes that when we really dig a little deeper they might have 15 credits of psychology but then three credits is something related and certainly that’s where I come in looking at your transcript we also require three letters of recommendation which is again pretty standard two must be from academic sources and the third may be from another source be it your workplace not not a family or friends but some somebody that knows you too professional setting doesn’t know how to be an academic setting we love to have a brief statement of interest specifically why you want to come to Penn State Harrisburg what you’re looking to get out of this program if you can speak to your area of interest related to research or clinical work that’s also a bonus for us in regards to the GRE scores where we do look at verbal and quantitative scores in addition to the analytic score we do not have cut-offs per se but we want to see that students do fairly well in those areas and then after you passed that level of review we will invite you for a personal interview with at least two of our faculty that may be in person if possible or on the telephone and the reason for that is we want to see more right here or see more about you than just on paper because as you know this is an important program in which you go out in the world you interact with people and so we want to understand how you can interact with us prior to admission I did allude to this but so our program has a lot of coursework it’s it’s prescribed related to licensure at the LPC level in psychology at Pennsylvania but it’s 48 credits but that’s pretty standard in

regards to program requirements in a to that if you get 12 more credits then you can set for licensure it also we also require a total of 700 hours of supervised experience outside of the classroom and this is really where the rubber hits the road meaning that in the first hundred hours you work in a practical practicum course you go out and you meet with folks 400 hours half of which to be direct contact and you can talk more about that when when you meet with your practicum faculty supervisor the other 600 are what we call internship hours and they are more intensive and they can be spread out out over two or three semesters of time and that’s where you get more intensive clinical experience we also if you come from an outside institution we allow up to 10 transfer credits provided again that they were acquired at an accredited institution and they have a greater a of an A or B as the professor in charge I would evaluate your transcript I would I would make sure that those credits were applicable in our program and they could then be utilize for program completion as you know here there’s psychology core courses essentially those are just the course that provide a strong foundation in our field and you can see what they are here ethics and professional practice and psychology and counseling cultural competency a research methods course and statistics we also want you to understand biological basis of behavior sourcing how the brain relates to behavioral and cognitive functioning as well as we require a master’s paper which I’ll talk more about later we also have clinical core courses around 25 credits and those include the following we want people to be well versed in understanding human development clearly psychopathology is important and that’s understanding icd-10 or DSM diagnosis we want folks to be well versed in understanding I conduct a clinical interview and basic counseling skills we also want individuals to understand different theoretical models of psychotherapy and understand how to work with people in a group setting so group counseling skills we also as I mentioned earlier offer of course and tests and measures in this course is may be focused partially under a psychological assessment but in addition it’s it’s likely focused on intelligence assessments memory assessments and achievement assessments also personality assessments we also have a career counseling course so you understand about career assessment intervention and finally as I alluded to earlier and discussed a little bit with practicum clinical practicum and internship here’s an example sequence this is the sequence if you are full-time and as you can see here it doesn’t look like a lot of classes there’s typically three a semester and you likely came from a an undergrad situation where you took maybe five or six a semester I just want to guarantee you that this is a lot of courses and you will find that it’s more than enough to keep you entertained and edified throughout your time here and you can check out two in the summer we do require you to take a few courses also so you will be present for those two summers the last fall your third year is a possible meaning you don’t have to say that long if you complete your master’s paper the spring of your second year and you’re done with your internship credits by your second summer you may graduate in the summer of your second year some students find that to be very very enticing I already spoke about this but the just let me see if I can cover anything else we have practicum and internship and there again 100 and 600 hours and the courses again are really where you get the experience in the field you have both a clinical supervisor on site that you have to meet with one hour a week and you also have a supervisor that’s a faculty member that helps you with any type of procedural issues questions challenges that come up in that setting we’re there to support you and help you again that’s a classroom setting that you attend those courses and then you go out in the world you meet with clients and these placements can vary they can go from state or private institutions they are community mental health facilities they could be within and we have a local Med. Center, Penn State Hershey Medical Center which is our medical school about 15 minutes away some of our students are placed there both clinical and assessment work people work at prisons it’s you can actually go anywhere you want as long as there’s a licensed person that can

supervise you and it’s pre-approved so this is pretty cool because you can chart new territory for us let me talk to you briefly about the master’s paper without producing too much anxiety so we have this with we have this term volume masters paper it’s not called a thesis but it’s a high-caliber paper that’s a capstone experience conservatively it takes around a year to complete and that begins within your first semester in your methodology course in which you start to formulate a question that’s then refined and solidified possibly your second semester you then you must either conduct a study or you may do a conceptual paper you may develop an intervention or do a literature review and again you need to you would need to talk with your chair about that that’s a faculty member that you select and that they are willing to work with you on a research idea that may be something that they’re working on they may have a research idea that they can then you you can utilize portions of their of their data or you may come up with a new research project it’s it so the collaborative process it’s very important and again it supports our scientist practitioner model and we certainly can share more with you about that when you arrive on campus we do have some assistantship fellowships and scholarships and so just if you’re thinking of applying I just want to give you a couple of things to think about these are very competitive they are they are awarded by our College so to give you a little bit of rank down at Penn State we have multiple campuses we are at the Penn State Harrisburg campus we are one of the largest campus outside of University Park and we have a large graduate school graduate student presence more so undergrads we still have a large graduates to your presence we are then allowed to nominate some of you that are very very high achieving students or assistantships if you’re interested in that please submit your materials earlier so no later than January for us to review your application after that time it sometimes becomes more challenging if you’re a very high level competitive student in order for us to select you and put you up for that scholarship or fellowship we also have been lucky to have teaching assistantships and so if you’re interested in getting more teaching experience we’d love for you to apply for those you just submit your your resume or your CV to me and I, i’ll forward that on and you see may be selected to work with some of our faculty on teaching so those are some great things to look look at for our program in addition we have other things that extra curricular research opportunities the students can engage in every faculty member is engaged in some sort of research and so if you’re interested in research in addition to your master’s paper please go ahead and speak with us look at our bios online and you can check out some of our research interests also if students are very interested in presenting their research we would be happy to help you with that either through poster paper presentations at local or national conferences excuse me I myself attend the American tech so CSU conference on a yearly basis and so that’s kind of fun or if you’re wanting to stay local Eastern Psychological Association or the Pennsylvania Psychological Association we also have Penn State Harrisburg student research day and then we also have a graduate research exhibition at the University Park campus every year so those are really cool things if you’re interested let us know and we can try to help you secure some funding for that in addition we have this we have Psi Chi which may be familiar with which is our honor society and psychology you can continue that as a graduate student we also have this long acronym APA psh but it stands for implied Psychological Association a Penn State Harrisburg and in that program we have we would love students to become involved so the more involved you are the more fun the club is and more active the club is and it’s comprised of student officers with the faculty member advisor if you would like more information we have our program staff assistant listed here Mary Ann Sim she’s is amazing we also have Katie Martin who’s not listed here but we can get you information on her I also am available if you’ve any questions feel free to email me that’s probably the best way to get in touch with me and I’m sure Dr. Winkeljohn-Black would also be open to contacting her and you can get her information online absolutely so thank you well thank you thank you both in particular Dr. Brelsford that

was a really stimulating presentation and chuck full of information about the applied clinical psych program we’re going to transition into the round table discussion we’re for the viewing audience please chime in with Google Hangouts if you have any particular questions for us we’ll be happy to answer them within a lot of time that’s given for the program but I’ll start to keep the program underway you’ve shared a lot of information about ACP can you go a little further to explore opportunities in career pathways that exist within the program that students once they complete the ACP program where they headed where but in terms of jobs and opportunities in careers because that’s a lot of questions that I get when I’m not yeah absolutely sure well I mean one thing that goes back to that research practitioner model that we’ve been talking about is that students really have pathways and in both of those trajectories so it’s very typical for students to pursue licensure in Pennsylvania or perhaps another state it’s also possible for folks to continue on either as a full-time researcher or pursuing a doctoral degree so all of these are certainly the broad pathways Dr. Brelsford has been here a little bit longer so I don’t know if there are others outside of that that you could speak to I think I think that probably if the general gist of where students end up you know I think one of the things I want to make clear is sometimes students you know have come into the program by a way of wanting a doctoral degree and and we all know how very very competitive that is and so some of our students come in and then they’re so they they do need that that support to understand what does the master do for that I’m gonna let them know this degree is very impressive also yes you can do a lot of what Dr. Winkeljohn-Black and I do you can actually teach for us if you’re one of those star students and we have our students come back if you’re willing and teach are 100 200 level courses so that’s something people know really it’s that you’re interested in teaching at for example a community college level that’s the thing that potentially would be useful as well now that may be an adjunct in addition to clinical work but if you really have a passion for teaching it’s not a lot of touch for you also we are blessed to have this Medical Center really close to us here so there’s been some inroads that have happened with our with our students and in in amazing situations in which they become project managers or they’re involved in research in some way part of that too is just you know while you’re here making connections once so you can do a lot of things and people from this program come from on the country and around the world yes so we often have at least one or two international students a year out of our cohort around fifteen people and many of our students are not from Pennsylvania no if you’re from Pennsylvania that’s great – yes but we have people that come from because there are not there there’s a small number of clinical psychology masters programs and it’s a strong program so you can do a lot of it excellent excellent I think it’s fair to say among all the psych programs that we have here that this is probably the most comprehensive and the most rigorous there’s a lot to be gained you think about a 60 credit program I liken that to something of an MSW the administrator for Clinical MSW so it’s a very very comprehensive program with that being said we you alluded to earlier with the hundred clinical hours and 600 hours of supervision internship that’s a lot that’s really so and we have students convert that experience into as you alluded to with clubs and organizations and opportunities to present at professional conferences or published papers at conferences and presented at conferences that can cite Association or things of that nature ah well so typically the internship process doesn’t necessarily link very much to our research presentations the research typically comes out of the work with for example Stephanie and I and the students working with us that’s not to say maybe you’re working out of placement in there so let me use myself in this example so I offered students opportunity to work in an intervention setting past few years I happen to be part of a project you know a professor and so they could do an intervention but also as research-based

right so they can do both absolutely it’s more typical though that 700 hours is area tents clinically focused and that’s the meat of that and then they can addition to that I do this research when I asked that yeah absolutely I had a sort of similar thought of well they’re they’re typically separate for all intents and purposes that being said a lot of us that are faculty will often talk about how our clinical work will influence our research and vice versa which is really the ideal in the field so for example in my clinical work that I conduct about one day a week if I’m meeting with someone who has a particular cultural background that has me thinking about a research construct in a different way I’m absolutely going to take that back to the lab I run with some grad students and talk through that with them and encourage them to do the same when they go on their clinical practice so there is that possibility certainly right now in terms of actually conducting research it does sound like a lot and it is a lot but it’s very possible to do both so to present at conferences and be involved clinically right now I have three graduate students in my lab who are all gearing up in their first semester to submit posters to the Eastern Psychological Association and what that’s done for them to certainly I think all three of them is it’s given them a better idea of what that master’s paper is that would look like for them whether it’s the constructs they’re actually going to pick or just a better understanding of the timeline and feasibility issues that might come along with devising a research study yeah absolutely so in a psychology as a whole you know as undergrads you know they become generalists but as you move up the rank and file what makes the applied clinical psych program special, unique that’s that’s different from other institutions that you will well I may be biased but I think I’ve been here for a long enough time that I’ve seen growth and change in it and I think that’s always a good thing can you painful that it’s a good thing and I think Penn State as an institution has a lot of weight in a good way so for example our our master’s program I think it’s very rigorous and it’s challenging yet we care about our students for the fair we want people to be successful I often say to my students I feel like you’re an extension of me going out in the world you know so it’s I I try we try our very best to give you the best education that we can in addition to that wherever you go in the world if you if you talk about Penn State generally people know that’s an in that’s an in road because as I mentioned people generally know everyone’s home cut something that comes to this program tonight in road it’s a great way to join with people that may not even be in psychology if you’re talking to CEO of a company you know you want to work for and all of a sudden they’re like oh you went to Penn State to you there’s so there’s there’s great things about it and we’re in the beauty also of our program is were on this smaller campus so you will know people you will know all the faculty you will get to know all the graduate students in your cohort well they’ll become like second family to you and you also have the larger Penn State institution for resources so it’s fantastic yeah the two things that spring to mind for me are two things that when I was an applicant going to your programs I’m not sure I would have known to look for the first is the smaller cohort size the fact that it’s about 15 people I personally find very attractive every year because that means that that faculty-student ratio is pretty ideal and you can also work with your students in a in a closer way whether that’s on a research project or APA psh the other thing that I wouldn’t have known to look for is to consider what clinical and research opportunities are nearby so we have a lot of research active faculty and we have as Dr Brelsford mentioned the Hershey Medical Center nearby psychology is becoming more and more integrative with other health professions we’re really pushing toward more of a health model as a profession and so having those things so accessible and so close by with established partnerships already is a huge plus excellent well it alludes to my next question Dr. Winkeljohn-Black gets to talk about health models versus and difference what’s for the stress is the strength versus the weakness in one or are they pitted against one another how does that work here at Penn State Harrisburg it’s a good question typically certainly where psych. emerged was out of pathology focus certainly so understanding abnormal psychology is probably a term you’ve heard and really

a fixation on diagnosis as we veer away from that our program in particular emphasizes a strengths-based approach that’s why you also take classes and things on career counseling and in development to understand what other processes that are perhaps a bit more normative or going on for people and where are the stressors and the struggles within those as it is and so ideally what you’re left with is this understanding of the uniqueness of maybe human struggle and so students are really trained not to consider pathology so much as this unit dimensional you know dimensional part of who someone is but they’re seeing the whole person that also comes through I think with our multicultural courses absolutely yeah the whole curve I think I was beautifully stated so I don’t want to add not more than don’t know person approach I think is it’s really you know the essence of of what we do and so and I think that that’s I think that’s not a cutting edge thing but I think that that’s a huge strength for our program also right and I think too it shows how how much this program really has its ear to the ground in terms of what is coming down the pipeline in our field so where are the values headed they’re headed toward again health integration and a whole person are well with that being said with the I call that the CCC the clinical core of courses that exist within it you know there’s a lot that’s that’s wrapped around the program in itself and again the pathways it as to which students are planning can we pull out some of the strengths or some of the areas that you really think are really robust as to why interviewing and counseling and theory versus psychosocial model why are they important for students and how does that relate to a CV well so my my perspective is the way we teach these courses is very hands-on so for example interviewing you will actually do there they’re not real per se but you will actually have some interviews that will be very much review you will this is a bit painful for students you will see yourself on the big screen you can use – it’s just part of the way it is and so you get feedback you get both I just speak about this the other night positive and negative feedback of that and so we call I call it a growing edge things you could work on because once you get out in the world there’s really there’s less of that outside of the program and so that’s really important in our group counseling class we want you to know what it’s like to feel like being in a group so I the really cool thing about I like about that class is we we actually have students run a group and so it becomes – serves two purposes one both a student can lead the group amongst their peers but also it becomes a support system yes so when I taught that course students have thank you can we continue to meet after the semester is over I said heck yeah you want to you know I mean that because although at times could have been challenging within those groups they learned a lot about themselves in addition to the skill set so I think the more you can apply to the self more likely is to stick in the hands-on component is really critical one thing I’ve been doing in the psychopathology class I’m teaching is I’ve actually Robin a standardized patient so it’s a paid actor who comes in and I write up a script of symptoms that they display and they have a whole back story because again we’re focused on the whole person and actually the nursing faculty have been really supportive and helping me devise standardized patients because this is something they do and other health professions for learning and students had you know a lot of fun but also more spectra the challenges of diagnosis and what it is to actually be with a person in the room so that simulated experience is something we’re working on bringing into a couple other courses as well that’s excellent that’s really excellent I know this is all about psychology in applied clinical psych., but I often think about and I’m asking this is a question for both of you in the ways of the psychosocial aspect because the psychology is how we think of the sociological aspect in terms of behavior so how does that acted out while being performed with actors in the room if you will be it in a classroom and then in real life what do you see as the impact that students are able to produce once this is all done again because we live in a very very fast-moving changing world a lot of things are coming at us all the time but can you just sort of give me a quick summary about the again the sociological aspects of this also

works the first thing that came to mind for me it was actually in working with my students in the standardized patient most recently and the thing that they reflected on in their first semester which is a whirlwind your acclimating to the program you have all these new classes you’re thinking about your master’s paper they realized that a big takeaway was that they had to slow down and be present with another person which again I know I’m hammering it but it really speaks to that whole person approach and they realized that it’s important as it was to get through all these questions on their paper for diagnostic purposes they also have to listen they also have to be present and hear actively what this other person was saying and I would argue that those skill sets are critical wherever you go regardless of whether or not you’re gonna pursue clinical work full-time um I think again so I think it’s great when we teach these courses we learn right yes which is fantastic so one of the big things in ethics that I typically teach is the idea of what we call general principles our aspirational principle and these are basically guidelines that we are in our professional like we live by for example beneficence non malfeasance or non-maleficence integrity justice so I want students to think about again not acculturation meaning so how does your the way you see the world interact with a professional and and I believe those that juxtaposition of the two isn’t it’s not necessarily easy but if somebody comes into the field for the right reasons you know being the greater good I think that’s sociological aspect and going out into the world it makes it makes everything it makes everything better that might sound you know a little bit Pollyanna but it’s definitely something that I want our students to be good stewards in the world of of things that make our world better and and I think so it’s it’s an it is about the person but it’s also bigger than the person and so I think that’s vital it vitally important to me absolutely our students all right appreciate both of you so we’re going to turn to the listening audience to see if anyone that’s out there from Google Hangouts would like to send us a question for either a Dr. Brelsford or Dr. Stephanie Winkeljohn-Black linkage on we’ll be happy to answer those questions but if not that’s that’s fine too I would like to thank you both for sharing a wonderful wonderful presentation about the applied clinical psychology program here at Penn State Harrisburg and again for our listening audience please check us out this video will be uploaded at the ACP homepage where you can learn more information about the appliance and insight program and you can send email phone calls to either professor here all right well thank you and have a great day