(Closed) Help with Graduate School for Clinical Psychology (Number of Issues)

posted 5 years ago in College
Post # 2
Member
854 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I have been a licensed clinical social worker for many years and am working on my dissertation for my PhD now. I have an undergrad degree in psych and had a GPA of 3.94. I applied to Clinical psych programs right out of undergrad and was only waitlisted. I had published, worked in the field, kept my grades up, everything. Those programs are SUPER competitive. They are also focused on research- not practice. I got into an MSW program, held my 4.0 and then got into a PhD program in Behavioral health. I had to publish my thesis and work some more years though before I got in.

If you want to work as a therapist, the best, most widely licensed and widely recognized degree for insurance companies is the masters in social work. It is a terminal, licensable degree on it’s own. Other masters degrees in marriage and family counseling or even art therapy are not easily licenable. Insurance companies are not likely to pay many folks with those degrees and there is not much license reciprocity across state lines either. 

That being said, plese also consider what kind of therapy you want to do. The trend, because all research points to success, is towards evicence based therapies. Art therapy is not paid for by most insurance because it is not evidence based. The kinds of therapy that are recommended and ahve beeen shown to be very effective are trauma based cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, abusing families cognitive processing therapy and parent child interactive therapy. All of these are evidence based. I provided trauma therapy for 3 years at a widely respected center in Seattle before moving.

It’s tough to find a job with a psych degree and the temptation to get a higher degree right away is understandable. Maybe look into an MSW program or perhaps work in the field for awhile. Lots of states don’t require masters degrees for case managers in public child welfare. You would learn quite a bit and get some experience that could help you get into grad school given that your grades weren’t the best. You’d have benefits but as with any social service jobs- they don’t always pay that well. If your state is unionized then you’d make pretty good money.

Good luck! It’s a tough field and we need way more caring people to do these jobs!

Just my $.02.

Post # 3
Member
530 posts
Busy bee

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Birdiebaby4:  Yes I agree with PP above, applying to a clinical psych program specifically is EXTREMELY difficult to get into even if you have the BEST grades. The fact that your GPA is not stellar would almost immediately put you in the discard pile. However there are other programs that you can do and become a therapist, you will just not have the sam designation. Counselling psych programs at the masters level will let you get licensed etc.. in Canada, I’m not sure about the U.S. Hope this helps some! 

Post # 6
Member
530 posts
Busy bee

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Birdiebaby4:  For sure, just making sure you apply to a variety of programs will help, from what my friends have been through (amazing grades, publications, masters) they applied for 3 years and never got in, decided to go to Law school instead and got in. I just mean they are HUGELY competitive, and harder to get into than most med schools. Definitely apply broadly! Coming from a PhD student in psych (though very different area of psych 😀 I’m moreso a neuroscientist )

Post # 7
Member
3281 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

I’m not in the psych field, but I am a part-time “college coach” (aka I help people with their applications for college and grad schools), and I would advise against mentioning your history of abuse in the strongest possible terms. Your personal narrative should highlight what you have done to prepare yourself for graduate work in your field and how you conceptualize your graduate work.

Post # 9
Member
854 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

 

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Birdiebaby4:  i just looked at the Ohio state employment page. Search for family services. There are probably some positions you could apply for where you would gain excellent experience. Also consider juvenile corrections at a state facility (not county detention) because it will give you the opportunity to learn case management, providing counseling and group facilitation.

Post # 11
Member
256 posts
Helper bee

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Birdiebaby4:  I’m just like you! Trying to apply to clinical psych grad school and learning the ropes.

1) DO NOT mention you were abused. This is one thing that admissions specifically frown upon. They do not want people who seek a degree to figure out themselves. Though this isn’t why you want the degree, it can always be misconstrued that way. Also don’t say you just “want to help people.” They also don’t like that. They wanna hear about a deep interest in people and how they operate.

2) Like everyone said, PhD is competitive but usually because they are associated with no tuition and a small stipend. If you’re willing to take on more debt, PsyD programs are not nearly as competitive though they are EXPENSIVE. I have a psychologist mentor and she applied to several PhD programs and a couple PsyD programs because she would have rather taken on more debt than done what some of the pp describe above, wasting 3 years trying to get into a PhD program.

3) You need to NAIL your GRE with your GPA as low as it is. And also get lots and lots of research experience working as an RA in lab. This will look great on your resume and most of the time if you do good work they will write you a glowing letter of recommendation.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by  Jeneexoxo.
Post # 13
Member
807 posts
Busy bee

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Birdiebaby4:  Hey! I literally just graduated with my PhD in clinical psychology (I got my masters in clinical psychology along the way)! I definitely would NOT mention abuse, etc. I’ve heard from admission staff that when they see students write about it in their intent letter it reads as “I have issues I haven’t worked through.” However, if you would like to include it and feel its important, there ARE ways for it to be done to benefit you. Feel free to PM me with any questions you may have! It’s a crazy process and no one told me all the craziness that is involved in doing a PhD in Clinical Psych

Post # 14
Member
807 posts
Busy bee

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Jeneexoxo:  Just read you were in the same boat re: applying to Clinical Psych grad schools. Please feel free to message me with any questions! My DH and I both just graduated with our PhD’s in Clinical Psychology, and it was quite the road.

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