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Clinical Psychology - PhD Program

Director Message
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About Clinical Psychology - PhD

Message from the Program Director 

Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences (PSMHS) (started) a Psychology Doctorate (Psy.D.) program in 1999 with a focus on providing education and training on evidence-based interventions to diverse populations in different health and social contexts. Since then, many research projects have been developed by the program’s faculty. Through these projects students have had the opportunity to gain research experience in the development of new psychological knowledge and in adapting and creating psychological tests for use with Latino populations. The scientific activities and success of the Psy.D. program provided the foundation for the creation of a Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Program (PhD-CPP)

The Psy.D. program has been a success by all measures. The Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA) accredited the program within five years of accepting its first class and granted a full seven years accreditation in 2007. This accomplishment is the first of its kind in Puerto Rico. By the second semester of 2007 all of the program graduates had passed the Puerto Rico licensing examination. The standardization of the WAIS III for use with the Puerto Rican population was completed by 2007 and the new test was published in 2009. A number of graduates have completed post-doctoral training in prestigious health centers in USA and many others have accepted academic positions and/or begun successful clinical practices, usually in collaboration with other health professionals.

A certificate program in Family and Couples Therapy was initiated in 2007 to expand the field of Family Psychology in Puerto Rico. This post-graduate program provides advanced training in family and couples therapy to licensed professionals from various health fields including medicine, social work, counseling, and clinical psychology. The beginning of the new Ph.D. Clinical Psychology program is an additional step of the organizational plan of the Psychology Program.

The PhD-CPP program is based on the Scientist/Practitioner model of training and is strengthened by the existing research resources of the program and of the Biomedical Sciences program of PSMHS. With these resources, the PhD-CPP has implemented its mission of training a new generation of clinical psychologists competent in the delivery of clinical services and in the production of psychological knowledge through scientific methods. The clinical component of the Ph.D. program benefits from the already proven model of clinical training of the existing programs.

An overview of the Ph.D. program is presented below. The program’s philosophy with its curricular sequence and course descriptions, and the admissions and graduation requirements, are included in the following sections. We expect this information to allow prospective candidates for admissions to make informed decisions about applying to the program.

The PhD-CPP began its APA accreditation self-study in 2010. The application will be submitted for the September 2011 accreditation cycle.

Josť I. Pons, Ph.D.
Director of Psychology Programs



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