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Academic Affairs

About the Department


Biomedical Sciences Program
Psychology Programs
Public Health Programs
Interdepartment Programs 

Learning Resources

Problem Based Learning

Recruitment and Credentialing 

Standardized Patient

Clinical Psychology - PsyD Program 

Link to American Psychological Association


Description of theá Program

Our Clinical Psychology program was created in 1998.á It received the authorization to confer the Psychology Doctorate degree in 1999, by the Council on Higher Education of Puerto Rico.á In January of 2000, our Program was accepted as Associate Member of the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology.  The American Psychological Association[1]  granted the program its accreditation in 2004. The program curriculum is based on a biopsychosocial- systemic theoretical foundation and teaches its students those models of clinical practice needed to address the needs of diverse populations living in contemporary societies.á To reach our goals, we provide our students with a broad view of psychological processes, an in-depth understanding of the psychosocial forces that shape the lifestyle of each human being, and a solid foundation on the neurobiological basis of behavior.á Our curriculum was carefully and coherently crafted to train competent Generalist Clinical Psychologists in the art and science of contemporary clinical psychology.

Through our program each student develops the competencies neededá to practice in multiple clinical settings including: mental health clinics; health centers; government agencies; hospitals; rehabilitation centers; correctional facilities; addiction rehabilitation programs; and many others.

After completing the Foundation and the Required Clinical courses, our students may choose to take elective courses to develop additional clinical competencies in various areas of contemporary professional psychology.á These areas of interest are:

  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Psychotherapeutic Interventions
Because our program is part of an institution which began as a medical school, our students have access to resources not usually found in other Clinical Psychology programs.á Some of these are: Standardized Patientá Program for the developmentá and assessment of clinical skills, neuroanatomy laboratory,á access to some of the basic science laboratories; interaction with researchers and clinicians fromá other biomedical and health fields.



Mission Statement 

Consonant with the concept that Clinical Psychology is an integral component of the Health Sciences, the Clinical Psychology Program at Ponce School of Medicine aims to develop a new generation of Professional Psychologists with a strong foundation on the biological bases of behavior, a broad understanding of the psychological processes and of the socio-cultural dimension of normal and abnormal behavior. The students are immersed into a rich scientifically-based curriculum harmonized by a multidisciplinary faculty from the fields of Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Medicine, and other disciplines of the health and social sciences, in order to provide a broad understanding of human behavior and to develop clinical skills applicable in multiple socio-cultural contexts.

Academic Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Develop in our students an in-depth understanding of the psychological (cognitive, affective, motivational), biological and socio-cultural bases of normal and abnormal behavior that serves as the foundation of clinical practice.

Objective 1: Psychological Bases of Behavior
The students will be able to describe the main theories on cognition, emotion, and motivation, and apply them effectively in the delivery of psychological services.
Objective 2: Biological Bases of Behavior
The students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the biological bases of behavior and identify the signs and symptoms of neuropathological disorders.

Objective 3: Human Growth and Development
The students will be able to outline the main theories of human growth and development.

Objective 4: Sociocultural Bases of Behavior
The students will be able to identify and describe the reciprocal interaction and impact of socio-cultural aspects in the psychology of individuals, families and groups. 

Objective 5: Psychopathology and Diagnosis
The students will demonstrate command in the evaluation of patients’ psychopathological signs and symptoms, and in the formulation of an appropriate diagnosis.

Objective 6: Ethical and Legal Standards
Students will apply all legal and ethical standards related to patient and therapist relationships in all psychological assessment and therapeutic interventions and their documentation. 

Goal 2: To prepare clinical psychologists for the ethical delivery of empirically supported psychotherapeutic interventions, assessment, diagnosis, consultation, education, supervision, and management when assuming the contemporary roles of the profession while adopting a life long commitment to professional growth based upon the evolving scientific knowledge and expanding scope of practice.

Objective 1: Relationship Competencies
The students will demonstrate ability to form and maintain professional relationships with clients, colleagues, supervisors, faculty, other multidisciplinary healthcare team professionals, and community members in accordance with the ethical standards and values of the profession. 

Objective 2: Assessment and Diagnostic Competencies 
The students will demonstrate understanding and solid command of clinical assessment and diagnosis. 

Objective 3: Therapeutic Intervention Competencies
The students will be able to appropriately select and implement psychological interventions and document therapeutic progress accurately. 

Objective 4: Consultation, Education, Management, and Supervision Competencies 
The students will be able to serve as competent consultants, educators, supervisors, and managers applying a variety of intervention models appropriate for a broad range of settings.

Objective 5: Cultural and Individual Diversity Competencies
The students will demonstrate awareness, attitudes of respect, and appropriate responses in the delivery of psychological services sensitive to the clients’ gender, socioeconomic status, affectional orientation, ethnicity, physical and mental capacities, religion, spirituality, and age as well as the interrelationships of these identities and statuses. 

Objective 6: Research Competencies
The students will be able to apply current research to their clinical practice and to exercise command of different methods of scientific inquiry.


Ponce School of Medicine operates a state of the art Standardized Patient program.  This program allows all of our students to practice and development of basic clinical skills within a context of safety and maximum support.  It also allows our professors to demonstrate clinical skills with “patients/actors” and to develop other forms of didactic activities. The program provides opportunities for the assessment of clinical skills. Therefore, during the last year in our program, all students participate in the Clinical Practice Examinations which is our version of qualifying examinations.  Such assessment tool, allows our faculty to detect areas of strength and weaknesses in need of further refinement.


Contact Informaction

Chairperson: JosÚ Pons Madera, Ph.D.
Jean Marie Schmidt, M.ED.
Telephone: (787) 813-5700, (787) 844-5209
Location: Psychoneurometric Resources and Educational Center
E-mail: jschmidt@psm.edu or jpons@psm.edu
Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Mail: Clinical Psychology Program 
Ponce School of Medicine
P.O. Box 7004

Ponce, P.R. 00732-7004

[1] The Clinical Psychology program of PSM was granted accreditation by the American Psychological Association in the Spring of 2004, five years after accepting its initial group of students. The reaccreditation site visit is expected for the Spring of 2007. The program adheres to all quality standards of the Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association as published in the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology. Additional information about the program┤s accreditation status may be obtained from the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Phone: 202-336-5979 TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123. Fax: 202-336-5978       Top

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