Clinical Psychology Program Executive Committee (CEC)
This committee consists of the core clinical faculty (i.e., those employed full time in the Department of Psychology and STM and identified as members of the clinical psychology doctoral program), together with two student representatives. One student is selected to represent years 1 and 2, and the other represents years 3 and up. The method of selecting a student representative (whether by volunteering, appointment by a student organization, or direct election) is normally left to the respective classes of students. The Director of Clinical Training represents the views of adjunct and professional affiliate faculty and associate members in this committee.
In the past the committee served an advisory, non-decision-making function which was good for discussion but resulted in necessary decisions being delayed. The present structure is adopted [1999-10-07] to facilitate decision-making concerning any issues or concerns related to the program (not individual student matters).
The committee functions under simplified Roberts Rules, with the following additional guidelines:
- Notice of motions on substantive issues: at least 5 days.
- Decisions made by a majority of only one vote or requiring the chair to break a tie will be reviewed at the next meeting.
- Quorum for voting purposes: 4 faculty, 1 student.
Decisions made by the advisory committee will be forwarded to the appropriate person or committee, which may be a committee of clinical psychology faculty and students, the Department Head, the Graduate Committee, the department faculty, or the College of Graduate Studies and Research, depending on the nature of the decision.
The committee meets six times a year, at 4:00 p.m., normally on the first Thursday of October, November, December, February, March and April. Business may also be carried out at special meetings or retreats. Notice and agenda are distributed by the Director of Training. Discussion of selected issues by e-mail may often precede discussion at the meeting.
Student Input in Clinical Program Governance and Role of Student Representatives
Students who participate and contribute actively in the program gain valuable administrative experience. Their contributions can be recognized in letters of reference for internships and post-graduation employment. They may gain a sense of empowerment as they see that their efforts contribute to continuous maintenance and improvement of quality in clinical psychology training. They may learn about issues in training that will be helpful in their own later role as instructor, supervisor, or administrator in training programs. They may gain satisfaction from serving as advocates for their fellow students.
Student representatives and their role.
One of the ways for students to participate is to serve as a student representative. One student represents Years 1-2 and another student represents Years 3 and up in the program. The main functions of the student representatives are as follows:
- Act as a liaison between the graduate students they represent and the Program administration. This liaison role includes summarizing and presenting student views to the Clinical Program Executive Committee (CPEC), and also includes communicating information received through Executive meetings back to the students. Representatives can make use of various communication methods to accomplish this liaison work (e.g., the clinical graduate students' listserv, the clinical program listserv, meetings, surveys, phoning trees, etc.).
- Participate as voting members of the CPEC.
- When communicating student views (including suggestions, concerns, etc.) to the DCT and/or the CPEC, student representatives will keep the sources of such views anonymous so that all students will feel free to express any concerns to the program administration through their representatives.
- Participate in review of draft policies, announcements, agendas, and other communications within the clinical program.
Selection or election of representatives.The method of selecting a student representative (whether by volunteering, appointment by a student organization, or direct election) is normally left to the respective classes of students. The term of office is one academic year (September to August), renewable for one additional year.
Other ways of introducing input from students.
This list is intended to offer options for enhancing student participation and input; not all of these will be implemented at any one time.
- Individual meetings between DCT and each student in the program, to assess progress and obtain feedback on program issues
- 'Town hall' or community meetings of the entire program to discuss issues openly - once a year or once a term.
- Discussion of issues on e-mail listservs.
- Evaluation forms for classes, practica, and research supervision.
- Student committees to address issues of concern to students and make recommendations to faculty.
- Program evaluation surveys with responses compiled anonymously.
A Note to Students about Personal Difficulties
Personal difficulties are an expected part of life and can be anticipated to occur among clinicians and students (e.g., relationship conflict or loss, bereavement, anxiety, depression, stress, the need to contribute to care of a family member or child, etc.). They also have the potential to interfere with one's ability to function as a clinical psychologist or trainee, or to make timely progress in the program. For example, personal stress can interfere with learning during graduate school (Bischoff, Barton, Thober, & Hawley, 2002), lead to burnout and compassion fatigue, and might lead to impairment and improper behaviour (Wise & Gibson, http://www.apa.org/education/ce/ccw0012.aspx). Unfortunately, such stress is not uncommon. For example, there is an up to 60% prevalence rate of burnout in helping professions such as ours (Brodie & Robinson, 1991) and survey research indicates that 75% of psychotherapists experience major distress in any 3-year period (Epstein, 1997). In one survey, up to 85% of graduate students surveyed reported having been aware of at least one peer experiencing substantial problems during their training (Boxley et al., 1986; Hupruch & Rudd, 2004). Stress as a clinical psychology trainee, and clinical psychologist, is unfortunately very common.
An important first step is to monitor your stress and look after yourself. As stated in Ethical Standards II.11-12* of the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, it is students' responsibility to be alert for and to recognize when personal problems are interfering with their effectiveness, and to take appropriate action. The Saskatchewan College of Psychologists Professional Practice Guidelines note that “members must recognize that personal problems and conflicts may interfere with their effectiveness in work-related activities” and “they must take appropriate measures, and determine whether they should limit or terminate their work-related duties.” In summary, personal difficulties are likely to arise and it is important to notice and address them, both for your own well-being, client care, and to help you continue to make progress toward your goal of obtaining a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
It is also the program's responsibility to facilitate and encourage such self-reflection and self-care, and to provide support for this process. Such support may be received in practicum supervision, research supervision, seminars, and in positive relationships among students and faculty. A necessary step for trainees who are facing personal problems might be to discuss the possible impact of these problems with the Director of Clinical Psychology Training, and/or with the student's clinical supervisor and/or research supervisor. There are a variety of avenues to explore, such as obtaining counselling, modifying or suspending the program of training, or arranging a probationary period with specified actions to correct the problem, or taking medical leave from the program temporarily (which stops the “clock” allotted for program completion). Mentors and peers can be an important buffer against distress and burnout (Skovholt & Trotter-Mathison, 2011).
Faculty and students also collectively share an ethical responsibility to take action if we believe that another person's personal problems may be harmful to current or future clients. Specific procedures (see below) are in place for faculty-recognized signs of distress and impairment (see below)
If you believe one of your peers is impaired to the point of negatively impacting client care or their progress in the program, it is important to discuss this with your peer and potentially bring it to the attention of faculty. We recognize this might be difficult – in one survey less than 60% of graduate students who identified peers as distressed took action about that distress. You might also be worried about negatively impacting a peer’s training and program progress. However, we all have a responsibility to ensure that we are providing competent client care. We hope acknowledging this openly, both in this policy and our program, will make this potentially difficult task easier. Further, by identifying concerns early we can provide support to one another and prevent stress from becoming distress, burnout, or impairment. We also encourage students to be open to feedback regarding distress and burnout. Unfortunately, although psychologists are very skilled at recognizing distress in others, they are often poor observers of their own distress.
*Standards cited from the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists:
II.11 Seek appropriate help and/or discontinue scientific or professional activity for an appropriate period of time, if a physical or psychological condition reduces their ability to benefit and not harm others.
II.12 Engage in self-care activities that help to avoid conditions (e.g., burnout, addictions) that could result in impaired judgment and interfere with their ability to benefit and not harm others.
Responsibilities of Director of Clinical Psychology Training (DCT)
Some of these responsibilities are normally delegated to other clinical psychology faculty members or to department staff, with the DCT remaining accountable to the Department Head for supervision of these functions.
- Chair meetings of Clinical Psychology Executive Committee and maintain minutes
- Draft, revise, finalize and advertise policies and procedures, obtaining external approval where needed
- Participate as a member of the departmental Graduate Committee
- Liaison with student representatives
- Accreditation: applications and annual reports to CPA, APA, including reports on 'monitoring items'
- On-campus relationships: Psychology Dept, Arts & Science, Grad Studies, VPA, Health Sciences Deans
- External relationships: Saskatoon Health Region, U of R, Sask College of Psychologists, CCPPP, APPIC, CUDCP
- Program development & long-term planning
- Problem resolution
- Recruitment & search subcommittee
- Support of faculty in promotion, tenure, renewal of probation, merit
- Professional affiliate & adjunct faculty: nomination & communication
- Informal support of faculty
- Admissions §
- Registration & advising
- Annual review of students: provide input to Graduate Committee
- Application for internship: advising, feedback on draft AAPI, preparation of Verification of Readiness
- Financial support: coordination with Graduate Chair
- Completion of CGSR Forms for Transfer to PhD, Program of Studies
- Informal support of students
- Clinical course teaching assignments
- Coordination with complementary faculty re: non-clinical courses required for our students:
PSY 805, 806, 807, 811, 880, 881
- Practicum: identification of placements; matching of students; receipt of evaluations
- Internship: contact with external internship directors at mid-term and end of internship
- Comprehensive examinations: approval of case presentation synopses, arranging oral exams, communicating results to Dept and College, planning for remediation where needed
- Clinical Psychology Case Seminar Series
- Psychology Services Centre
- Test Library
- Web site
- Listserv (clinpsy-usask-l)
- Request departmental support for conferences and special events
- Payment of program fees for CPA and APA accreditation, CCPPP and CUDCP membership