Steve McCutcheon (left) and Emil Rodolfa, Editor of Training and Education in Professional Psychology
From where I sit, it seems that there's never been a time in the history of psychology that practicum training has been more important.
This was made apparent to me when ADPTC and APPIC met jointly as training councils at the 2007 APPIC membership meeting. That meeting stands out as a model of collaboration between groups that are responsible for different steps in the sequence of professional training. For those of you who attended, you know that clinic directors and internship directors had the opportunity - sometimes for the very first time - to directly share perceptions, concerns and solutions regarding the linkage between practicum and internship training. I can tell you that APPIC folks were extremely impressed and pleased with this meeting, and it generated a commitment to pursue other such opportunities in the future.
So why did practicum training take center stage at that joint meeting? As you all know, the APA policy statement on education leading to licensure encourages states to adopt laws and rules that allow students to achieve licensure at the completion of the internship year. This change substitutes the practicum-internship sequence for the internship-postdoctoral sequence. As a result, the role of practicum training in developing core clinical competencies - as a foundation for internship and for licensure, as well - makes practicum hugely more important. ADPTC has already been a leader in the education community through its efforts to articulate student competencies. These efforts have had an important "seed" effect and have broadly influenced the field. APPIC anticipates that ADPTC will show similar foresight and leadership through efforts to bring order, organization and increased quality control to practicum placements that are currently widely - and sometimes, wildly - variable.
APPIC looks forward to meeting once again with our ADPTC colleagues at the 2010 Combined Conference of Training Councils in Professional Psychology, in Orlando, FL. (May 11-13, 2010). This mega-conference will provide programming aimed at the entire spectrum of educators in professional psychology - from practicum through specialization. Maybe for the first time, the entire community will be able to put hands on the "elephant" at one time. Because the transfer, integration and synthesis of learning from one stage of training to another is so critical in professional education, it's likewise critical that educators involved at different steps in the sequence develop more opportunities to collaborate. Thanks to all of you in ADPTC who showed us the value of sitting down together. Hope to see you in Orlando, if not before.