It is the LAST week of residency, aka the LAST week of my graduate program… no big deal, but silently freaking out here!
What better way to wrap up the series of my Clinical Psychology Journey with part three, on this momentous day!
Last time, we left off with my admission to graduate school. I was accepted to a Clinical Psychology program. Typical programs are structured to be Masters and advance right into a PhD, and have built in mandatory course work that is created to satisfy professional regulations created by the licensing body in your jurisdiction.
Some logistical things that are important to know…
In Canada, each province has a licensing body or a college of psychologists, that essentially regulates the profession by ensuring certain standards of practice. There is also an organization at the national level, called the Canadian Psychological Association that accredits graduate programs to make sure that students receive proper training to meet college standards.
All in all to say, that going to a CPA accredited clinical psychology program, i.e. a MA and PhD program, is the most straightforward path to obtaining licensure. All licenses are transferable across provinces, given you write one exam related to the law of the province. FYI There are some provinces such as Alberta, that allow licensure after a Master’s degree as well – in case you are interested. However, I don’t exactly know how transferring this license to other provinces works, when the other province requires a PhD level program.
I can go into all the details of my Masters and PhD, but the bottom line is that once you are in a clinical psych program, the courses you take are pretty defined.
Here is another piece that was the main reason for two years of rejection for myself
The one piece that is not often discussed is research. When you are applying to these programs, it is important to know that there is a CLINICAL component (i.e. certain courses and clinical hours of training you have to do as per standards as explained above). There is a second and equally important component i.e. the RESEARCH component. At the time of application, every program will ask you to specify which faculty member you would like to do your research with. An acceptance to a clinical psych program not only depends on your undergraduate grades, GRE scores, but also critically a match between you and your potential research supervisor. My mistake in the two years that I was not accepted was precisely this – there was not a good fit between my research interests and faculty members who were accepting graduate students.
So.. here we are with an acceptance into the program in 2012
I started the program in 2012. I was very newly married (about a year), and both of us were pretty broke, with no savings and student loans from our undergraduate years. And here I was, starting more school for at least SIX more years. For the record I am in year 7 now – and other folks in my cohort are in year 8. Average completion times are 7/8 years! My poor and incredibly supportive husband had no clue what he signed up for.
They say it takes a village…
Needless to say, none of it has been “a breeze” as it may appear on the outside. I have spent most weekends and week nights working away on course work, studying for exams, running analysis, preparing presentations/manuscripts/posters for conferences, preparing for supervision meetings, grading undergraduate exams (one time which literally ended me up in the hospital with high blood pressure when I was pregnant), preparing for tutorials etc etc. Being a graduate student is NO JOKE. People say raising a child takes a village. I agree, and I add that SO DOES GETTING A PHD. It takes a village. I am very blessed to have my own personal village and cheer leaders. And yes, at the end this is my accomplishment and my hard work – but it would be foolish of me to say that it was all because of me.
And then we decided to have a baby…
At the end of the second year of my PhD, we had a baby. I took an “official” maternity leave for 6 months, but unofficially, was studying for an exam everyone has to pass in our program while on “leave” with a 4 month old amidst the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. I wrote that exam when Liyana was 7 months old, and went back to school full time when she was 8 months old. So, even if I may not have needed my village prior to this.. with a young child the village is really what pulled me through.
Here we are now…
Currently, I am in year 5 of the PhD which is a full-time clinical residency. I moved across the country with a toddler, and my mom to get the training I hoped for. The year has been anything but easy – but it is the LAST week, and I am officially convocating in October! It is a bit unreal.. I have always said that on my convocation, Liyana and I will wear matching Ted Baker dresses. So now, its time to get shopping and enjoy all the hard work after this incredible journey.
Curious to see what is in store for me, i.e. where I will be working etc… Stay tuned to find out!