James Tobin, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist PSY 22074
220 Newport Center Drive, Suite 1
Newport Beach, CA 92660
www.jamestobi...
Heated Competition for Positions:
Supply vs. Demand
The number of sites participating in
the APPIC internship match is not...
Heated Competition for Positions:
Supply vs. Demand
Most graduate students find the application process
stressful and anxi...
Do Students Feel Prepared
for the Application Process?
Unfortunately, the answer is No!
The literature indicates that, in ...
Personal Essays and the Interview
Essay writing and interview preparation (Madson et al.,
2007) are the most commonly cit...
What Are Internship and Postdoctoral
Training Sites Actually Looking for in
Applicants?
 Rodolfa et al. (1999) surveyed 4...
What Are Internship and Postdoctoral
Training Sites Actually Looking for in
Applicants?
More recently, Ginkel et al. (201...
What Are Internship and Postdoctoral
Training Sites Actually Looking for in
Applicants?
Ginkel et al.’s (2010) conclusion...
An Issue of Emphasis
Students, and their directors of clinical training, seem to
be emphasizing certain components of the...
The Personal Essay
Example #1: Currently, I am finishing up my doctorate in
psychology at xxxxx. I completed over 750 hour...
The Interview Question:
Tell Me About Yourself
Example #3: I grew up in Ohio and moved to
California during high school wh...
Describe Your Theoretical
Orientation
Example #4: I think of myself as integrative.
Each theoretical orientation has somet...
Describe Cross-Cultural Issues as
They Relate to Your Clinical Work
Example #5: When working with a client, the
clinician ...
Tell Me about a Clinical Case
Example #6: John was a 17-year-old
depressed boy who I saw in a residential
setting for drug...
“A Word of Caution”
“A word of caution: Candidates should be honest.
Sometimes anxiety about not getting an internship
off...
Instead of Telling Site Representatives What You Think
They Want to Hear, Try Being Real!
I call these “the realities of o...
Do Something, Anything Other than the
Status Quo; For Example ...
Example #7: Cross-cultural awareness and its role
in the...
The Professional Socialization
of Graduate Students in Clinical Psychology
 The literature on psychotherapists-in-trainin...
The Field Seems to Value the Use of the Self
(At Least in the Abstract)
Beyond knowledge- and skill-based
approaches to s...
The Field Seems to Value the Use of the Self
(At Least in the Abstract)
Experts in the areas of critical thinking have
be...
Yet the Student’s Use of the Self is Not As
Supported As We Would Like to Think
 Students have been trained to, or believ...
Given these Circumstances, It is No Wonder
That the Stage is Set for....
 What Olin-Hrbek (2012) has called
“self-in-role...
“Self-in-Role Persona” // Winnicott’s False
Self
 Or, Winnicott’s (1969) false self: “going on
being” (the free spontaneo...
 The traditional vision of clinical psychology training is
that students move from mastery of descriptive
knowledge to mo...
 Good science, like good literature, depends on a
unique voice that challenges what has formerly
been assumed.
Pedagogica...
 This is dispositional as much as, or even more
than, it is intellectual.
 It emanates from a position of skepticism and...
10 Meta-Skills for Clinical Psychology Training:
The Capacity to Subvert
 These meta-skills were developed based on
anecd...
Meta-Skill #8
#8: Challenges or refutes commonly-held suppositions
or assumptions; seeks to meaningfully identify the
shor...
Conclusion
 From the start of training, faculty and
supervisors must work to accept and support
students’ personal experi...
Essay and Interview Support for Pre- and
Postdoctoral Training Positions:
An Application Prep Service
References
 Bangen, K.L., VanderVeen, J.W., Veilleux, J.C., Kamen,
C., & Klonoff, E.A. (2010). The graduate student
viewp...
References
 Fauth, J., Gates, S., Vinca, M.A., Boles, S., & Hayes, J.A.
(2007). Big ideas for psychotherapy training.
Psy...
References
Ladany, N.C. (2007). Does psychotherapy training
matter? Maybe not. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research,
Practice,...
References
Mitchell, S. L. (1996). Getting a foot in the door: The
written internship application. Professional Psycholog...
References
Rodolfa, E.R., Vieille, R., Russell, P., Nijjer, S., Nguyen,
D.Q., Mendoza, M., ... Perrin, L. (1999). Interns...
References
Williams-Nickelson, C. & Prinstein, M.J. (2004).
Internship in psychology: The APAGS workbook for writing
succ...
Essay and Interview Support for Pre- and
Postdoctoral Training Positions:
An Application Prep Service
True- and False-Self Manifestations in the Application Process for Internship and Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psycho...
True- and False-Self Manifestations in the Application Process for Internship and Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psycho...
True- and False-Self Manifestations in the Application Process for Internship and Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psycho...
True- and False-Self Manifestations in the Application Process for Internship and Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psycho...
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True- and False-Self Manifestations in the Application Process for Internship and Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psychology

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In this paper presented at the Western Psychological Association 2013 annual conference in Reno, NV, James Tobin, Ph.D. uses Winnicott's notions of the true and false self to conceptualize common dynamics that occur among clinical psychology graduate students applying for predoctoral internship and postdoctoral training programs.

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True- and False-Self Manifestations in the Application Process for Internship and Postdoctoral Training in Clinical Psychology

  1. 1. James Tobin, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist PSY 22074 220 Newport Center Drive, Suite 1 Newport Beach, CA 92660 www.jamestobinphd.com 949-338-4388 Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology Argosy University 601 South Lewis Street Orange, CA 92868
  2. 2. Heated Competition for Positions: Supply vs. Demand The number of sites participating in the APPIC internship match is not keeping pace with the number of applicants. (Bangen et al., 2010; Ginkel et al., 2010; Stedman, 2007).
  3. 3. Heated Competition for Positions: Supply vs. Demand Most graduate students find the application process stressful and anxiety-provoking. Failure to match has a profound negative impact on graduate students.
  4. 4. Do Students Feel Prepared for the Application Process? Unfortunately, the answer is No! The literature indicates that, in general, applicants tend to believe that their graduate training does not prepare them well for the application process. The most popular book that students use is “Internship in Psychology: The APAGS Workbook for Writing Successful Applications and Finding the Right Match” (Williams - Nickelson & Prinstein, 2004).
  5. 5. Personal Essays and the Interview Essay writing and interview preparation (Madson et al., 2007) are the most commonly cited components of the application process for which students do not feel prepared. In a survey of 674 graduate students, Bangen et al. (2010) found that essay writing strategies were not emphasized by doctoral programs in preparing their students for internship and postdoctoral positions.
  6. 6. What Are Internship and Postdoctoral Training Sites Actually Looking for in Applicants?  Rodolfa et al. (1999) surveyed 402 internship sites and found the following: 1- fit between applicant goals and site characteristics 2- clinical experience 3- completion of coursework 4 - the interview (e.g., interpersonal/relational competence) 5 - APA status of doctoral program 6 - completion of comprehensive exam 7 - professional demeanor of applicant 8 - quality of recommendation letters
  7. 7. What Are Internship and Postdoctoral Training Sites Actually Looking for in Applicants? More recently, Ginkel et al. (2010) surveyed 610 internship sites and found the following: 1- fit between applicant goals and site offerings 2 - the interview 3 - professional demeanor of the applicant
  8. 8. What Are Internship and Postdoctoral Training Sites Actually Looking for in Applicants? Ginkel et al.’s (2010) conclusion: “… personality characteristics of the applicant might be the deciding factor that separates them from their peers in the search for increasingly limited internship site placements” (p. 217-218). Ginkel and colleagues suggested that training directors can support applicants with “practice interviews” and “additional consideration of essay materials” (p. 218).
  9. 9. An Issue of Emphasis Students, and their directors of clinical training, seem to be emphasizing certain components of the application (e.g., number of clinical hours) at the expense of factors that are actually more important, such as personal essays and the interview (Bangen et al., 2010), i.e., specifically, the personal demeanor/character of the applicant.
  10. 10. The Personal Essay Example #1: Currently, I am finishing up my doctorate in psychology at xxxxx. I completed over 750 hours of diagnostic practicum at xxxx. I completed 12 psychological test batteries including projective and objective measures of personality, etc. Example #2: I have always been interested in psychology, and my passion for clinical psychology has been consistently growing since I was an adolescent.
  11. 11. The Interview Question: Tell Me About Yourself Example #3: I grew up in Ohio and moved to California during high school when my father took a promotion. I have two younger sisters, and an older brother. I enjoy playing the piano, and I have done community service work in Haiti teaching children language skills. I like to help people.
  12. 12. Describe Your Theoretical Orientation Example #4: I think of myself as integrative. Each theoretical orientation has something important to offer, and I can draw from the best of each to give my client the most optimal pathways to change.
  13. 13. Describe Cross-Cultural Issues as They Relate to Your Clinical Work Example #5: When working with a client, the clinician must understand the cultural factors of the client’s ethnic group and realize that the client may have a different worldview than the clinician. These cultural factors need to be attended to so that the client feels empathized with and understood.
  14. 14. Tell Me about a Clinical Case Example #6: John was a 17-year-old depressed boy who I saw in a residential setting for drug and alcohol abuse. I used CBT and relapse prevention techniques to address his marijuana addiction and family stressors he presented with. I also had the opportunity to run a group that he was in, so I was able to follow him in two different therapeutic modalities. The case went very well.
  15. 15. “A Word of Caution” “A word of caution: Candidates should be honest. Sometimes anxiety about not getting an internship offer will tempt an applicant to tell the site what it wants to hear. Selection committees eye with suspicion the applicant who claims that their training site is perfect given his or her career goals, yet nothing in his or her previous work or practicum experience confirms this stated interest” (Mitchell, 1996, p. 91).
  16. 16. Instead of Telling Site Representatives What You Think They Want to Hear, Try Being Real! I call these “the realities of our field”: Tension, challenge, struggle Relational strengths and limitations Uncertainty/discovery Perseverance with ongoing self-doubt/concern about the efficacy of your efforts Making mistakes (the capacity to learn) Being rigid or biased (i.e., the film “Jaws!”)
  17. 17. Do Something, Anything Other than the Status Quo; For Example ... Example #7: Cross-cultural awareness and its role in the therapeutic process have been emphasized in my training. But to be honest, I am not certain I have been as sensitive as I would have liked to these issues in my clinical work thus far. I am not even sure if I know how to recognize stereotypes and prejudices I may hold toward particular clients, as they are often not obvious but emerge only later, when it’s usually too late.
  18. 18. The Professional Socialization of Graduate Students in Clinical Psychology  The literature on psychotherapists-in-training describes a tendency on the part of many clinical psychology graduate students to foreclose on opportunities for self- disclosure and self-exposure (Pound, 2012).  This occurs in numerous contexts, especially in those that are highly evaluative.
  19. 19. The Field Seems to Value the Use of the Self (At Least in the Abstract) Beyond knowledge- and skill-based approaches to supervision, there has been growing attention toward encouraging the supervisee’s self-awareness and ability to understand and use the self in the clinical situation (Ladany, 2007, p. 393).
  20. 20. The Field Seems to Value the Use of the Self (At Least in the Abstract) Experts in the areas of critical thinking have begun to highlight meta-cognitive abilities (Fauth et al., 2007; Halpern, 2003; Yanchar et al., 2008) such as reflective skepticism, independence of thought, awareness of personal bias, capacity to learn from consequences of actions, and intellectual humility, in addition to the more declarative- based knowledge pertaining to scientific theory and research methodology.
  21. 21. Yet the Student’s Use of the Self is Not As Supported As We Would Like to Think  Students have been trained to, or believe they should, never write “I” statements in papers.  There is a focus on “what the professor (or supervisor) wants.”  Many graduate programs consist of cultures in which compliance, deference, and common forms of social etiquette (kindness, compliance not being “a problem,” etc.) are emphasized and rewarded.
  22. 22. Given these Circumstances, It is No Wonder That the Stage is Set for....  What Olin-Hrbek (2012) has called “self-in-role” personas marked by the student fearing the rejection of vulnerable core elements of his or her identity if these are shared/exposed.
  23. 23. “Self-in-Role Persona” // Winnicott’s False Self  Or, Winnicott’s (1969) false self: “going on being” (the free spontaneous expression of the child’s subjectivity) is interrupted by impingements.
  24. 24.  The traditional vision of clinical psychology training is that students move from mastery of descriptive knowledge to more sophisticated capacities including critical analysis, use of self-experience, and the ability to generate unique theoretical views and new knowledge (e.g., Lehmann, 1963).  Yet, no clear explication exists as to how to support or evaluate the occurrence of this transition. Pedagogically, What is Lacking in Clinical Training?
  25. 25.  Good science, like good literature, depends on a unique voice that challenges what has formerly been assumed. Pedagogically, What is Lacking in Clinical Training?
  26. 26.  This is dispositional as much as, or even more than, it is intellectual.  It emanates from a position of skepticism and the acknowledgement of a discrepancy between self- experience and what is commonly assumed (“subversion”).  The literature on critical thinking has talked about dispositional and attitudinal components of the construct (e.g., Ennis, 1987; Halpern, 2003; Taube, 1995). Pedagogically, What is Lacking in Clinical Training?
  27. 27. 10 Meta-Skills for Clinical Psychology Training: The Capacity to Subvert  These meta-skills were developed based on anecdotal clinical and supervisory evidence, as well as my survey of the educational and clinical psychology training literatures.  I have arranged these meta-skills into a rubric which I use for my own teaching and supervision, and to offer feedback on application essays and mock interviews.
  28. 28. Meta-Skill #8 #8: Challenges or refutes commonly-held suppositions or assumptions; seeks to meaningfully identify the shortcomings of consensus viewpoints or dogmatic “party-line” thinking. Example: It is generally believed that the quality of the therapeutic alliance is associated with treatment outcome. Yet, paradoxically, it has been my experience that for some patients, at certain times, what appears to be most beneficial in their treatment is a break-down or fracture of the alliance.
  29. 29. Conclusion  From the start of training, faculty and supervisors must work to accept and support students’ personal experience and their emerging professional voices.  Graduate school cultures must value skeptical and subversive thinking (i.e., subversion that is not merely rebellious but, rather, is rooted in actual subjective experience) and find a way to pragmatically incorporate the evaluation of this capacity in academic curriculums.
  30. 30. Essay and Interview Support for Pre- and Postdoctoral Training Positions: An Application Prep Service
  31. 31. References  Bangen, K.L., VanderVeen, J.W., Veilleux, J.C., Kamen, C., & Klonoff, E.A. (2010). The graduate student viewpoint on internship preparedness: A 2008 council of university directors of clinical psychology student survey. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 4, 219-226.  Ennis, R.H. (1987). A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. In J.B. Baron & R.J. Sternberg (Ed.), Teaching thinking skills: Theory and practice (pp. 9- 26). New York: W.H. Freeman/Times Books/Henry Holt & Co.
  32. 32. References  Fauth, J., Gates, S., Vinca, M.A., Boles, S., & Hayes, J.A. (2007). Big ideas for psychotherapy training. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 44, 384-391.  Ginkel, R.W., Davis, S.E., & Michael, P.G. (2010). An examination of inclusion and exclusion criteria in the predoctoral internship selection process. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 4, 213-218.  Halpern, D.F. (2003). Thought & knowledge: An introduction to critical thinking (4th Ed). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  33. 33. References Ladany, N.C. (2007). Does psychotherapy training matter? Maybe not. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 44, 392-396. Lehmann, I.J. (1963). Changes in critical thinking, attitudes, and values from freshman to senior years. Journal of Educational Psychology, 54, 305-315. Madson, M.B., Aten, J.D., & Leach, M.M. (2007, August). Applying for the predoctoral internship: Training program strategies to help students prepare. Poster session presented at annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.
  34. 34. References Mitchell, S. L. (1996). Getting a foot in the door: The written internship application. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27, 90-92. Olin-Hrbek, D. (2012). False self manifestations of psychologists in training. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B. The Sciences and Engineering, Vol 64(12-B), 2004, 6338. Pound, K.S. (2012). The challenge of self-disclosure for student therapists and the development of the provisional clinical self. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B. The Sciences and Engineering, Volume 63(4-B), 2002, 2069.
  35. 35. References Rodolfa, E.R., Vieille, R., Russell, P., Nijjer, S., Nguyen, D.Q., Mendoza, M., ... Perrin, L. (1999). Internship selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 30, 415-419. Stedman, J.M. (2007). What we know about predoctoral internship training: A 10-year update. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 1, 74-88. Taube, K.T. (1995, April). Critical thinking ability and disposition as factors of performance on a written critical thinking test. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
  36. 36. References Williams-Nickelson, C. & Prinstein, M.J. (2004). Internship in psychology: The APAGS workbook for writing successful applications and finding the right match. APA: Washington, D.C. Winnicott, D.W. (1969). The use of an object. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 50, 711-716. Yanchar, S.C., Slife, B.D., & Warne, R. (2008). Critical thinking as disciplinary practice. Review of General Psychology, 12, 265-281.
  37. 37. Essay and Interview Support for Pre- and Postdoctoral Training Positions: An Application Prep Service
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