Major Areas of Study

In addition to general clinical psychology training, students develop a major area of study as part of their program of studies. The major area of study can be very individualized. It may be within the department, or in another of the graduate school departments. Given faculty specialty areas and program resources, there are currently four formal major areas of study available in the department:

  • Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology
  • Clinical Health Psychology
  • Neuropsychology, Neurorehabilitation, and Clinical Neuroscience
  • Emotion Neuroscience and Psychopathology

Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology

Area Head – Dr. David Janicke

Students in the child area should expect to receive didactic instruction in the basic foundations of clinical-child psychology including psychological disturbances of children, psychological assessment of the child, and specific treatment techniques with children and families. Students also gain exposure to various topics relevant to clinical-child/pediatric psychology through the selection of various electives (e.g., pediatric psychology, advanced child therapy, advanced developmental psychology). Students will participate in a variety of assessment and treatment cases, which are typically seen through the Psychology Clinic. Notably students will participate in four core practicum rotations during their second year, and then multiple semesters of advanced child practicums in their third and fourth years.  During advanced practicums students can gain exposure to working with interdisciplinary professional teams addressing a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions due to the department’s extensive associations with pediatric medical services throughout UF Health and the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Specific training opportunities are provided with children and youth with learning disabilities and cognitive deficits, emotional and behavioral disorders, numerous medical and chronic illnesses, and family difficulties. Students should expect to gain the following competencies, among others, by the time they graduate from the program:

  1. Review the literature using rigorous systematic review methodology.
  2. Effectively design approaches or hypotheses to be tested and methodology to be used; analyze data and develops conclusions using accepted research methodologies.
  3. Present research findings effectively in professional forums (e.g., published manuscripts, oral presentations at conferences).
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in in effective written and oral forms of communication.
  5. Work effectively with diverse clients, families, and professionals (e.g., race/ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status).
  6. Develop productive working relationships with patients, families, other professionals.
  7. Receive and use feedback and supervision to enhance clinical child and /or pediatric psychology skills and abilities.
  8. Apply knowledge of evidence-based practice, including empirical bases of assessment, intervention, and other psychological applications with moderate supervision.
  9. Conduct a comprehensive biopsychosocial interview with patient and relevant caretakers to evaluate biological and psychosocial functioning related to the presenting health concern across commonly occurring psychopathologies and case presentations.
  10. Select, administer, score, interpret evidence-based assessment tools and write integrated assessment reports appropriate for the patient for the purpose of case conceptualization, treatment planning, monitoring and evaluating treatment outcomes, and facilitating referrals across commonly occurring case presentations with moderate supervision.
  11. Demonstrate case conceptualization and treatment planning that are theoretically grounded and evidence-based.
  12. Understand and implement evidence-based health and behavior interventions appropriately targeted to patient needs.
  13. Conduct brief, targeted assessments with patient and relevant caretakers to evaluate biological and psychosocial functioning related to physical health or illness/injury with moderate supervision.
  14. Demonstrate understanding of psychologists’ and other professionals’ unique roles on health-care teams.
  15. Work with an interdisciplinary team with moderate supervision, recognize limits of expertise, and seeks appropriate guidance and consultation.

Clinical Health Psychology

Area Head – Dr. Glenn Ashkanazi

The Clinical Health Psychology area is designed to provide students with a foundation in the theory, research and practice of medical psychology/clinical health psychology. The program emphasizes an empirical approach to the study of psychological aspects of health and medical illness. Students are provided with didactic training in fundamentals of health psychology, pathophysiology and a variety of health related elective courses that complement their basic training in clinical psychology. Clinical training is provided through exposure to a variety of health problems in which psychological factors may play a role or in which psychological intervention is necessary for a comprehensive treatment approach. Activities include assessment, consultation, and intervention with a variety of medical/surgical problems, inpatient consultation liaison work within the Health Center and a monthly conference. Supervised research opportunities are also provided.

Neuropsychology and Clinical Neuroscience

Area Head – Dr. Catherine Price

Study in NCN provides the opportunity to develop skills in research and clinical assessment and treatment of brain behavior disorders in children and adults. Advanced graduate students in this area select from a variety of courses in human neuroanatomy, clinical neuropsychological assessment of adults and children, human higher cortical functions, laboratory methods in cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, forensic neuropsychology, neuropsychology of aging, and other selected topics. In the required practicum, the student obtains advanced clinical experiences in the assessment and treatment of cognitive and emotional disorders associated with a variety of neurologic diseases. The practica are conducted in the Psychology Clinic, the Fixel Center for Neurologic Diseases, outpatient and inpatient consult services and in other specially arranged sites (e.g.,  the preoperative anesthesia clinic, the VA, North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center).

Cognitive and Emotion Neuroscience

is a research emphasis within the CHP doctoral program. The area does not directly supervise clinical training.  Thus, students who work with CEN faculty must be admitted to the CHP doctoral program with the approval of faculty in one of our other three areas: Neuropsychology, Medical/Health Psychology, or Child/Pediatric Psychology.

The CEN research emphasis is organized around two subthemes:  (a) Cognitive neuroscience and aging; (b) Emotion neuroscience and psychopathology, as well as integration between both emphases.

Emotion neuroscience and psychopathology: This emphasis integrates two related areas: Study of (1) the basic science of emotion, as emotion is expressed in language behavior, overt action, autonomic and somatic physiology, and highlighting the investigation of mediating neural structures and circuits in the human brain. The toolkit for the emphasis consists of current, major research technologies, including methods in cognitive/computer science, the broad area of psychophysiological measurement, electroencephalography and brain imaging (MRI). (2) Applications of emotion science in experimental psychopathology, as it relates to clinical evaluation and treatment of the anxiety and mood disorders.

Cognitive neuroscience and aging: The mission of this emphasis is to conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary clinical neuroscience and translational research on age-associated cognitive, behavioral and emotional functioning, factors that contribute to impairments and functional decline, and future avenues for intervention. A primary objective to translate basic science discoveries into clinical applications in order to slow, avert or restore age-related cognitive decline and memory loss.

Research activity is organized according to emphasis.  For the emotion neuroscience emphasis, team members participate in both the basic science laboratories of the Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention and in the Fear and Anxiety Disorders Clinic. For the cognitive neuroscience emphasis, participation is expected in the ongoing research programs of the Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory.