First Year

The first-year practica have two purposes: to immerse students in the basics of psychological assessment and to introduce students to the psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy. First-year doctoral students receive hands-on experience administering, scoring, interpreting, and writing reports involving both cognitive and personality assessments. Towards the end of the first year and after the first course in psychodynamic psychotherapy, students begin their supervised experience in conducting psychotherapy in our Clinic.

Clinic Orientation

Coming soon!

Peer Mentoring

Incoming first year students are paired with a more advanced student within the program in order to ease one’s transition into the community. Peer mentors are assigned during the summer, and mentors contact their mentee before classes begin in order to answer any questions. The goal is to provide a foundation for increased social and psychological support for the newest members of our community.

The purpose of this program is to pair advanced students with incoming 1 year students in order to facilitate some “peer advising” between more advanced students and new students. Before you entered the Professional Psychology Program, many of you may have felt anxious about everything from courses and graduate school life, to finding housing in the D.C. area. We hope that as an advanced student in the program, you can be available to an incoming student to answer any questions that he/she may have in order to make a better transition for him/her. Furthermore, you will most likely be the first student that this person will know in the program, which could make beginning classes a little less anxiety provoking.   

Intake Observations

During a first-year student’s spring semester, he or she observes an actual intake conducted by a Clinic extern, and then joins the extern during the presentation of the case in Team Meeting. Beginning in the summer semester, the now second-year student conducts an intake under observation of a third-year consultant, presents the case in a Team Meeting, and writes the intake report. 


Practicum labs integrated into all assessment courses in the first year to promote the development of assessment interviewing and testing, testing and interpretive skills. A variety of cognitive instruments are covered as are a variety of objective and projective personality instruments. Students will be required to demonstrate basic assessment skills before being approved to conduct psychological examinations.

The Introductory Clinical Practicum focused on Clinic Procedures and Interviewing Skills (summer semester, first year) facilitates basic skills development necessary to start supervised psychotherapy practice in program’s Clinic.

Prospective Patient Phone Interviews

First year students are also trained to do telephone screening of prospective patients. The training begins in the early fall of year one.

Group Relations Conference

All students participate in a Group Relations Conference during their first year. The objective of this Conference is to further understanding of the influence of group and organizational unconscious process. The Conference is experiential in which students explore their thoughts, feelings, and behavior while participating in a small group, inter-groups, and a Conference-wide group.