Principle 4. Integrate experiential with didactic learning in all aspects of training

4a. Inclusion of opportunities for experiential learning will facilitate the integration needed for students to gain skills with evidence-based practice (Boswell & Castonguay, 2007; McGinn, Jervis, Wisnivesky, Keitz & Wyer, 2008).

Examples of high quality experiential learning opportunities include (1) combining didactic lectures with adjunctive small group interactive learning and individual supervision, (2) reviewing case vignettes (Dubicka, Carlson, Vail, & Harrington, 2008; Jenkins, Youngstrom, Washburn, & Youngstrom, 2011), watching videotapes of faculty members conducting assessment or therapy, working through the process of navigating ethical dilemmas (e.g., need to report potential child abuse, disclose information about potentially harmful behavior to the parent of an adolescent) and watching faculty model the process of conducting research searches and critically evaluating the findings; (3) training in health-information technology systems and active utilization of database resources for research and practice (Meats, Brassey, Heneghan, & Glasziou, 2007), learning how to incorporate pre-appraised information, the development of critically appraised topics (CATs), or portfolios combining assessment or therapy materials with summaries of key strengths and limitations (Gilbert, Burls, & Glasziou, 2008); and (4) encouraging active learning via student presentations, debates, written papers, journal club, ethical case vignettes, and collaborative work with peers on these projects, especially when emphasizing clinical relevance (Straus, et al., 2011). There are a variety of developed models for these sorts of educational activities in other health care disciplines that could readily be adapted for use in psychology training, including curated collections of critical reviews of published articles distilling the key features and clinical relevance (e.g., ACP Journal Club; see also Hoge et al., 2003; and Gray, 2004, for mental health examples).

4b. Clinical supervision in evidence-based practice should be performed by supervisors who are well-versed in evidence-based practice.

Clinical psychology doctoral programs often share responsibility for clinical supervision with supervision for clinical practica often provided by local practitioners rather than core clinical faculty. Involvement of practicing clinicians may facilitate exposure to a variety of clinical populations and techniques. Regardless of whether supervision is provided by core faculty members or practitioners, it is important to ensure that students receive clinical supervision from supervisors who are knowledgeable about and experienced in the application of evidence-based practices. Smaller programs with fewer faculty may have more challenges offering supervision by multiple faculty members familiar with various methods (Pagoto, et al., 2007). A range of different training support methods, including online videos and continuing education programs are developing as ways of augmenting local expertise and resources. In addition, clinical supervision should include watching videotapes of the student’s therapy sessions, both during their initial sessions and as they work on mastering specific intervention techniques, in order to observe the student therapists assess patient preferences, introduce therapy options with awareness of diversity issues, consider ethical issues relevant to clinical practice, and integrate relationship skills alongside specific empirically-supported interventions.