Graduate

Child DivisionĀ Child/Family Clinical Track

This track of the clinical program is designed to provide systematic training in research and clinical skills as they apply to problems of children, adolescents, couples, and families.  This track trains research-oriented clinical psychologists having a specialty interest in children, adolescents, couples, and families.  The program builds on a foundation of coursework and applied experiences in normal and atypical development, child/adolescent/family assessment, and child/adolescent/family intervention.  Opportunities are available to develop "special concentrations" in selected areas of expertise, such as advanced statistics and methodology, developmental psychology, and special education, among others.  South Florida's diverse ethnic communities provide unique opportunities for multicultural research and clinical training.  The graduate programs place an emphasis on integrating a multicultural perspective in the evaluation, treatment, and prevention of child and family psychopathology.
 
The two cohesive themes that run throughout much of the ongoing research in this program are "developmental psychopathology" and "children in the community" -- that is a social-contextual perspective on child, youth, and family problems. At the time of entry in to the program, and each semester thereafter, students work closely with an individual faculty member on research. A mentor-apprentice model is utilized, with students gradually increasing in independence in research skills and responsibilities. Therefore, when applying, applicants are encouraged to prepare personal statements that specifically describe their research interests and goals. Because of our mentoring system, it is extremely helpful for applicants to indicate specific faculty members whose research interests match their own. Ongoing research projects are well funded by outside agencies (e.g., National Institute of Mental Health and private foundations), and include studies of affective and behavioral disturbances in children (e.g. anxiety, autism, conduct disorder); prevention of child or adolescent maladjustment; risk and resilience factors in adolescence; interventions for distressed couples; family and peer aspects of coping with stress; developmental and peer factors in the development anxiety disorders in children and adolescence; and the impact of natural disasters, family violence, and other types of traumatic events on children and families.
 
The primary psychology faculty affiliated with this program include: Brian Doss, Amanda Jensen-Doss (Director), Jill Ehrenreich-May, Annette La Greca, Kristin Lindahl (Associate Director and Clinical Track Coordinator), (see faculty web pages for more details).

Coursework

The courses required of both Child/Family Clinical and Pediatric Health clinical students are similar.

Research

Michael Alessandri, Ph.D., Clinical Professor, is Executive Director of the UM Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD).

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Early autism screening and intervention
  • School-based interventions
  • Family adaptation and coping 

Brian D. Doss, Ph.D., Associate Professor, conducts research on romantic relationships, with a focus on developing and testing interventions to improve those relationships.

  • Web-based interventions for distressed couples (see www.OurRelationship.com)
  • Predictors and mechanisms of in-person and online relationship interventions
  • Understanding the help-seeking process to increase the reach of relationship interventions 

Amanda Jensen-Doss, Ph.D., Associate Professor, studies the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practices for youth mental health.

  • Mechanisms and outcomes of measurement-based care
  • Effectiveness of evidence-based practices when tested in “as usual” clinical practice settings
  • Patterns and predictors of assessment and treatment practices utilized in “as usual” clinical practice settings 

Jill Ehrenreich-May, Ph.D., Associate Professor,, studies the efficacy and effectiveness of psychosocial treatments for youth emotional disorders and related mental health conditions, with an emphasis on child anxiety disorders. 

  • Development and evaluation of transdiagnostic and personalized treatments for youth emotional disorders
  • Evaluation of the mechanisms and effectiveness of transdiagnostic and personalized interventions for youth emotional disorders and related conditions in community practice
  • Optimization of clinician training and consultation processes in the implementation of evidence-based interventions for youth 

Annette M. La Greca, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics, conducts research on key risk and resilience factors that play a role in children’s and adolescents’ physical health and mental health, as well as interventions to reduce risk and improve adjustment. 

  • Impact of natural disasters and associated risk factors on the development of posttraumatic stress and health problems in youth
  • Contributions of peer victimization (especially cyber victimization) to adolescent social anxiety and depression, as well as interventions to reduce mental health impacts
  • Impact of school transition stress on adolescents’ physical and mental health 

Kristin M. Lindahl, Ph.D., Associate Professor, studies family systems dynamics and how they are related to child and adolescent functioning. 

  • Interaction between marital and family interaction patterns
  • Mediating and moderating roles of ethnicity
  • Family interaction patterns and implications for mental health and relationship functioning in young adults, including heterosexual as well as LGB youth

Training

The heart of our graduate training is its close research mentorships. One or more faculty members and their students concern themselves with a set of related research problems. Students and faculty in these groups work closely, meeting regularly to discuss research and professional issues, as well as student career development. There are also a variety of social events hosted by both students and faculty members. 

  • Students in our program typically have full tuition remission and remuneration.
  • About half of the students are funded with Research Assistantships in which funding is provided from a specific faculty mentor's research grant.
  • Teaching Assistantships provide students with undergraduate teaching opportunities.
  • Students typically begin by assisting faculty members teaching courses. Students are also required to teach one course at some point during their graduate studies in order to prepare them for university employment.
  • About 20% of our students are funded on competitive fellowships, such as the University Fellowships provided by the University of Miami.