In lieu of traditional written Preliminary or Comprehensive Examinations, our students demonstrate professional competency in one of three areas of professional activity. This is known as the Program's "Task Requirement."

Tasks may be in one of three areas: Area A: Clinical Demonstration, Area B: Research/Methodology, or Area C: Program Evaluation. Tasks are intended to be substantial work products that demonstrate both independence and competence.

Consistent with the philosophy behind the task system, it is recommended that tasks be planned and conceptualized prospectively in the educational setting. Although certain tasks may be carried out in areas where students are employed, work products from another setting are unlikely to be suitablet. Such products typically lack the comprehensive scope and detailed documentation that must characterize a successful task.

In developing a task idea, most students will work with a supervisor or advisor.

Clinical Demonstration Tasks: Students proposing clinical demonstration tasks should inform their prospective clinical supervisor(s) of the activities that they wish to use as a task, and should offer to provide a formal task proposal for the supervisor should he/she want one. The supervisor should determine at the outset whether the proposed task would be an appropriate one, in terms of both its content and the student's ability to perform the task “independently”. A statement to the effect that the clinical supervisor agrees that the proposed task represents a feasible and appropriate demonstration should accompany the task proposal that is submitted to the Program Director.

Program Evaluation Tasks: Students proposing program evaluation tasks should seek the approval of any agency or organization that will be involved in or affected by the prospective task’s activities or outcomes. Statements of approval and support from any affected agency or organization administrators should accompany the task proposal that is submitted to the Program Director.

Research/Methodology Tasks: The Research/Methodology task should be a work of synthesis, which provides the context for the student’s own investigations. In the literature review, students should clarify their understanding of the field, evaluate the results of previous research, define key concepts, theories, and ideas, identify relevant methodological issues, and identify research in related areas that is generalizable or transferable to the topic. Writing a literature review also provides practice in critical thinking and allows students to develop their own theoretical perspective. Students proposing literature reviews for their tasks are required to demonstrate that the planned review is sufficiently distinct from the MA Thesis literature review that its completion will significantly enhance their breadth of scholarship. This demonstration will entail the student’s securing an attestation from his or her MA Thesis advisor to the effect that the proposed task literature review is not merely derivative of the MA Thesis and is sufficiently distinct that it represents a different area of scholarship.

In addition to the certifications/approvals described above, students are required to seek the program’s approval of any proposed task. To do this, students submit a completed "Task Appropriateness Form" (available in electronic form from the Program Director). Using the form and attachments, the student indicates the type of task being proposed, provides the requisite certifications/attestations (see above), and provides a summary and/or outline of the task’s nature and scope. Students are advised to provide thorough descriptions so that the task review committee will not need to seek additional elaboration.

Once the Task Appropriateness Form has been completed, the student submits it to the Program Director in electronic form (Microsoft Word), along with any supporting documentation (e.g., the certifications & attestations described above, also in electronic form if possible). The Program Director distributes proposals to a two-person task review committees. Task review committees are ordinarily asked to render their appropriateness judgments within 2 weeks of receiving a request. Notice of task review committees’ decisions are returned to the student through the Program Director.

Once a task proposal is approved, the approval will apply irrespective of the subsequent composition of the task review committee. Whenever possible, however, the committee members who approved the proposal will also review the completed task. If a proposed task is not approved, it may be modified and resubmitted, depending on the committee's recommendation. Copies of all documents pertaining to a particular task and the initial approval or disapproval regarding appropriateness (including the Task Appropriateness Form) are retained in the student's file.

Submitting Completed Task Manuscripts for Review:

Although, as noted above, students often consult with a supervisor or advisor during the planning and, for clinical demonstrations and program evaluations, the implementation stages of a task, the task manuscripts themselves are to be the independent work of the student. Program faculty are not allowed to be involved in writing, reviewing or editing task manuscripts prior to their submission. When the manuscript is completed, it is submitted electronically (as a Microsoft Word document) to the Program Director, along with a "statement of independence" from any faculty consultant who was involved with the task. When they are appropriate, these statements describe the nature of the advisor's or supervisor's input (if any) into the final product. Task reviewers are ordinarily asked to provide their evaluations of tasks within one month of receiving them. If the committee members render a "split" decision regarding a task's acceptability, the Program Director will advise the student about the steps needed to resolve the disagreement. No task proposal will approved for execution without the approval of two task evaluators.

Because tasks are conceived as demonstrations of competence rather than as iterations in a process of successive approximations to mastery, task reviewers typically provide summary judgments rather than detailed feedback regarding the acceptability of completed tasks. Accordingly, students may expect to receive the reviewers’ summary judgments and comments (if any), along with a statement from the Program Director indicating the review committee's decision.

Students whose tasks are judged to be unacceptable, insofar as satisfying the program's task requirement are concerned, may either petition the committee to be allowed to prepare a revision, or may prepare a different task for submission. If the student elects to prepare a different task, he or she will need to re-initiate the task appropriateness approval process described above. Only one resubmission (or different task submission) is possible. A second decision is the final decision.

It should be noted that, at the Program Director's discretion, even manuscripts that are judged to satisfy the program's task requirement may be returned to the author for minor editing or corrections (e.g., grammatical or typographical errors) prior to final acceptance.

PDF copies of all tasks approved after June 2010 are made available to program members on the Clinical Program Blackboard web site.

Three Types of Tasks

Area A: Clinical Demonstration

A client intervention demonstrating a particular theoretical model and its application:

A written document is required describing the introduction, progress, and summary of treatment outcome. The written document must also contain the most relevant and up to date reviews of the chosen approach from peer reviewed journals and appropriate book chapters. The review should provide a brief historical overview, definition of theory and approach, and review of outcome literature regarding approach. The written documentation should be approximately 15-20 pages of text written in APA style (page count does not include Figures, Tables, Appendices or References) and be modeled after case studies that appear in various journals (See Dr. Kirk for examples).

Finally, one must submit videotape footage of the entire application. Footage length may vary depending on the application but should be at least 4 sessions in length and no longer than 12 sessions.

Example: Treatment of Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia

  • Review of literature on Panic Control Treatment.
  • Integrated report of interview, treatment and outcome to include all assessment measures used.
  • All written materials and documents making reference to the client are thoroughly de-identified.
  • Video tapes of (up to) 12 sessions.
  • One copy of the original signed informed consent statement indicating that the client is aware that his/her sessions are being recorded for purposes of the therapist's satisfying a program requirement, and that the tapes will be reviewed by up to three clinical faculty members before being erased. (This consent statement will be separated from the task write-ups by the Program Director and retained securely until the task review is completed.
  • Once the task review is completed, the Program Director will destroy both the videotapes and the consent statement copy. (Only the de-identified write-ups are retained on file for clinical demonstration tasks.

Area B: Review Paper Demonstration

The student will prepare a review article about a topic directly relevant to clinical psychology. The review article should be of the form and quality of those suitable for submission to Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Review, or to one of the more specialized journals that also accept review papers (e.g., Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology). The focus of the paper may be empirical, theoretical, or methodological. The final review is to be prepared in APA style, approximately 20-30 pages in length (not including Figures, Tables, or References).

The completed manuscript should be submitted for review to the Program Director in electronic form (as a Microsoft Word document).


Area C: Program Evaluation Demonstration

Develop or expand a clinical or community program of service. This project would entail program development for the clinical community and the associated outcome evaluation. This may involve the KU Psychological Clinic or another agency or community.

The reports include an analysis of the community need (why the program is needed) and the relevant literature regarding the particular program development. The reports further include a description of the program, process of implementation, any and all outcome data collected, and suggestions for future change or expansion. The reports also include (in Appendices) any outcome measures used.

The written documentation should be approximately 20 pages of text written in APA style (page count does not include Figures, Tables, Appendices, or References) and be modeled after program evaluation studies that appear in various journals (See Dr. Kirk for articles/examples).

The completed manuscript should be submitted to the Program Director in electronic form (as a Microsoft Word document).

Example: Implementation of outcome measurement in the KU Psychological Clinic.

Report would include a literature review on functional outcomes in training clinics, why outcome measures are helpful to trainees and the community they serve, and the plan for implementation. The report would further names measures used, describes data collected, and describes barriers to and successes of implementation. Finally the report gives suggestions for the future use in the clinic and any changes suggested.

For additional information or questions on the accreditation of the KU Clinical Psychology Program, contact the Office of program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Web: Phone: 202-336-5979. E-Mail: apaaccred@pa.or.

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