Home » EKU’s new doctoral program in clinical psychology will benefit rural areas

EKU’s new doctoral program in clinical psychology will benefit rural areas

Program begins in the fall of 2015

RICHMOND, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2014) — Eastern Kentucky University’s newly-approved Psy.D. program in Clinical Psychology will focus on preparing practitioners to work in underserved rural areas when it launches in Fall 2015.

EKU logoThe curriculum will provide opportunities for specialized training in substance abuse, mental health administration, school-based mental health, suicide risk assessment and prevention, and working with traditionally underserved populations, including veterans and their families, adults and children with developmental disabilities, and individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Additional specialized training opportunities will include forensic psychology and applied behavior analysis.

This will be the first practice-oriented Psy.D. program at a public university in Kentucky. Spalding University offers the only other Psy.D. program in the state.

“There is a great need for clinical psychologists, particularly in rural areas,” said Dr. Dustin Wygant, director of clinical training, who will head the program. “The specialization in rural mental health will prepare graduates to work in the areas experiencing the greatest need for mental health services. In addition, the program will increase the number of qualified doctoral-level supervisors required by Kentucky law to oversee the practice of master’s level psychologists. The scarcity of doctoral-level supervisors has been a significant problem for rural mental health agencies for many years.”

Wygant said the emphasis on rural mental health “will be attractive to students in our region who wish to learn advanced clinical skills and remain in the commonwealth. Each year between eight and ten graduates of our current M.S. Clinical Psychology program go on to doctoral programs, typically Psy.D. programs. Most have ties to Kentucky and would welcome the opportunity to earn a doctorate at EKU.”

The presence of doctoral students, working under the supervision of the faculty, will also allow the EKU Department of Psychology to expand mental health services currently offered through its own Psychology Clinic, which provides affordable, evidence-based services to adults, children and families in the University’s service region and beyond, and open additional opportunities for undergraduate clinical psychology co-op placements.