According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 60% of psychologists say they don’t have openings for new patients. An uptick in anxiety, depression, and trauma, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, means that demand for psychological services is high — but many people can’t get the care they need. In response to this national shortage of trained clinical psychologists, Madonna University has brought back a master’s program in clinical psychology.
As rates of anxiety and depression soar among Americans, especially among teenagers and young adults, Professor Elizabeth Prough, interim dean of the graduate school at Madonna University, sees an opportunity to serve. “When reviewing graduate programs, we are always asking ourselves, ‘What is the need?’” she says. “And we see a need to address the current mental health crisis.”
Designed to prepare students to assess and treat children, adolescents, and adults, the newly-designed program will welcome its first cohort of students this fall. With supervised training and clinical practicums, students will gain hands-on experience in a clinical setting, under the guidance of experienced practitioners.
At Madonna University, Felician core values pervade all of the academic programs, and this new master’s program emphasizes respect for human dignity by including an emphasis on cultural competence. Students will learn how to work effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds and gain an understanding of how culture and other factors, such as race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, influence the experience and expression of mental health concerns.
Dr. Annamaria Silveri, Program Director, has a background in relational psychodynamic theory and has been steeped in Franciscan spirituality. She embraces unconditional, positive regard as the basis for therapy. “Our Felician mission leads us to serve the most vulnerable,” she says.
Understanding human complexity, seeing the human-ness behind the diagnostic, and building connections with people will help clinical psychology students at Madonna learn to develop appropriate interventions as they prepare for careers that meet a contemporary need.