Recipients of Curry's PhD in Clinical Psychology are prepared to make substantial contributions to the field of psychology as mental health practitioners, researchers, scholars, teachers, and supervisors. The program emphasizes the need for clinicians to have knowledge of systems theory and individual functioning—especially in schools and families—in addition to a grounding in many areas of psychological development. Our approach emphasizes that clinical and school psychologists function in a pluralistic society, and that students and faculty must be sensitive to ethnic, cultural, individual, and socioeconomic differences.
Student Experience: Becoming an effective clinician and educator. That is what 4th year graduate student Pooja Datta pursues on a daily basis at the Curry School of Education, without exception. "I am fortunate because that is exactly what the Curry School embodies. To be able to not only do well, but educate well." Pooja is engaged in research with the Youth Violence Project; where she has worked on research exploring bystander behavior, threat assessment, and bullying by teachers. She is working on her dissertation focused on teen dating violence in high schools. She is also a Staff Therapist at the Family Stress Clinic, part of University of Virginia Hospital’s Department of Family Medicine.
What is your passion?
I would say my passion is investigation. I have a background in criminology, but it was not until my first year that I learned about assessment and doing case conceptualizations that made me realize I’ve chosen the right field for myself. Good assessment and hypothesis testing, whether it is clinical or research, informs best practice and treatment. You can appreciate this theoretically, but when you start working in it, that is when it really hits home; whether it is finding the right fit treatment for fighting post-traumatic stress disorder or understanding the prevalence of dating violence and sexual harassment in schools.
Why did you choose Curry?
I was hooked by Curry's emphasis on learning more than just in the classroom and the many opportunities to make this experience your own. For me, this is the best place to study clinical psychology and learn how to use it in both practice and research. I’ve been able to pursue my interests in assessment, trauma clinical work, and research with encouragement and guidance from the faculty that has been invaluable. The possibilities for learning and going after your passions are endless; the only limitation is reigning myself in!