The Professional Graduate School of Clinical Psychology was established in April 2007 as an independent graduate course offering a professional degree programme that specialises in training clinical psychologists, the first ever for a Japanese national university. We provide advanced professional education based on a curriculum of lectures, seminars and practical training to foster clinical psychologists who can contribute to people’s mental well-being.
Fifteen students are enrolled per grade. They take a two-year course and obtain an MA in Clinical Psychology, which is a professional degree. In line with our policy of accepting students from diverse backgrounds, our graduate course enrolls non-psychology students as well. We place emphasis on clinical psychology training, and spend three times more hours on training than other graduate schools designated as Class 1. All of our nine faculty members are certified clinical psychologists, and four are clinical practitioners.
As of 2015, on completing the course, 98% of the students have passed the test conducted by the Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists. Every one of our students finds employment in Japan. About 30% of our students become psychologists hired by local municipal governments. It is a tough programme, but it is worth it in the end.
On-campus clinical psychology training takes place inside the annexed clinical psychology counselling room. Students are placed in charge of clinical cases, and receive individual instruction each time by members of the faculty. Off-campus training takes place at four locations over a two-year period, covering the medical, educational and welfare areas. As training in the judicial and correctional areas, students visit family courts and prisons. Instructions are given by clinical practitioners. In 2010, we began a community-based programme to deliver psychological support.
A counselling room is housed inside the school as an on-campus training facility. It is open to the local community, and we accept about 1,500 cases per year. This is our eleventh year. People come to the room to discuss a variety of problems that their children have (not attending school, developmental disorders, and delinquency), to talk about interpersonal relationships at the workplace, and about their own personalities. Many of the cases have been referred to us from relevant institutions, so we endeavour to contribute to society as a counselling organisation rooted in the local community. Our staff is comprised of the director, a senior staff member, an assistant senior staff member, clinical instruction counselling staff (our graduate school’s full-time teachers), clinical counselling staff, trainee counselling staff, and clerical staff. Graduate school students are also involved in broad-ranging operations as counsellors-in-training, from business management to consultations. An educational setup is in place for training and fostering clinical psychology specialists who contribute to enhancing people’s mental health.
In educational areas, practical training for preparing students to work as school counsellors is provided. Students are taught practice-based knowledge of school counselling by being placed in middle/high schools for a certain period of time, where they see how trained school counsellors actually work.
The programme includes attendance in sitations such as counselling sessions for children with school absenteeism and/or in concern of bullying, counselling sessions with parents, and consultation sessions with teachers. Students are also given the opportunity to actually plan a syllabus and give lessons on stress-management education to children for their mental health.
In schools recently, in addition to bullying and school absenteeism, acute psychological care at scenes of disasters or traumatic events is becoming a modern issue, and thus practical training in educational areas have been recognized as worthwhile soon after the students start their careers in school counselling.
As of 2015, practical medical training for graduate students has occurred in a total of six facilities including Kagoshima University Medical and Dental Hospital, Aira Hospital as well as four private institutions. The training programme includes allowing students to sit in on actual medical examinations by doctors and clinical psychologists, the daily workings within a hospital and many other activities covering a range of medical treatments. Through this practical training, graduate students gain valuable firsthand experiences that serve to further their education.
Our graduate students undergo practical training in the welfare field at child guidance centres, support centres for people with developmental disorders, foster homes, and a short-term therapeutic institution for emotionally-disturbed children. Through working as trainees at these facilities and interacting with the children, the students gain an understanding of the psychological characteristics of children who require welfare assistance, and learn how to respond to them as a psychology professional. In undergoing practical training in the welfare field, our students learn what life guidance supporters, childcare providers, and rehabilitation staff do, through receiving lectures and seeing them in action, and study the important keys in collaborating with people of other occupations. Through these extensive practical training programmes, the students study what psychological support in the welfare sector is all about, and learn that approaching not only their hearts but also their daily living is most important.
In the judicial and correctional areas, we practice psychology that chiefly targets delinquent boys and people who have committed crimes. From the standpoint of clinical psychology, we examine the type of approaches and support provided after acts of delinquency and crime that have become a serious social problem. Many specialists work actively in this area. Students taking this course will examine in great depth the jobs of experts who work at the frontline of juvenile cases, confront the youngsters head-on, and dissuade them from re-offending. One example is family court probation officers. They receive orders from family court judges to handle juvenile cases. Students learn the actual process through lectures and tours of a family court. Another example is judicial technology officers at juvenile detention centres. These experts classify youngsters who were sent to such homes on decisions by the family court judge. The students learn the entire process through visits and lectures.