Clinical psychology graduate program to double
Expansion will help fill urgent need for clinical psychologists in Manitoba
Each year, between 60 to 80 applicants from across Canada apply to the University of Manitoba’s clinical psychology graduate program. That’s 10 times the amount that can currently be accepted into the program. On July 21, the Province of Manitoba announced it will invest $412,000 to double the number of seats in the training program with the first added seats opening in fall 2024. This is the first significant increase in student seats to this program in decades and will do much to help fill the urgent need for clinical psychologists in Manitoba.
“[The] government remains committed to improving mental health services in Manitoba, and clinical psychologists are specialists who play a key role in mental health and wellness,” said Advanced Education and Training Minister Sarah Guillemard. “This investment will help to grow the clinical psychology workforce and ensure that more Manitobans have access to the vital care psychologists provide.”
Manitoba currently has the lowest number of clinical psychologists per 100,000 population (20.2) compared to all other provinces and territories (52.9). To bring Manitoba to the national average, 450 clinical psychologists would need to be added to the workforce. Increasing capacity is especially important to offset retirements – more than one quarter of the 250 psychologists currently working in Manitoba are over the age of 60. Manitoba’s dire situation is clear when compared to neighbouring Saskatchewan where there are 43.3 psychologists per 100,000.
The UM program, housed within the Faculty of Arts, is the only clinical psychology training program accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association in the province of Manitoba. It currently accepts eight students per year. With the announced funding, this will rise to 12 seats in September 2024 and to 16 seats in September 2025 and beyond. The funding also provides for additional faculty members to be hired to provide clinical supervision, starting with a minimum of two new faculty members to be added to support the September 2024 cohort.
Through the program, clinical psychologists are trained to prepare to meet the ever-changing needs of clinical service, research, education and administration using the scientist-practitioner training model. While this increase in trained clinical psychologists will benefit the public once the students graduate, it will also have a positive impact on the community as early as 2024 as the students begin working with patients (through a supervised practicum) during their first year of studies.
Students fulfill their practicum both at clinics off-campus and with the Psychological Service Centre (PSC), located on the UM’s Fort Garry campus. The PSC provides therapy and assessment services to the community free of charge. The student clinicians deliver a range of psychological services to the public, supervised by registered psychologists. Dr. Hal Wallbridge, director of the PSC shared that current wait lists for services are long and fill quickly. “The increase in students and faculty supervisors will lead to an increase in the number of appointments the PSC is able to offer the public,” said Dr. Wallbridge.
“We recognize that we are in the midst of a provincial mental health crisis,” said Dr. Kristin Reynolds, associate professor and director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology. “The expansion of student seats and faculty members to this program is a good first step to improve the availability and accessibility of mental health and behavioural health services for populations within Manitoba, especially Indigenous persons and children and youth, who currently and historically have been marginalized and underserved.”
Applications for the fall 2024 intake of the clinical psychology graduate program open September 1, 2023. The deadline to apply is December 15, 2023. Apply