Clinical Psychology Training Program Anniversary

Delmont Morrison: Looking Back

There were a number of social movements and events occurring during my tenure that reflected a significant shift in the profession in terms of training and practice.

The first social movement, that actually was not that enduring, was the questioning of authority by those who did not possess it. This was during  the time of the social unrest of the Vietnam War. As you may recall, it was the young, draft eligible college students in particular that were the first to protest,and the center of the protest was the University of California at Berkeley. This spread to UCSF. Individuals from the first internship group that I had responsibility for organized a protest against the war and took over the LPPI auditorium. The rally occurred early in the morning and had not gone through any administrative procedures to schedule the space.The interns had not been at LPPI more than a month and I knew nothing about their plan.The protest took almost all morning and was well attended. Apparently everyone knew about it except most of the faculty, the administration, and me. Alex Simon was the chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the time, and as I recall he said that I clearly wasn’t into micro-management.

The other movements were more enduring.

LPPI had a very strong community mental health training program, and we had interns involved in various community placements.This program was mostly supported by a substantial federal grant as were most of the training programs at the Institute. It was during my tenure that the next most enduring event occurred. After a long and significant history of  federal government support for the training of clinical psychologists, the training grant was phased out in roughly four years. Without money for faculty and trainee support, training programs at LPPI, and across the country, faced a major time of transition during which alternative financial support for the training of individuals ,who are the future of the profession, had to be found.

Without NIMH support the Community Mental Health program folded in a brief period of time. Ironically,as the avaliability of CMH services were challanged, the move to close the inpatient units at LPPI gained momentum.Over time, training opportinities on the inpatient services began to dwindle as did the opportunity to train in the community. All this was driven by economic changes for support for mental health services rather than a  research-based alternative to previously accepted modes of treatment. Suddenly everyone was a candidate for short term outpatient treatment..

Toward the end of my time as the director of training, the faculty started talking seriously about the development of a program that would combine a predoctoral year with a postdoctoral year that would combine advanced clinical experience and significant involvement in research.

As the NIMH support for the program was withdrawn, I went back to my position in the Child and Adolescent Service where I remained until my retirement.

One sign of an outstanding training program is how it responds and adapts to social and professional change. This requires an outstanding faculty that is commited to the profession and the training of those individuales who are the future of the profession. This has been the history of the Clinical Psychology Training program. I am very proud to have been a part of it.

 

Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service