Alumna Dr. Rita McCleary (’88) embodies TCSPP’s academic strength and training. She graduated with a Psy.D. from the Chicago Campus. Dr. McCleary is assistant clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine, and also has a private practice in New Haven, CT, seeing adolescents, adults and couples.
Q. How did your education at TCSPP benefit you in your career and general outlook today?
I came to TCSPP after several years of pursuing a doctorate in the humanities. It was clear that I wanted to work as a psychotherapist, and when I learned of the Psy.D. degree, it made the most sense—comprehensive, in-depth clinical training that would challenge me intellectually. At TCSPP, I discovered the value of psycho-diagnostics, something I eschewed at first (as a child of the 60's and early 70's). My ability to conceptualize the dynamics of an individual—and of individuals in relationship -- has become a cornerstone of my practice and teaching.
Q. What was your experience with faculty?
I had excellent teachers and learned multiple modalities for treatment in a way that accentuated their complementarity, versus the familiar "my approach is better/more evidence-based, etc." battles that continue to rage. I focused primarily on psychoanalytic psychotherapy, but have always also relied on what I learned about behaviorism, cognitive therapy, psychopharmacology, family systems, and neuropsychology. My life-span development classes were also excellent. I even learned how to read clinical research critically—something I learned to value.
Q: Tell us about your practicum placements?
My practica placements were excellent: University of Chicago, Child Assessment; Illinois Psychiatric Institute, Adolescent Psychotherapy; Illinois Masonic Hospital, General Internship, multiple modalities, both in and outpatient. I ultimately published my TCSPP case study as a book, Conversing with Uncertainty, Practicing Psychotherapy in a Hospital Setting (The Analytic Press, 1992). More recently, I published a chapter on “Personality Testing in the Essential Series, Essentials of Assessment Report Writing,” (Wiley, 2004). I would not have had the clinical expertise, or experience to write either without my TCSPP training.