Commentary on Training in Pediatric Psychology


by Kevin A. Hommel, PhD

“Pediatric psychology” refers to the integrated field of science and clinical work in which the principles of psychology are applied within the context of pediatric health-related issues. The field aims to promote the health and development of children, adolescents, and their families through use of methods and techniques that have been empirically validated. As such, one must obtain specialized training in psychology, research methods, and child health-related issues in order to become a pediatric psychologist. This generally involves coursework, clinical practica, and supervised research experience. The majority of this specialized training occurs in graduate school, clinical internship/residency, and postdoctoral fellowships, although a careerlong commitment to continual education and training is one of the ethical principles upon which professional psychology is built. There are several training-related issues that should be considered by individuals who are interested in becoming pediatric psychologists. This document is meant to provide a brief overview of some of the issues that are relevant to training at various points in one’s academic career. Readers are strongly encouraged to read the articles cited in the following sections, as these contain formal recommendations provided by various training-related task forces convened by the Society of Pediatric Psychology (SPP).