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J Clin Psychol. 2009 Mar;65(3):305-18. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20545.

Clinical psychology training in sleep and sleep disorders.

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  • 1The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. meltzerL@email.chop.edu


There is growing evidence to suggest that clinical psychologists would benefit from more training in sleep and sleep disorders. Sleep disturbances are commonly comorbid with mental health disorders and this relationship is often bidirectional. In addition, psychologists have become integral members of multidisciplinary sleep medicine teams and there are not enough qualified psychologists to meet the clinical demand. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current education on sleep and sleep disorders provided to clinical psychology predoctoral students and interns. Directors of graduate programs and internships (N=212) completed a brief online survey on sleep education in their program. Only 6% of programs offers formal didactic courses in sleep, with 31% of programs offering training in the treatment of sleep disorders. There are few programs with sleep faculty (16%), and most reported that their institutions were ineffective in providing sleep education. Thirty-nine percent of training directors reported they would implement a standard curriculum on sleep, if available. The findings from this study suggest that more opportunities are needed for trainees in clinical psychology to gain didactic and clinical experience with sleep and sleep disorders.

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