Program Philosophy, Aims and Competencies

The combined doctoral program in counseling psychology and school psychology adheres to the scientist-practitioner model of training. Based on this philosophy of training, professional psychologists are encouraged to conduct research on significant social and educational issues, ensure that professional practice is based on a strong empirical foundation, and examine their practices by conducting ongoing research and evaluation. Given this model, the program is designed to prepare psychologists who can evaluate, provide and enhance human services through scientific inquiry and practice. As a result, graduates are firmly grounded in psychological science that addresses etiology, prevention and intervention with contemporary problems.

In keeping with the standards of accreditation from the American Psychological Association, our program has three primary aims, and our curriculum is focussed on the following nine competencies and corresponding elements.

Project Aims

Aim 1

To facilitate students’ professional identity development as psychologists and foster strong commitments to ethical guidelines and the provision of services in the context of a multicultural, pluralistic society such that individual differences and differences in culture, race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, ability and sexual orientation are understood, respected and addressed.

Aim 2

To train students in the scientist-practitioner model who are competent in the evaluation, production, and dissemination of research.

Aim 3

To provide students with in-depth training of evidence-based practices under supervised conditions in assessment and intervention.    

Program Competencies and Elements

I. Research

  • Demonstrate the substantially-independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological or professional knowledge base
  • Conduct research or other scholarly activities
  • Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional or national level

II. Ethical and Legal Standards

  • Be knowledgeable of, and act in accordance with, each of the following:
    • The current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct
    • Relevant laws, regulations, rules and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local state, regional and federal levels
    • Relevant professional standards and guidelines
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemma
  • Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities

III. Individual and Cultural Diversity

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how your own personal/cultural history, attitudes and biases may affect how you understand and interact with people different from yourself
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities, including research, training, supervision/consolation and service
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and culture differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, other professional activities) — including the ability to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of your career, and the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics or worldviews create conflict with your own
  • Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups, and apply this approach effectively in your professional work

IV. Professional Values and Attitudes

  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning and concern for the welfare of others
  • Engage in self-reflection regrading your personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being and professional effectiveness
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision
  • Respond professionally in increasingly-complex situations with a greater degree of independence as you progress across levels of training

V. Communication and Interpersonal Skills

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors and those receiving professional services
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communications well

VI. Assessment

  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant date using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective
  • Communicate the findings and implications of the assessment orally and in written documents in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences

VII. Intervention

  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with recipients of psychological services
  • Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics and contextual variables
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness, and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation

VIII. Supervision

  • Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices

IX. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions
  • Demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices