The Doctor of Psychology program in clinical psychology educates psychologists for direct practice in clinical and applied professional setting by providing a solid foundation in clinical practice, grounded in the evolving scientific understanding of mind and behavior. Didactic training in broad and general psychological principles is coupled with practical, graduated instruction in a range of assessment and intervention modes. The program takes a pluralistic approach to theoretical orientation, exposing each student to three broad conceptual and treatment orientations, including cognitive and behavioral, psychodynamic, and systems theories. Infused into all educational and training experiences are awareness of, sensitivity to, and consideration of appropriate approaches for individual differences, such as those associated with age, ethnicity, culture, race, religion, language, socioeconomic background, gender, sexual orientation, and national origin.
Our model presumes that training approaches should be influenced by developments in science and in the practice environment, and so requires us to actively cultivate avenues of influence to insure we are up to date. This broad stance can be illustrated by, for example, specialty clinics in which faculty train students in state-of-the-art evidence-based treatments, built around investigation of mechanisms and processes of change, and in empirically supported delivery systems. A structural strategy for linking didactic training to community practice is our longstanding practice of appointing 2-4 full-time practitioners as “Visiting Faculty”, whose presence in the community serves as a conduit by which changing clinical challenges are introduced into training design.
While students are required to master contemporary clinical practices, we also presume that over the course of a career they will encounter new knowledge, and new clinical needs – which translates into a need for openness, flexibility and a willingness to rise to the challenges posed by change. Our stress on clinical values, and knowledge-based practice is designed both to equip our graduates to continue to develop over a lifetime of challenges that may not be evident to us today, and to provide clinically leadership in the effort to develop new and better ways of relieving suffering and promoting human growth.