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Training Model and Goals

The Clinical program endorses a clinical scientist model of training. The specific goals of the Clinical Psychology Training Program are:

Goal 1: To produce graduates who have a broad knowledge base of scientific psychology.

Goal 2: To produce graduates who are capable of contributing to the scientific base of clinical psychology.

Goal 3: To produce graduates who are capable of delivering empirically-supported treatments to diverse populations.

To enhance the integration of scientist and practitioner skills, the program has always stressed certain educational values. For instance, the faculty should be models of the desired student product by themselves being able to integrate clinical and scholarly activities. Faculty members are active in the development and evaluation of innovations in practice as well as applied and basic research. Another strategy has been to ensure that students are well grounded in basic psychology and to give them models of how clinical applications draw from the basic research areas. This latter focus has given the program a cognitive-behavioral orientation in terms of general theory. This focus is not, however, doctrinaire or dogmatic. It is a consequence of endorsing clinical psychology as an applied science, so that the research and teaching of the clinical faculty reflect advances in all aspect of psychology: human learning and cognition, social processes, neuroscience, and development. A third strategy has been to emphasize research directed toward meaningful clinical problems, and to expose students intensively to the realities of those problems. This blending of the program with both mental health and consultative services in the campus and local community provides opportunities for learning clinical procedures, consultation, and the extension of applied clinical research.

An additional aspect of integration within the clinical science model comes from the concept of clinical practice necessitating use of the scientific method. The empirically-oriented clinician does not always conduct formal research with clients or patients, but nevertheless formulates hypotheses and makes decisions that are guided by an evidence base that comprises ongoing data collection and prior research. Service agencies do not necessarily encourage or facilitate formal experimental research, but the scientific method should be applied to needs assessments, program evaluation, and treatment innovations derived from knowledge of more basic research. It is the value system of the scientific method – concern for objectivity, data guidance, hypothesis testing, replication, and critical thought – that we believe makes for effective clinical practices.

By teaching our students to be competent scientists, able to integrate the scientist and practitioner roles as described, we try to ensure them a wide range of options when it comes to making career choices. Each student should be able to compete successfully for any kind of professional position. There are many environments in which clinicians can function – public or private, service or instructional, academic or applied. We would hope that students' predilections, personal goals, acquired skills, and discovered talents would determine the settings in which their contributions to the field and to society can be most successfully realized.

Last Updated: 7/27/16