To earn a degree from our Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, students are required to master a comprehensive body of knowledge and skills. Doctoral students must acquire substantial competence in the discipline of clinical psychology as specified in the American Psychological Association (APA) Standards of Accreditation and must be able to relate appropriately to clients/patients, fellow students, faculty and staff members, and other health care professionals.
In slight contrast to other areas of higher education, graduate students in clinical psychology require combinations of cognitive, behavioral, emotional, intellectual, and communication abilities in order to perform in this field in a satisfactory manner. Many of these skills are evaluated during the application process and will be factored into whether an invitation to join the program is made. These skills and functions are not only essential to the successful completion of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, but they are also necessary to ensure the health and safety of those served by the profession.
In our program, which is accredited by the APA’s Commission on Accreditation, we are committed to a training process that ensures that graduate students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody a diversity of intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. When graduate students’ own attitudes, beliefs, or values create tensions that negatively impact the training process or the ability to effectively treat diverse members of the public, the program faculty and supervisors will work closely with these students to support the acquisition of professional competence. We support graduate students in finding a belief- or value-congruent path that allows them to work in a professionally competent manner with all clients/patients.
For some trainees, integrating personal beliefs or values with professional competence in working with all clients/patients may require additional time and faculty support. Ultimately though, to complete our program successfully, all graduate students must be able to work with any client placed in their care in a beneficial manner. Professional competencies are determined by the profession for the benefit and protection of the public; consequently, students do not have the option to avoid working with particular client populations or refuse to develop professional competencies because of conflicts with their attitudes, beliefs, or values.
We adhere to the APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, including the principles of Justice and Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity. For example, we believe that “fairness and justice entitle all persons to access to an benefit from the contributions of psychology”; that psychologists must “take precautions to ensure that their potential biases … do not lead to or condone unjust practices”; and that psychologists are obligated to “respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status.”
The above disclosures allow applicants to be aware of all these expectations before accepting an invitation to join our doctoral program in clinical psychology.