Clinical Psychology

Joanna Berg, Rachel Ammirati and Scott O. Lilienfeld

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online June 2012 | | DOI:
Clinical Psychology

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Clinical psychology is a broad discipline that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, etiology (causes), treatment, and prevention of mental disorders. Many clinical psychologists work in practice settings and perform psychotherapy, assessment, or both; others conduct research and teach in academic settings, such as colleges, universities, and medical centers; still others perform a mix of clinical work, research, and teaching. Today, clinical psychology is a vibrant profession that has contributed substantially to our understanding of the measurement, diagnosis, causes, and treatment of a host of psychological conditions, including mood, anxiety, personality, psychotic, eating, and sleep disorders. More than two hundred clinical psychology graduate programs are recognized as formally accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), and two major models of training continue to influence the field. The scientist-practitioner, or Boulder, model was launched following a 1949 conference at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This model, spearheaded by the psychologist David Shakow, is intended to train students broadly to become scientists, clinicians, or both, and encourages them to apply scientific thinking and knowledge to all aspects of their work. Most Boulder-model programs award the PhD degree. The scholar-professional, or Vail, model was launched following a 1973 conference in Vail, Colorado. This model substantially deemphasizes research training in the education of graduate students, and instead focuses on providing students with the knowledge and skills to operate as thoughtful and scholarly psychotherapists and assessors in clinical settings. Most Vail-model programs award the PsyD (doctor of psychology) degree. More recently, a third model, the clinical scientist model, was introduced by Indiana University clinical psychologist Richard McFall in the early 1990s. Although the meaning of this model continues to evolve, the clinical scientist model strongly emphasizes scientific training throughout all components of clinical psychology graduate-school programs. It insists that regardless of whether students become therapists, researchers, teachers, or consultants upon their graduation, they must be rigorous scientific thinkers. In 2008 proponents of the clinical scientist model initiated a new system for accrediting clinical psychology graduate programs; this new system, called the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), will only accredit clinical psychology graduate programs that train rigorous clinical psychology researchers. The full impact of the PCSAS system on clinical psychology graduate training, and on the profession of clinical psychology at large, remains to be seen.

Article.  16185 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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