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In September 1981, Department of Psychology and Philosophy at Texas Woman's University began to admit students to the Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology. This program provides systematic training within a practitioner-scientist model to prepare students for the practice of psychology in a wide range of professional mental health settings. The program is grounded in feminist multicultural philosophy and pedagogy. The program has a particular focus on developing clinicians with a strong understanding of individuals within their gendered and sociocultural contexts. Graduates of the program are expected to be conversant with and competent in the diversity sensitive applications of individual, systemic, and integrative theories. The model provides clear training in both practice and science, but emphasizes practice; practice that is informed by science.

The program draws primary theoretical undergirdings of traditional Counseling Psychology programs, as well as from feminist/multicultural models, and contextual/relational/systemic formulations. The model gives purpose, structure, and meaning to much of the coursework, research projects, and clinical supervision that comprise the students' doctoral educational experience. Accordingly, although the student is expected to be conversant and competent in the use of integrative strategies that stem from cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and humanistic formulations, conceptualization of the individual as operating within the larger system receives clear emphasis.

This particular program's philosophy, curriculum, faculty, and students, situated within the unique context of the TWU mission, attempt to create an atmosphere that is supportive, open, and flexible. Flexibility is evidenced by options in course sequencing, transfer credit, and student committee choices, but not a lack of academic rigor. The goal is to create a program which challenges without creating competition, promotes professionalism with a minimum of power hierarchy, incorporates and encourages student participation at high levels, and encompasses important emerging trends in the areas of gender, diversity, and family psychology while remaining solidly rooted in the foundations of Counseling Psychology.

The program faculty makes a concerted effort to attend to students within a contextual framework, recognizing interpersonal, familial, institutional, and socio-cultural realities. Faculty strive to create an inclusive, rather than exclusive environment, in which collaboration, self-direction,leadership, and respect for individual differences are promoted. Program students and faculty alike attempt to maintain open communication and clarity of expectations. Students should be aware that, as is typical of graduate training in professional psychology, part of one’s development as a psychologist entails personal growth in addition to academic learning. As such, students may be expected to share appropriate personal material in various classes and practicum situations. Examples might include providing assessment data, participation in a process group, or a genogram in a family psychology class.

The aim of the program is to produce highly-qualified competent psychologists who meet the APA accreditation standards and those set by Division 17 of the American Psychological Association and then those set by other relevant Divisions of the American Psychological Association (35, 44, 45, 51, 52). All doctoral students are expected to be enrolled full-time each semester (fall and spring) until they reach clinical jury/internship application stage. Because the present program emphasizes not only the traditional focus of Counseling Psychology, but also gender and diversity, the coursework required for completion may be somewhat more extensive than in many programs. Applicants who prefer a more traditional emphasis may wish to consider other programs.

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: (202) 336-5979

Goals & Objectives

In keeping with the Competencies noted above, the Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology is rooted in the following goals and objectives. Most program activities and evaluations are linked to these fundamental items.

Goal #1: To prepare competent practitioners of professional psychology

Objectives for Goal #1:

1A: To prepare professional psychologists who are reflective and self-aware about their practice, including appropriate use of supervision.
1B: To prepare professional psychologists who have effective interpersonal relationships across a range of professional constituencies.
1C: To prepare professional psychologists who practice within legal and ethical bounds.
1 D: To prepare professional psychologists who can assess, conceptualize, and intervene appropriately with their clients.

Goal #2: To prepare diversity-sensitive professional psychologists

Objectives for Goal #2:

2A: To prepare professional psychologists who understand themselves and others as cultural beings.
2B: To prepare professional psychologists who can effectively apply their knowledge of diversity across a range of practice and research domains.

Goal #3: To prepare professional psychologists who are competent consumers and/or producers of research

Objectives for Goal #3:

3A: To prepare professional psychologists who use evidence-based information as a foundation for practice.
3B: To prepare professional psychologists who participate in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge.

page last updated 10/28/2015 2:24 PM