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 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. One example might be the discussion of 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, 43, 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 women's/gender issues, family psychology and contextual psychology, 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.
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