The field of clinical psychology is an extremely complex one, and moving about in it with ease and assurance requires a breadth of understanding that is not easily attained. It is therefore not surprising to find that a clear pathway of progressive study has not been provided for the student of clinical psychology. In some instances the student begins a formal course in the clinical field with no more background than that provided by a single course in general psychology, while in other instances no formal course is provided until the student is well along in a graduate program.
The books available to the student are either specialized manuals for the clinician or books devoted to measurement or evaluation.
The present book, recognizing these facts, represents an effort to present a systematic and integrated group of topics that are fundamental to satisfactory movement in the clinical field. The emphasis of the book is placed on theory and methodology and is therefore directed both to the beginning student in clinical psychology and to the person who has developed some competence with clinical techniques. For the beginning student the book should serve as an introduction to later training and practice. We have assumed that such a student will have some knowledge of general and abnormal psychology. In an ideal situation, of course, he would have broad basic preparation. For the advanced student the book will tie together the personality and clinical field in such a way as to give his procedures more meaning.
This text is not designed to serve as a clinical manual. Competence in clinical practice demands much more than a book. It depends upon direct experience, broad reading, a deep understanding of human nature, constant attention to the latest research. Nor is the book set up for a full description of the special procedures and techniques. These have been provided in many other sources, a bibliography of which has been included. The emphasis has, instead, been placed on basic principles, methodology, and general techniques. This emphasis should provide the foundation necessary for growth in proficiency and for more complete understanding of the administration and interpretation of the technical instruments of diagnosis and the methods of conducting a therapeutic interview. The book encourages the student to become something more than a technician who administers and interprets tests and helps him to develop a greater responsibility for making . . .