Academic journal article Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

Unique Roles for Students in Practitioner-Focused Doctoral Programs: Mentoring Practices for an Evolving Landscape

Academic journal article Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy

Unique Roles for Students in Practitioner-Focused Doctoral Programs: Mentoring Practices for an Evolving Landscape

Article excerpt

Studies suggest that training that culminates in the doctor of psychology (PsyD) degree is characterized by heterogeneity. However, elements of most of these practitioner-focused doctoral programs (e.g., larger class sizes, shorter periods of training, less funding for students), as well as the widely varying professional outcomes that they lead to, offer unique challenges and opportunities regarding mentoring. This article aims to (a) trace the development and current status of controversies surrounding the PsyD model; (b) determine the unique roles in which graduates of well-designed and scientifically grounded PsyD programs may be equipped to serve; and (c) drawing on the (limited) extant literature, offer recommendations for mentoring and other elements of training for these practitioner-focused programs. Finally, we offer suggestions for future empirical studies to shed light on the relative value of various training practices.

Keywords: mentor; doctoral; PsyD; doctor of psychology; training

In trying to present a current snapshot of the field of clinical psychology, McFall (2002) aptly states that if asked, 'Will the real clinical psychologists please stand up?'; a whole host of individuals with widely varying training backgrounds, theoretical orientations, and current professional roles would gladly stand tall. The case is similar when trying to characterize practitioner- focused training programs in psychology. A study conducted by Norcross, Castle, Sayette, and Mayne (2004) clearly indicates that heterogeneity in doctor of psychology (PsyD) programs is the rule regarding various factors including admission acceptance rates, enrollment, and theoretical orientation of faculty members. Although Norcross and colleagues focused on differences based on the "housing" of programs (i.e., university department programs, university professional schools, freestanding programs), even within these categories, acceptance rates and other characteristics vary widely.

Much attention in the literature on various training models has been on the relative emphasis of research and practice. In doctor of philosophy (PhD) programs, too, there is heterogeneity regarding which bodies of knowledge and skills and which professional roles are actively valued. Sayette, Mayne, and Norcross's (e.g., 2010) Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology addresses this dimension of graduate training with a continuum from "emphasis on science" to "emphasis on practice" and indicates where each program falls on an associated rating scale. Although a one-dimensional continuum may not be the most useful way to characterize programs (i.e., perhaps emphasis on science and emphasis on practice [and even emphasis on their intrinsic interconnectedness] could be considered orthogonal dimensions), it seems clear that there are both PhD and PsyD (and likely EdD and other degree-granting programs as well, although these are outside the scope of this article) programs that do reside in that "little room in the center" (Stricker, 2000, p. 154), valuing both sets of activities and professional roles. As R. L. Peterson, Peterson, Abrams, and Stricker (2006) state, it is often historical and/or local considerations that determine which degree is granted in a particular doctoral program.

All of this being said, there are certainly features of PsyD programs that tend to distinguish them from PhD programs that make mentoring in the former programs somewhat different from mentoring in the latter. It seems safe to say that, on the whole, PsyD programs (even those housed in universities, with some notable exceptions, e.g., Baylor University, Indiana State University, Kean University) admit larger classes of students and offer less financial assistance to those students (Norcross et al., 2004; Norcross, Sayette, Mayne, Karg, & Turkson, 1998). Norcross and colleagues (2004) report that clinical PsyD programs accepted an average of 41% of their application pool, whereas practice-oriented (or "equal emphasis" [p. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.