Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology 2004/2005 Edition

Article excerpt

MICHAEL A. SAYETTE, TRACY J. MAYNE and JOHN C. NORCROSS Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology 2004/2005 Edition New York: Guilford Press, 2004, 340 pages (ISBN 1-57230-978-4, US$23.95 Paperback)

The purpose of this book is to help students prepare for admission into clinical or counseling psychology graduate programs and to assist with the corresponding application process. Including several web resources, updated profiles and contact information for North American programs, data outlining admissions criteria, and sample letters, CVs and a personal statement, the Insider's Guide is designed to help both current and future applicants prepare for and apply strategically to graduate school. Well written and using straightforward language and information presented in text, table, and list formats, the authors draw on research data and personal anecdotes to outline the application process and its various considerations. The book covers all steps of the process from the initial decision to pursue graduate work in clinical or counseling psychology to the final decision one makes upon offers of admission. Readers can search for program matches by specific research interests or practica opportunities, and can peruse the profiles, complete with admissions requirements and faculty theoretical orientations, of almost 300 professional, clinical, and counseling psychology programs. In addition, throughout the guide, the authors artfully balance realism and encouragement. For example, while being realistic about rates of admission into graduate programs and required skills and experiences, the authors are never pessimistic with their advice; in fact, Sayette et al. encourage readers to "reach for the stars" in pursuit of graduate work and to persist throughout the application process.

Although the title of this book may attract students at a certain stage in graduate preparation - those close to starting or in the midst of applications - persons at all levels and various stages of preparation may find this book helpful. For the individual contemplating graduate work in clinical or counseling psychology, the introductory chapter provides an overview of the two professions and highlights the differences between PhD and PsyD programs. Similarly, the authors present a brief description of careers within the helping profession (e.g., medicine, social work) that students may consider as alternatives to clinical or counseling psychology. For students committed to graduate work in clinical or counseling psychology, this book is comprehensive in its description of common admissions requirements such as standardized examinations, research experience, faculty mentorship, and specific undergraduate courses. Indeed, a strength of the Insider's Guide is its recognition that readers may be at different stages in their studies. Specifically, in the chapter on preparing for graduate work, the authors address lower and senior level undergraduates, college graduates and master's level clinicians, and tailor the information to fit the reader's various background and stage of education.

Moreover, while the book contains abundant information on clinical and counseling programs and mastering the application process, one of its greatest features is a timeline for preparing for graduate work in these fields. Beginning with recommendations for students in initial undergraduate years (e.g., take core psychology courses, join psychology student organizations) and culminating in April/May of the application year, the timeline provides students with an organized method of preparing for graduate school and completing the rigorous application process. This timeline can help focus students and ensure the meeting of deadlines and timely completion of applications. The timeline breaks the application process into manageable steps and could, for many readers, decrease the stresses that arise from preparing for and applying to graduate school. …

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