Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology

Description

The Ph.D. Program in Counseling Psychology at the University at Albany provides integrated scientist-practitioner training in psychology as a scientific discipline, and in counseling psychology as an area of professional specialization. The doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Albany has been continuously accredited by the APA since 1980. The Ph.D. program involves full-time study with a minimum of 76 credits in courses, seminars, practica, internship training, and dissertation.

The required curriculum encompasses four basic areas:

  1. a professional core in counseling psychology (including theory, research and practice in areas of intervention, assessment, and career development)
  2. supervised practica
  3. research design, measurement, and statistics
  4. core psychology coursework

Students engage in a variety of professional experiences (counseling, consultation, teaching, assessment, supervision and training), demonstrate competence in a specific research tool, pass a comprehensive doctoral examination, complete a 2000-hour APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship, and submit an acceptable dissertation demonstrating their ability to conduct scholarly research in counseling psychology.

Basic to the design of this program are several perspectives on the nature of the field.

Scientist-Practitioner Model

The first of these concerns the scientist-practitioner model in the profession of psychology. This model is one in which training is undertaken in both intervention methods and scientific inquiry, and in which the practice of the profession involves being informed by and contributing to scientific knowledge. In our program, questions of science and practice are viewed as complementary and interdependent, and the scientist-practitioner model is implemented through coursework in basic psychological foundations, research methods, developmental and intervention theory, psychodiagnostic assessment, and by practice opportunities in both research and clinical activities via assistantships, professional development activities, practica, specialized course work, and independent study.

Focus on Strengths and Normative Human Development

The second perspective stems from the tradition of the counseling psychology professional specialty to facilitate human growth and development, and to focus on client assets and strengths. Thus, while recognition of abnormality and pathology is an essential skill, the counseling psychology training in our program emphasizes patterns of normal development, and students are exposed to theory and methods that relate to both prevention and remediation of intra- and interpersonal human concerns.

Focus on Contextual Factors

Third, also following from tradition in counseling psychology, is the importance of understanding the person in his or her particular context. Whether the context in question is one of education, occupation, relationship, family, culture, or other system, training in our program includes a focus on the individual, on the nature of that person's environmental context, as well as on the quality of the interaction between the two.

Valuing Diversity and Self Reflection

The fourth perspective concerns valuing diversity and self-reflection. In our program opportunities are available to explore issues of individual and cultural diversity, to learn a variety of theoretical orientations, to pursue a range of research topics and methods, to study with a multicultural array of students and faculty, to work with a range of client populations, to practice in multiple work settings, and to engage in a variety of professional roles (i.e., counselor, researcher, instructor, trainer, supervisor, consultant).

We believe that quality training is both sequential and comprehensive. That is, all coursework, applied practice, and professional development activities are designed to promote a graduated series of learning tasks. Students receive training in a broad, generalist model that prepares them for a variety of roles and settings, while also having opportunities to focus on particular problems or settings.

As counseling psychologists, we are expected by society to provide, ethical high quality services to a diverse public, research, intervention and assessment of clients, consultation with agencies and institutions, and the education training and supervision of students. Because the skills required to provide quality services are varied and complex, demanding self-knowledge and interpersonal skill as well as scholarship, learning is necessary on many levels -- personal as well as professional.

Thus, integral to graduate training in counseling psychology is a focus on one's personal growth and development, which is necessary for life-long development as a professional psychologist. Students in our program are expected to be self-reflective. To facilitate student's growth and development at all levels, the faculty strive to create a stimulating, professional learning environment that is cohesive, supportive, collegial, and sensitive to individual, lifestyle, and cultural differences.

Following from these perspectives, our goals are to produce graduates who:

  1. have the requisite knowledge and skills for entry into the practice of professional psychology
  2. are skilled in the interface between science and practice
  3. can contribute to knowledge and practice in counseling psychology.