Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology
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:
(a) a professional core in counseling psychology (including theory, research
and practice in areas of intervention, assessment, and career development)
(b) supervised practica
(c) research design, measurement, and statistics
(d) 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.
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:
(a) have the requisite knowledge and skills for entry into the practice
of professional psychology
(b) are skilled in the interface between science and practice
(c) can contribute to knowledge and practice in counseling psychology.