School Psychology Program Philosophy & Orientation

The school psychology programs (PsyD and CAS) at the University at Albany, SUNY are premised on an ecological perspective of human behavior and the provision of psychological services in schools. We view behavior as a complex result of interactions between various social and psychological systems within which children and adolescents develop. This philosophical position, which is supported by empirical research, requires that students in our program have a thorough understanding of individual, contextual, and environmental variables that affect children’s behavior. Effective assessment and intervention requires a thorough grasp of children’s ecologies and the ways in which schools and school personnel affect students academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.

Our graduate programs are based on the practitioner-scholar model of training. As such, we emphasize a data-based, problem solving approach to the practice of school psychology, and we actively promote the use of evidence-based assessment practices, interventions, and prevention programs in schools for all children and youth. This means that we teach, endorse, and promote those approaches to assessment, intervention, and prevention that have demonstrated through research to be reliable, valid, and accurate. For example, our program endorses only those interventions that have been subjected to rigorous scientific analyses and have yielded socially meaningful outcomes. Because evidence-based interventions are generally behavioral or cognitive-behavioral, these orientations serve as the theoretical foundation for our school psychology programs.

Within an ecological framework and the practitioner-scholar model, we train school psychologists to deliver both remedial and prevention services across a wide range of educational and other systems (e.g., schools, families, community agencies) while working with children and adolescents from diverse populations and cultures. Our goal is to provide our students with training in the delivery of effective direct (e.g., counseling/psychotherapy) and indirect (e.g., consultation) psychological services to diverse individuals, groups, and organizational systems. Although the primary focus of our program is on providing psychological services for children and youth with identified problems, we also promote a public health approach to the prevention and treatment of academic, social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Specifically, this involves training our students to provide universal prevention programs for all students, selected/targeted interventions for at-risk students, and individualized/tertiary interventions for students exhibiting significant problems. In this way, our students are trained to work effectively with all students, including but not limited to those students referred for particular problems