The Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) Program emphasizes a broad and general training in psychology, through which students will develop the essential diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative skills for a successful career as a Clinical Psychologist. Because the Clinical Psychology Program is at a healthcare university, students have the opportunity to interact with many healthcare professionals. As part of an interprofessional approach, training provides opportunities for professional interaction and collaboration with other health care professionals through various formal and informal activities such as research forums and community outreach and involvement activities.
The Midwestern University Clinical Psychology Program's central purpose is to train students using a Practitioner-Scholar model of training through an academic curriculum designed to integrate discipline-specific knowledge in psychology and theory with the practice and delivery of evidenced-based psychological interventions, diagnostics, assessments, and scholarship. Training and education within the program emphasizes the application of psychological knowledge and skills and the integration between science and practice in a manner that is respectful and appreciative of diversity and contextual factors.
To provide broad and general training in clinical psychology that is empirically-based and diversity-informed to be able to practice as health service psychologists who deliver psychological services in intervention and assessment in a manner consistent with accepted ethical and legal practices; account for appropriate diversity and contextual factors in application; and incorporate scientific and evidentiary knowledge in practice using accepted profession wide competencies and discipline specific knowledge.
The Program assesses student competency using a portfolio-based system (the Comprehensive Assessment Method in Psychology [CAMP]) to evaluate work samples throughout the Program for demonstrations of competency. The CAMP serves as the Program’s focal point for information regarding its effectiveness in training students on the nine Health Service Psychology Profession-wide Competencies outlined in the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology approved by the American Psychological Association in 2015. These areas include:
- Ethical and legal standards
- Individual and cultural diversity
- Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.
The profession-wide competencies demonstrate functional abilities and skills essential to the professional practice of health service psychology. CAMP was developed to evaluate competency through portfolios of student work samples, such as literature reviews, intervention tapes, and testing reports. Many of the CAMP assignments are included in course requirements and are therefore reflected in course grades. Course grades provide a general measure of developmental progress, knowledge, and skills, while CAMP assignments provide assessment of student achievement of competency. In addition to gauging how students are progressing along Program competencies, the CAMP system provides a concrete method for students to assess and monitor their own unique strengths and weaknesses as they progress in a sequential, and increasingly complex manner through the curriculum.
The profession-wide competencies are predicated on the acquisition of discipline specific knowledge that serves as the foundation for the identity and orientation to health service psychology. These core areas of knowledge base and foundation are acquired through the Program’s curriculum and include: History and Systems of Psychology, Basic Content Areas (Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social Aspects of Behavior), Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics.
The foundational courses expose students to knowledge through learning experiences with primary source materials, critical thinking and communication at an advanced level, and integration of discipline-specific knowledge with practice. Diversity and culture as well as scientific and evidence bases of psychology are incorporated throughout the foundational classes through primary source articles and class activities. The student’s knowledge is assessed by course grades as well as a capstone project or specific class assignment in the competency areas identified above.
The Program views self-reflection as a critical element in adopting a commitment to life-long learning and interest in scholarly activity. The developmental nature of competency achievement in a cumulative progression from basic- to intermediate-level tasks allows students first to acquire knowledge and skills in distinct areas of competency, followed by opportunities to demonstrate competency through integration and application of knowledge and skills on more complex tasks required within the profession.