Doctoral training in counseling psychology: Analyses of 20-year trends, differences across the practice-research continuum, and comparisons with clinical psychology.

John C. Norcross, Michael A. Sayette, Caitlin A. Martin-Wagar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Training in counseling psychology boasts a distinguished history, but not much longitudinal research on its broad parameters. This study tracked doctoral training in APA-accredited counseling psychology across 20 years (1995–2015) in terms of program, student, and faculty characteristics. At each interval, more than 95% of the programs participated. Temporal changes include the emergence of PsyD counseling programs, a gradual decline in the average number of applicants, and pronounced increases in the percentage of women and ethnic minority students. Faculty theoretical orientations remained consistent; about 45% cognitive–behavioral, 30% existential/humanistic, 22% systems, and 20% psychodynamic. Programs’ respective placement along the practice-research continuum (practice oriented, equal emphasis, research oriented) replicated findings that the “model does matter” concerning admission requirements and financial assistance. Comparisons between counseling psychology PhD programs (n = 54) and clinical psychology PhD programs (n = 169) indicated proportionally more behavioral and cognitive orientations among clinical faculty and more psychodynamic and humanistic orientations among counseling faculty. Clinical programs featured more student applications and higher Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, whereas counseling programs reported proportionally more ethnic minority students. These findings can guide graduate programs, potential applicants, and academic advisors in accurately portraying the multiple training options for health-service psychology. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Public Significance Statement: Graduate training profoundly impacts the activities and interests of mental health professionals. This study identifies training trends in counseling psychology and compares them with clinical psychology. The results can inform potential clinicians, academic advisors, and the general public about the characteristics and practices of psychologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalTraining and Education in Professional Psychology
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • clinical psychology
  • clinical training
  • counseling psychology
  • graduate admission requirements
  • graduate student characteristics
  • theoretical orientations

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