Training Philosophy

The CCP Program adopts a Scientist-Practitioner philosophy of training, i.e. the Boulder Model. This approach emphasizes the need for students to be BOTH clinical researchers as well as clinical practitioners, e.g. psychotherapists and psychological assessors. In addition to the Scientist-Practitioner philosophy, the CCP program adopts the Combined-Integrated (CI) philosophy of training.

The CI model of training is relatively new in psychology. The model is a fourth alternative to training programs that emphasize either  a) Clinical Psychology, b) Counseling Psychology, or c) School Psychology. CI programs involve training across two or more of the three specialty areas. The CCP program at USA does not include separate training tracks; rather the program combines and integrates aspects of clinical research and practice traditionally associated with both Clinical and Counseling Psychology. A brief history of each specialty and the manner in which these specialties are fused in the CCP program is provided below.

Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology has its roots in mental testing and mental hygiene movements of the early 20th century. From its inception the specialty sought to integrate scientific psychology with the applied practice of psychology. The early emphasis areas in terms of clinical practice were in the areas of psychological testing and diagnosis. However, due in part to the increased demand for counseling/psychotherapy services after World War II, clinical psychologists began to provide more psychotherapy alongside psychiatrists. Clinical Psychology's theoretical bases have origins in psychoanalytic models of psychopathology, but later shifted to the behaviorist and even later the cognitive-behavioral model of psychopathology and psychotherapy. Clinical Psychology has traditionally placed emphasis on developing and scientifically evaluating the efficacy of interventions that remediate maladaptive mental and behavioral patterns. However, in recent years the field has expanded to focus on health psychology/behavioral medicine and strengths-based models of functioning, e.g. positive psychology. The specialty has traditionally emphasized secondary and tertiary intervention with more severe clinical populations, with less emphasis on providing primary prevention or services to clients in the normal range of functioning. Also, the specialty has tended to emphasize neuroscience and neuropsychology alongside social and psychological factors, i.e. the biopsychosocial model.

Counseling Psychology 

From its beginnings in the vocational assessment and guidance movement of the earth 20th century, Counseling Psychology has,   had a strong focus upon social justice and systemic concerns as well as interventions for individuals generally falling in the normative range of functioning. Later in the 20thcentury the field expanded to embrace interventions for both normative range and abnormal range of mental and behavioral problems. Counseling Psychology has several traditional areas of emphasis that distinguish it from Clinical Psychology, such as: 

  • research on psychotherapy process and particularly the moderating factors of psychotherapy outcomes
  • vocational/career development, assessment, and intervention
  • a life-span development perspective on wellness & psychopathology 
  • multicultural counseling/psychotherapy
  • group work, broadly speaking, e.g. group psychoeducation, group counseling/therapy, and group/systems-level consultation and advocacy, primary prevention 
  • clinical supervision in psychology & mental health practice

Combined-Integrated Psychology

The American Psychological Association accredits programs that seek to offer training that combines training in two or more specialty areas in psychology (Clinical, Counseling, or School), or which integrate aspects of two more specialties into a single training model. There are 10 such programs currently with accreditation from APA as CI training programs.  Most of these programs either combine all three specialties, or combine clinical with school or school with counseling. The USA program is the only program at present that combines clinical and counseling psychology, and the only one of two programs that is administered across colleges. Despite some important differences in their histories and emphasis areas, these two specialties have several emerging areas of overlap. First, both specialties now frequently focus on health psychology issues. Both specialties are currently relatively balanced in their view of mental health from both the disease/medical model as well as perspectives emphasizing holistic wellness, adaptivity, and contextual factors. Moreover both specialties emphasize the importance of scientific analysis and evaluation of assessment and intervention practices, i.e. evidence-based practice.