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Sharing Open Secrets In Training Future Generations Of Clinical Psychologists

810 words - 3 pages

When we invited colleagues to respond to our model for training psychologists in thesemodern times, we urged them to be candid. We assured them that we would not write arebuttal to their comments. We appreciate their candor and find the resulting exchangestimulating and enlightening. We honor that assurance to offer no rebuttal, but we willnote the threads that connect many observations in these articles.It appears that this dialogue brought an open secret into our discussions. Namely, ourprofession is evolving. As our society changes and as certain markets cramp our style, wehave found new opportunities in administration, in public health and in multidisciplinaryresearch teams.The evolution of our profession occurs understandably in response to the surroundingsociety and in the larger international community, both of which are changing. Forsome among us, it may seem that these changes bring exciting opportunities to expandour influence and to apply our expertise in areas where behavioral issues have beenaddressed previously by other professions who have less related scientific or clinicalexpertise (e.g., health care administration). Others among us, however, prefer a morecautious approach, skeptical of pecuniary interests, of overreaching and, more importantly,of obfuscating our true mission and abandoning our scientific base.How are we as a profession going to manage this ongoing evolution? It is difficult tojustify the status quo at a time when taxpayers seem intent on starving out institutions thatwere traditionally built and maintained on public support for the commonwealth of citizens.There is, of course, the academic mission to keep training as contemporary, relevant,and manageable as possible, and the current emphasis on core competencies appearsto be a viable mechanism for advances in this direction (Kaslow et al., 2004).The depth and breadth of available knowledge, the demands from funding agencies for greater accountabilityand relevance in research and applications, and the emerging needs and opportunitiesfor our expertise, however, all are forces that challenge us to identify what remainsrelevant and "externally valid" in our traditional classroom and practicum requirements.Of course, our students must have a core set of coursework that acculturates them into theshared foundation of psychology.We also face increasing pressure to specialize earlier ina training program to accommodate new and "relevant" information and unique competenciesnot shared by other psychologists. It is difficult to find the time in our curricula toinsure that all of our students have both the core and specialization education. As such,the push toward specialization may eventually result in "spin-off" professions.We concur with those who exhort us to identify and be true to our scientific heritage,as well as to our...

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