Philosophy

The philosophy of the Professional Psychology Program centers on a developmental view of the personality, both in its normal and abnormal aspects. A developmental view holds that no mental event can be fully explained without reference to its origins and transformations. The personality is never a "given"; it is always in process, ebbing and flowing in a dynamic relationship with the history of and progression in a person's thoughts, feelings, fantasies, and internal representations of the external environment that constitute the totality of the person's mental life.

A psychodynamic perspective is represented in almost all courses throughout the curriculum, in varying degrees. The core curriculum provides a substantive introduction to the basic science aspects of psychology and to the skills of a clinical psychologist. The core curriculum includes a series of "foundations" courses outlining biological, cognitive, social, and cultural foundations; basic and more advanced clinical courses such as psychopathology, group dynamics, assessment, psychotherapy, supervision and consultation; and research methods, statistics, history and systems, and ethics courses. The advanced curriculum offers a wide range of courses that involve further elucidation and expansion within three broad areas, or "tracks." The Adult Track offers Professional Psychology students the opportunity to study the theory and technique of individual adult psychotherapy in depth. The Assessment Track concerns aspects of psychological evaluation (e.g., neuropsychology) that include the appropriate role, use, administration, and interpretation of various assessment instruments. The Child Track involves the study and treatment of children; it focuses on early detection and intervention in individual, family, and school settings.

In their advanced years, Professional Psychology students specialize in one of these tracks by choosing one of them as a major area of study, and by completing their Major Area Paper (MAP). Students also have the opportunity to take electives outside their major area.