Psychology is an extraordinarily diverse field with hundreds of career paths. Some specialties, like treating the mentally ill, are familiar to most. Others, like helping with the design of advanced computer systems or studying memory, are less well-known. What psychologists have in common is a shared interest in mind and behavior. In their work they draw on an ever-expanding body of scientific knowledge about how humans think, act, and feel, and apply the information to their special areas of expertise. The profession of clinical psychology encompasses both research and statistics, through which is learned fundamental data about behavior; and practice, through which that knowledge is applied in helping to solve problems. Training for clinical psychologists differs from other areas of expertise. Contemporary clinical psychology incorporates “culture, traditions, and gender” into the study of behavior (Plante, 2011, p. 27). Therefore, most present-day clinical psychologists consider human behavioral problems from many aspects. History
Clinical psychology has evolved over the past 60 years into a dynamic field separated in specialty by age group of clients and different schools of thought or theoretical approaches to practicing clinical psychology. Beginning after World War II, when veterans were returning from war by the thousands with various psychological issues, psychiatrists and those in the medical field realized they did not have the workforce to treat every soldier. Therefore, in 1946, the Veteran's Administration “requested 4,700 clinical psychologists be employed in the VA system” (Plante, 2011, p. 49). In 1947, The American Psychological Association Committee on Training in Clinical Psychology convened and worked toward the development of training standards and guidelines for clinical psychology graduate and internship training. This committee’s standard for training was the benchmark in clinical psychology. The standard would consist of a four-year doctoral program along with a one-year clinical internship. In addition, they would be trained equally as “scientists and clinicians” and include “research, treatment, and assessment” (Plante, 2011, p. 71). In 1949, another committee assembled in Boulder, Colorado, and developed the scientist-practitioner model of clinical training, named after the city of Boulder. During the following three decades, numerous innovative treatment and intervention methods and standpoints were presented as opposed to the customary psychodynamic approachs. Of the many approaches to clinical psychology, four are major and consist of the behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and family classifications. By employing these four major approaches the effectiveness of treatment is heightened (Plante, 2011). A defining moment in clinical psychology training occurred during the Vail Conference in 1973 with the approval of a different training model. In addition to the Boulder model, the Vail model, referred to as the scholar-practitioner model, was approved. This version proposed that clinical training would stress providing professional psychological services while focusing less on training in research. Additionally, the symposium confirmed the concept that graduate education need not take place only in the leading universities’ psychology departments but could also occur in self-supporting certified psychology institutes. Last, the committee recognized the PsyD degree as an alternate to the PhD degree (Plante, 2011). Currently, clinical psychology has progressed to treatment prototypes that focus on observation, experiments, and evidence-based practices using cognitive-behavioral systems for therapeutic intervention. “The Task Force on Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological Procedures (1995) of the APA Division of Clinical Psychology (Division 12)” (Plante, 2011, p. 72) established procedures for psychotherapy grounded on concrete...
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