Springfield College offers a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.) in counseling psychology with additional emphases in one of three content areas: athletic counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and couples and family counseling. The Psy.D. degree in counseling psychology is designed for individuals interested in careers as psychologists in mental health settings and institutions where clinical supervision and the direct application of counseling, therapy, and psychological assessment are required.
The program follows the practitioner-scholar model with an emphasis on clinical training and the application of research to practice. The program includes coursework and integrated training experiences in a variety of topical areas and professional skills. These include (a) core areas of psychology (b) theories of counseling, vocational psychology, development, assessment, psychopathology, statistics, research design, professional ethics, supervision, and consultation (c) supervised practica focused on the development of counseling-related skills (d) the equivalent of a one year full-time pre-doctoral internship in professional psychology and (e) completion of an original research project. Students also complete approximately 24 credits in a specialty area: clinical mental health, athletic counseling, and couples and family counseling. Finally, students will complete a 1,800-2,000 hour internship approved by the program faculty.
Foundational Values of Counseling Psychology
This doctoral program at Springfield College is committed to the foundational values of the discipline of counseling psychology. Therefore, the educational philosophy of the program is based in part on the Model Training Program in Counseling Psychology (Murdock, Alcorn, Heesacker, & Stoltenberg, 1998), the Counseling Psychology Model Training Values Statement Addressing Diversity (CCPTP, 2009) and on the core themes of the discipline (Gelso & Fretz, 2001).
The themes uniquely characterize counseling psychology and distinguish it from other substantive disciplines within the broader field. These themes include a focus on:
- (a) Working within a developmental framework across a wide range of psychological functioning;
- (b) Assets and strength within individuals, teams, and communities;
- (c) Prevention, interprofessional collaboration, and advocacy;
- (d) A strong commitment to attending to issues of culture, race, and ethnicity, as well as other areas of individual diversity such as gender, age, ability, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation;
- (e) The educational and vocational lives of individuals;
- (f) Integration of social justice perspectives
- (g) Inclusion of relatively brief counseling approaches; and
- (h) Evaluation and improvement through self-examination, critical thinking, and a commitment to the scientific approach.
To that end, students’ education in counseling psychology is characterized by a solid foundation in theory, research, and practice including skills in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for application in a wide-range of practice settings and for use across the full spectrum of adjustment and psychological disorders. The program strives to train psychologists who will make a difference in the communities in which they work through reflective practice, scholarship, teaching, active service, and research.
Program faculty members work closely with students, in a mentoring role, as they undertake at least three sequential, cumulative, full-time years of coursework and practical experience in residence. This training addresses both practice and science, in preparation for the doctoral capstones of research project and internship.
Self Examination and Reflection
Integral to graduate training in counseling psychology is a focus on self-examination and personal growth, which promotes lifelong development as a professional psychologist. Therefore, an essential training component of the program is to provide assignments and classroom experiences that invite students to self-disclose and personally introspect about life experiences to an extent not expected in other academic disciplines.
The Springfield College institutional mission of Humanics—the education of the whole person in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others—is manifested in the culture of the College and in its curricula. As a program value, service is a natural extension of this mission and fits with the counseling psychologist’s actual practice of psychology in service to others (i.e., therapy, teaching, research, and activism) as well as the counseling psychologist’s ethical duty of beneficence.
The program's first cohort of students started in the fall of 2012.