The purpose of the Counseling Psychology program at Carlow University is to prepare doctoral level generalists for the practice of Psychology. Training includes strong preparation in assessment and intervention for behavioral health disorders. A unique feature of the program is its emphasis on training psychologists who recognize, understand and act upon the oppressive social structures that often play a role in the experience of distress among those unequally advantaged within society.

This emphasis is in keeping with the long-held value of social justice within the discipline of Counseling Psychology, and in fact is an attempt to move the field forward by actualizing this value within a training program.


Educational Philosophy 

The doctoral program at Carlow University is wholly committed to the foundational values of the discipline of Counseling Psychology. Therefore, the educational philosophy of the Program is based in part on both the Model Training Program in Counseling Psychology (Murdock, Alcorn, Heesacker, & Stoltenberg, 1998) and on the core themes of the discipline which were initially suggested by Gelso & Fretz (2001).

The themes uniquely characterize Counseling Psychology and distinguish it from other substantive disciplines within the broader field. These themes were elaborated upon by the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs and are as follows:

  • focus on working within a developmental framework across a wide range of psychological functioning;
  • focus on assets and strengths, regardless of level of functioning;
  • inclusion of relatively brief counseling approaches;
  • emphasis on person-environment interactions, rather than an exclusive focus on either person or environment;
  • emphasis on prevention, including psycho-educational interventions;
  • emphasis on the educational and vocational lives of individuals;
  • 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; and
  • evaluation and improvement through critical thinking and a commitment to the scientific approach. 

To that end, education in both general and 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, activism and research.


Training Model

Practitioner-Scholar Model

The program is implemented through the practitioner-scholar model of training and the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree is conferred. The doctoral program at Carlow University prepares Counseling Psychologists to apply knowledge grounded in psychological science and theory in support of professionally sound clinical practice.

While training in research skills is strong, the focus of the program is to train highly skilled clinicians who eventually become licensed as practicing psychologists. Applicants who are exclusively or primarily interested in assuming positions as researchers or academics are encouraged to consider more research-oriented training programs, such as those implemented through the scientist-practitioner model of training.

The program is implemented through the practitioner-scholar model of training. In the late 1960s the first PsyD program in the United States began admitting students. Later, at the Vail Conference in 1973, the American Psychological Association endorsed the PsyD (practitioner-scholar) model as an alternative to the PhD (scientist-practitioner) for training individuals to offer direct psychological services. 


Psychological Science and Theory, in support of Sound Clinical Practice

The doctoral program at Carlow University prepares Counseling Psychologists to apply knowledge grounded in psychological science and theory in support of professionally sound clinical practice. More specifically, the program holds that those involved in the practice of psychology must be able to evaluate treatments, make scientifically informed decisions in relation to all areas of their work, have an understanding of the limitations of scientifically derived knowledge and have a “scientific attitude” or an intellectual curiosity that is present in their approach to all professional activities.

While training in research skills is strong, the focus of the program is to train highly skilled clinicians who eventually become licensed as practicing psychologists. Applicants who are exclusively or primarily interested in assuming positions as researchers or academics are encouraged to consider more research-oriented training programs, such as those implemented through the scientist-practitioner model of training.