Program Values and Vision
With a probing and questioning stance toward human problems, the doctor of psychology is:
- knowledgeable about intra- and interpersonal theory including assessment and intervention
- conversant with relevant issues and techniques in research
- sensitive to him or herself and to interpersonal interactions as a primary clinical tool
- skilled in assessing and effectively intervening in human problems
- able to assess effectiveness of outcomes
An inquiring mind sets the competent, credentialed professional apart from the technician. A professional psychologist knows and critiques theories, assesses clients reactions, probes the reasons for change in clients or systems, and assesses the conclusions reported by other professionals for reliability and validity. The psychologist is versatile and flexible, aware of the physiological bases for behavior, the major social and psychological theories, and the empirical evidence for and heuristic value of the theories. Most psychologists choose to synthesize a model with which to conceptualize their professional work.
The clinical psychologist is his or her own most important clinical asset. The competent psychologist is aware of personal weaknesses, strengths, blind spots, and interactional capabilities. Openness and the capacity to learn continually about the self are necessary qualities of the clinician, whose questioning, critical mind is constantly attuned to self-inquiry and understanding.
The doctor of psychology has sufficient knowledge of research to critically assess the work of others. This includes knowledge of research design, statistical techniques, and problems in clinical research. Also essential to professional functioning is knowledge of the major sources of relevant psychological research in the literature, current areas of specialty investigation, and statistics sufficient to understand frequently applied techniques.
The psychologist needs specific technical knowledge in order to effectively assess problems in individuals, families, groups, and institutional systems, including their cognitive, emotional, attitudinal, and interactive aspects. Further, the psychologist must be skilled in applying therapeutic techniques of intervention to help solve the problems presented by individuals and groups and must keep skills current throughout her or his professional career.
The psychologists professional identity includes broad knowledge of the profession and of the ethical issues in working with clients. The ability to interact productively with members of other helping professions is essential.
The curriculum of the University of Denver’s GSPP program is designed to meet these goals and to prepare graduates in these competencies. While the program does not focus on preparing people for academic research careers, it is clear that PsyD psychologists are making contributions to new knowledge in the field and are involved in teaching as well.