The Counseling Psychology program exists within multicultural communities that contain people of diverse racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds; national origins; religious, spiritual and political beliefs; physical abilities; ages; genders; gender identities, sexual orientations, and physical appearance. Our program recognizes that no individual is completely free from all forms of bias and prejudice. Furthermore, it is expected that each training community will evidence a range of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Nonetheless, faculty and students are expected to be committed to the social values of respect for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Furthermore, students and faculty are expected to be committed to critical thinking and the process of self-examination so that such prejudices or biases (and the assumptions on which they are based) may be evaluated in the light of available scientific data, standards of the profession, and traditions of cooperation and mutual respect. Thus, faculty and students are asked to demonstrate a genuine desire to examine their own attitudes, assumptions, behaviors, and values and to learn to work effectively with “cultural, individual, and role differences including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status…” (APA Ethics Code, 2010, Principle E, retrieved from apa.org/ethics/code).
We have developed a model of training that provides a relevant and inclusive education in issues of diversity (broadly defined.) In our program, we have courses that focus exclusively on diversity issues while other courses address these issues as they relate to specific course content throughout the curriculum. Training in diversity issues also is considered an integral part of practicum supervision. In practicum settings, students gain exposure to clients who are diverse with respect to race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, age, religion, and gender. Diversity issues related to therapy are discussed in both group and individual supervision. Students also participate in two or more training experiences each semester that focus specifically on diversity and individual differences.
In our program trainees will be expected to engage in self-reflection and introspection on their attitudes, beliefs, opinions, feelings and personal history. Trainees will be expected to examine and attempt to resolve any of the above to eliminate potential negative impact on their ability to perform the functions of a psychologist, including but not limited to providing effective services to individuals from cultures and with beliefs different from their own and in accordance with APA guidelines and principles. Members of the training community are committed to educating each other on the existence and effects of racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, religious intolerance, and other forms of invidious prejudice. Evidence of bias, stereotyped thinking, and prejudicial beliefs and attitudes will not go unchallenged, even when such behavior is rationalized as being a function of ignorance, joking, cultural differences, or substance abuse. In such cases, members of the training community will meet with the person in question to educate that person as to the harmful effects of his or her behavior, and arrange for appropriate counseling or other remediation to ensure such behavior is not repeated. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken in cases where a student continues to engage in conduct that is in violation of university policy or law.
During their first year in the doctoral program, Counseling Psychology students are encouraged to begin learning about research opportunities in the department. Students are especially encouraged to learn about their advisor's research activities, and to participate in research meetings with other students that may be sponsored by faculty. Additionally, students enroll in the Research Methods course for Counseling Psychology students during the fall semester of their first year. In this course, students learn fundamental and advanced techniques of the research enterprise as related to the field of Counseling Psychology. As a typical final course project, students are encouraged to develop a rough proposal for a research project that may serve as their second-year project.
The second-year research project, officially called the “prequalifying examination research requirement,” is undertaken during students' second year of doctoral study. This project is an empirical study in psychology that is akin to a research thesis, and developed in collaboration with a faculty member. Unlike a formal thesis, the second year project is not defended before a thesis committee. The project is however, presented to students and faculty in the department which allows students to gain experience in conducting professional presentations. This project frequently results in a manuscript that can be presented at research conferences, submitted for journal publication, and often lays the groundwork for the student's dissertation. Any student entering the Counseling Psychology program with a master's degree can submit a previous psychology research project for approval by faculty to satisfy this departmental requirement.
Students also complete a dissertation toward the end of their graduate study. While this task may seem daunting to beginning doctoral students, training and mentoring is provided throughout students' graduate education, which prepares them for progressing through this more independent research requirement.
Even though the second-year research project and the dissertation are the two required research experiences in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program, many opportunities exist for students to become involved in other types of research endeavors. Students are free to work with any available faculty on a variety of projects at differing levels of involvement.
Practicum training experiences vary in complexity and provide for a continuous and gradual education in the practice of psychotherapy within the conceptual frame of the scientist-practitioner model, and conforming to the specified philosophies and goals of this program. During the fall semester of their first year in the program, students typically enroll in the Seminar in Psychopathology (PSY 5338) course and Introduction to Counseling Psychology (PSY 5316), Research Seminar in clinical and Counseling Psychology (5345). In summer session II students enroll in the Professional Issues and Ethics course (PSY 5306). These courses are designed to prepare the student for work in with clients which begins in the spring semester of the first year during pre-practicum training. Additionally, during the spring semester of the first year, students participate in group supervision practicum meetings, and conduct client screenings to further familiarize themselves with Psychology Clinic operations, as well as to get introduced to the experience of practicum training.
Students formally begin practicum training in the Psychology Clinic during the fall semester of their second year of study, though students entering the program with a Masters degree may begin seeing clients sooner. Five total semesters of formal practicum enrollment are required, although to gain additional and specialized training, students often take more than five semesters. Three semesters of practicum are taken in the department's in-house Psychology Clinic. One semester of practicum is required to be taken in the Student Counseling Center. These practicum experiences augment and extend the more strictly didactic training that students receive in their course work.
The Psychology Department's Psychology Clinic is located on the first floor of the Psychology Building, and is utilized by students from the counseling and clinical programs for practicum training. This clinic functions as a community-based, outpatient clinic, and also serves as a source of psychotherapy for people from the Texas Tech University and area communities. Clients are drawn from a large region around the Lubbock area, including people from as far as Eastern New Mexico. Clients present with a broad range of psychological concerns, as well as relational, vocational, and academic concerns. Clients who visit the clinic are diverse, representing differences in gender, race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, and religion. A variety of therapy modalities are used in the clinic, including individual therapy, couples therapy, child therapy, family therapy, and occasionally, group therapy.
Practicum students in the Psychology Clinic are supervised by core counseling faculty. On occasion, adjunct faculty from the community are hired to teach and supervise a practicum class. Students typically receive a minimum of two hours of group supervision, and one hour of individual supervision each week by the practicum instructor (this may vary depending on the supervisor). Group supervision is taught in a variety of ways, based on both instructor preference and the developmental needs of students. Training during supervision can range from being quite didactic to being more discussion-oriented. Occasionally, practicum sections for the counseling program, or for both counseling and clinical programs, are combined for special training workshops on topics such as crisis intervention, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and suicide. Though infrequent, counseling faculty will co-facilitate combined group supervision meetings for a few weeks or for an entire semester.
As students continue to advance through practicum training, they are exposed to more complex clinical issues. Once students have completed all counseling core courses and one year of clinic practicum, students are allowed to enroll in a supervision practicum in the Psychology Clinic. This practicum combines both didactic instruction and supervised experience. Students in the supervision practicum supervise a portion of first-year practicum students' (i.e., second year in program) client caseload, and are in turn supervised by a core counseling faculty.
The Student Counseling Center (SCC) is located on the second floor of the Student Wellness Center and houses an APA-accredited internship. The professional therapy staff is made up almost entirely of licensed counseling and clinical psychologists, although supervision of practicum students is provided by both senior staff and interns. Practicum students attend a two-hour case conference, one and a half hours of individual supervision, and a two-hour training seminar each week. Clients at the SCC consist of students from Texas Tech University. Specialized emphases for practicum training are available at the SCC, including couples therapy, outreach, intake interviewing, assessment, and relationship group therapy.
In addition to the primary practicum training that students receive at the Psychology Clinic and the SCC, students gain a breadth of applied experiences from the employment opportunities mentioned previously as well as from a variety of external practicum sites. Current external practicum sites include Starcare (formally the Lubbock Regional Mental Health and Mental Retardation center), Lubbock/Crosby Country Community Supervision and Corrections Department, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and various psychologists in private practice. Supervision in these experiences is always provided by licensed counseling and clinical psychologists, except in state agencies, which are exempt from psychological licensure requirements in Texas. In these situations, supervision is provided by doctoral level professionally-trained psychologists.
Accreditation Association Information:
American Psychological Association
AddressTexas Tech University, Department of Psychological Sciences, Box 42051 Lubbock, TX 79409-2051