James Madison University

C-I Program Aims for Fostering Key Competencies in Health Service Psychology

The Madison Model of psychologist training has five primary aims, each with implications for development of trainee competencies, as follows:

Aim #1: Provide a Foundation of Discipline-Specific Knowledge

To produce professional psychologists who appreciate and understand the broad and general knowledge base that informs the profession of psychology.

Through a combination of program coursework and supervised experiences, students demonstrate acquisition of the current body of knowledge in health service psychology in the following foundational areas:

Domains of Human Psychological Functioning:

  • History & Systems of Psychology
  • Affective Aspects of Behavior
  • Biological Aspects of Behavior
  • Cognitive Aspects of Behavior
  • Developmental Aspects of Behavior
  • Social Aspects of Behavior

Scientific Method as applied to Health Service Psychology:

  • Research Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Psychometrics

Beyond the basic foundation, our students internalize an advanced, integrative perspective on key issues of practice, research, and professional values in application to diverse clients across the lifespan:

Advanced Integration of Basic Content Areas as Applied to Practice (i.e., integration of content areas listed above to provide a more complete, complex understanding of human behavior and its relevance to change processes across the lifespan, corresponding to the topics below)

  • Individual Differences
  • Cultural Differences
  • Dysfunctional Behavior / Psychopathology
  • Theories and Methods of Formulation, Assessment, and Diagnosis
  • Theories and Methods of Effective Interventions
  • Professional Standards and Ethics

Knowledge of the Relationship between Science and Practice (Graduates understand the relationship between science and practice, including the potential synergy as well as some of the differences and tensions between scientific and humanistic modes of thinking and the influence such modes have historically had on the profession)

  • Philosophy of Science and Practice
  • Identity as a “Combined-Integrated” and “Scientific-Humanistic” Health Service Psychologist
  • Application of both Critical Thinking and Self-Reflective Methods to Enhance Ethical Decision-Making in specific contexts

Aim #2: Develop Effective Clinical Practitioners

To produce health service psychologists who can effectively diagnose, assess, and treat psychological problems in diverse people across the lifespan in an ethical manner. An emphasis is placed on integrative approaches to therapy and assessment, the central importance of relatedness, and conducting effective work in international, interprofessional, and multidisciplinary settings.  

Graduates skillfully empathize with their clients and consistently develop deep and meaningful therapeutic alliances, evidenced through abilities to:

  • Form a working alliance with patients and clients.
  • Deeply listen, understand and validate their clients’ phenomenological experiences and worldview
  • Instill hope, achieve good therapeutic engagement, and non-defensively discuss ruptures and resistance
  • Show good self-reflective skills, awareness of his or her role in the therapeutic process, and is aware of own particular feelings, attitudes, and limitations
  • Address ethical issues pertaining to the therapeutic relationship and takes appropriate action around issues of boundaries, confidentiality, and documentation

Graduates are able to effectively assess, diagnose, and conceptualize psychological problems across the lifespan in a manner that generates understanding that is helpful to relevant parties, including:

  • Conduct clinical interviews
  • Administer, score, and interpret cognitive, achievement, and personality assessments
  • Conduct behavioral observations of children in various settings
  • Utilize psychiatric diagnostic criteria via the DSM system
  • Integrate information from various sources to generate a rich, holistic account of an individual in a manner that yields clear recommendations
  • Effectively communicate findings both verbally and in writing
  • Demonstrated knowledge of ethical issues pertaining to assessment, such as the appropriate usage of tests and reporting of data

Graduates identify as evidence based practitioners who are able to effectively intervene with clients presenting with a wide variety of psychological concerns across the lifespan:

  • Able to identify appropriate treatment goals and specify how the intervention will work toward achieving them, taking into consideration relevant ecological variables, and the client’s stage of change
  • Demonstrates familiarity with empirically supported treatment principles and can effectively utilize the literature to guide treatment
  • Able to use outcome data to monitor treatment response and make appropriate alterations as necessary
  • Able to conduct systems based interventions, such as with families or developing school-based prevention programs
  • Able to conduct group interventions
  • Can work effectively with children and adults
  • Demonstrates knowledge of ethical issues pertaining to intervention

Graduates are effective supervisors and able to effectively consult with other professionals in a wide variety of settings and contexts:

  • Able to articulate a philosophy and model of supervision
  • Able to create an effective supervision environment for supervisees
  • Provides constructive feedback to supervisees
  • Demonstrates knowledge of the roles of other professionals.
  • Ability to effectively communicate with other professionals, present ideas clearly and without confusing jargon
  • Understands role when serving as a consultant

 

Aim #3: Foster Engagement in Research and Scholarship

To produce health service psychologists who contribute to the field of psychology by engaging in scientific inquiry in a manner that is epistemologically informed, evidence based, and socio-culturally relevant to theory, research and practice, both locally and globally.

Graduates demonstrate competence in research methodology, data gathering and data analytic procedures.

  • Students engage in psychological measurement, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, research design and methodology via dissertation and other projects.
  • Student work shows understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of research evidence that inform the practice of psychology.
  • Students demonstrate competence in understanding methodologies used in synthesizing research evidence.

Graduates will engage in the scientific inquiry of relevant issues in professional psychology and communicate their findings and analysis to a broader audience.

  • Students demonstrate the ability to determine the current state of scientific knowledge and evidence and evaluate its applicability in guiding their work with a particular individual, group, or organization.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to write a critical review of the literature and complete a research project in the form of a satisfactorily completed dissertation.
  • Students present research findings to professional audiences in venues such as professional conferences, peer-reviewed journals, and other scholarly outlets (e.g., book chapters).

Aim #4: Prepare Trainees to Work with Individual and Cultural Diversity

To produce health service psychologists who have a deep appreciation for individual diversity, awareness of the enormous influence cultural context (local, global, historical) has on human psychological processes, and who are able to effectively promote communication and understanding of such issues.

Graduates are able to recognize the pervasive impact cultural context has on knowledge and human psychological experience, and demonstrate the ability to provide culturally competent services in all their professional roles, integrating an awareness of individual and cultural diversity into ethical decision making.

  • Able to effectively recognize issues of diversity and demonstrates awareness of how cultural issues may impact practices
  • Demonstrates comfort and cultural sensitivity in discussing issues of diversity and working with diverse clients
  • Demonstrates awareness of issues pertaining to applying psychological findings from one group and context to a different group and context
  • Demonstrates self-reflective awareness pertaining to the impact his or her worldview has on the assumptions that are made

Aim #5: Prepare Trainees for Leadership Roles

To produce health service psychologists who have the interpersonal skills and proclivities to be leaders, teachers, and supervisors in the dynamic field of mental health, conceived of locally and globally.

Graduates have strong interpersonal and communication skills, are actively self-reflective, and use these capacities to add constructively to group processes.

  • Consistently develops good working relationships, contributes positively to systems
  • Shows active ability to self-reflect, have appropriate levels of self-confidence, and understand one’s own “issues”; receives constructive feedback nondefensively

Graduates are able to effectively adopt leadership or teaching roles in professional settings.

  • Communicates ideas effectively in a classroom or during a professional presentation
  • Sets appropriate boundaries with students or subordinates
  • Shows ability to assume a leadership role in professional interactions.

Graduates engage in a lifelong process of learning, self-growth, and innovative contributions to the field of mental health.

  • Demonstrates commitment to enhance the discipline by participating actively in professional organizations, and/or scholarly research
  • Demonstrates striving for personal growth and shows an intrinsic motivation to increase knowledge and skill set
  • Demonstrates a value and commitment to actively engage in advocacy efforts that develop or change public policy oriented toward enhancement of well-being, especially on behalf of underserved populations