Education Training Goals & Objectives

As psychological practice is inarguably based upon science, the administration and faculty of Forest firmly believe the competent, evidence-based practice of psychology requires an integration of both scientific and professional knowledge, skills and attitudes. Therefore, the National Council of Schools and Programs for Professional Psychology (NSCPP) Competency Model for education and training (Peterson et. al., 1992) has continued to guide and inform the education and training of students in the PsyD program. This model not only emphasizes the importance of broad, general training in clinical psychology but also prioritizes the integration of science and practice through its view of the practitioner-scholar as a "local clinical scientist”. As described by Trierweiler and Stricker, this conceptualization emphasizes:

  1. being a generalist of knowledge and method as opposed to a specialist;
  2. focusing on local realities in which data are gathered as they apply to a particular case and may be limited in the extent to which they generalize to other cases; and
  3. developing an active inquiring mind as opposed to concentrating on technical expertise with scientific methods (1992, p. 104).

The overarching philosophy of the PsyD program is to integrate the discipline and practice of clinical psychology with an empirically informed competency-based practitioner-scholar model. The program provides experiences in academic and clinical learning environments designed for graduates that are responsive to the diverse and changing needs of the human community. In designing its objectives, the program faculty endorses the competencies of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) and used these as a foundation for its program goals and objectives.


Program Goal 1: Broad and General Psychological Knowledge.  To provide education in the scientific foundations of clinical psychology.

As evidence of attainment of this goal , students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to

Objective 1: Demonstrate knowledge in the foundations and breadth of scientific psychology and its history of thought and development

Objective 2: Demonstrate knowledge of research methods and their applications to the broad areas of scientific psychology.
Objective 3: Use psychological theory and research to function as local clinical scientists.

Program Goal 2: Effective Psychological Practice.  To provide broad and general training in empirically-supported applications of clinical psychology.

As evidence of attainment of this goal, students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to:

Objective 1: Acquire knowledge and skills in clinical assessment techniques. (NCSPP assessment competency)(NCSPP diversity competency)

Objective 2: Acquire knowledge and skills in effective interventions. (NCSPP intervention competency)

Program Goal 3: Diversity.  Prepare graduates to competently address the needs of diverse populations with emphasis on underserved.

As evidence of attainment of this goal, students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to:

Objective 1: Identify and understand critical issues related to individual and cultural differences. (NCSPP diversity competency)

Objective 2: Competently apply knowledge of individual and cultural differences to clinical practice.

Program Goal 4: Professional Engagement.  Socialize graduates to develop an identity as a clinical psychologist and engage in life-long professional development.

As evidence of attainment of this goal, students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to:

Objective 1: Develop and sustain effective professional relationships. (NCSPP relationship, consultation and education competencies)

Objective 2: Understand and abide by various ethical and legal guidelines (e.g., APA, state board) in all professional and academic settings.

Objective 3: Develop a sense of professional identity and engagement.

These goal areas are informed by, and have foundations in, the knowledge and discipline base of psychology. This base includes:

  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
  • Cultural bases of behavior
  • Dysfunctional behavior and psychopathology
  • Historical and philosophical context of psychology
  • Lifespan development
  • Professional ethics and standards
  • Psychological measurement
  • Social bases of behavior
  • Theories of individual functioning and change
  • The program goal areas and knowledge bases are guided by institutional values and general theories that include:
  • Broad and general practice with the opportunities to move into new, emerging areas;
  • Multiple ways of knowing, sources of knowledge, and values;
  • Commitment to life-long learning; Valuing human diversity;
  • Self-awareness, open-mindedness, flexibility, personal integrity, and honesty; and Guidance by professional ethics and standards of conduct.


The NCSPP education and training model further emphasizes specific competency development in the requisite knowledge, skill and attitudes (KSA's) which should be demonstrated by emerging clinical psychologists. These KSA's are assessed across three consecutive stage of training; readiness for practicum, readiness for internship and readiness for entery-level practice. Professional competency assessment includes academic evaluations (e.g., grades, comprehensive examinations), as well as the System for Evaluation of Developmental Readiness (SEDR) both of which inform individual student feedback processes and programmatic quality improvement initiatives.