We define health along a broad continuum of mental and physical well being that extends beyond the simple absence of pathology or disease. Our program places a particular focus on understanding the role of environmental influences on psychological well being, in part because of Community Psychology’s focus on the social causes of stress. We consider the integration of cultural factors into research and applied practice to be critical to the future of our nation’s health. The goal of the Doctoral Program in Clinical-Community Psychology is to educate doctoral students as Clinical-Community Scientists who are prepared to work in a range of roles and contexts. Students who wish to focus on applied practice work without a strong grounding in scientific approaches to their work are not likely to be satisfied in our program. Our training model provides: (a) training in research and research methods that help inform the planning or delivery of psychosocial interventions and (b) knowledge of how to develop and implement applied practices that are contextually appropriate and grounded in empirical science. Our program exists in the context of USC. as a Carnegie I research institution for its high research productivity and a Department of Psychology that is consistently one of the top departments on campus for extramural research funding.
A fundamental aspect of our training is that scientific principles and scientific approaches are a critical part of addressing societal problems. Basic research, applied research, translational research, dissemination research, and the implementation of this knowledge into routine practice through organizational change are keys to improving the human condition. Program faculty members predominantly have a philosophical orientation of critical realism. This philosophy means that theory and its ongoing evolution is a fundamental driving force for science. Essential elements to good science include the use of multiple approaches, multiple observations, the triangulation of research methods, and constructive criticism from others to refine our concepts and theories.
Objectives for our Training
The overarching aim of the program is to prepare students as Clinical-Community Scientists who can function effectively in a variety of settings, including research and professional practice settings. The core objectives of our training program are the following:
- Students acquire and demonstrate the knowledge of theory and research related to the fields of Clinical and Community Psychology
- Students demonstrate ability to conduct themselves professionally and ethically
- Students demonstrate the ability to consume, conduct, and communicate research to a variety of audiences
- Students demonstrate the ability to use evidence-based assessment and intervention strategies in applied settings
- Students demonstrate understanding and value of cultural
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