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Clinical Scientist v. Scientist-Practioner


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(This mainly goes out to people who buy into the politics/drama around accreditation and clinical psychology PhD training)

Here's a bunch of questions. How big did training model and scientific orientation fit into your choice to apply to/accept an offer from a program? Within your program, do you find the relative emphasis on either science or practice comes at the expense of the other (mainly interested in clinical training quality at research-intensive schools)? How does the theoretical orientation of the program align with your career goals?

It seems accreditation (at least in the US) has become more politicized recently, with some PCSAS schools declaring that they may not seek APA accreditation if it doesn't match their training standards and their students get equal opportunities for internships and the such. There's a lot of different opinions on how to best train clinical psychologists, and frankly, its a pretty interesting debate. I went to a scientist-practioner school for my undergrad, and while that's not representative of PhD training, I found the clinical department was lax on research productivity, with some exceptions. I'm aiming to apply to only PCSAS-accredited programs (bar a few), and I'm wondering what the general atmosphere is like in programs emphasizing the science of clinical psychology. My goal is to pursue a TT position but I understand things are subject to change, and while PCSAS schools sound like the best option for that, I would love to learn more about whether theoretical orientation plays as big of a role in training as recent controversies suggest. Spare the obvious "uhh just publish as much as you can","it depends on your PI and school durrr" ;)

Edited by higaisha
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My opinion:


Schools declaring they won’t seek APA again are bluffing. APA runs this country in terms of internship and beyond, so let’s be real.


Also my opinion: the terms are largely manufactured, pedantic distinctions that were made so some people could get some fluff publications about “ways to advance the field.” The best programs will provide you will solid training to go either direction or balance both on the clinician vs scientist spectrum. 

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