The main goal of our Counseling Psychology Program is to train health service professional psychologists within a scientist-practitioner model that attends to individual and cultural diversity and the importance of micro and macro social contexts. The specific aims of our CP program are for students to:
Aim 1: develop a professional identity as a culturally-competent health service counseling psychologist.
Aim 2: demonstrate clinical competencies for ethical interventions and culturally-sensitive evidence based psychological practice.
Aim 3: engage in original and empirical investigations of psychological phenomena and apply current scientific knowledge and methods to professional practice.
Aim 4: be sensitive and responsive to the complexity and intersectional nature of individual and cultural diversity, understanding how they affect psychological well-being and clinical practice, and working toward diversity, inclusion, and social justice.
Aim 5: develop knowledge in the foundational areas of general psychology and in counseling psychology theory, research, and practice.
Values, Principles, and Emphases
The Counseling Psychology Program faculty is committed to the core values, perspectives, and emphases that maintain our uniqueness as a specialty. Please see more information regarding the core values, perspectives, and emphases of Counseling Psychology as a specialty at APA Division 17 Society of Counseling Psychology webpage. We hold a positive developmental perspective that views human problems as occurring within a complex interaction of an individual's native endowments, contextual factors (e.g., culture, environment, relationships), and developmental changes the person experiences across their life. From birth to death, the process of living involves change and, at times, crises. Although personal crises can befall anyone at any time, counseling psychologists realize that economic, legal, educational, and other systems disadvantage some people more than others, increasing risk for psychological distress for the former and possibly creating protective factors for the latter. Thus, although we believe the psychological well-being of individuals depends upon the degree to which they can successfully adapt to the challenges they face, counseling psychologists recognize that the adaptability to, and severity of, challenges often are influenced by societal, environmental, and situational factors that are outside of individuals' direct control.
Counseling Psychology has also been unique in applied psychology because of its strong interest in the preventive aspects of mental health and the greater concern of the Counseling Psychologist with the nonpathological aspects of a client's condition (e.g., Counseling Psychology's emphasis on the client's strengths and the procedures that might be used to help the client recognize and optimize them; its attention to basic interpersonal processes). The faculty of the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of North Texas has maintained these emphases while recognizing that Counseling Psychologists today must also be able to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals who have more severe problems in functioning and/or meet criteria for a variety of psychiatric diagnoses. When working with these individuals, however, we assess how individual and cultural diversity, strengths, and developmental issues may affect their presentation, counseling process, etc.
In particular, the Counseling Psychology Program faculty recognizes and values the role that all forms of diversity have in shaping our clients and ourselves, our subjective experiences, perceptions, values, and the contexts in which we are embedded. Our educational activities and everyday interactions are enriched by a sense of humility and acceptance of one another; as members of the Counseling Psychology community, we aspire to learn from each other in an atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect. The program expects that students will be respectful and supportive of all individuals, including, but not limited to clients, staff, peers, and faculty who are different from themselves in racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds; national origins; religious, spiritual, and political beliefs; physical abilities; ages; gender identities; sexual orientations; and physical appearance, as well as other aspects of diversity. By valuing diversity in all its forms, we hope to promote thoughtful discussion, research, and intervention related to social justice issues. At the same time, we understand that growth and development of multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills is a vital and ongoing process for everyone, including all faculty and students, that unfolds over time and through education, training, and self-reflection. Students enter the program with varying experiences of cultural diversity and are expected to take on the challenge of examining their own cultural identity and understanding ways in which their cultural context interacts with the experience of clients and others with whom they work. Continuing enhancement of multicultural competence is a necessary and personal journey in our community requiring openness to learning about each other as well as accepting others' individual processes.
The scope of developmental life issues that engage the interest and practice of counseling psychologists leads them to develop research interests of a very broad nature. In addition to developmental studies and studies of a social-psychological nature, counseling psychologists engage in process research, prevention and resilience research, studies of the profession and training, measurement issues, career development, family systems and relationships, performance enhancement, health and wellness outcomes of underserved communities, and the psychology of spirituality. We are fortunate at UNT to have such broad research interests well represented across the research programs of our faculty. The Counseling Psychology Program faculty believes that a strong foundation based on empirically derived knowledge is essential to expand the discipline of psychology, promote valid techniques in applied settings, and foster students' ability to think critically as they apply the perspectives of counseling psychology.
PhD Degree Requirements
The Ph.D. degree in counseling psychology requires a minimum of 101 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree, including a one-year supervised internship. Students who are able to devote themselves full time to their studies may complete the program in five years. Most students take about six years.
General Core Studies
Doctoral students are required to demonstrate competency (grade of B or better) in all course work:
PSYC 5090 Social Psychology
PSYC 5640 Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
PSYC 5700 Quantitative Methods I (including a lab)
PSYC 5710 Quantitative Methods II (including a lab)
PSYC 6030 Biological Bases of Behavior
Counseling Core Requirements
PSYC 5010 Human Development
PSYC 5420 Assessment I (including a lab)
PSYC 5430 Assessment II (including a lab)
PSYC 5470 Vocational Psychology: Developmental Aspects
PSYC 5680 Foundation of Counseling Psychology
PSYC 5690 Legal and Ethical Issues in Professional Practice
PSYC 5780 Psychopathology
PSYC 6022 Application of Counseling Methods
PSYC 6060 Group Psychotherapy
PSYC 6300 Theory and Application of Multicultural Counseling
PSYC 6620 Supervision
PSYC 6630 Series on Psychotherapy
The applied training experience in Counseling Psychology begins on campus in the first semester. The bulk of applied training occurs at the Psychology Clinic and the University Counseling and Testing Services. The Psychology Clinic practicum team is composed of first, second, and third year students and the supervising psychologist. In the second and third year of the required practicum sequence, students divide their training between the Psychology Clinic and the University Counseling and Testing Services. After successfully completing the required on-campus practica, students are required to do at least two semesters of external practicum at a site of their choosing.
Doctoral counseling psychology students are admitted to one of the following 3 elective clusters: child and family, sport psychology, and minority wellness. It is critical to note that although clusters provide students more training opportunities to develop knowledge and competencies in particular areas, they only affect a small portion of the doctoral curriculum. All students in the program are trained by the program's faculty to be a counseling psychologist.
During their first year, doctoral students formulate a thesis research project to complete during their second year. Students are also encouraged to involve themselves in faculty members' research. Second- and third-year counseling psychology students take on increasing responsibility in research projects that will culminate in the student's completion of a dissertation.
A full-time, calendar-year internship is required. Internships are independent of academic training programs. Students bear the responsibility for applying for and gaining acceptance to internships. View the sites where UNT Counseling Psychology students have obtained internships in recent years.
Evaluation of Knowledge and Skills
Throughout training, the counseling program faculty members assess each student's progress. Evaluation focuses on development of general knowledge in the field of psychology and the specialty area of counseling psychology, competence in the delivery of applied services, skill in scientific investigation, and appropriate interpersonal and ethical functioning. Students who do not demonstrate satisfactory and continuous progress in these regards may be terminated from the counseling psychology program.
The Department of Psychology and the Counseling Psychology Program strive to support our doctoral students. Generally speaking, we are able to provide a financial support package which includes 20-hour assistantships and tuition waivers for some credits in each long semester to all of our students for at least four years. Additionally, competitive scholarships and fellowships are available in the department and from the graduate school on campus.
The Psychology Clinic is used for practicum training. The clinic includes psychotherapy and assessment rooms and rooms with one-way mirrors for live observation of individual and group sessions. The counseling psychology program also uses training resources at the University Counseling and Testing Services. Both practicum sites are equipped with state-of-the-art digital video equipment to facilitate supervision and training.
Student Body and Program Statistics
The rate of attrition from the counseling psychology Ph.D. program has been very low in recent years. At this time the program has a larger percentage of women than men. Our students are diverse in age, geographical locations of home and undergraduate/master training programs, cultural & ethnic backgrounds, and interests. Most facilities on campus, including the Department of Psychology, are accessible to students with disabilities. The Ph.D. program usually admits 8 students annually and has about 50 students at any given time. The internship placement rate in the counseling psychology program has been 100% in recent years.
The Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology at the University of North Texas provides student, education and training outcome data, and financial information in response to directives from the APA Office of Accreditation. The information provided includes data concerning applicants, admitted students, internship acceptance rates, time to program completion, licensure, student attrition rates, and financial costs.