Mission and Overview
The Mission of the Howard University’s Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program is to the train and develop counseling psychologists who infuse aspects of cultural diversity into clinical practice, research, and all aspects specific to the field of counseling psychology. The program adheres to a scientist- practitioner model while addressing disparities, concerns, and issues effecting various populations, particularly among stereotypically disenfranchised and under resourced groups. The program focuses on the training of students in assessment, therapy, and research strategies appropriate for working within a continually evolving demographic national and international landscape. Students are educated on the foundational works within counseling psychology as well as charged to maintain their knowledge of the emerging empirical literature.
The Counseling Psychology Program at Howard University is designed to train professional psychologists in the Scientist-Practitioner model, consistent with APA-accreditation guidelines. The Counseling Psychology doctoral program embraces the scientist-practitioner model and embodies a balanced training experience in the science of psychology, theoretical foundations, and applications of practice skills and research. The Program encourages a hypothesis-testing approach toward obtaining and evaluation information, and it encourages the examination of empirical literature related to planning and evaluation of interventions that focus on prevention or remediation of problems. The Program emphasizes prevention of psychological problems, the teaching of effective coping skills (to prevent problems), and the development of effective problem-resolution skills to remediate negative coping behaviors that are in place. A core aspect to the training model is the integration of theory, research, academic scholarship, professional practice and awareness of multicultural issues. Thus students engage in training activities that synthesize clinical skills, didactic learning, research, multicultural sensitivity and self-exploration as salient aspects toward the development of their professional identities.
The Counseling Psychology doctoral program places a significant emphasis on students’ clinical development. Students pursue a variety of supervised, approved clinical externship sites throughout their training in the program. Students have opportunities to work in clinical settings in the Washington metropolitan area, which includes community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, schools, university counseling centers, forensic settings and chemical dependency treatment programs. Students work in settings with highly diverse clientele and gain experience developing culturally appropriate clinical skills. All externship supervision is conducted by a licensed psychologist. Students can receive supervision from other licensed professionals at their respective externship sites, however at least one hour of weekly scheduled supervision must be with a licensed psychologist. In addition to receiving clinical supervision in respective clinical settings, students also attend a weekly seminar where they have the opportunity to discuss and develop effective, culturally appropriate, and ethically competent interventions.
The Students in the Counseling Psychology PhD Program at Howard University receive intensive research training through courses on research methods and statistics, work on research projects conducted under faculty supervision, and ultimately through the completion of the Dissertation. Given that there are several students who have aspirations of becoming psychologists with research oriented careers, the Program provides several opportunities for students to conduct research, present at conferences, and to publish their work in scholarly journals. Our students serve as peer-reviewers on various editorial boards, and participate in the University’s many research initiatives and activities. The quality of our research training is evidenced by the many scholarly accomplishments of our current students and alumni, many of whom have gone on to pursue research and academic careers.
A hallmark of the training at Howard University is the Research Advisor-Advisee relationship. Students are assigned to an advisor based on the mutual interests of the student and the faculty member. The students work closely with their advisors on their research pursuits including their dissertations. However, it is not uncommon for students to change their advisors if they develop different interests or believe that a different faculty member would be a better fit. Although many students usually stay with their originally assigned advisor, they are encouraged to develop relationships with other Counseling Psychology faculty and other faculty in the department.
We take pride in the scholarly work of our students, as all of our students present papers, symposia and posters at professional conferences, and many publish during their time in the program.