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Clinical Psychology

Mission

The mission of the Clinical/Community Mental Health program is to provide students with that knowledge and those intellectual and professional skills that will enable them to provide quality mental health services in outpatient settings and to continue to develop professionally.

Philosophy

The program has a strong commitment to training students as psychologists. This means that the curriculum is designed to provide students with a thorough grounding in basic psychological knowledge and methodology as well as with strong skills in the application of this knowledge. The therapeutic training offered in the program is eclectic in nature, but rooted in a strong belief in the importance of understanding the subjective experience of the client as a part of the treatment process. Students are exposed to a variety of treatment theories, supervised by clinical faculty with a diversity of orientations, and encouraged to develop their own approach to clinical work. The program takes the position that acquisition of a sound understanding of basic psychological and psychotherapeutic principles and mastery of fundamental skills, rather than specialization in particular approaches or with specific populations, is the best foundation for good professional practice and continued professional development.

History

The masters program in Clinical/Community Mental Health was organized in the Department of Psychology at Western Illinois University in the fall of 1972. This was a period of rapid expansion in the network of community based mental health agencies, an expansion that was spurred by the availability of federal funds to support the staffing of such agencies.

The program was developed to meet a need for trained practitioners to provide services in this new and rapidly expanding delivery system. The result was a curriculum which was designed to provide a strong basic training in psychology and that would also provide training in those skills that were directly relevant to the practice of community mental health. When the program instituted a revision in the curriculum in order to fulfill the standards that were set in 1994 by the Council of Applied Masters Programs in Psychology (CAMPP), agencies were surveyed regarding the types of preparatory experiences they deemed most valuable for prospective employees and this information was used to guide the curricular revision.

The program is a CAMPP member program and is accredited by the Masters in Psychology Accreditation Council until April 30, 2017.