University of Florida | Department of Psychology

Training Program Information

The Counseling Psychology Graduate Training Program at the University of Florida is one of five training programs offered in the Department of Psychology. The Program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The Program’s faculty is comprised of faculty members with primary appointments in the Department of Psychology and faculty members with primary appointments in other budgetary units, such as UF’s Counseling and Wellness Center and the College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Ryan Duffy, Professor of Psychology, serves as Director of Training and has primary responsibility for coordination of the Program.

Training Model

The Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Florida adheres to a generalist, scientist-practitioner training model that emphasizes education and training in the integration of theory, scientific thinking, assessment, research, and practice. This training model conceptualizes science and practice as inseparable and thus promotes practice that is science-based and science that is informed by practice. Furthermore, this training model promotes science and practice that consider individual, developmental, multicultural, and contextual perspectives and that emphasize human strengths with attention to aspects of psychopathology. A dedication to psychological science is essential.

The Program’s training model and its associated goals and objectives are anchored in six core beliefs that constitute the Program’s philosophy regarding the training and education of students to function as professional psychologists at the doctoral level. This philosophy is consistent with the perspectives on counseling psychology training that were iterated by Murdock, Heesacker, Alcorn, and Stoltenberg (1997) in their description of a Model Counseling Psychology Training Program.

There is an inseparable relationship between science and practice in the field of counseling psychology such that science informs practice and practice informs science. Beginning in the first year of our students’ training and continuing through the last year of this training, there is an emphasis on teaching students counseling theories, methods of scientific inquiry, and science-supported counseling approaches and interventions. Furthermore, we encourage the integration of theory, research, assessment, and practice within our core courses and through the sequencing of courses. The placement of theory, research and assessment courses early in our curriculum and the placement of practicum and advanced practicum courses later in the curriculum promote the science-based practice that we value.

Training in counseling psychology should include an emphasis on learning to conduct and report scholarly research. We especially value research mentoring and promoting critical thinking in all phases of the research process. We believe that conducting and reporting scholarly psychological research are important vehicles for advancing theory development in counseling psychology and for helping professionals within and outside of this field obtain information and develop assessments and interventions that will ultimately help improve the quality of people’s lives.

Training in counseling psychology should include an emphasis on learning to conduct effective interventions, which are facilitated by considering the biological, social, environmental, relational, cultural and other system variables that affect clients’ lives. Our training program is designed to foster awareness of the multiple factors that often influence human behavior and to promote multicultural counseling competence. We believe that this awareness and competence are promoted to a great degree through both diversity among our students and faculty and cross-cultural counseling experiences in diverse settings.

The use of a developmental approach provides the context for considering the full range of adjustment issues and psychological disorders that constitute the professional practice of psychology. There is an emphasis in our counseling training on identifying normal developmental issues across the life span and on identifying and addressing clients’ resources, strengths, and adaptive skills for dealing with these issues. We believe that learning and implementing this developmental approach to counseling is facilitated rather than impeded by some training in assessing and treating psychopathology in the counseling process.

It is important for training in counseling psychology to progress in an organized, graduated, and sequential fashion. Learning about the basic scientific core of psychology lays the foundation for the comprehensive generalist training in counseling theories, assessment, research, and practice that characterize our Program. Specifically, the basic science of psychology encourages the individual, developmental, contextual, and cultural perspectives needed in all aspects of counseling psychology. This generalist training in turn provides the needed foundation for the specialty training that is often a major source of the passion of our students for becoming counseling psychologists. To facilitate training success, both the generalist and specialty training in our Program occur in a sequential order that ensures a gradual increase in their complexity and in the level of responsibility and choice students have in the training that they receive.

It is important to promote the professional development of counseling psychology students. Our training priorities include providing our students with skills and experiences that promote their identity as counseling psychologists and that enable them to meet the challenges that come with their work roles as counseling psychology trainees and as professional counseling psychologists. Much attention is given to actively engaging students in identifying and promoting the activities that will facilitate their personal and professional development and help prepare them for career success and leadership in the field of counseling psychology.

Please see the Program Handbook for more information, and specific details about the Counseling Psychology Training Program.