Program Philosophy

Psychology and Counseling Psychology

The Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Program at Marquette University offers training in the scientific discipline of psychology and in counseling psychology as an area of professional specialization. It is based on an integrated scientist-practitioner approach to training health service psychologists, which emphasizes both scientific inquiry and professional practice. In this approach, the science and practice of psychology are viewed as complementary and interdependent, where each informs the other in a synergistic manner.

History of the model

This model was developed at the Boulder Conference on clinical psychology training in 1949 and was subsequently endorsed by Division 17, Counseling Psychology, of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1954. The Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Program at Marquette University is also based on the Model Training Program in Counseling Psychology that was adopted by the Joint Writing Committee of the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP) and APA Division 17, Society of Counseling Psychology, in 1998 and updated in 2005.

In the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Program at Marquette University (hereafter referred to as the “Program”), students acquire substantial understanding and competencies across the breadth of scientific psychology, including:

  • History and systems of psychology,
  • Biological aspects of behavior,
  • Cognitive and affective aspects of behavior
  • Development aspects of behavior 
  • Social aspects of behavior
  •  Research Methods, Quantitative Methods, and Psychometrics.

Program course work

Through course work and experiential training in quantitative and qualitative research methods, measurement, statistics, and data analysis, students develop the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed to critically evaluate and integrate the breadth of scientific psychology. All students are consistently and actively engaged in research teams throughout the Program to further develop their knowledge and competencies in developing and conducting research. The research education and training culminates in the successful defense of each student’s doctoral dissertation. Coursework and experiential training (including practicum and internship) regarding individual differences in behavior; cultural diversity; human development; functional and optimal behavior; dysfunctional behavior and psychopathology; theories and methods of assessment and diagnosis; theories and practices of individual, group, family, and larger-system interventions; evaluation and implementation of evidence-based practices and processes; evaluation and implementation of practice-based evidence; and professional standards and ethics provide students the necessary knowledge and skills to practice as competent entry-level health service psychologists. All students are consistently and actively engaged in practicum throughout the Program to further develop their knowledge and competencies in the practice of health service psychology. The clinical education and training culminates in the successful completion of each student’s pre-doctoral internship. Our Program’s developmental and integrated biopsychosocial approach to teaching, training, research, and professional practice of psychology culminates in the graduation of our students as scientist-practitioners of health service psychology.

Program training details and outcomes

Our program utilizes a biopsychosocial approach to the integration of science and practice and is designed to be comprehensive, developmental, and integrative. Our training involves a sequential program of cumulative learning experiences that are graded in complexity. Our training program employs a hybrid generalist-specialty approach that aims to provide a generalist foundation on which students develop specialty areas in both research and practice. This model prepares students to competently engage in integrated psychological science and practice within a variety of systems including, but not limited to, health care systems, educational systems, employment systems, criminal justice systems, social service systems, and government systems. The Program is designed to maximize students’ preparation for obtaining quality predoctoral internships and postdoctoral positions and for successfully completing psychology licensure requirements. We believe that this model provides the best training for advancing students toward an array of rewarding career opportunities in such areas as colleges and universities, hospitals and health care organizations, university counseling centers, public and private clinics, community agencies, correctional systems, and other government and business organizations.

Two development perspectives

Our Program emphasizes training in the substantive area of counseling psychology. Historically, this specialty has emphasized two perspectives, the first of which focuses on development. This perspective emphasizes normal growth and development, improving individuals’ quality of life, and focuses on strengths and resources as opposed to psychological deficits and problems. Donald Super, one of the pioneers in Counseling Psychology, noted that “Counseling Psychologists tend to look for what is right and how to help use it.” The ability to diagnose and treat psychopathology is an essential skill in our graduates, but our Program also emphasizes the assessment of strengths and resources, as well as the development of resource-focused interventions designed to maximize the healthy and optimal functioning of individuals and communities. In fact, we consider it an ethical obligation to focus on strengths and resources in addition to deficits and problems when conducting assessments and designing treatment plans for clients. Minimizing either one can result in an incomplete conceptualization that is likely to result in less effective interventions and potentially deleterious effects. Another implication of a developmental emphasis involves prevention and the need for proactive systems interventions. For example, fighting poverty, racism, and other destructive societal and community influences is more important in certain contexts than applying individualized counseling interventions.

Historical program relevance

Counseling psychology historically has also emphasized understanding individuals in their sociocultural context. Earlier in our history, educational and occupational contexts were emphasized, while more recently individual and cultural diversity have received a great deal of attention. As noted above, our Program takes a biopsychosocial approach to understanding human behavior, and is based on the view that a comprehensive approach such as this results in the most complete understanding of human development and functioning. We believe that sensitivity to biological, psychological, social, cultural, and developmental influences on behavior increases students’ effectiveness both as practitioners and researchers, as well as the additional roles in which they are likely to engage (e.g., instructor, supervisor, consultant). This approach also helps students develop an appreciation for the importance of prevention with regard to behavioral as well as medical and social problems. Indeed, we view competence in working with all of these factors as necessary for the successful practice of counseling psychology.

Our departmental policies also clarify our commitment to diversity in our programs. Our policy on diversity reads as follows:

The Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, as well as Marquette University as a whole, are committed to social justice. These commitments are reflected in the Marquette University Statement on Human Dignity and Diversity, which reads, “As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Marquette recognizes and cherishes the dignity of each individual regardless of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability or social class.” Our Department emphasizes the importance of diversity and multicultural influences on development in all of our programs, including our coursework and research, as well as throughout our practicum and internship training. The Department expects that all faculty and students will engage in respectful explorations of issues regarding diversity and multiculturalism as we develop more fully our commitment to social justice. In addition, faculty and students are all expected to explore their own attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors with regard to various forms of discrimination so that the quality of our research, teaching, and practice improves.

In addition, the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology faculty fully endorse the Counseling Psychology Model Training Values Statement Addressing Diversity put forth by the Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies (ACCTA), the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP), and the Society of Counseling Psychology (SCP).

Counseling Psychology Model Training Values Statement Addressing Diversity1

Respect for diversity and for values different from one’s own is a central value of counseling psychology training programs. The valuing of diversity is also consistent with the profession of psychology as mandated by the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct (2002) and as discussed in the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (SOA) (APA, 2015). More recently there has been a call for counseling psychologists to actively work and advocate for social justice and prevent further oppression in society. Counseling psychologists provide services, teach, or engage in research with or pertaining to members of social groups that have often been devalued, viewed as deficient, or otherwise marginalized in the larger society.

Academic training programs, internships that employ counseling psychologists and espouse counseling values, and post-doc training programs (herein “training programs”) in counseling psychology exist within multicultural communities that contain people of diverse racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds; national origins; religious, spiritual and political beliefs; physical abilities; ages; genders; gender identities; sexual orientations; and physical appearance. Counseling psychologists believe that training communities are enriched by members’ openness to learning about others who are different from them as well as acceptance of others. Internship trainers, professors, practicum supervisors (herein “trainers”) and students and interns (herein “trainees”) agree to work together to create training environments that are characterized by respect, safety, and trust. Further, trainers and trainees are expected to be respectful and supportive of all individuals, including, but not limited to, clients, staff, peers, and research participants.

Trainers recognize that no individual is completely free from all forms of bias and prejudice. Furthermore, it is expected that each training community will evidence a range of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Nonetheless, trainees and trainers in counseling psychology training programs are expected to be committed to the social values of respect for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Further, trainees and trainers are expected to be committed to critical thinking and the process of self-examination so that such prejudices or biases (and the assumptions on which they are based) may be evaluated in the light of available scientific data, standards of the profession, and traditions of cooperation and mutual respect. Thus, trainees and trainers are asked to demonstrate a genuine desire to examine their own attitudes, assumptions, behaviors, and values, and to learn to work effectively with “cultural, individual, and role differences including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status” (APA Ethics Code, 2002, Principle E, p. 1063). Stated simply, both trainers and trainees are expected to demonstrate a willingness to examine their personal values, and to acquire and utilize professionally relevant knowledge and skills regardless of their beliefs, attitudes, and values.

Trainers will engage trainees in a manner inclusive and respectful of their multiple cultural identities. Trainers will examine their own biases and prejudices in the course of their interactions with trainees so as to model and facilitate this process for their trainees. Trainers will provide equal access, opportunity, and encouragement for trainees inclusive of their multiple cultural identities. Where appropriate, trainers will also model the processes of personal introspection in which they desire trainees to engage. As such, trainers will engage in and model appropriate self-disclosure and introspection with their trainees. This can include discussions about personal life experiences, attitudes, beliefs, opinions, feelings, and personal histories. Assuming no one is free from biases and prejudices, trainers will remain open to appropriate challenges from trainees to their held biases and prejudices. Trainers are committed to lifelong learning relative to multicultural competence.

Counseling psychology training programs believe providing experiences that call for trainees to self-disclose and personally introspect about personal life experiences is an essential component of the training program. Specifically, while in the program trainees will be expected to engage in self-reflection and introspection on their attitudes, beliefs, opinions, feelings, and personal history. Trainees will be expected to examine and attempt to resolve any of the above to eliminate the potential negative impact on their ability to perform the functions of a psychologist, including but not limited to providing effective services to individuals from cultures and with beliefs different from their own and in accordance with APA guidelines and principles.

Members of the training community are committed to educating each other on the existence and effects of racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, religious intolerance, and other forms of invidious prejudice. Evidence of bias, stereotyped thinking, and prejudicial beliefs and attitudes will not go unchallenged, even when such behavior is rationalized as being a function of ignorance, joking, cultural differences, or substance abuse. When these actions result in physical or psychological abuse, harassment, intimidation, substandard psychological services or research, or violence against persons or property, members of the training community will intervene appropriately.

In summary, all members of counseling psychology training communities are committed to a training process that facilitates the development of professionally relevant knowledge and skills focused on working effectively with all individuals inclusive of demographics, beliefs, attitudes, and values. Members agree to engage in a mutually supportive process that examines the effects of one’s beliefs, attitudes, and values on one’s work with all clients. Such training processes are consistent with counseling psychology’s core values, respect for diversity and for values similar to and different from one’s own.


1This document was endorsed by the Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies (ACCTA), the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP), and the Society for Counseling Psychology (SCP) in August of 2006. The joint writing team for this document consisted of members from ACCTA, CCPTP, and SCP, including Kathleen J. Bieschke, Ph.D., Chair, (SCP), Arnie Abels, Ph. D., (ACCTA), Eve Adams, Ph.D., (CCPTP), Marie Miville, Ph.D., (CCPTP), and Barry Schreier, Ph.D., (ACCTA). This document is intended to serve as a model statement for counseling psychology training communities and we encourage sites to adapt the CPMTVSD to reflect their particular environment. The writing team for this document would like to acknowledge Laurie Mintz, Ph.D. and her colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia; the values statement for their program served as the starting point for the current document.

Our counseling psychology program at Marquette also exists within the context of the Jesuit educational tradition. This includes assisting students in developing a care and respect for self and others consistent with the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, or care for the whole person, and service to others. This 450-year-old tradition emphasizes a care for the whole person and the greater community, a philosophy very consistent with the history and emphases of counseling psychology. This orientation is also consistent with the mission of the College of Education at Marquette University, which reads as follows: “Consistent with Jesuit tradition, the College of Education programs at Marquette University prepare teachers, school counselors, counseling psychologists, community counselors, and administrators to demonstrate a commitment to social justice through their work.

Finally, it is important that students are aware of the environment and culture of our department and our Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program. A substantial amount of students’ learning about counseling psychology, and their professional development as new counseling psychologists, will occur outside of the traditional classroom. Thus, we expect that students will be fully engaged in the broad life of the Program, the department, the university, and the profession of psychology. Such involvement will take many forms, including ongoing participation on research teams; attending and participating in local, national, and international conferences or participating in the department’s Graduate Student Organization (GSO). Clearly, then, we expect students to be fully involved in more than the required coursework. While it is possible to take classes on a part-time basis, given our expectations for involvement, it is important that students recognize that their commitment to this program in reality needs to be full-time. Relatedly, students should live within proximity to the MU campus; if they choose to live more remotely, they should be aware that the expectations for departmental involvement do not change. Our department also highly values consistent self-reflection. Students need to be aware that self-reflection and self-knowledge are critical prerequisites to becoming a competent counseling psychologist and that many courses and program experiences require self-exploration.