The scientist–practitioner model in counseling psychology programs: a survey of training directors Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015 Taylor & Francis. The scientist–practitioner model dominates as the premier training model for graduate training in applied psychology. Despite its widespread use, almost no research has focused critically on the model’s operationalized definition or its implementation and evaluation in training programs. This study provides an overview of how training directors in counseling psychology currently define, implement, and evaluate the scientist–practitioner model within their respective programs. A multi-methods online survey was distributed to 50 counseling psychology training directors. Qualitative responses from 32 respondents were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Non-thematic observations on response form/style were also summarized. Key findings suggest that counseling psychology training directors define the model in at least three broad ways. Some definitions are inconsistent with each other. Furthermore, basic program requirements are often used as the basis for both implementing and evaluating graduate programs’ use of the training model. Lastly, many training directors rely on previous responses or published program descriptions in their answers. Implications include the ethics regarding the lack of clarity and consistency of the model’s current use, advancement of the model beyond an abstraction to concrete operationalization, and concern about other applied specialties in psychology potentially having similar problems with the model.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ridley, C., & Laird, V.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • June 2015