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Mission and Values

The Clinical Program is committed to excellence in research and clinical training from a clinical science perspective. Our goals are to educate students in scientific principles and empirically-supported theoretical models that may guide the study and treatment of psychopathology as well as the study of psychological factors related to health and well-being. The faculty of the Clinical Program subscribe to the views that clinical psychologists should be trained to produce, evaluate, and apply scientific knowledge in both research and clinical endeavors, and that ideal training promotes the synthesis of knowledge garnered from empirical scientific inquiry and clinical practice activities.

The UNC Clinical Program emphasizes training in both clinically-informed research and evidence-based clinical work. We recognize and value that students have varying career aspirations and that career goals may evolve over the course of graduate training. Our program, therefore, offers opportunities to achieve excellence in all activities inherent in a clinical science framework, including training in scientific investigation, the practice of clinical psychology and evidence-based teaching, as well as professional development to help guide students as they begin to make these career decisions. Consistent with this approach, our alumni have pursued a variety of careers, all of which rely on an evidence-based mindset to clinical psychology.

Students have an opportunity to select from training in the clinical adult or the clinical child/family psychology training tracks. Both tracks offer opportunities to gain exposure to a variety of training settings and career options that involve an integration of research and practice activities.

Research experiences at UNC are designed to help students achieve excellence in the development of independent research skills including the ability to critically evaluate the existing theoretical and empirical scientific knowledge base, to generate novel hypotheses that can be examined using current methods and statistical techniques, to produce research offering the potential to better understand and improve the mental or physical health of adults or youth, and to disseminate research findings to the scientific community and/or broader public of psychology consumers. The program encourages the integration of theoretical and empirical contributions across research areas within clinical psychology and from related psychological sub-disciplines or social sciences. UNC also emphasizes the opportunity to become involved in both basic and applied research. Research activities are designed to include, at a minimum, training in manuscript and grant preparation, oral and written research presentations, and the traditional thesis and dissertation requirements.

In addition to its emphasis on the development of research excellence, the Clinical Program values clinical training and an introduction to teaching and supervision/consultation experiences. We regard clinical training during graduate school as providing an important initial foundation in clinical skills that fully prepares students for the predoctoral internship training experience. Our approach to clinical training is based on the fundamental principle that clinical psychologists have a public responsibility to apply practice techniques that are firmly grounded in a scientific and evidence base when available. Thus, clinical training at UNC prioritizes the development of an evidence-based approach to clinical assessment and intervention including an awareness of the empirical support for assessment and intervention approaches, a scientific evaluation of clinical practice data, the evaluation of clinical efficacy throughout the treatment process, and the application of scientific principles even in the absence of established empirically-supported treatments. UNC emphasizes the development of competence in these skills and principles as the best measure of clinical training success.

All graduate training emphasizes the program’s commitment to three central values. First, the program strives to prepare students to be ethical and professional in their research, clinical, and teaching activities. Second the program educates and prepares students to be sensitive to issues of diversity and individual differences in all work including, but not limited to, diversity in gender, race and ethnicity, culture, religion, and sexual orientation. This is achieved through the program’s formal commitment to the active recruitment of a diverse group of students and faculty, the integration of diversity training throughout the program curricula, as well as multiple training experiences within the diversity-rich community of the Triangle area. Third, the program is dedicated to the importance of dissemination of psychological science to benefit the public interest. Program faculty provide models of opportunities to be advocates and ambassadors of clinical science by participating in numerous community-outreach programs; by holding leadership roles within the department, local, and national communities; and by continuing to contribute to the field in academic and/or clinical venues.