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Searching for a Christian PsyD

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Chase3557, 06.09.11.

  1. Chase3557

    Chase3557

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    I am entering the final year of my undergrad majoring in both Religion and Psychology. I have a 3.94 GPA right now, but I don't have any experience. I am scheduled to take the GRE at the end of the summer. I would like to go to one of the APA certified Christian PsyD programs next fall, but I'm just trying to figure out how many I should apply to and what my chances are to get accepted. I am married and have enough saved up now to pay for the first semester up front. Based on their program, location, and cost of living (taking student housing into account) I have listed the schools in order from my favorite to least favorite. What do you guys think? Any feedback is helpful.

    1. George Fox
    2. Fuller
    3. Regent
    4. Wheaton
    5. Rosemead
    6. Azusa Pacific
  2. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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  3. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    If I wanted to use Jesus to help people I would be a pastoral counselor.
    If I wanted to be a Psychologist...I would be a Psychologist.
  4. Peanut2011

    Peanut2011 PhD

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    I know several psychologists both young and old who went to Rosemead = and swear by it!
  5. edieb

    edieb Senior Member

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    I agree with this statement. Religion-based clinical programs subvert our standing with other specialites by making us look like a fringe speciality.
  6. Peanut2011

    Peanut2011 PhD

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    Pepperdine University is an independent, private, medium-sized university affiliated with the Churches of Christ.

    They had PsyD.
  7. Peanut2011

    Peanut2011 PhD

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    you can't go wrong with Santa Barbara, CA
    Last edited: 06.09.11
  8. Peanut2011

    Peanut2011 PhD

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    I agree, but lets focus on what we can change... hahaha = file your compliant with the APA the compliant box has a hole in the bottom and its probably located above the trash can. The psychologists I know from Rosemead are pretty competent (weird, but competent nonetheless) = however, sample size 3, my study lacks adequate power :p
  9. sydb1367

    sydb1367

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    Pepperdine is in Malibu
  10. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    Aside from sample size that you mention above....I wonder if someone who chooses to go to one of these schools would of course ..."swear by it"....:rolleyes:
    Someone who would make the choice to study the mind and behavior through a particular religion has got to have some interesting psychological proclivities to begin with...outliers?:D
  11. Peanut2011

    Peanut2011 PhD

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    haha that's what I meant. I lived in SD from 2000 until late Sept. 2009. Same difference though right? However, I would pick Santa Barbara over Malibu; nonetheless -- Pepperdine University sure sounds impressive... have it currently or had PysD-- we should google that?
  12. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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    OTOH, I know people who would probably never go to a non-Christian therapist if they had the option in in anyway, so I do think it's good that these programs are (hopefully) training scientifically informed, component psychologists who can also work with devotedly Christian clients who would not see a non-(explicitly)Christian psychologist. To be honest, I'd feel more comfortable with the availability of licensed Christian psychologists than I would if the only therapeutic resources available/agreeable to the subset of the population was pastoral counselors (who can be helpful with some things, but aren't in the same realm as psychologists in terms of mental health practice, IMO),
  13. SpiritBender

    SpiritBender

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    Hey I will throw my 2cents in since I attend Pepperdine:

    1. The Graduate School of Education and Psychology has its main campus in West Los Angeles: 6100 Center Drive Los Angeles CA 90045. It also offers classes at different sat locations in: Irvine, Encino, Westlake Village, and *Malibu.
    *Malibu campus only offers the MFT degree.

    2. We do offer the PsyD: http://gsep.pepperdine.edu/doctorate-clinical-psychology/

    3. I kind of rushed through your post im sorry, I don't know if you're looking for a specific track involving religion or if you want a religious atmosphere? Either way you're not going to find it here!

    4. The undergraduate campus "Seaver College" is where you will find the religious aspect of Pepperdine. Day to day life here is business as normal. No prayer in class, no confessions of faith, and no religious electives.

    4. I do not mean to cast a negative light on my school, I love it! I would say the religious aspect is on the back of the burner so to speak in that a lot of people here seem to be Christian but it is not a requirement nor will you be judged for not being a Christian.

    5. I'm ranting by now but let me just say that GSEP is just like a secular grad program however, once you get accepted please feel free to get the ball rolling and start a Christian organization once that happens petition for a religion class...idk if any of that helps. However, if I have peaked your interest about PU shoot me a private message, I'm a GA/TA/RA :scared: so I can try and bring you home :)
  14. PETRAN

    PETRAN

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    Christian psyd? Oh man, i totally love angel therapy, exorcism-therapy and the pit-of-snakes-therapy. I've also heard that depression is when the evil inserts bad thoughts in your mind whereas in psychosis lucifer whispers in your ear.
  15. PsychPhDStudent

    PsychPhDStudent

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    I'm not Christian, and I don't know the least thing about any of these programs, but I'm not sure this attitude reflects APA ethical standards. Besides, there's been a lot of interesting research about how to deal with scrupulosity in OCD, for example, and that makes me think there might be a niche for people who want to focus on faith.
  16. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    I agree that there are interesting potential areas of validity in religious venues of psychology.

    Yet there is another thing to think about. The practice of psychotherapy should ideally rest on a set of evidenced principles. CBT, Psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, Rational Emotive...they all began as research interests by the founders of the theoretical base. As evidence grew and grew there was a justified avenue for creating programs that focused on each of these areas more so than the others.

    My problem with Christian doctoral programs is that they are basing the training on something that is largely unknown...they are basing it on a faith and on a host of other things; "Christian Psychology"-whatever the hell that is. Basically there is no model...no exploratory factor analysis, if you will.

    We know nothing about: the effect of compatable vs incompatible religious percepts betweent the therapist and patient, how and when the religious identity affects transference, adherence to therpeutic strategies or homework( in the cbt-like therapies for instance).
    There just isn't enough of a knowledge base to start a Christian doctorate. So it occurs to me that these places run on the assumptions of faith...which is different from the ways that Psychology acquires knowledge.
  17. FadedC

    FadedC

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    An interesting point, but is secular psychology really all that different in terms of making assumptions that certain types of clients may relate differently to psychologists depending on their culture, religion, race or gender? I've known numerous programs and job sites who have made decisions based on that assumption, despite the lack of hard data.
  18. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    I agree. It is absurd when there is no reasonable theory or actual data.
  19. kid16

    kid16

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    Well, in one key aspect, yes, I think it is...

    While patients can, will, and always do relate differently and transference is impacted by differences of culture, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation as you said, the key difference here seems to be that with secular psychology and in this case Christian Psychologist and Pastoral Counselors, theses differences go from being potential factors that can and do contribute to corrective experiences with "different/dissimilar others" to now being limiting and exclusionary factors that end the relationship before it can even get off the ground.

    For example, I'm an agnostic, and a commonality that would need to exist for a Christian Counselor if I was their patient was that I was Christian. That's a significant problem with the therapeutic relationship as it's already restricted and terminated before it starts. On the other hand, seeing a therapist that is of a different ethnic or racial background or is of a different gender would not exclude them from being able and willing to enter into a therapeutic relationship with me. Sure, patients are going to select out certain therapists for certain differences, but in this case we are talking about the therapist being the one to de-select patients because their modality is built on the commonality of the Christian religion.

    To me, it's way too similar to 12-step and addictions recovery-based models in that the similarity/sameness of belief and experience between patient and therapist must be present.
  20. kid16

    kid16

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    And, from the side of me being the therapist, my approach is that everything is worth exploring and interpreting and working through. There are no initial differences that would preclude a therapeutic relationship because my treatment is not built upon a modality of commonality of anything except being human.

    Therefore, any issues a patient of mine would have about the differences between us and how those perceived or even very real differences may negatively impact or limit their perceptions regarding my ability to understand, help, and treat them would be explored and processed. Sure, a patient may choose to not see me because of those differences, or may even decide not to explore their feelings about those differences and terminate pre-maturely as I said above. But, the most important difference between non-secular psychology and psychotherapy and this discussion of Christian programs and Christian based treatment is that differences between patient and therapist on the one side actually are used to foster process, interpretation, treatment, and growth, whereas on the other the key difference of religion eliminates that difference from the equation all together.
  21. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    Nice to hear another psychoanalytic point of view! :luck:
    It gets lonely without company!
  22. Jegg

    Jegg *~*~*~*Dire~Wolf*~*~*~* Lifetime Donor

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    This thread's discussion leaves only one overwhelmingly nagging question to be answered:

    What would Chuck Norris do?

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: 06.11.11
  23. FadedC

    FadedC

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    Well it's possible that I'm misunderstanding, but I'm not sure that I completely see the difference. Your assuming that an agnostic could not relate to a devout christian therapist, which may be a reasonable assumption but there is no hard data to back that up. Other people are assuming that a devout christian could not relate to an agnostic therapist, which again may be reasonable but there is no data to back it up. It kind of seems like two sides of the same coin to me, it all boils down to a belief that clients relate better to a therapist that they have something in common with. Whether this is true or not I can't say, but it's certainly a commonly held belief in all areas of therapy.
  24. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    Haha.

    Chuck Norris would not have to wonder about a therapy associated with a deity... He would just round-house the client & ask them what it feels like to be touched by the heal of god.
  25. kid16

    kid16

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    @ FadedC-

    Actually the ultimate point I was making is that a Christian therapist (not the patient) would struggle with treating a non-Christian patient because their treatment modality is based upon a something that differs between people. Other modalities of psychotherapy don't do that... Which is exactly why I think it's a troubling approach... Sure, patients respond differently to the commonalities between them and their therapists, but in this case we are potentially talking about the equivalent of another therapist saying, "well I'm Latino (or straight, or gay, or Jewish) and since you- patient -are not that, I can't treat you because my approach is based upon that commonality being held between me and my patients."

    Problem.
  26. FadedC

    FadedC

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    Ah ok, I think I understand your point a little better now then. Not knowing much about Christian therapy, it's unclear to me how exclusionary to other clients a christian therapist actually is. I do know of therapists who have a certain faith and who are primarily seen by people of that faith, but that's just because those people are more comfortable with them and not because the therapist excludes or can't work with other clients.
  27. IT514

    IT514

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    I considered Wheaton, but decided not to apply because they didnt have the neuropsych faculty at the time, though this may have changed since then. A good friend of mine who went to Wheaton is very pleased with his neuro post-doc at one of the most respected places in the country. They also have a pretty good match rate from what I remember.

    Regarding some of the comments from the peanut gallery, its pretty clear we have a general lack of education about Christianity, and religion in general, huh? Wow, you guys...if you arent educated in a topic, why comment?
  28. IT514

    IT514

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    I did most of my externships, including therapy, in a very diverse urban area. Never had a problem, never saw my worldview as a problem, and neither did my supervisors or my patients. Perhaps you are overgeneralizing a bit??
  29. Neuropsych2be

    Neuropsych2be

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    A bit?? This is one of the most offensive threads I have read in a long time. I wonder how some of these posters would react to a Hindu or Muslim psychologist wishing to work within the religious and cultural context of their communities. Would teh same derision apply?? Religion and culture are inseparable. If some of the poster's wish to work within a western cultural context, then respect for the Jewish and Christian heritage of the west is appropriate.
  30. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    I can't speak for the other posters here but I think I have a valid point above.

    To reiterate: it is interesting to create a program base that little known about it in terms of the available literature. That is my issue plain and simple. I make no assertions about actuality but I do think more needs to be known about the specifics of religious influences on the practice of various types of therapy within the realm of psychology. So my point is most concisely that one should practice pastoral counseling if a Christian-type therapy is what one wants to do. Yet to mix Christianity with "Psychology" requires scientific scrutiny.
    I can see a program basing itself on Logotherapy, existential, or humanistic approaches. Yet to base it on Christianity has more to do with the faith that the mechanics of the mind.
  31. roubs

    roubs Ph.D. Student

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    Are you saying that a western cultural context and Christianity/Judaism are inseparable? What exactly is offensive upthread?
  32. IT514

    IT514

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    I think you are failing to see that many people of the Christian faith see it as a worldview, under which science is valued and the end product of clinical psychology, both in practice and research, doesnt look different from an atheist or any other worldview that values science. I am referring specifically to Wheaton and programs similar to Wheaton. Now if you are referring to folks like the Bobgans, I totally agree with you, however its a moot point b/c folks like that think even Wheaton is doing the devil's work...haha.
  33. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    I can jive to the worldview. But "worldviews" of C. (Christianity) needs to be deconstructed.

    I'm not referencing any programs...just concepts.

    What does a "C." Psychologist do with a young person developing who is struggling with sexuality...either trying to awkwardly get laid as teens will do...or is struggling with being being gay or is confused about being gay or straight.
    Beliefs come out in the session in subtle ways. Does the "worldview" of C. involve a human's right to a full sexual development and sexual life...or does it adhere to what's actually written in the Bible?

    Things like this impact how one views the human condition.
    Last edited: 06.12.11
  34. IT514

    IT514

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    I agree completely. Of course it matters, but its not like Christian's are blind to this. It seems as though you assume that christians arent open to deconstructing their worldview? My understanding is that at Wheaton, this is done very thoughtfully and systematically in the program.

    A simple reply is that some would do just fine with your example, and others would refer out. A few would try "repairative" therapy or whatever its called and would hopefully lose their license for it immediately.
  35. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    I'm glad that happens at Wheaton. In fact, that is safer than people who go through "non-christian" programs, who are deeply christian, and who never process it.
  36. psydtobe

    psydtobe

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    I myself initially considered a program that was counseling psychology and had several classes that taught how to integrate Christianity into your treatment. From what I have read I would not say the goal is to "convert" your clients or not relate to them because they are not as spiritual as you are. My impression was there are several biblical concepts that may not be explored in detail in general studies that one should be knowledgeable of. A client may be interested in particular biblical references. I am by no means the expert on this area but I know a clinician that treats Christians and non-Christian clients. She discussed there being minimal differences in her treatment as well as the content of the session.

    I agree with the previous poster that this would be no different than a psychologist who is Muslim seeing Muslim clients. I don't view this as a negative. What might be negative is if they have a client of another religion and tell them "that's your problem". I am sure many of us have/will have clients that have very different backgrounds and cultures.
  37. Neuropsych2be

    Neuropsych2be

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    Actually I am saying that Christianity and Judaism are are part and parcel of the western culture in historical terms even though many or even a majority of people in many places do not practice those religions. Western culture can be considered an amalgam of influences from Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, the Germanic tribes, Medieval Islam via Spain and etc... Religion forms a central bedrock of the western intellectual tradition both explicitly and implicitly. For most of human history, religion has been a defining characteristic of culture. This is the cultural anthropologist in me speaking but religion is not superstition. Religion is reflection of a culture's unique cosmology as mediated through a particular system of symbols. One of its functions is to mediate experience and aid in the transmission of culture.

    Westerners are like fish swimming in water. We are so immersed in our cultural context that we don't see the context. This is one reason why I believe that clinical psychologists desperately need to get some exposure to other academic disciplines such as cultural anthropology (which I have a background in) so that they learn to look beyond their limited methodologies and worldviews.

    Science itself functions as a religion from an anthropological perspective. It seeks to predict and control nature, it provides the culture with a set of symbols and symbolic language that mediate "reality" that is then transmitted down through time. It is filled with implicit assumptions about the nature of reality etc... It even has a set of higher order principles that govern the universe: natural law. Science has its own priests and evangelists who seek to proselytize. None of this is wrong, but some people in psychology worship a particular brand of "science" with all the fervor of 17th century puritan. There are some differences in that science is impersonal. But from a cultural anthropological perspective, science serves many of the cultural functions of a religion.

    What is offensive upthread is some of the sneering disrespect for those who are committed to something other than their own version of scientism. What is offensive is that this derision is being projected onto Christianity when it would never be projected onto adherents of other religious traditions such as Buddhism or Islam. The APA ethics code calls for respect for cultgural differences. This extends to those within our own society who are religiously committed to a Christian worldview as well. Of course, disrespect for dissent and perceived difference is also a defining characteristic of organized religion and this particular corner of SDN. Hence, the behaviors and attitudes displayed are themselves characteristic of the religious mind. If the christian worldview may be deconstructed so may that of psychological science itself. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
    Last edited: 06.14.11
  38. kid16

    kid16

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    As long as religion and its related worldview and any potential similarities or differences between therapist and patient regarding religion/worldview are brought into the room (read: made relevant to the therapeutic relationship) BY THE PATIENT (either explicitly or implicitly) - not by the therapist - I'm ok with that.

    I'm all for the expansion of my own personal understanding of the worldviews of others - especially my patients so that I can better treat and understand them. But, seeing as how it truly is "all about them" and their worldview (in the spirit of cultural competence and sensitivity) and I see myself as a conduit (read: transferential object) for their re-working of past and present relationships and compulsions to repeat those problematic relationships, I have no desire to base my treatment on my personal explicit worldview and do actually take issue with those who would do so surrounding their own personal worldview and/or religion.... which is why I got involved in this thread to begin with.

    As I said above, I would and do take issue with this as a general practice (psychology with religion - as generated by the therapist, not the patient), and am not exclusively targeting Christianity over any other religion. I would and do challenge any formal psychology or counseling training program and/or therapeutic treatment modality that is explicitly built upon the worldview of a religion .... even Buddhism or Islam or Judaism or Atheism or the celebration of Festivus.

    -kellen
  39. Out of all of these programs, I have only heard that fuller has a decent reputation, so not sure about others. Even though you can pay for one first semester up front, the PsyD from a private school can cost up to $200,000 and not produce decent employment afterwards. These programs are required to post outcome statistics on their website so check these carefully and look for the % of apa accredited internships (that is the gold standard in our field). Look this up thoroughly and make sure you understand what the statistics mean in terms of internship placements. There are many posts about the dangers of attending professional schools of psychology and their unethical marketing practices so do a search for this on the list serve (I think some of these programs may be professional schools as well).

    Azusa pacific, for example, look pretty shady. They don't even have a link to outcome statistics for their program--this is a requirement. Again, you want to find out the % that went to APA internships. CAPIC is not a paid internship and not accredited.
  40. Jegg

    Jegg *~*~*~*Dire~Wolf*~*~*~* Lifetime Donor

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    [​IMG]
  41. aequitasveritas

    aequitasveritas PhD

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    haha. Love it
  42. NPIntern

    NPIntern

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    IT514, just to add to your comment... Wheaton did just get a neuropsychologist on faculty about 2 years ago. He's fellowship-trained from one of the top programs (with Pliskin) and excellent. I was the only neuropsych focused person in my cohort, but I was fortunate enough to get a neuropsych track, VA internship and am applying to postdocs in neuropsych now. I think my generalist training at Wheaton combined with my excellent practicum placements (that could only come from being in Chicago!) really have prepared me well. I cannot say enough about the great training at Wheaton, which does indeed emphasis empirically supported treatments, contrary to the discussion here.
  43. sacredrage

    sacredrage

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    I'll just break it down in order:

    1. Wheaton
    2. Biola (Rosemead)
    3. Fuller
  44. psyman

    psyman

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    My initial thoughts as I read this thread: I'm naive on the topic of these Christian programs, but I'm interested to know precisely what is different about the Christian programs versus the traditional programs. Is there a Christian sociology program? What about Christian math? Muslim Doctor of Medicine? I'm a little horrified that someone can be a psychologist going through a Christian program.

    That said, I have yet to look into what those programs entail. However, I imagine part of what they entail I won't be able to gather by simply looking over the curriculum and mission statement.
  45. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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    Perhaps you could let me know what part of a Christianity (and Christian teachings) you feel is contrary to being a mental health professional?
  46. IT514

    IT514

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    Well, from a scholarly point of view, anyone practicing psychology should think critically about how their worldview interacts with what they learn in grad school. Like it or not, there are plenty of Christians who practice psychology...do you expect them to leave their worldview, and their brain, at the door if they didnt go to a faith-based program?

    What do you think the differences would be between someone who practices psychology from a christian point of view and someone who is of a different worldview?? Would you prefer everyone in the field to share your assumptions about life? Thinking abstractly, your post seems naively dogmatic...
  47. psyman

    psyman

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    As I stated, I'd like to know what is different about these programs as compared to traditional programs.

    I will say that I would fully expect a traditional program to challenge a student's worldview more than a faith-based program.
    Last edited: 07.08.12
  48. snowcherries

    snowcherries

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    I'll open the can of worms a bit wider: as a liberal Christian, my main concern as to certain faith-based doctoral programs is that many require you to sign or agree to codes of conduct that are entirely irrelevant and potentially harmful to the effective practice of psychology. For example, George Fox's Code of Student Conduct (http://www.georgefox.edu/offices/student-life/student-handbook/guiding_principles.html) states:

    "Our lifestyle excludes immoral practices and calls us to transformed living as we 'offer [our] bodies as living sacrifices' to God (Romans 12:1-2). In regard to sexual morality, we believe that only marriage between a man and a woman is God's intention for the joyful fulfillment of sexual intimacy. This should always be in the context of mutual compassion, love and fidelity. Sexual behaviors outside of this context are inconsistent with God's teaching."

    This begs the question: as a psychologist who agrees to this statement, how do I effectively and compassionately treat LGBTQ clients? How would students discuss LBGTQ psychology within the classroom and during training? While I know excellent Christian psychologists whose faith informs their practice, I believe that any psychological training program that is forced to hold to this perspective does its students a disservice.
  49. Iwillheal

    Iwillheal

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    You forgot to add here, "as currently practiced." Psychology and psychotherapy continue to change, as do views about different lifestyles and minority rights. A few decades ago APA decided homosexuality is not a mental illness. Now we're focused on transsexual people's rights. There will be more changes in the near future I'm sure. So when you say "harmful to the effective practice of psychology", I wonder if you're just trying to say that certain religious views do not respect certain minority rights which APA currently does. Interestingly enough, sometimes the opposite happens, meaning that religion normalizes what we therapists pathologize. Like when we say somebody has OCD and needs to get therapy and take meds but certain religious folks consider him/her simply devout.
  50. KillerDiller

    KillerDiller

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    You say all this like it is a bad thing. The practice of psychology changes because it is influenced by both scientific discoveries and social change in general. This is actually what concerns me about practices that are primarily based on religion--they do not adapt as quickly because traditional religions are, by their nature, static and fixed. There is virtually no chance that, in the future, homosexuality will go back to being viewed by psychologists as pathological or as "a sin." The APA is not going to re-institute conversion therapy. So, even though the discipline changes, it changes in a very reliable direction. In this way, religion is behind when it comes to recognizing human rights, and that is a legitimate concern for psychologists who are trained to rely on religion as their basis for clinical judgment.

    I should note that I do not have a problem with religious institutions in general or with religious institutions training psychologists. Heck, I went to a catholic school for my masters degree and I received a great education there...because the university taught the scientific process. The point it becomes a concern for me is when a religious institution replaces science with doctrine as the primary "way of knowing."

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