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Pros vs. Cons of PCSAS - Is it the VHS or Betamax of accreditation systems?

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beginner2011

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IMO, your groupings are too simplified and leave out a giant swath of training programs. PCSAS encourages the clinical science model of training. Most professional PsyD programs follow the practitioner-scholar model of training per their mission statements. That leaves out all the scientist-practitioner PhD/PsyD clinical programs and counseling psychology programs. The moderates, if you will, that make up the bulk of training programs.

What makes you think that scientist-practitioner clinical and counseling programs would be left out? Here are their review criteria: Review Criteria – PCSAS

That's a straw man. Reread my post and get back to me.

State your argument without using an analogy, it might be more clear. What I see is this statement, which I don't think I've straw-manned:

In this case, though it might be true that counseling psychologists tend to go one way, PsyDs another way, and PhDs in Clinical psychology yet another way. It's far more shaky ground logically to suggest that it should or ought to be that way. The danger being that saying something should be one way or another further silos psychology in a groups of haves and have-nots, which in my opinion from what I've seen thus far, is one of our field's bigger problems.
 

PsyDr

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@beginner2011 That's my point. What is their definition of "better"? What is the empirical basis of the "better" curricula? What is the evidence that it is "better"? What is the evidence that their proposed intervention (i.e., better science education), will result in better leadership in mental health?

It would be AMAZING if someone could operationally define the work requirements of all areas of psychological practice, regression to find what works, cite empirical literature showing X didactic procedures produce Y effect, etc. That would be an incredible achievement, that I would highly support.

It would be hard to argue against a less scientifically sound rationale, if it just cited empirical support from the educational literature (e.g., "Class sized limited to X, has demonstrated a positive effect on student scores on standardized measures. Class time of Z minutes has been shown to have superior results compared to class times that are of Y length. Using a survey into the practices of APA approved programs, we found that mean class size is C, and class length is D. It is therefore expected that an improvement will be seen in our programs through the restriction of class size to X, and requiring class time to be Z minutes").

What I find stupid, is for a bunch of guys to just claim they are better without any evidence or support. They know better. They wouldn't dare try that method in a reputable journal.
 
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Sanman

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What makes you think that scientist-practitioner clinical and counseling programs would be left out? Here are their review criteria: Review Criteria – PCSAS



State your argument without using an analogy, it might be more clear. What I see is this statement, which I don't think I've straw-manned:

It is laid out directly in their eligilibity stands. You must confer a PhD, be housed in the psychology dept (not any other dept), and focus of the clinical science model of training those prepared for research and academic scholarship...not clinical practice professionals.

There is actually nothing that hurts PsyD programs in this model. It simply forces middle of the road programs into a box for no reason.
 
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What makes you think that scientist-practitioner clinical and counseling programs would be left out? Here are their review criteria: Review Criteria – PCSAS

Did this already in another thread, but just for funsies:

From the website.

– Accreditation is limited to programs within the intellectual and educational domain of clinical psychology. This may include hybrid varieties, such as health-psychology, clinical-neuroscience, clinical-behavioral genetics, etc. However, to be acceptable the hybrid model must involve the integration of clinical psychology–i.e., a focus on psychological knowledge and methods to research and clinical application relevant to mental and behavioral health problems–with one or more complementary scientific perspectives for the purpose of gaining added leverage on specific target problems. In all cases, clinical psychology must be the core component of the model.
 
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State your argument without using an analogy, it might be more clear. What I see is this statement, which I don't think I've straw-manned:

I said absolutely nothing about grant reviewers. I am saying that PCSAS endeavors to separate psychologists into a functional caste system with their graduates being the psychologists who would have the greatest access to resources such as "privileged position" in top tier AMCs/VAs/University etc... The argument that this is already the way of things, and PCSAS is just codifying it is an is/ought fallacy because, by way of intervention, PCSAS is saying that it ought to be this way. This is, as many have stated, on the basis of very shoddy scientific evidence.

Your previous statement is a straw man because it is presuming that I am saying that grant reviewers are applying the same logic as PCSAS-pundits. I didn't say that.
 
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beginner2011

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I think I equate NIH funding with being a "better scientist" than absence of NIH funding. That's probably not an entirely fair assumption to make, but I do think that it at the very least has face validity. Unfortunately, as has been stated, the metrics to be used in evaluating "quality" of science are sparse.

I'll also say that my impression is that people are getting more defensive about PCSAS than is warranted. My impression is based on my limited experience, and I'm sure many of you know a lot about many things that I am unfamiliar with and probably totally ignorant about. However, I do think my clinical and research training would have been improved if my program were PCSAS accreditation standards as opposed to APA accreditation standards. I would have been more able to take advantage of the training opportunities available to me if I hadn't been required to do a bunch of ticky-tack courses to satisfy "domain requirements," per APA standards, and that irked me while I was a graduate student.

It's surprising to me to see so many people up in arms about PCSAS.
 
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I would have been more able to take advantage of the training opportunities available to me if I hadn't been required to do a bunch of ticky-tack courses to satisfy "domain requirements," per APA standards, and that irked me while I was a graduate student.

I fully agree with you here. I was also frustrated with a patchwork-approach to my training in graduate school. I just think we disagree about PCSAS being the answer.
 

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I think I equate NIH funding with being a "better scientist" than absence of NIH funding. That's probably not an entirely fair assumption to make, but I do think that it at the very least has face validity. Unfortunately, as has been stated, the metrics to be used in evaluating "quality" of science are sparse.

I'll also say that my impression is that people are getting more defensive about PCSAS than is warranted. My impression is based on my limited experience, and I'm sure many of you know a lot about many things that I am unfamiliar with and probably totally ignorant about. However, I do think my clinical and research training would have been improved if my program were PCSAS accreditation standards as opposed to APA accreditation standards. I would have been more able to take advantage of the training opportunities available to me if I hadn't been required to do a bunch of ticky-tack courses to satisfy "domain requirements," per APA standards, and that irked me while I was a graduate student.

It's surprising to me to see so many people up in arms about PCSAS.


Two things I would say to this, I think NIH funding has little to do with "better scientist" than it does knowing how to the play the game. Grant funding is skewed by topic of research as anything. Put in an application next year to study something related to COVID and something related to Ebola and see who gets funded. This tells you next to nothing about the methodological rigor of the study of the qualifications of the person given the grant. Let alone who might be the better psychologist.

Following PCSAS guidelines might allow for increased time for research compared to taking certain classes. On the other hand, given that the majority of clinical psychologists are practitioners and not researchers, what makes you think that being a better researcher equates to being a better clinician?
 
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beginner2011

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Two things I would say to this, I think NIH funding has little to do with "better scientist" than it does knowing how to the play the game. Grant funding is skewed by topic of research as anything. Put in an application next year to study something related to COVID and something related to Ebola and see who gets funded. This tells you next to nothing about the methodological rigor of the study of the qualifications of the person given the grant. Let alone who might be the better psychologist.

I'd put it this way: it may be a noisy signal, but I think you'd agree that there is some signal in the noise. In the absence of other indicators, publication record and NIH funding are the best we have to work with at the moment. Also, if we're talking about advancing psychological science, those two factors are important/essential. Someone could be the "best scientist" in history (by whatever other metric you want to use), and if they aren't actually publishing their findings or receiving funding to conduct research then that doesn't help advance the field, and ultimately is not preferred (from the perspective of those interested in advancing our understanding of psychological phenomena as a field).

Following PCSAS guidelines might allow for increased time for research compared to taking certain classes. On the other hand, given that the majority of clinical psychologists are practitioners and not researchers, what makes you think that being a better researcher equates to being a better clinician?

The data that I mentioned earlier regarding licensure and internship match are the evidence that support that claim.
 
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t may be a noisy signal, but I think you'd agree that there is some signal in the noise. In the absence of other indicators, publication record and NIH funding are the best we have to work with at the moment.

Not good enough. These indicators are at best descriptive of graduates of APA-accredited clinical science and scientist-practitioner programs. PCSAS needs to actually demonstrate by objective criterion that their curriculum is superior to what is already taught in APA accredited programs. That level of analysis is inferential.
 
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beginner2011

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Not good enough. These indicators are at best descriptive. PCSAS needs to actually demonstrate by objective criterion that their curriculum is superior to what is already taught in APA accredited programs. That level of analysis is inferential.

Hmm, ok. Do you have a proposal for how to more rigorously test the causal inference? This is getting back to PsyDr's concerns, which I think are fair. The data we have isn't as clean as what we'd get from an RCT, but there's enough evidence for a lot of people with a lot of experience with training psychologists that they're willing to take action.
 

cara susanna

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I think I equate NIH funding with being a "better scientist" than absence of NIH funding. That's probably not an entirely fair assumption to make, but I do think that it at the very least has face validity. Unfortunately, as has been stated, the metrics to be used in evaluating "quality" of science are sparse.

I'll also say that my impression is that people are getting more defensive about PCSAS than is warranted. My impression is based on my limited experience, and I'm sure many of you know a lot about many things that I am unfamiliar with and probably totally ignorant about. However, I do think my clinical and research training would have been improved if my program were PCSAS accreditation standards as opposed to APA accreditation standards. I would have been more able to take advantage of the training opportunities available to me if I hadn't been required to do a bunch of ticky-tack courses to satisfy "domain requirements," per APA standards, and that irked me while I was a graduate student.

It's surprising to me to see so many people up in arms about PCSAS.

Oh, yeah, those domain requirements were ridiculous. A lot of mine felt more like undergrad courses than grad ones, too. In fact I'm pretty sure that one was almost identical to the undergrad version that the same professor taught.
 
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Hmm, ok. Do you have a proposal for how to more rigorously test the causal inference? This is getting back to PsyDr's concerns, which I think are fair. The data we have isn't as clean as what we'd get from an RCT, but there's enough evidence for a lot of people with a lot of experience with training psychologists that they're willing to take action.

I think @PsyDr and @Sanman covered your question pretty well already. I think you may the trust the noble intentions of the PCSAS-pundits more than I do as my fully funded scientist-practitioner Ph.D. program in counseling psychology from an R1 university will be excluded from PCSAS on basis of so-called evidence. Our faculty do have grants by the way. They come from other organizations than NIH like NSF and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reflecting the differences in research questions between the two specialities.
 
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Peacemaker36

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When I applied for internship, I got the advice to steer clear of programs that "preferred" clinical to counseling psychology students. Friends of mine heard about their applications being tossed out of desirable VAs because they were not the "preferred" type of psychology student. Drawing that distinction works semantically, but fails practically. If an abundance of a "preferred" candidates exist for "x" spot, it will not matter if another candidate is just as competitive on other markers (pubs, grants, etc...). the representativeness heuristic plus time pressure would suggest that it's cognitively less taxing to simply go with what you know.

You have a bit of an is/ought problem here also. Applying that logic to gender and career choices, you might as well say: "Well, women are usually teachers and men are usually engineers, so it makes sense to create systems to codify what's already natural." Jordan Peterson might like that. But, I think the rest of us would have problems. In this case, though it might be true that counseling psychologists tend to go one way, PsyDs another way, and PhDs in Clinical psychology yet another way. It's far more shaky ground logically to suggest that it should or ought to be that way. The danger being that saying something should be one way or another further silos psychology in a groups of haves and have-nots, which in my opinion from what I've seen thus far, is one of our field's bigger problems.

I completely agree that accreditation reform needs to happen. My hope is that PCSAS is the Ross Perot of accreditation systems, in that it serves as a wake up call to APA that they will be no longer respected as a scientific organization if they continue to down-play the importance of scientific training in doctoral programs.

I'm not a Jordan Peterson fan, but I have listened to some of his talks, and I'm pretty sure this is the opposite of what he would say. Just FYI.
 
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beginner2011

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I think you may the trust the noble intentions of the PCSAS-pundits more than I do as my fully funded scientist-practitioner Ph.D. program in counseling psychology from an R1 university will be excluded from PCSAS on basis of so-called evidence.

Yea, that does surprise me. Did your program apply and was rejected?
 
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Peacemaker36

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My point is just that I don't think Peterson would advocate for codifying male-female differences. He's just trying to point them out.
Sorry for the thread hijack!
 
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Sanman

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Not good enough. These indicators are at best descriptive of graduates of APA-accredited clinical science and scientist-practitioner programs. PCSAS needs to actually demonstrate by objective criterion that their curriculum is superior to what is already taught in APA accredited programs. That level of analysis is inferential.

Agreed with this. If someone went back and did an analysis on clinical science grads vs sci-prac grads vs prac-scholar grads on different metrics and then controlled for things like student selection (all the smaller funded programs likely get a higher caliber of student regardless of stated training philosophy), there might be more of a case. What @PsyDr mentioned earlier would make the most sense if coming at this from an unbiased perspective.

All that aside, doesn't the argument become academic if everyone is given a license to practice? We at PCSAS are the most scientific, but everyone is allowed to not listen to us anyway. Back to my comparison/analogy, what difference does it make if MD/PhD grads are superior researchers or clinicians when MDs/NPs/PAs etc can all practice? Do you think the hospital or insurers will care? Then what is the goal of the argument?

Clinical science grad programs tend to take the longest time to come to market in an era where there are fewer good faculty positions and master's degree therapists are being hired to do many clinical jobs. So, what is the goal here other than vanity?
 
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deleted343839

Just came here to say that the title of this thread is underappreciated. And my answer is Betamax.
 
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beginner2011

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We aren't allowed to apply because we are not a clinical psychology program.
I guess PCSAS is much more limited in scope than I have been led to believe, then. My assumption has been that counseling psychology would have enough overlap to be considered in the same domain. Sounds like a reflection of my own ignorance, sorry I misunderstood.

Just came across this: Counseling Psychology vs Clinical Psychology - Society of Counseling Psychology, Division 17

Good to know more about the distinction. I've crossed paths with only 1 PhD in counseling psych, and they (and their colleagues) indicated their training was indistinguishable from clinical psych, so I've never bothered to do my own homework on the distinction.
 
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DynamicDidactic

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Looks like thread really took off. I promise I'll come back tomorrow evening to argue some more :)

But the new MtG set came in early today and its taken up my whole evening :D
 
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cara susanna

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Just came here to say that the title of this thread is underappreciated. And my answer is Betamax.

I almost commented earlier on how much I love the thread title.
 
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Justanothergrad

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I guess PCSAS is much more limited in scope than I have been led to believe, then. My assumption has been that counseling psychology would have enough overlap to be considered in the same domain. Sounds like a reflection of my own ignorance, sorry I misunderstood.

Just came across this: Counseling Psychology vs Clinical Psychology - Society of Counseling Psychology, Division 17

Good to know more about the distinction. I've crossed paths with only 1 PhD in counseling psych, and they (and their colleagues) indicated their training was indistinguishable from clinical psych, so I've never bothered to do my own homework on the distinction.
I think their opinion was correct in general, all outcome metrics support this (license type, shared classes on campuses with multiple programs [in and out of the same dept], work setting, internship sites, etc). There is a weird politicalness to it. Any variations are likely more reflective of an individual program's focus, or a specific advisor, rather than broader differences between clinical and counseling.
 
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beginner2011

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I think their opinion was correct in general, all outcome metrics support this (license type, shared classes on campuses with multiple programs [in and out of the same dept], work setting, internship sites, etc). There is a weird politicalness to it. Any variations are likely more reflective of an individual program's focus, or a specific advisor, rather than broader differences between clinical and counseling.

Hmm. Why would the PCSAS folks decide to exclude counseling psych programs from eligibility?
 

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I went to one of their accredited programs. Clinical scientist concept versus scientist practitioner. I wish they were broader in focus. I think the idea of fostering a more scientifically rigorous training at the graduate level for psychologists is sensible. I'd love to nudge the whole field that way and put a cap on the unfunded, degree mill NCSPP programs (which I see as glorified masters programs and I also see as terrible gatekeepers for the field). I think severing the rest of psychology that doesn't want to be a researcher first from the mix is not particularly helpful. If you view PCSAS as an indicator of research emphasis for career goals and orientation of program expectations. . . that you engage actively in research and publish, I think it's fine. I.e., Hey I want to be an academic psychologist, I'm going to a program that emphasizes that. Not, I'm going to PCSAS program, this is the way, everyone else is idiots.

By the way, many of the programs are both APA and PCSAS accredited; I'm not sure if there's non-APA ones now. As a clinical standard, because they've veered so hard to clinical scientists, it isn't super useful. I think if you took Linas Bieliauskas' 1998 div 40 presidential address points and revised the field standards in that spirit, it would be a sensible thing to do, both clinically and for researchers.


The bolded is important because I believe PCSAS wants to get rid of the degree mill programs. However, PCSAS is playing right into their hands. Therapy is not a PhD level skill? Great that is why professional programs believe in the PsyD. Lets cut out anything beyond a basic research class, trim a year off the curricula and charge the same thing. You end up accomplishing larger barriers between science and practice.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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The bolded is important because I believe PCSAS wants to get rid of the degree mill programs. However, PCSAS is playing right into their hands. Therapy is not a PhD level skill? Great that is why professional programs believe in the PsyD. Lets cut out anything beyond a basic research class, trim a year off the curricula and charge the same thing. You end up accomplishing larger barriers between science and practice.
Agreed. That horse left the barn decades ago (getting rid of malignant programs). APA dropped the ball over and over again when they should have been reinforcing and strengthening the practice areas for psychologists, instead of give away more and more parts....so now we are pitted against mid-levels in many jobs AND we have too many poorly trained doctorally trained clinicians.

Medicine has some similar challenges with mid-level creep and variable training (Caribbean and lesser foreign programs), but physicians come together better, are FAR better funding, and have FAR more influence in the gov't to put a thumb on the scale in certain instances. It shouldn't have gotten to this point of fighting off serious mid-level encroachment (I see you Texas!), but APA failed us. I also blame past APA members for being cheap and not putting up money when they could have fought this much more effectively.

Elder psychologists can correct me (or younger ones in the know!), but from my understanding of APA, they were printing $ (literally) by controlling a rich resource of publishing for most of the 80s, 90s, and into early 00s, but there was a shift. It was probably 10-12 years ago that I poured over their annual reports because of the 2008 economic crash. I reviewed a 4-5 year period and there was a distinct shift in membership #'s, $ from membership dues, and a chunk of their investments disappeared because of the poor investing outcomes. Their printing side of the house, which generated a significant amount of revenue, couldn't cover up the losses....so it looked like in the numbers that they targeted increased membership. They did all sorts of "free first year to students" and reduced rates to bring back old members. Same groups of ppl in charge, so.....

Side note: I actually went back for 2-3yrs, but found many of the same problems as before....musical chairs of the same ppl for different committee spots, so I got pushed off consideration for every committee bc I wasn't part of the "in" crowd. I think Dr. Puente tried to improve things, but that was mostly lipstick on a pig bc systemic changes are/were needed. I've been out of the APA governance loop for a number of years now, so maybe things changed....but I doubt it.

ps. My gripes are mostly with APA the org, not the divisions and leadership in divisions, which I found much more consistent with what I would want. Not perfect, but better and seemingly more functional most of the time.
 
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I went to one of their accredited programs. Clinical scientist concept versus scientist practitioner. I wish they were broader in focus. I think the idea of fostering a more scientifically rigorous training at the graduate level for psychologists is sensible. I'd love to nudge the whole field that way and put a cap on the unfunded, degree mill NCSPP programs (which I see as glorified masters programs and I also see as terrible gatekeepers for the field). I think severing the rest of psychology that doesn't want to be a researcher first from the mix is not particularly helpful. If you view PCSAS as an indicator of research emphasis for career goals and orientation of program expectations. . . that you engage actively in research and publish, I think it's fine. I.e., Hey I want to be an academic psychologist, I'm going to a program that emphasizes that. Not, I'm going to PCSAS program, this is the way, everyone else is idiots.

By the way, many of the programs are both APA and PCSAS accredited; I'm not sure if there's non-APA ones now. As a clinical standard, because they've veered so hard to clinical scientists, it isn't super useful. I think if you took Linas Bieliauskas' 1998 div 40 presidential address points and revised the field standards in that spirit, it would be a sensible thing to do, both clinically and for researchers.

I think UC Berkeley and a few others are planning to go that way in 2023. It was discussed in a different thread.

I agree, and appreciate your perspective. Viewing PCSAS as something academically oriented programs can opt into if they want to seems to be a better way of thinking about it. My only concern is when something "preferred" becomes the unspoken standard for access to positions of power. If PCSAS accreditation is something that's evaluated in conjunction with a psychologist's academic work (grants, pubs, whatever), then it would be hard to view it as a threat. If it's seen as a minimum standard for access to resources that allow a psychologist to continue their academic work, it would be very hard to not view it as a threat to students of scientist-practitioner programs that cannot apply for PCSAS accreditation.
 
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Fan_of_Meehl

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I attended a balanced, fully funded PhD program which offers solid research training but mostly turns out clinicians. I worry about what PCSAS would do to these types of programs--they're probably not research-oriented enough to get accredited by them, but I also don't want them lumped in with less research-y PsyD programs.
I've also seen--on the front lines, as it were--the grinding, complex, and frustrating complications of trying to directly translate the empirical research findings and basic theoretical frameworks into outcomes in the context of a highly politicized, stressful, and bumbling architecture of 'care delivery' such as the Department of Veterans Affairs. To take but one issue: it is EXTREMELY common for clinicians to be overloaded with 100+ ACTIVE cases in their 'psychotherapy caseload.' The logistics just don't work out. Also, when there are 'unspoken truths' such as the fact that a great number of veterans who are 'paid to be sick' (and are never charged for therapy (not even co-pays) or no-show's/cancellations) that GREATLY impact the process of therapy (but can NEVER be openly acknowledged for political reasons), the clinician is left without any official guidance or support for a major problem that cannot even be acknowledged--similar to how a dysfunctional family operates when it fails to acknowledge (and punishes any who do acknowledge) the elephant in the room that dad is drinking a half-gallon of liquor per night. 'We don't talk about that, dear.'

Under such conditions, I have found myself having to be creative and to generate my own materials/frameworks for how to conceptualize and intervene with patients in a 'science-informed' or 'evidence-based' manner since the great majority of my caseload cannot simply be plugged into a 'protocol-for-syndrome' approach and thereby experience significant symptom improvement/remission in 12 weeks. I'm sorry, but if you read what's in the literature (or put out by the MIRECCs), most of it presumes implicitly that the majority of the veterans being treated in MH clinics are appropriate/receptive to the protocol-for-syndrome approach. Direct practical experience screams otherwise.

Hayes and Hoffman outline some of the problems with the protocol-for-syndrome approach in their Process-Based CBT book which points to a need for psychology to develop beyond the protocol-for-syndrome approach which--at this point--is Holy Canon in VA MH systems (sadly).


 
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DynamicDidactic

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So, which is it?
I apologize I wasn't clear from the beginning. My point is that latter. The former was me trying to say that there is a directionality issue with the first statement.
 
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DynamicDidactic

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PCSAS states they are of higher scientific quality. Their curriculum isn’t empirically based. Their assessment methods are not scientifically sound. Their outcome data doesn’t show superiority over standard education. I fail to see any area in which they are superior, outside of their own self assessment.
I think we can easily agree the curriculum has higher face validity in regards to being more scientific. There is currently no outcome data to speak of. However, my hope is that this data becomes available to you once PCSAS is fully up and running. Additionally, we have lots of data that for-profit, large-cohort programs have worse outcomes (e.g., match rates, EPPP pass rates).
 

DynamicDidactic

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I know I took forever to get back to this thread, sorry.

To me, it seems clear that the requirements of the APA CoA continue to devalue science. It becomes a responsibility of those programs to maintain scientific rigor. This may mean ditching APA accreditation. As far as outcomes, the main outcome is whether you make better scientists and clinicians. How to operationalize "better" is multifaceted. How to measure whether is someone is a better clinician is very difficult as well. I am not really sure this can be done realistically. Thus, it has to be theory-driven. My belief (yes, belief) is that clinicians are more likely to provide more effective services if they have advanced training in science. I, of course, have no evidence I can provide for that.
 
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Sanman

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I think we can easily agree the curriculum has higher face validity in regards to being more scientific. There is currently no outcome data to speak of. However, my hope is that this data becomes available to you once PCSAS is fully up and running. Additionally, we have lots of data that for-profit, large-cohort programs have worse outcomes (e.g., match rates, EPPP pass rates).

Higher face validity than scientist practitioner programs? I'm not so sure I agree with that. Regarding PsyD programs, I don't think it matters. PsyD programs compare more to the masters programs that PCSAS advocate for as their goal is primarily to mass produce clinicians and PCSAS has never claimed they can meet the goal of providing adequate numbers of providers for mental healthcare via just doctoral programs.
 
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DynamicDidactic

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Higher face validity than scientist practitioner programs? I'm not so sure I agree with that.
I am certain that scientist-practitioner programs will make up the bulk of PCSAS. Even at the moment, there are already members that did not identify as clinical science programs.

Regarding PsyD programs, I don't think it matters. PsyD programs compare more to the masters programs that PCSAS advocate for as their goal is primarily to mass produce clinicians and PCSAS has never claimed they can meet the goal of providing adequate numbers of providers for mental healthcare via just doctoral programs.
I am not exactly sure what is being said. PCSAS advocates for mass produced clinicians? Masters vs doctoral?
 

Sanman

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I am certain that scientist-practitioner programs will make up the bulk of PCSAS. Even at the moment, there are already members that did not identify as clinical science programs.


I am not exactly sure what is being said. PCSAS advocates for mass produced clinicians? Masters vs doctoral?
The general theme of the problems I have with PCSAS (I'm looking at you here, McFall) is the inconsistencies involved in their arguments.

They have great disdain for Psyd programs and their students, because PsyD programs are not grounded enough in science. Not entirely a baseless argument, depending on the specific program (e.g., Rutgers), and I'm certainly not one to shy away from criticizing poor quality and expensive PsyD and PhD programs. The problem with this is that one of their criticisms of the APA is that it doesn't accredit master's-level counseling programs. There are lots of reasons why the APA does do this (I'm not taking a position on this issue either way here), but is it really logically consistent to argue against Psyd programs for their dearth of science training while also advocating in favor of master's-level counselors? Again, I'm not arguing against having master's-level providers, but I would bet good money that the average PsyD program offers more science education and training than the average counseling program. This line of argument just doesn't make sense.

Relatedly, one of the accusations they hurl at the APA, deserved or not, is that it is practicing "gatekeeping" by not accrediting master's-level counseling programs. This isn't necessarily an invalid argument on its own, but it's fairly clear that PCSAS looks down on any psychologist who would want to exclusively do clinical work of any kind. It's also obvious that their formulation of PCSAS is to turn doctoral-level psychologists into primarily researchers with clinical work as a tertiary role, at best, well behind consulting and other roles that don't involve patient-care. To them, it's beneath the profession to not be an active researcher. It kinda sounds like they want to a do a bit of their gatekeeping to me, vis a vis making PCSAS programs the only legitimate doctoral programs in clinical psych and training almost exclusively researchers.

This condescension towards the quality of training received other kinds of doctoral programs program kind of falls flat when you see the training offered at some of their programs. One in particular has an interesting perspective on didactic classwork. To meet the APA course requirements for certain classes beyond the mere four or so courses required by the program, their solution is to have students go through a selected reading list supposedly giving them a comprehensive look at the topic. How do they assess competency after this reading assignment? Literally a single, one-on-one conversation with a faculty member. There's no rubric or other objective measure of their knowledge or mastery. I'm not sure if this is unique to this particular PCSAS program or if it's more pervasive across the system, but it's still weird and slightly alarming. At the very least, I don't think this particular program that follows these practices has much ground upon which to criticize anyone else's didactic training.

I'm not saying that PCSAS has no arguments, but rather that they seem to lack some self-reflection required to examine their arguments with a critical lens.


@psych.meout discussed this in the above quote. However, I was referring to the fact that comparing the rigor of a PCSAS program to a for-profit PsyD program is somewhat pointless as the degrees are aimed at different jobs. PCSAS programs could never produce the number of health service psychologists currently being produced by PsyD programs. If these PsyD programs ceased to exist, most of those graduates would likely get a master's level of training and, thus, be no better trained than they were in a PsyD program. If PCSAS wants to have a stricter accredication system more focused on academics and research, I think the question that needs to be answered is what level of education do they advocate health services providers have?
 
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If these PsyD programs ceased to exist, most of those graduates would likely get a master's level of training and, thus, be no better trained than they were in a PsyD program.

They'd be all the better for it.

If PCSAS wants to have a stricter accreditation system more focused on academics and research, I think the question that needs to be answered is what level of education do they advocate health services providers have?

My guess is basically a fracturing of the scientist-practitioner model into two accreditation systems. You want to be a clinician? Go to an APA accredited program. You want to do research? Go to a PCSAS accredited program. As far as the level of education is concerned, I think the argument is basically one of quality control and professional identity. Establishing oneself as a "psychological scientist" means you're distinctly different than someone who is "clinical psychologist." You're a scientist, the other one is just your fan boy. You'll sign their book, but you don't want to drink beers with them.

I think the main logic behind what @psych.meout represented is that PCSAS is fine with "practical teachers" of psychology so long as they aren't called psychologists. Psychologists do research first. Supposing APA were to magically eliminate Psy.D. programs and wrestle master's level accreditation away from CACREP, APA could "replace" CACREP as the primary accreditation system for mid-levels, (which I suppose includes doctoral programs in counseling, school, and i/o psychology???) while the true scientists come from PCSAS programs. The goal here would be to say: "I'm a psychologist" and have that mean that you to research like all the other "-ologists" do. Really, I think it's all about professional identity at the end of the day.
 

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They'd be all the better for it.



My guess is basically a fracturing of the scientist-practitioner model into two accreditation systems. You want to be a clinician? Go to an APA accredited program. You want to do research? Go to a PCSAS accredited program. As far as the level of education is concerned, I think the argument is basically one of quality control and professional identity. Establishing oneself as a "psychological scientist" means you're distinctly different than someone who is "clinical psychologist." You're a scientist, the other one is just your fan boy. You'll sign their book, but you don't want to drink beers with them.

I think the main logic behind what @psych.meout represented is that PCSAS is fine with "practical teachers" of psychology so long as they aren't called psychologists. Psychologists do research first. Supposing APA were to magically eliminate Psy.D. programs and wrestle master's level accreditation away from CACREP, APA could "replace" CACREP as the primary accreditation system for mid-levels, (which I suppose includes doctoral programs in counseling, school, and i/o psychology???) while the true scientists come from PCSAS programs. The goal here would be to say: "I'm a psychologist" and have that mean that you to research like all the other "-ologists" do. Really, I think it's all about professional identity at the end of the day.

Cool, so we can further drive a wedge between clinicians and scientists to the point where people continue to do what they want and ignore the science. Sounds like a great idea. PCSAS will never stop PsyDs from being called psychologist. There is more money, power, and bodies against them than with them If they want to elitist and call themselves "psychological scientist" go ahead. They are coming from behind on the accreditation and licensing front. No one can stop the "other" programs from doing research and being biased against PCSAS grads when hiring. I don't see a lot grads fleeing clinical practice for research only careers, personally. I do see this going well.

I tend to drink my beers with folks who would do a spit-take if you tried to cut their pay to the average academic salary, so they are safe from sharing a beer with me.
 
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WisNeuro

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Cool, so we can further drive a wedge between clinicians and scientists to the point where people continue to do what they want and ignore the science. Sounds like a great idea. PCSAS will never stop PsyDs fro being called psychologist. There is more money, power, and bodies against them than with them If they want to elitist and call themselves "psychological scientist" go ahead. They are coming from behind on the accreditation and licensing front. No one can stop the "other" programs from doing research and being biased against PCSAS grads when hiring. I don't see a lot grads fleeing clinical practice for research only careers, personally. I do see this going well.

I tend to drink my beers with folks who would do a spit-take if you tried to cut their pay to the average academic salary, so they are safe from sharing a beer with me.

As a psychologist, clinician and scientists should always describe an actual psychologist. Otherwise, you're simply a therapist, or a researcher, but not a psychologist. Also, I'll fight anyone who tries to cut my salary to the average academic salary! I ain't taking a 50%+pay cut!
 
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Sanman

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As a psychologist, clinician and scientists should always describe an actual psychologist. Otherwise, you're simply a therapist, or a researcher, but not a psychologist. Also, I'll fight anyone who tries to cut my salary to the average academic salary! I ain't taking a 50%+pay cut!

So, you won't be jumping on the "PCSAS or die" bandwagon and we can have beers? Seems like a win-win to me.
 
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WisNeuro

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So, you won't be jumping on the "PCSAS or die" bandwagon and we can have beers? Seems like a win-win to me.

Nah, I'm not currently thrilled with any of the accrediting bodies at the moment. None are strict enough in implementing and enforcing standards. Too many programs produce watered down masters level peeps these days. Also, get off my lawn. Let's get a beer.
 
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