Loyola University Chicago

School of Education

Philosophy, Goals & Objectives

PhD in Counseling Psychology

Philosophy, Aims, & Objectives

The mission of the Ph.D. program in counseling psychology at Loyola University Chicago is to graduate scientist-practitioner-oriented health service psychologists who identify with the field of counseling psychology and who are committed to promoting social justice in all their professional activities.

The philosophical model of the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program at Loyola University Chicago reflects a commitment to the Scientist-Practitioner tradition.  Hence, the program is committed to teaching our students how to (a) think scientifically about human development, (b) make contributions to the field through research and scholarship, and (c) provide psychological services that adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards and that are empirically-grounded.

Within this scientist-practitioner tradition, we emphasize the development of a professional identity in our students that is grounded in health service psychology and in counseling psychology’s core tenets.  As such, our program attempts to produce students who focus on client assets and strengths, and who are committed to fostering optimal development in clients across the lifespan.  While we recognize that the identification and treatment of abnormality is a necessary skill set, students are exposed to theory and intervention approaches that are preventive, developmental, and remedial.

Our program also embodies a commitment to social justice and that emphasis runs throughout our training program. Our commitment to social justice emphasizes both the importance of understanding a person’s development within a larger cultural context and an acknowledgement that the interaction between people and their larger contexts is essential to the conceptualization of normal and abnormal development.  Because each individual’s relationship to the socio-cultural context is unique, our program is grounded in a commitment to diversity that is found throughout our coursework, practice, and research opportunities.

Finally, we are committed to providing training for our students that is of the highest quality that follows a sequential, comprehensive plan.  Coursework, practicum opportunities, and research experiences are designed to promote a graduated series of learning tasks.  While our students are trained in a generalist model that prepares them to function as health service psychologists in a variety of employment settings, we expect them to gain a firm grounding in counseling psychology and in our areas of specialization—vocational psychology, prevention and psychoeducational interventions, and multicultural and international psychology.

We have three overall aims that are a direct reflection of our mission and philosophy:

AIM 1:  To graduate scientist-practitioner-oriented generalists in health service psychology who, as competent scientist-practitioners, display effective communication and interpersonal skills as well as professional behaviors, and apply the knowledge base of the discipline in a scientifically-based, theoretically-driven, ethical, and culturally-responsive manner.  Thus, students are expected by graduation to demonstrate that they have acquired:

  • Discipline-Specific Knowledge in the history and systems of psychology, the psychological sciences, measurement, research methods, and statistics, and
  • Profession-Wide Competencies as health service psychologists, including knowledge and skills in (a) research, (b) ethical and legal standards, (c) individual and cultural diversity, (d) professional values and attitudes, (e) communication and interpersonal skills, (f) assessment, (g) intervention, (h) supervision, (i) consultation and inter-professional/inter-disciplinary knowledge and skills.

AIM 2:  To graduate counseling psychologists who understand the philosophy and history of counseling psychology, can conceptualize clinical practice and research questions from a counseling psychology perspective, demonstrate the ability to engage in independent scholarship on  questions important to counseling psychology, and demonstrate knowledgeable of the literature in the following core areas of counseling psychology:  (a) vocational psychology, (b) prevention and outreach, and (c) multicultural and international psychology.  Thus, students are expected by graduation to demonstrate that they have acquired:

  • Knowledge of (a) the history and philosophy of counseling psychology and current professional issues and trends, (b) theories and research on normal human development, and (c) major theories and research in vocational psychology, prevention and outreach, and multicultural and international psychology.
  • Competencies to (a) conceptualize clinical cases from a counseling psychology perspective, and (b) develop and evaluate interventions to promote positive human development.

AIM 3:  To graduate counseling psychologists who are committed to social justice in all professional roles, who are aware of how injustices affect human functioning, and who demonstrate the ability to design, implement, and evaluate interventions that address social justice issues.  Thus, students are expected by graduation to demonstrate that they have acquired:

  • Knowledge of theories and models of social justice and research that has emanated from these theories and models, and an understanding of how social injustice affects human functioning.
  • Competencies to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions that address issues of social justice.