Counseling Psychology Spring Milestones

Charleston-resizedWritten by Dr. Robert A. Lane, Ph.D.

That’s me, all right, but take a closer look. Can you spot icicles dripping from some of the palm fronds? So much for my January getaway to warm and sunny Charleston, S.C., the site of a training session on best practices in psychological assessments. I’m looking forward to sharing what I learned with the students and faculty of APU’s Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology program (Psy.D.).

I was glad to return to Anchorage where it was warmer than just about everywhere I traveled in the South.

First Psy.D. cohort prepares for Graduation Day

Robes and hoods are ordered and some members of our first Psy.D. graduating class are counting down the minutes until commencement on April 26th.

Not only is the Psy.D. class of 2014 our first cohort to complete APU’s psychology doctorate, but these students also are the university’s first doctoral students in any program. I know I speak for all of us in the Psy.D. program, and throughout APU, when I say that it’s an honor to share graduation day with these students. Post-doctoral training is on their horizon and I wish them every success.

Spring students and faculty are busy

The start of the spring term finds our first-year Psy.D. students busy. They have just completed our Professional Ethics course under the guidance of Professor Ray Pastorino, Ph.D., J.D., and they are now preparing for the next weekend intensive. The following course, The Psychology of Measurement, examines how tests are constructed and validated that measure intelligence, personality and aptitudes (among other things). This course is taught by Susan M. Fallon, Ph.D., APU professor in the Psychology and Human Services Department.

Susan’s course is followed by Research and Techniques of Data Management, taught by Denise Dillard, Ph.D., a clinician and chief researcher from Southcentral Foundation.

Second-year students are at work on practicum experiences focusing on child & adolescent assessments. Overseeing these practicums is especially gratifying for me, as Psy.D. program director, because we’re incorporating the expertise of third-year students Allen and Caroline Blair, each of whom is serving as a teaching assistant. Meanwhile, second-year students interested in the growing practice of sensory-motor therapies developed practicums that coincide with an ongoing training program in Anchorage. These students are also preparing to present their Projects Demonstrating Excellence (PDE) in April under the supervision of Professor Kim Kjaersgaard, Ph.D. in the Psychology and Human Services Department.

In addition to classroom and advising tasks, the faculty is busy with Psy.D. admission interviews. A new cohort always imparts invigorating energy and this year we’re aiming to expand the first-year cohort from 10 up to 12 students.

I know it’s a time that inevitably causes prospective students some stress, but my colleagues and I enjoy meeting each and every prospective student. It’s a privilege to hear the life journeys that take applicants to APU’s door and it’s exciting to learn what they hope to do with their Pys.D. in Counseling Psychology in the future.

Grant funding awarded for APA accreditation effort

Though APU’s Psy.D. program is currently accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, our commitment to excellence continues as we seek additional accreditation from the American Psychological Association. With help from the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, APU is applying for a $75,000 grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust to initiate the process. We anticipate that APA accreditation will be a two-year process.