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Oklahoma State University

Counseling Psychology Overview

The Counseling Psychology Program, leading to the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Specialization in Counseling Psychology), is accredited by the American Psychological Association, providing assurance to prospective students of continuing excellence. The program is based on the scientist-practitioner model of psychology training; that is, it is based on the principle that theory, research, and practice should be considered inseparable in the preparation of professional psychologists.

We consider it top priority to provide integrated training in psychology as a behavioral science and in counseling psychology as a specialty. As a faculty we value diversity and inclusion. It takes a minimum of four years full time (post master's) to five years full time  (post bachelor's) to complete the program, including the required internship year. Students who enter post-bachelor’s degree earn an MS in Educational Psychology (option counseling psychology) en route. Students follow an organized sequence of study, in which academic coursework, research, and practicum experiences are integrated.

Our students must also successfully complete qualifying examinations, a doctoral dissertation, and an APA-accredited internship in order to fulfill the requirements for the degree. All students must meet certain specific requirements to meet the competencies necessary for a doctoral degree in counseling psychology, however each  individual's plan of study is developed around his or her particular goals with consultation and approval from his/her advisory committee. Students whom are admitted at the post-bachelor's level begin in the summer semester.  Those who are admitted at the post-masters' level begin their studies in the fall.

Graduates from our program have found employment as counseling psychologists in academic settings; university counseling centers; public service settings such as correctional facilities, the military settings, hospitals, Veterans Administration Medical Centers, or Indian Health Services settings; child/adolescent guidance centers; community mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers; family services; and private practice settings.

The Co-Directors of Training for the Counseling Psychology program are Dr. Carrie Winterowd and Dr. Tom Berry.

Philosophy of the Counseling Psychology Program (CPSY)

The philosophical orientation of this program is consistent both with the historical development of counseling psychology and with the current roles and functions of counseling psychologists. We give major emphases to preventive/developmental /educational interventions, and to remediation of problems that arise in the normal development of relatively well functioning people.

Our focus on prevention and developmental change brings us to seek knowledge and skills related to facilitation of growth, such as training in education, consultation, environmental change, and self-help.

It is the focus upon the assets, skills, strengths, and possibilities for further development of persons, rather than upon a diagnostic determination of whether people are normal or abnormal, that is most reflective of the general philosophical orientation of counseling psychology and of this program.

Our focus on remediation motivates our acquisition of knowledge and skills in psychotherapy as applied to individuals, groups, families, and communities.
The more specific philosophical orientation of this program may be characterized as metatheoretical, emphasizing the development of counselor qualities and therapeutic conditions that appear to facilitate growth from a variety of theoretical paradigms.

Although no single theory of counseling and psychotherapy is presented as the best approach, dialogue concerning propositions and practices of various theories is viewed as essential, as well as the trying of our various counseling and related methods, and the acquiring of knowledge of client dynamics, problems, resources, and possibilities for change.

Commitment to Multiculturalism, Diversity, and Social Justice

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The College of Education (of which the CPSY program is a part) is committed to the promotion and affirmation of diversity in the broadest sense. This commitment is consistent with the ethical principles of the various professions, including the American Psychological Association, represented in the College (COE) and in School of Applied Health and Educational Psychology (SAHEP) in which the counseling psychology program is housed.

Multicultural Training

Counseling Psychology as a discipline of psychology is committed to diversity issues and multiculturalism and issues of social justice. As counseling psychologists, we serve and advocate for underrepresented and oppressed groups of individuals. Counseling psychologists conceptualize peoples' experiences within the context of their history, their culture and communities, and their development (lifespan). We emphasize the strengths and resilience of individuals, groups, families and communities in their efforts to live meaningful and satisfactory lives.

Students are exposed to a variety of coursework related to multiculturalism and professional psychology in our program. Students take coursework in multicultural counseling and discuss diversity issues in most of their classes (e.g., multicultural aspects of group work, marriage and family work, career counseling, personal counseling, etc.). Students are encouraged to present diverse clients in their case presentations in practicum classes. As part of the experience in our training program, students actively explore their biases and prejudices related to working with clients. Our faculty members all have advanced GLBTQ Safe Zone training and we encourage our students to complete the training. Safe Zone stickers and other signs of inclusion and diversity around counseling psychology faculty, students, and staff work spaces help create an inclusive atmosphere. Our program recently gained the Ledbetter Lemon Endowed Diversity Professorship. This endowed professorship is intended to engage in research and practice in counseling psychology with an emphasis on diversity consistent with the COE Diversity and Inclusion Statement:

“The College of Education is committed to the promotion and affirmation of diversity in the broadest sense.  We highly value the dignity and worth of individuals inclusive of their gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, physical and mental abilities, religious beliefs, socioeconomic class, and other identities.  Valuing diversity also extends to diversity of thought and perspective.  We promote and create a dynamic community for personal transformation and social change with an atmosphere of respect and trust in which individuals explore, discuss, and express their beliefs with one another."

The endowed professorship supports a focus on any of these aspects of human diversity, but specifically addresses sexual orientation and gender identity issues in context with other forms of diversity as noted above.

There are a number of research teams that students can participate in, many of which are related to multi-culturalism, social justice, and diversity issues. We offer research team experiences related to issues of race and ethnicity (e.g. resilient experiences of American Indian people), sexual orientation (e.g., sexual identity), religion/spirituality (e.g., counseling psychology training in spiritual issues, the relationship of spirituality with stress and anger), mindfulness (and relationship to prejudice awareness) and gender (e.g., body image perceptions of women), among others. Recently completed dissertations have also focused on diverse topics.

Our doctoral students have been successful in receiving Indian Health Service Fellowship Awards as well as the APA Minority Fellowship Awards. Approximately 10% of the college student body at Oklahoma State University is comprised of international students. There are opportunities to meet and work with people from all over the world here in Stillwater, Oklahoma. There are also opportunities to work with rural and urban clients via practicum settings in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. We also currently have students in VAMC, Counseling Center, Indian Health Service Center, Juvenile Justice and Prison, Free Obesity Clinic, High School anti-Bullying program, juvenile diabetes, domestic violence and community mental health practicum sites.