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Springfield College Will Offer Doctoral Degree Program in Psychology Unique in U.S.

May 2, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., May 2, 2011 -- Springfield College will offer the nation’s only doctoral degree program in counseling psychology with concentrations in athletic counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and marriage and family therapy beginning September 2012.

“This program will fill a void,” said Professor Judy Van Raalte, Ph.D., director of the program. “Our research shows that there is a demand for doctoral-level education in counseling psychology with these three concentrations, and Springfield College is uniquely prepared to offer it.”

Springfield College has long offered master’s degree programs in counseling psychology with these and other concentrations.

“We believe that this doctoral program will attract students from around the country and abroad because of these concentrations, Springfield College’s international reputation in these specialties, and the program’s strong curriculum,” Van Raalte said. “Our original impetus came from feedback from our psychology graduates who expressed their desire to complete a doctoral degree at Springfield College rather than at other institutions.”

Van Raalte said that the doctoral degree is becoming increasingly required for employment in mental health counseling. Employment opportunities for mental health counselors are rising as a result of demand from many sectors. Van Raalte cited increasing numbers of war veterans and others with mental health needs and recent laws requiring large employers that offer physical and mental health insurance to provide equivalent coverage for both.

The 115-credit-hour program will take students who enter with a master’s degree four to five years to complete. It will include coursework, research and applied experiences through fieldwork or internships. “The overall goal is to prepare students to work competently in hospitals, private practice, university counseling centers, athletic departments and a variety of other settings,” Van Raalte said.

The doctoral program in counseling psychology is designed to equip students with a broad range of essential competencies, along with expertise in their area of concentration. It will prepare them to pursue licensing and practice in psychotherapy, assessment, supervision, teaching, research and evaluation. It will also equip them to compete for doctoral internship positions approved by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Van Raalte said that the program is consistent with APA guidelines for accreditation of doctoral programs in professional psychology. The Springfield College Office of Graduate Admissions is accepting applications for fall 2012 enrollment.

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