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December 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Are There Meaningful Differences Between Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology?

APA In his recent review of Specialty Competencies in Clinical Psychology, Ron Rozensky notes APA's role in helping define specialities in psychology, and he describes the responsibilities of the APA Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) and the Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology (CoS), a joint venture between APA and the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). The CoS defines a specialty as follows:

A specialty is a defined area of professional psychology practice characterized by a distinctive configuration of competent services for specified problems and populations. Practice in a specialty requires advanced knowledge and skills acquired through an organized sequence of education and training in addition to the broad and general education and core scientific and professional foundations acquired through an APA or CPA accredited doctoral program.
Oxford University Press has published another book in the same series titled Specialty Competencies in Counseling Psychology (Fuertes, Spokane, & Holloway, 2013). In reviewing both books, it becomes apparent that there is tremendous overlap between the work of clinical and counseling psychologists.

Are clinical and counseling psychology each truly "distinctive"? Don't the "advanced knowledge and skills acquired" overlap tremendously, as well as the "problems and populations" with which each group works? Aren't the education and training of clinical and counseling psychologists quite similar? Do patients really care about these somewhat arcane differences, or are they only important to academicians and department chairs?

Is it time for APA's Division 12 (Clinical) and Division 17 (Counseling) to consider merging?


Fuertes, J. N., Spokane, A. R., & Holloway, E. (2013). Specialty competencies in counseling psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Read the Review
ReviewSpecialty Competencies in Clinical Psychology in a Culture of Competence
      By Ronald H. Rozensky
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(47)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Is It Really This Bad for Young Women at Public Universities?

APA Dana Dunn's review of Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton's book Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality scared the daylights out of me. Is it really this bad for women at public universities? Does this review resonate with others, including students, recent grads, faculty, and parents? Are the perceptions in the quotation below consistent with your own perceptions? Dunn states:

Some less-affluent women choose easy majors (often opting for careers that do not require a bachelor's degree, such as wedding planning or travel management) in lieu of challenging and marketable ones (e.g., natural science, economics, finance); others party hearty so much that their grades slip precipitously while their debts mount continuously. Some transfer to regional universities, where they regroup and often succeed in a less expensive, less Greek-life centered setting; others leave school altogether; and still others hang on at MU (Midwestern University), forever on the outside looking in at the socially successful girls who master the Greek universe with ease in preparation for replicating the class structure and folkways they were born to (admittedly, often with parental support and connections that are graciously, never grudgingly, given).
Dunn goes on to note that "[m]any end up back where they started, in small, often rural, communities with little or no professional opportunities." And later he states,
Worse yet, the administrative and student services sides of MU are complicit in maintaining, even encouraging, a class-based system that socially, educationally, and financially harms those from less-privileged backgrounds who come hoping for the promise of upward social mobility. By paying for the party, relatively few women from modest or impoverished backgrounds are able to use the college experience as a springboard for social class mobility.
Is it really this bad? If so, what can be done to improve the situation? Should women avoid public universities in favor of private schools and small liberal arts colleges, no matter what it takes?

Read the Review
ReviewCollege Daze and "Party Pathways": Women, Social Class, and Disadvantaged Futures
      By Dana S. Dunn
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(45)

Thursday, December 05, 2013

If the Vast Majority of Men Are Not Really Promiscuous, Should We Devote Time to Challenging the Stereotype?

APA Gary R. Brooks reviewed Andrew P. Smiler's book Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male. Brooks states,

Drawing from his own research and extensive federal government research, Smiler contends that there is an enormous misunderstanding of young men's sexual attitudes and behavior. He writes,
The Casanova Complex describes only a minority of men… Casanova-like promiscuity drops to no more than 5 percent of the population … Casanova-like promiscuity is in fact not the norm and does not reflect the way most boys or young men really feel. (p. 30)
At this point, one can be relieved by Smiler's findings, but nevertheless somewhat confused about his mission. That is, how much effort should be expended to challenge a belief system that is rejected by 95 percent of young men? Stereotypes can certainly be harmful even when they are inaccurate reflections of actual behavior of a group because they can create tension in those persons not meeting the stereotype. But should this misperception of young men be a matter of significant concern because most men do not have promiscuous sexual relationships?
Is Brooks correct that if only 5 percent of males fit this negative stereotype, then maybe this issue is moot and we should not spend a lot of time challenging this "Casanova Complex" belief system? Is the other part of the issue that others (older folks, parents, women) may believe this negative stereotype and this may influence their interactions with young men, including the 95 percent who do not fit the stereotype? (Brooks also argues that Smiler should "broaden the lens" of his analysis; see the review for his discussion of this point.)

Read the Review
ReviewYoung Men and Sexuality: Myths, Problems, and Needed Correctives
By Gary R. Brooks
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(45)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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