Core Body of Knowledge

The APA(1996) criteria concerning the elements of psychological knowledge that should be acquired by students in clude the biological, cognitive, affective, and social aspects of behavior. Additional domains of study include the history of the field, psychological assessment, research methods, individual differences, ethics, human development, psy-chopathology, psychodiagnosis, intervention, cultural differences, and the attitudes that facilitate problem solving, scholarly investigation, and lifelong learning.

Building on a strong psychological knowledge base, the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (Peterson et al., 1991) proposed competency areas presented here in a modified form (Sumerall, Lopez, & Oehlert, 2000):

Relationship refers to the capacity to develop and maintain a constructive working alliance with clients.

Assessment is an ongoing, interactive, and inclusive process that serves to describe, conceptualize, characterize, and predict relevant aspects of a client.

Intervention consists of activities that promote, restore, sustain, or enhance positive functioning in clients through preventive, developmental, or remedial services. The concept of empirically validated treatments has gained acceptance, and a task force within Division 12 (Clinical) of the APAhas published a listing of such interventions (Task Force, 1993).

Intervention competencies may be divided into those for individuals, couples, families, and groups as well as infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. They may be classified according to complexity or acuteness of the presenting problem. Areas to consider include dual diagnoses, cognitive impairment, social or familial impairment, chronic psychosis, and severe personality disorders.

Research involves a systematic inquiry that focuses on problem identification and the acquisition, organization, and interpretation of information pertaining to psychological phenomena. Students become involved in research early in the educational process and assist with ongoing studies prior to initiating the thesis or dissertation.

Education is the enhancement of knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the learner, whether a student, client, allied professional, or family caregiver.

Management includes activities that direct, organize, or control the services that psychologists and other professionals offer or render to the public.

Advanced clinical skills are areas of expertise represented by specialties such as neuropsychology, forensic practice, and, possibly in the future, psychophar-macology.

Ethics involves the acquisition of strategies for addressing conflicts in principle ethics (e.g., how one should act in specific situations; Meara, Schmidt, & Day,

1996) and virtue ethics (educating professionals to be a certain type of person (e.g., competent, honest, etc.). Attitudes can refer to professionalism and professional development.

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