Assignment: Foundations Of Professional Psychology

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At Kaplan University, we embrace the scholar-practitioner model in our graduate psychology program. A scholar is one who studies and masters their discipline. Scholars are highly educated and naturally inquisitive professionals. In psychology, becoming a scholar involves long hours of studying and learning psychological theory, reading and analyzing research in one’s area of interest, and engaging professionally in the field by attending conferences and other learning opportunities.

A practitioner is one who practices an occupation or a technique to help clients resolve various problems. Practitioners, in a broad sense, are visible in all fields of the social sciences and psychology under varied positions and titles. For example, a professor of psychology is a scholar-practitioner; while licensed clinical psychologist is a practitioner-scholar who focuses on clinical practice, academic research, or both. A professor of psychology is usually required to have a Ph.D. A practicing clinical psychologist is required to have a terminal degree, or a doctorate degree (a Ph.D. or a Psy.D.) and appropriate state licensure in the state where he/she intends to practice .

At Kaplan, our goal is to furnish students with the tools to be successful scholar-practitioners. We define practitioner in terms of one being able to apply the scientific knowledge and research in psychology to his or her emphasis area. Titles, positions, areas of interest, etc. vary with each individual, and as stated above, the “practice” of psychology requires state licensure. The master’s in psychology program here at Kaplan is not a professional counseling program, nor does it lead to state licensure and/or practice as an independent psychologist.

It is important that you learn the foundational underpinnings of the scholar-practitioner model, that you develop and build on that model, and then apply that knowledge in your future endeavors. While the scholar-practitioner model indicates that one may practice in the field of psychology upon fulfilling all requirements to do so, it is also important to realize that not all

scholars plan to become practitioners. Even if you have no interest in pursuing state licensure, it is imperative that you understand state licensure. Regardless of your emphasis area, as a student in a graduate program of psychology and future professional in the field, you need to understand this process.

This program involves both study of theory and research leading to mastery of one’s emphasis area of interest and the ability to apply that mastery to real world situations. Scholar-practitioners take their knowledge and use it to synthesize, evaluate, and add to their chosen professions. It is also important to realize that regardless of how you plan to apply your knowledge, scholar-practitioners do not cease being scholars once they reach their educational requirements and meet their degree goals. The process of becoming a scholar is one that continues even after goals are met and licenses are earned. Professionals are required to renew their licenses periodically, take continuing education credits, and attend conferences, seminars and annual meetings. It is also important for practitioners to stay active and productive in their fields, to stay informed with new research findings and updated technology, and to network and consult with other professionals.

When you think of the scholar-practitioner model, remember that your professional journey is not first scholar and then practitioner. Rather, you, the scholar, and you, the practitioner, journey together side-by-side and hand-in-hand, learning and improving your skills, and applying your knowledge on a day-to-day basis.

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