Willis, W. Grant [faculty advisor, Department of Psychology]
psychology; empirical research; mental health; clinical psychology
The Scientist-Practitioner Model is a system of education used by many graduate programs in applied fields of psychology. The goal of this educational model is to help clinicians and other practitioners to learn to use empirical research as a basis for the applied work that they do and also for them to learn to use the experience of applied clinical practice to guide research questions and to advance scientific thinking in the discipline of Psychology. As a student who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, I felt that it would be beneficial for me to experience the Scientist-Practitioner Model to gain a better understand of what it entails.
In order to accomplish this goal, I have been participating in an internship as a mental-health assistant in a group home for adult males. All of the residents in this facility are afflicted with various psychiatric disorders; some experience concomitant mild intellectual deficiencies and substance-abuse problems as well.
Outside of my internship, I have been investigating the topic of Schizophrenia, a diagnosis that is common among many of the residents with whom I am working. I am studying the epidemiological features of this disorder and its etiology, course, treatment and management, and prognosis. By synthesizing this information with my direct experiences in working in the group home, I am developing researchable hypotheses about this disorder that ultimately can be empirically tested. Thus, I am able to directly experience the Scientist-Practitioner Model, an exercise that I hope will help to better prepare me for my future graduate school experiences.