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Chicago School of Professional Psychology Announces New Ph.D. in International Psychology
Date:3/30/2009

CHICAGO, March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Recognizing a need for more trained professionals to understand and work with global challenges such as socio-cultural contexts, conflict, poverty, and natural disasters, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is chartering the nation's first Ph.D. in International Psychology.

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Designed for working professionals, the post-master's doctoral degree will leverage The Chicago School's 30-year pedigree of psychology training rooted in diversity and multicultural studies. According to the program's architects, this academic foundation will be critical for individuals seeking to work in the international arena.

"There is a need for understanding, appreciation, and respect for culturally sensitive psychology practice globally. The Ph.D. program is designed to address broad competencies and skills rather than narrow foci on specific sub-disciplines," said Dr. Robert Clark, the program's chair.

The program comes at a time when, according to the World Health Organization, 450 million people worldwide suffer from a mental or behavior disorder. Of those, less than 25 percent have access to effective treatments; in some countries, less than 10 percent have access.

The new Ph.D. was developed to give graduates the training and experience to understand and apply psychological principles in a variety of cultural settings. Examples of their graduate work in action may include conducting research to better understand socio-cultural differences, developing and applying treatment practices that take into account the culture and worldview of the people in need, consulting with mental health providers working with underserved populations, supporting advocacy initiatives for more resources to meet the international mental health challenges, or working with immigrant and refugee populations both at home and abroad.

The first year of the 60-credit-hour program is devoted to a common core of classes while in the second and third years, students will have an opportunity to focus on one of two areas of concentration: Organizations and Systems or Trauma Services. The Organizations and Systems concentration prepares candidates for work in organizations that have an emphasis in international settings. Coursework and field experiences are designed to prepare "leaders in the field who will plan, guide, and evaluate psychological interventions and initiatives globally," added Dr. Clark.

Instrumental in designing the program, in particular the Trauma Services concentration, was Dr. Yael Danieli, a clinical psychologist who co-founded and directs the Group Project for Holocaust Survivors and Their Children in New York. Dr. Danieli, who serves as a distinguished professor of international psychology at The Chicago School, sees the Ph.D. in International Psychology as making a difference in the area of trauma studies and treatment.

"I envision this degree as a way to prepare professionals of all kinds--lawyers, the clergy, nurses, and of course psychologists--to understand and meet the needs of people suffering from massive trauma," Dr. Danieli said. "I see it as a program that will continue to evolve as we build important relationships and incorporate the most current information."

Coursework for Organizations and Systems will be offered online with the Trauma Services concentration requiring a blend of online delivery and a weekend on-campus component. Students will complete their training through dissertation work and two nine-day international field experiences. An optional extended field placement is available for those seeking additional international research, service, or practice experiences.

"The field placements serve three purposes," said Dr. Clark. "First, for those with limited international experiences, they provide intensive introductions to work in the field. Second, for those with some experiences in international psychology, they provide an opportunity to broaden and deepen their perspectives. Finally, for those with extensive international experiences, the field placement provides opportunities to tailor the placement and focus the learning outcomes. We see the field placements as integral; they provide a unique value-added component to the degree program."

The new non-licensure Ph.D. is the latest in a series of international-themed initiatives developed by The Chicago School to further advance the understanding and practice of psychology worldwide. TCS became home to the Central Office of the International School Psychology Association last fall, has a China Office in Shanghai, and has students and faculty engaged in projects in Sri Lanka, Germany, Israel and the West Bank, and the United Nations.

The Department of International Psychology is currently accepting applications for this fall. For more information, visit www.thechicagoschool.edu or call 800.721.8072.

    CONTACT: Matt Nehmer
    312-329-6672,
    mnehmer@thechicagoschool.edu


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SOURCE The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
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