Postdoctoral training in clinical psychology: As amorphous as an inkblot

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American Psychological Association


Although the American Psychological Association (APA) currently recognizes no formal training requirements beyond the PhD degree and offers no standards or guidelines for postdoctoral training, an examination of state licensing and certification laws clearly indicates that postdoctoral training is quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception for psychology doctorates pursuing state licensure. In light of the increasing demand for postdoctoral training experience before state licensing eligibility, and because of the further specialization of psychology, Toye and Pierce (1987) recently called for the development of a required postdoctoral residency program after a year of predoctoral internship training, to be instituted and promulgated by the APA. Whether one is in favor of or opposed to the implementation of a mandatory postdoctoral residency program, current and future licensing and certification laws may eventually force psychologists to implement such a program as well as develop standards and guidelines regarding postdoctoral training. Thus although postdoctoral training experience has become a practical reality for psychology professionals pursuing state licensure, the APA currently offers no standards or guidelines for postdoctoral training or the postdoctoral training application process. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)