The Scientist-Practitioner Model

 When clinical training programs were first established after World War II, the scientist-practitioner model was adopted. This meant that, in contrast to other mental health workers such as psychiatrists or social workers, all clinicians were to be trained as scientists and as practitioners. This model was not adopted because it was expected that all clinical psychologists would engage in both clinical and research work with equal emphasis, but rather because it was believed that to be an effective clinical psychologist, one must have expertise in “thinking like a scientist.” The scientist-practitioner model suggests that clinical work is enhanced by a knowledge of scientific methods, and research is improved by exposure to clinical practice. Although the research emphasis may not be so prominent in some “scientist-practitioner” training programs as it once was, the fact remains that clinical psychologists are in a unique position both to evaluate research conducted by others and to conduct their own research. By virtue of their training in research, their extensive experience with people in distress, and their knowledge of both therapy and assessment, clinical psychologists have the ability to consume and to produce new knowledge (Trull & Prinstein, 2013, p. 15)


Trull, T. J. & Prinstein, M. J. (2013). Clinical Psychology (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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