The University of Maine Clinical Psychology Program is committed to providing a supportive and open learning environment for all individuals regardless of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or beliefs, consistent with the broad definitions of diversity accepted by the American Psychological Association. Our program also is committed to a training process that ensures that graduate students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. Respect for the differing opinions and attitudes of all individuals, as well as the continued acceptance of these differences, are important to the development of this environment. We value interacting with individuals different from ourselves and find this to be vital to our education mission.
Given the program’s emphasis on diversity, related training is infused throughout the curriculum and clinical practicum experiences. The core clinical courses include significant coverage of diversity and related issues. Further, attention to diversity is emphasized in clinical practicum experiences, clinical supervision, and weekly clinical case conferences.
We are committed to supporting trainees at various stages of development with regard to diversity. All trainees will encounter differences between their attitudes, beliefs, or values and those of the individuals with whom they interact in the training setting (e.g., peers, faculty, clients). When graduate students’ attitudes, beliefs, or values create tensions that negatively impact the training process or their ability to effectively treat members of the public, the program faculty and supervisors are committed to a developmental training approach that is designed to support the acquisition of professional competence. We support graduate students in finding a belief- or value-congruent path that allows them to work in a professionally competent manner with all clients/patients.
For some trainees, integrating personal beliefs or values with professional competence in working with all clients/patients may require additional time and faculty support. Ultimately though, to complete our program successfully, all graduate students must be able to work with any client placed in their care in a beneficial and non-injurious manner. Thus, students should expect to be assigned clients that may present challenges for them at some point in training. Professional competencies are determined by the profession for the benefit and protection of the public; consequently, students do not have the option to avoid working with particular client populations or refuse to develop professional competencies because of conflicts with their attitudes, beliefs, or values.