Open Pages: Clinical Handbook of Psychology

The American Psychological Association recently released the 20th publication in the APA Handbooks in Psychology® series. The five volumes of the APA Handbook of Clinical Psychology actively reflect the state of the art in clinical psychology—science, practice, research, theory, and training—and comprehensively cover our multifaceted and vibrant discipline. Each volume surveys different areas of the largest subfield of psychology:

handbook clinical psych

  1. Clinical Psychology: Roots and Branches;
  1. Clinical Psychology: Theory and Research;
  1. Clinical Psychology: Applications and Methods;
  1. Clinical Psychology: Psychopathology and Health; and
  1. Clinical Psychology: Education and Profession. (Norcross, VandenBos, & Freedheim, 2016).

In this excerpt from the Introduction to the Handbook, the Editors-in-Chief describe their guiding principles:

Throughout the five volumes, authors were asked to infuse their chapters with three themes:

diversity, evidence-based practice, and international contributions. Contributors were asked to mind this tripartite commitment as they considered potential coauthors and drafted their chapters. These superordinate themes are evidenced in content, contributors, and citations throughout the handbook.

Diversity has become a cardinal feature of contemporary clinical psychology. It has been incorporated in word, if not always deed, into the teaching curriculum, into practice guidelines, into theoretical revisions, into research conventions, and into professional ethics. For the purposes of this handbook, we have adapted the APA ethics definition of diversity as referring to age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and other facets of personal identity and their intersections (APA, 2010).

Evidence-based practice (EBP) in psychology refers to the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences (APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006). EBP is a global juggernaut requiring solid research evidence to guide practice and training. Properly conceptualized, however, EBP does not end with the research results; it begins with research findings integrated with the psychologist’s expertise and then tailored to the unique patient. EBP requires all three legs. Clinical psychologists have largely embraced the properly conceptualized version of EBP because it collaboratively integrates the researcher, the psychologist, and the client.

International or global aptly characterizes the state of clinical psychology. Whereas in the 1960s there were probably more psychologists in the United States than in all other nations combined, this is assuredly not the case today. No more than a quarter of all psychologists are now located within the borders of the United States (APA Office of International Affairs, 2015). Contributors were asked to incorporate research, theory, and practice from throughout the world into their respective chapters. In several instances, we commissioned entire chapters to address the international scene; Volume 5, for example, has a chapter devoted to educational paths around the world and another to professional ethics around the world.

—from “Introduction to the Handbook,” pp. xxiii–xxiv, in APA Handbook of Clinical Psychology (Vol 1) by John C. Norcross, Gary R. VandenBos, and Donald K. Freedheim (Editors-in-Chief). Copyright © 2016 by the American Psychological Association. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the United States Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, including, but not limited to, the process of scanning and digitization, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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