The emergence of psychiatric rehabilitation and the recovery movement generate new and expanded roles for psychologists in services for people with serious mental illness (SMI). However, the proportion of psychologists working in SMI services today is substantially less than previous decades. This article reviews the roles of psychologists in various mental health systems and outlines the contributions that psychologists can make in implementing evidence based approaches for people with SMI. A survey of American Psychology Association (APA)-accredited Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) Clinical Psychology doctoral programs was conducted. The results of the survey indicate an increase, since the early 1990s, in clinical faculty with SMI interests, and suggest that many graduate programs provide opportunities for SMI-relevant research and practicum training. However, the survey also indicates a lack of coursework on topics relevant to SMI and a lack of coursework relevant to assuming administrative and leadership roles in the mental health system. Despite training opportunities in graduate school, production of new PhDs who choose the SMI field is unlikely to meet the demand. According to the present study, the limiting factor is not availability of training, but student career choice. The opportunities and challenges that psychologists face in SMI recovery-oriented service delivery are discussed.
- Clinical training psychiatric rehabilitation
- Mental health services
- Professional roles
- Serious mental illness
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