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APA accreditation of doctoral psychology programs in Christian universities.

There has been a history of suspicion and distrust between organized psychology and religion for more than a century. The nexus of this strained relationship is played out in the context of accreditation, in which doctoral programs in Christian institutions have faced challenges in obtaining accreditation. Some of these challenges have related to freedom of religion, academic freedom, non-discrimination policies, and diversity training. Footnote 4 in the APA Accreditation Guidelines and Principles is designed to address these challenges, yet there is ongoing discussion about the implementation and use of this footnote. The relationship between the accrediting body and Christian programs has developed from deep suspicion to a working, but cautious relationship; yet, the future of this relationship remains uncertain.

Over the past 40 years several doctoral programs in overtly Christian universities (mostly members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities--CCCU) have sought accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA) for their doctoral programs in professional or clinical psychology. Although it is stigmatizing and rarely completely accurate to categorize institutions, for the most part these institutions could be described as evangelical Protestant in their theological orientation. These institutions include: Azusa Pacific University, Fuller School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, George Fox University, Regent University, Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University, Seattle Pacific University, and Wheaton College.

As a secular organization, the American Psychological Association (APA) has been accrediting doctoral programs for more than 60 years, and currently does so through their Commission on Accreditation (CoA). Achieving and maintaining accreditation for the doctoral programs in Christian universities has been strenuous, and this paper is an attempt to articulate some of the past, current, and possible future difficulties in the accreditation process.

There are two disclaimers that need to he made early in this article. First, I suggest that there is evidence of bias against religion on the part of psychology as a discipline. Similarly and perhaps consequently, I believe there has been some subtle bias in the accreditation process against programs based in Christian universities. I do not mean to imply that anyone in particular has been biased nor that the current CoA is biased. In fact, my personal experience with the CoA and leaders within APA over the years has been mostly positive and certainly constructive. I have been treated respectfully and have tried to be respectful in my dealings with the CoA. I appreciate the work that commission members do and believe that professional psychology and our programs are better because of the standards that they uphold. Yet, I think there have been some indications of subtle bias, particularly in the early days of accrediting doctoral programs in Christian universities.

Second, this article is based on my personal experiences and observations as a faculty member and administrator in two Christian universities over the past 20 years. In this article, I speak for myself and do not represent leaders from other programs. Admittedly, it is largely subjective and anecdotal. Yet, I have had several interactions within APA Boards and Committees and other related professional organizations such as the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (NCSPP), interacted with several members of the CoA, been trained as an accreditation site visitor, participated in several accreditation site visits, written accreditation self-studies, and interacted with leaders in each of the other APA accredited doctoral programs in Christian universities. Thus, I believe those experiences provide a perspective that is valuable in understanding accreditation of Christian programs.

The context for this discussion is that of a personal relationship. The relationship between psychology and religion has been strained for over a century, and yet accreditation has forced these two professional fields to relate in a productive manner. The history of this relationship can be described in three phases: 1) Two separate and suspicious professions; 2) a forced marriage; and 3) an uneasy relationship. These phases will be described along with some of the current challenges to Christian programs seeking to obtain or maintain accreditation. Additionally, some speculation about the future of the relationship between APA accreditation and Christian programs will he offered.

Separate Professions: Suspicion and Hostility

As professions, religion and psychology have had a strained relationship that has included both respect and disrespect. Although suspicion of all religions has occurred in psychology, there has been a general disdain for Christianity. Freud was voluminous in his criticism of religion, namely Christianity and Judaism (see Totem and Taboo, The Future of an Illusion, Moses and Monotheism, etc.). Although his writings have been very useful in the psychology of religion and in the psychological treatment of some religious issues, his broad-based criticism went to the very nature of religion. He questioned the validity of religion by challenging the existence of God, whom, he posited, was merely an exalted father image. This has been a useful concept in psychopathology, but relatively unhelpful in developing our understanding of the divine.

In a similar vein, Albert Ellis led a vociferous attack on religious beliefs and often equated religious beliefs with irrationalities, which were the core of mental illness in his psychological paradigm (See The Case Against Religion: A Psychotherapist's View and the Case Against Religiosity, 1980). Although his views on religion changed some over his professional life, his views about religiosity and dogmatism remained consistent.

In addition to the frontal attacks on Christian religion itself, there have been many other examples of attacks within psychology on the values of Christianity. For example, many Christians hold conservative moral views, and these views have not been valued within psychology. Redding (2001) criticized the profession of psychology for lacking sociopolitical diversity. He argued that conservatives and their views are marginalized within psychology. Although professional psychology espouses tolerance of diverse perspectives, it seems clear that conservative religious perspectives are not valued.

The hostile relationship between psychology and Christianity has not been one-sided. Many Christian pastors and leaders have attacked psychology as unChristian. Although many of these attacks have been naive and ill-formed, nonetheless they have been proclaimed in books and from pulpits for many years (See Hunt & McMahon, 1985, 1988; LaHaye, 1980; Bobgan & Bobgan, 1987; Kilpatrick, 1983). Many of these authors are hostile to psychology because they believe that the authority of Christianity has been usurped by psychology.

It was within this escalating war of words and claims of truth that many Christian psychologists sought to create scholarly and professional safe-havens for productive dialogue. For example, the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) was formed in 1954 with the desire to provide a professional organization in which Christians could share scholarly views openly and engage in continuing education opportunities. Similarly, the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary began enrolling students in a PhD program in clinical psychology in 1965. The goal of this program was to create an educational environment that placed Christ at the heart of psychology training (Maloney, 1995). The presence of a doctoral psychology program in a religious institution seemed to force a more intense relationship between psychology and religion.

A Forced Marriage and a Post-Nuptial Agreement

Within the general suspicion and hostility that existed between psychology and Christianity were psychologists trained in strong clinical programs who retained their Christian views and values. Many of these psychologists sought others with similar views and seemed to appreciate the camaraderie found in organizations like CAPS. Some also wanted to train graduate students to become clinical psychologists in institutions in which battles between psychology and Christianity could be constructive rather than divisive. Some of these psychologists were drawn to the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology (Maloney, 1995).

In 1962, a decision was made by the Board of Trustees at Fuller Seminary to start a PhD program in clinical psychology. It was a bold move for a Christian seminary to train students in what many thought of as a hostile and anti-Christian profession. It was clear, however, that they did not want to train pastoral counselors, but rather train psychologists at the doctoral level who were also competent in Christian theology.

Soon after students matriculated for the first class at Fuller in 1965, Dean Lee Travis wrote to Arthur Brayfield, executive director of APA, inquiring about accreditation standards (Maloney, 1995). This was a novel request to APA, since it had accredited PhD programs in secular universities through their Education and Training Board, but accrediting a program within a theological seminary seemed like a strange request and was met with both openness and skepticism. A series of consultations from experts in the field led to the first accreditation application in 1972.

The report on the first site visit was negative and Fuller sent a response to APA in 1973. The APA Committee on Accreditation had difficulty deciding on what to do as a result of the site visit report and the school's response, so they proposed a second site visit to the school. That site visit was conducted in 1973, and full APA accreditation was awarded in 1974.

In many ways accreditation became the nexus of suspicion between psychology and Christianity. Rather suddenly, the religious perspective that many were suspicious of, and some were hostile toward, was inside the psychology camp and not outside the camp.

In addition to Fuller, other doctoral programs in Christian universities faced struggles in obtaining APA accreditation. In 1968 the Rosemead School of Psychology was formed as an independent graduate school in southern California, and in 1970 they enrolled their first students in a PhD program. They started a PsyD program in 1975 and obtained regional accreditation in 1976. They faced difficulties obtaining APA accreditation for both their PhD and PsyD programs. At first they were denied accreditation, but were awarded accreditation after a successful appeal.

The next doctoral program to seek accreditation was the PsyD program from George Fox University in Oregon. This program was started as a PhD program at Western Seminary in Portland in 1976 and was subsequently changed to a PsyD program in 1986. In 1990 the program was transferred to George Fox University. APA accreditation was sought in 1995, but it was denied for reasons including poor internship placement, lack of scholarly publications by faculty, and lack of seasoned leadership who had experience leading other APA accredited doctoral programs. They appealed the decision, but lost the appeal. Further developments enhanced the program, and subsequently they re-applied for accreditation and were awarded accreditation in 1998.

In the meantime, Wheaton College prepared for the accreditation process, and their PsyD program was awarded accreditation also in 1998. Perhaps Wheaton was the first program in a Christian university setting to seek APA accreditation from the outset of the program design. They likely benefitted from the experiences of the other three programs. Of note, the first three programs in Christian universities that sought APA accreditation had significant struggles and were denied accreditation on their first attempts.

Each of these institutions had programmatic issues, and none would say that they developed flawless programs. However, it seemed that the bias against religious programs was being played out in the accreditation process. Subsequently, other programs in Christian universities have received APA accreditation, and although there have been some struggles they seem to have been accredited in a more timely manner,

Rather than bias against programs in explicitly Christian universities, it may be that most, if not all, programs seeking initial accreditation experience difficulties in the process. Perhaps difficulties are exacerbated for small, private universities that have few doctoral programs and therefore relatively little experience with doctoral education and discipline-specific accreditation. Although this may be the case, there is not data available from programs or the CoA on which to evaluate this possibility.

Although there are distinctions between these programs and the universities in which they are housed, they all require endorsement of faith and lifestyle statements by their faculties. In describing the models and outcomes of Christian programs, Johnson, Campbell, and Dykstra (1997) stated the common purpose of these programs: "Religious graduate programs in professional psychology exist for the purpose of training psychologists to serve the needs of the global religious community, including churches, parachurch organizations, and individuals" (p. 263).

In reflecting on the rationale for integrative training in clinical psychology, Johnson and. McMinn (2003) described several reasons for the existence of such programs:

*. More than 90% of the U.S. population endorses some belief in God (Hoge, 1996), and the majority of the population describes religious faith as one of the strongest influences in their lives (Bergin & Jensen, 1990).

*. Many psychologists may seem uninterested and possibly overtly hostile toward the religious beliefs and practices of clients (Shafranske, 1996).

*. The functional bias against openly religious applicants to secular graduate programs in psychology (Gartner, 1986).

*. The historic role of the church in the care of the soul. There is a strong tradition within Christianity for providing emotional comfort and care, and some believe this tradition should be carried forward into modern psychology.

*. The unique concerns of Christian clients. Johnson and McMinn (2003) write, "Because religious clients often present with clinically-relevant religious beliefs and practices (Johnson, Ridley, & Nielsen, 2000), it is essential that psychologists are trained to carefully intervene in the lives of these clients" (p. 86).

Although all of these rationales were not articulated at the outset of the Christian psychology training movement, they seem to capture retrospectively the various motivations for the creation of these programs.

Even though there have been good reasons to start these programs, they have had difficulties attaining and maintaining APA accreditation. The main issues pertaining to accrediting doctoral programs in Christian universities have related to academic freedom and training in various forms of diversity. Maloney (1995) writes about subsequent APA accreditation visits to Fuller saying, "Adequate academic freedom and diversity have had to be demonstrated every time" (p. 119). It was the original concern over religious freedom that led to the development of Footnote 3 in the CoA Guidelines and Principles (G& P) for Accreditation. This foot note was originally created because of the accreditation difficulties and legal action involved in Fuller's accreditation (personal communication, H. Newton Malony, 11/2/10).

In 1995 the criteria for accreditation were revised to be consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Language from a similar footnote from the American Bar Association was used to revise the footnote. This re-written footnote allowed religious institutions to exercise religious preferences yet prohibits discrimination. This footnote became Footnote 4 (personal communication, Susan Zlotlow, 3/24/10).

I do not suggest that there has been explicit religious bias in the accreditation of doctoral programs in Christian universities, nor that there has been a conspiracy to keep out faith-based programs. Rather, believe that we are all susceptible to covert bias, make decisions on implicit associations, and generally suppress our prejudices (Crandall & Eshleman, 2003). Similarly, we are all prone to confirmation biases (Klayman & Ha, 1987). I am suggesting that there may have been biases of these types in past decades on the part of those involved in accreditation of psychology programs.

In addition to the biases to which we are all susceptible and the general bias against religion within psychology (Gartner, 1985), there is some specific evidence of religious bias in admission to psychology doctoral programs. Gartner (1986) mailed similar graduate student applications to APA accredited doctoral programs. The applications were identical except in a brief description of the "applicants--personal religious experience. The "applicants" that made no mention of religion were more likely to be admitted than those "applicants" who identified as evangelical fundamentalist Christians. Since most of the positions on the CoA are held by faculty members in psychology graduate programs, it is reasonable to assume that similar biases may operate in the accreditation process. Although it is possible that this type of bias continues, I am not aware of any evidence indicating that it exists at this time.

The CoA G& P require programs to avoid actions that restrict access to the program on grounds that are irrelevant to success in the program. Yet, this requirement is augmented by Footnote 4, which states:

This requirement does not exclude programs from having a religious affiliation or purpose and adopting and applying admission and employment policies that directly relate to this affiliation or purpose so long as:(1) Public notice of these policies has been made to applicants, students, faculty, or staff before their application or affiliation with the program; and (2) the policies do not contravene the intent of other relevant portions of this document or the concept of academic freedom. These policies may provide a preference for persons adhering to the religious purpose or affiliation of the program, but they shall not be used to preclude the admission, hiring, or retention of individuals because of the personal and demographic characteristics described in Domain A, Section 5 of this document (and referred to as cultural and individual diversity).This footnote is intended to permit religious policies as to admission, retention, and employment only to the extent that they are protected by the U.S. Constitution. It will be administered as if the U.S.Constitution governed its application. (2009, p. 10).

Although Footnote 4 came into existence to protect First Amendment rights of religious organizations, it has more recently become a lightening rod for those interested in the civil rights of various minority groups, particularly the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) community. It should be noted that this footnote applies to admission and retention of students and faculty in religiously affiliated institutions. However, all programs are still held to other aspects of the G& P, including specifically, the training of students in diversity issues, which include age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and social economic status.

It is unfortunate that the application of Footnote 4 has been reduced to issues related to sexual orientation. The original concerns over religious freedom and academic freedom have changed to concerns over discrimination against sexual minorities. The concerns of vocal members of the GLBT community appear to be that this footnote should not exist because it allows religious programs to discriminate in admitting students, and hiring and retaining faculty. In so doing, it is believed that the discrimination, bias, and pain that many in this community have experienced is not only allowed but also promoted.

I strongly believe that we need to provide excellent education and training on LGBT issues in the classroom and in practicum and internship training within Christian programs. At the same time, programs should he allowed to select faculty and students in accordance with their philosophy and training model. We should have a variety of programs available that meet accreditation standards and prepare students for the many needs of society. My concern is that the over-focus on this aspect of Footnote 4 takes the focus off of the many ways in which these programs prepare psychologists to reach a large segment of the population which otherwise would not be receptive to psychological interventions. In other words, programs in Christian universities prepare psychologists to meet the needs of many people, particularly Christians, who may be otherwise resistant to psychological services.

An Uneasy Relationship, But We're Holding Hands

It appears that the accreditation of doctoral programs in Christian universities has progressed from separation and raw suspicion to a working relationship that functions most of the time. I believe that the CoA is in a difficult position of having to fairly implement accreditation standards in a highly political environment, and I believe that they have done a good job. It has not always been easy, and I have had my struggles with the CoA, but I do believe that the commission tries to be fair and reasonable. So, my assessment is that Christian programs are relating reasonably well with the CoA, but there are still some suspicions on both sides. We are kind of "keeping an eye" on each other. This is not necessarily a bad thing given the tendency of organizations (universities and commissions) to go their own way or become extreme without ongoing feedback from others.

One of the issues that the CoA has had to face is not knowing which programs fall under the Footnote 4 stipulations. Therefore, the CoA recently required that programs self-identify if they are invoking Footnote 4 (Implementing Regulation C-22). Programs seem to fall on a continuum from religious affiliation to intentional integration of psychology and theology. Thus, a continuum may exist as follows (and the examples are speculative on my part):

* Programs that are sensitive to spirituality/religion as a diversity variable (most secular programs should fall into this category) * Programs that incorporate spirituality (several programs in secular institutions offer some specific courses in spirituality)

* Programs that are based in historically religious institutions (perhaps many Catholic schools)

* Programs that intentionally integrate faith and learning (the seven schools previously mentioned)

These later two categories of schools are more likely to require doctrinal statements and lifestyle commitments by faculty and/or students, and some of these schools are likely members of the CCCU. The first two categories of schools typically do not require these commitments and may emphasize spirituality as a diversity issue only. These institutions likely do not tie religious or spiritual positions to the mission of their schools. The last category is likely the most restrictive, but also most likely to have institutional mission-congruent outcome expectations. Schools in the last category are also likely to require graduate courses in Christian theology and religion to prepare students for these outcomes.

Because of the difficulties in obtaining APA accreditation by the three first overtly Christian programs and because of the ongoing challenges by some in the GLBT community, many program leaders continue to be suspicious of requests of religious programs and the ongoing challenges to the existence of Footnote 4. If the Christian programs were truly inferior to programs based in secular universities, there would be no concern of religious bias. However, APA accredited doctoral programs in Christian universities are similar to other accredited doctoral programs on a number of variables used to assess quality. Comparisons between APA programs in Christian institutions and secular institutions have indicated many similarities on the following variables (Johnson & McMinn, 2003; McMinn, Johnson, & Haskell, 2004):

* Overall journal article publications by faculty (similar to other professional school faculty and to members of Division 12--Clinical Psychology).

* Publication of APA journal articles by faculty.

* Overall publications by students.

* Student admission selectivity.

* Job placement.

Students in these programs also have similar internship placement rates as students from all accredited programs. Additionally, students in Christian programs report being satisfied with their training experience. Meek and McMinn (1999) also found that graduates of Christian programs were more likely than their secular counterparts to experience their training environment as accepting and supportive.

Since APA accredited doctoral programs in Christian universities are similar on many indicators of quality, and because of the history of liberal and anti-religious bias in organized psychology, it has led some leaders and faculty in these programs to believe that there continues to be unintended bias against Christian programs. Additionally, the ongoing pressure from GLBT groups to delete Footnote 4 from the CoA G& P has fostered this perspective.

Ongoing Challenges in APA Accreditation of Explicitly Christian Programs

There have been some historic and ongoing challenges in the accreditation of Christian programs. These issues have both conceptual and legal implications, and can be categorized as follows:

Religious Freedom. Many religiously affiliated universities are owned or governed by religious groups and managed by a Board of Trustees that is charged with adhering to the religious commitments of their faith. The U.S. Constitution provides religious freedom and these institutions have liberty under the Constitution to operate in a manner consistent with their religious perspective. Of course, these issues become more complicated when the religious freedom of one group is in conflict with the civil rights of another group. This is an ongoing conflict in many areas of society.

Academic Freedom. The academy has a long tradition of allowing faculty members to express themselves freely so that education is not constrained by external factors such as the government or internal factors such as totalitarian administrations. Of course, accrediting bodies want to see that this tradition and value is maintained and that faculty members are not constrained by the church or religious dogma either. Many faculty, however, find that they have more freedom to express themselves when they can practice their faith openly without discrimination or retribution. I believe that most faculty within Christian programs experience increased academic freedom to write and speak openly in these programs.

Non-discrimination Policies. Accreditation bodies are interested in providing education to all qualified students and not allowing discrimination that is based on non-academic qualifications. Of course, universities are not interested in discrimination, but they are interested in selecting students and faculty who adhere to their philosophy of education, training mode], and outcome goals. This is likely to be an area of increasing conflict for Christian programs that seek accreditation. For example, several institutions' policies or expectations are that sexual expression outside of marriage is not consistent with their theological perspective. However, as more states endorse same-sex marriage, these policies may be challenged and re-written.

Diversity Training. As stated earlier, all APA accredited programs are required to train students to respect and work with others who represent the broad range of human diversity and cultural and individual differences. This needs to continue to be emphasized in Christian programs, and outcome data should reflect that programs are succeeding in diversity training. I think most of these programs not only teach diversity in a fairly typical manner for doctoral level education, but also tie diversity into their theological understanding of God and creation. This can be a genuine strength for students to have education like this that will better prepare them to work with religious clients.

In addition to challenges, there are also opportunities for enhancement of Christian programs in psychology. A prime opportunity pertains to developments in post-modern epistemologies. These "ways of knowing" have opened the door to spiritual and religious understanding in ways that were not articulated or valued in past decades. It is now acceptable, and even encouraged, for programs to offer courses and supervised experiences in these areas. Religion and spirituality are seen as accepted diversity issues that affect the ways people construe and experience themselves and their world. As a result, it is a legitimate area of study and practice. Similarly, some of the best selling books published by APA in recent years have been those dealing with religious and spiritual issues. It seems that this openness is a good thing for doctoral programs in Christian universities.

Although much has changed in the acceptance of spirituality and religion in the population at large and also within the academy, there still exists a lack of training in religion and spirituality within APA accredited clinical psychology programs. Brawer, Handal, Fabricatore, Roberts, and Wajda-Johnston (2002) state, "Few psychologists have received professional training with regard to religion and spirituality, despite the public's overwhelming interest. Currently, the topic of religion/spirituality is being covered to some degree in most accredited clinical programs. However, a distinct minority of these programs approaches this education and training in a systematic fashion" (p. 203).

Just as there has been more openness within academic and professional psychology to accept religion as a diversity variable and spirituality as an acceptable way of knowing, there have been changes in the Christian community to accept psychological explanations and interventions. Pike, McMinn, and Campbell (1997) articulate some of these changes stating, "Many members of the evangelical Christian community have changed from a deep suspicion of psychology and counseling to a hearty embracing of such" (p. 280). With a more accepting stance between psychology and religion, Jones (1994) argued for a meaningful dialogue between religion and psychology that could have profound implications for graduate training.

Developing a Trusting Relationship or The Illusion of a Future?

Is there a future to the relationship between APA accreditation and Christian programs? Or, is the future an illusion (a flip on Freud's famous ideas about religion)? I have conceptualized the link between the CoA and doctoral programs in Christian institutions in relational language and have observed that the relationship has progressed in ways that indicate ongoing familiarity and trust. So, what might the future hold for this relationship? Obviously, there is no crystal ball to predict the relationship, but I suggest that Horney's (1945) model of interpersonal anxiety may be helpful in understanding the future.

Since it appears that there has been anxiety on both sides of the relationship (distrust for the profession of psychology and distrust for religious perspectives), the movement to decrease this anxiety may progress in one of three ways--movement toward, away, or against the other. In moving toward, accreditation and Christian institutions may become more familiar with each other and work to understand how each organization operates. Movement toward would facilitate trust and openness in the accreditation process. Of course, this would only happen if the individuals involved in accreditation and the various doctoral programs involved worked to demonstrate mutual understanding and respect. To facilitate this it would be helpful if more faculty in Christian universities would obtain appropriate training and participate in accreditation site visits, and perhaps even serve on the CoA.

Movement away from each other would happen if the Christian institutions and/or the CoA lost faith in each others' stated goals of helping produce qualified psychologists who are prepared to meet the needs of the profession and society. This may happen if the CoA moves in a direction to delete Footnote 4 and the constitutional protections it provides, thus forcing Christian institutions to hire faculty or admit students who are not in accord with the mission of the university. Likewise, it is foreseeable that the CoA would move to distance itself and perhaps pull the accreditation of institutions that moved in a more restrictive direction of faculty hiring and student admission or if it was determined that Christian institutions could not possibly provide adequate training in LGBT issues without hiring and admitting GLBT faculty and students. Movement away may result in Christian programs creating their own accrediting body or seeking an alternative accreditation.

Finally, the anxiety between accreditation and Christian institutions could be resolved by moving against each other. This would likely take the form of lawsuits around religious freedom, academic freedom, and/or diversity training. These are embodied in Footnote 4, and therefore changes in the footnote or threatening its existence potentially threatens the existence of the accreditation of these programs.

Personally, I believe it would be unfortunate if the resolution of this anxiety took the form of movement away or against each other. Movement toward each other is a healthier option in my opinion, but this will only happen as both sides determine to respect and understand the perspectives of the other. Familiarity and proximity are well-known ways to decrease perceptions of bias (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006), and hopefully there will be efforts by many to enhance this ongoing working relationship.

I believe there are ways that Christian programs can contribute to the mission of accreditation and ways in which accreditation can contribute to the mission of Christian programs.

Christian Program's Contributions. Christian programs can contribute to the mission of accreditation by expanding education (and ultimately research and practice) to an underserved group--conservative Christians. Some may not see this as an underserved group, and they may not be from an economic perspective. However, from a utilization of psychological services perspective, they are under-served. Christian programs train professionals to provide quality services to this group. Additionally, students are trained to expand our knowledge of psychology of religion (Shafranske & Maloney, 1995) and to provide psychotherapy with spiritual sensitivity (Aten & Leach, 2009). If the mission of accreditation is to assure that quality training is provided to prepare psychologists to meet the psychological needs of society, then these programs are extending the reach to a large segment of society.

Accreditation's Contribution. The Commission on Accreditation at the APA can facilitate this development in education (and ultimately research and prac tice) by continuing to develop clear standards that emphasize quality control, the needs of society, and the implementation of ethics in training. Accreditation helps all programs do a better job by articulating and evaluating the education and training that is provided. By valuing the accreditation of diverse programs (including religious ones) that meet the broad needs of society, they are serving and protecting the public.

Hopefully, there will be a bright future for the relationship between psychology and religion as it is manifested in accreditation of doctoral programs in Christian universities. Considerable progress has been made, but ongoing reflection and dialogue will encourage a stronger relationship.


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CAMPBELL, CLARK, D. Address: 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mira da, CA 90639. Email Title: Dean, Rosemead School of Psychology. Degree: PhD, ABPP. Areas of Specialization: Professional psychology training issues, rural psychology, and integrated healthcare.

Portions of this article were originally presented at the annual meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, Kansas City, KS, April 16, 2010, Correspondence can he sent to Clark D. Campbell, Ph.D., Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University, 13800 Biola Avc., La Mirada, CA 90639. Email:


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Author:Campbell, Clark D.
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2011
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