Approaches to Integration in Training

“Integration Across the Curriculum” is the way we talk about how we approach integration in the Regent Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology (PsyD Program). We elaborate on this on our web site:

Our unique approach to training from a Christian worldview is “integration across the curriculum”. What this means is that rather than giving you separate learning experiences in psychology and theology that students must integrate on their own, our faculty members will both model and join you in the integration journey. Integration is central to the Regent identity and part of every core course and elective.

This approach to integration might be contrasted with other attempts to integrate by training students in both psychology and theology and then having students sort out the integration on their own, often with little input or direction from faculty. My experience has been that many students turn to their professors for guidance and modeling in integration. I think it is in both the student’s best interest and the program’s best interest to meet students where they are and assist them in navigating this terrain.

Another way to train around integration is to offer a course dedicated to that topic. This aids students who benefit from learning various approaches to integration; this can help students identify an approach that fits them. However, the risk is that integration may only be discussed in that course with little connection to the core courses of our profession.  

In my view integration cannot fit into one class, even though I think it is valuable to learn theories of integration and their practical applications. Integration really has to be a part of every class: ethics, family therapy, psychopathology, and so on. When I would teach Psychopathology, for example, integration involved critically engaging the existing approaches to psychopathology. What is involved in classification? What are the benefits and drawbacks to that approach? Are there distinctively Christian insights into issues often addressed Psychopathology? Depression? Anxiety? In what ways do our approaches today share some assumptions about human beings and mental health concerns? Integration may also entail discussion of a distinctively Christian undertanding of mental health issues and service provision.

In any case, these are the kinds of questions that are interesting to me. It involves taking the basic knowledge of a topic we are covering and critically and constructively engage that topic out of a Christian worldview.