Current Students in the Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology

Counseling Faculty and Doctoral Students 2022-2023

   Link to Future Students webpage here


Mission, Aims, and Training Philosophy

The mission of the doctoral program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is to offer “broad and general doctoral education and training that includes preparation in health service psychology (HSP)” (APA, 2018).

Counseling psychology program

The program is under the administration of the UCA Department of Psychology and Counseling ( which is in turn under the administration of the UCA College of Health and Behavioral Sciences (

The aims of the program are that its students – 

  • Develop a counseling psychology identity based upon a commitment to serving others through positive interpersonal relationships and professional competence.
  • Acquire skills as generalists in the practice of psychology in diverse settings while being mindful of the contextual and multicultural aspects of human existence.
  • Develop skills as scientifically-minded professionals who engage in evidence-based practice and as researchers who are capable of contributing to the knowledge-base of the field.

Graduates in the Counseling Psychology Program (CPP) are prepared to act as counseling psychologists who are competent to practice in healthcare systems and related settings appropriate to their training, such as academia. Graduates respect and encourage diversity and are trained as generalists able to integrate the worlds of science and practice in promoting health while serving the whole person in a variety of clinical community contexts.



The following are the Goals and Objectives of our program, and should give the current or prospective student a better idea of the types of things you will learn and the approach of the program. It is anticipated that graduates will exhibit the following knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors:


  • Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.
  • Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
  • Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.

 (Ethical and legal standards.)

  • Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following: (a) the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; (b) relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and (c) Relevant professional standards and guidelines.
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas.
  • Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

(Individual and cultural diversity.)

  • An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
  • Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.
  • The ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities). This includes the ability apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers. Also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or worldviews create conflict with their own.
  • Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups, and apply this approach effectively in their professional work.

(Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors.)

  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others
  • Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
  • Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.

(Communications and interpersonal skills.)

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services.
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.


  • Demonstrate current knowledge of diagnostic classification systems, functional and dysfunctional behaviors, including consideration of client strengths and psychopathology.
  • Demonstrate understanding of human behavior within its context (e.g., family, social, societal and cultural).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of functional and dysfunctional behaviors including context to the assessment and/or diagnostic process.
  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient.
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective.
  • Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences.


  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
  • Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals.
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making.
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking.
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness, and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.


  • Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.

 (Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.)

  • Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of consultation models and practices.

Distal Student Learning Outcomes

Other more distal outcomes include:

  1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate having met core requirements necessary to be licensed in Arkansas as a Psychologist.
  2. Graduates will be able to demonstrate successful entrance into the mental health profession by obtaining employment.

Diversity and Multiculturalism: Its Importance

The program values cultural and individual diversity, which includes personal and demographic characteristics, as well as including (but not limited to) age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, language, national origin, race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and social economic status. The program considers these aspects as valuable in recruitment and hiring, in teaching and training, and in providing practicum and internship experiences. At the core of these values lies respect for the person, and we are dedicated to insuring that the program supports this approach. For more details, follow this link to Institutional Diversity at UCA.

Courses, Practica, Internships, and Dissertation

The program of study is typically five years (120 credit hours). Four years are spent in full-time coursework at UCA, and the fifth year is a full-time professional psychology internship. Graduates will be prepared to provide evidence-based assessment and treatment services and to conduct research in clinical and university settings.

Research requirement

Students are expected to join on-going core faculty research programs and labs:

  • Elson M. Bihm (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Texas Tech University). Counseling psychology, developmental disorders, philosophical psychology, Director of Training.
  • J. Arthur Gillaspy, Jr. (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Texas A & M University). Addictions.
  • Christina Jeffrey (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Texas A & M University). Counseling supervision, multiculturalism.
  • R. Kevin Rowell (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Texas A & M University). Mental health of elderly.
  • Femina Varghese (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Texas Tech University). Offender employment and ethnicity, Director of Training.
  • Ryan Willard (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, University of Kansas).



APA Accreditation

The doctoral program in Counseling Psychology began in 2008 and is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002; Phone: (202) 336-5979 / Email: / Web:

 Program Handbooks

Doctoral Practicum Information and Forms

Doctoral Internship Forms

Other Forms for Students

Forms for Faculty

Professional Information and Organizations


Core Counseling Psychology Program Faculty

Other Psychology Faculty

To provide feedback about this web site, or for information about the program not addressed in this web site, please email Dr. Elson Bihm, Director of Training.

Group Photos from Previous Years

Counseling Faculty and Doctoral Students 2020-2021

Counseling Faculty and Doctoral Students, 2018-19


Counseling Doctoral Students, 2017-18