SOURCE: Palo Alto University

Palo Alto University

March 09, 2011 12:44 ET

Palo Alto University Spearheads Psychology Training Initiative in China

Academic Studies Underway With Community-Based Psychology Training Clinic Expected to Open in Academic Year 2011-2012

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - March 9, 2011) - Palo Alto University today announced a cross-cultural collaboration with Capital Normal University in Beijing, China, to build a community-based psychology training clinic expected to open later this year. The Anxiety Disorders and Depression Research Clinic will serve as a practicum site to better prepare Chinese students enrolled in PAU's master's-level mental health counseling program for future careers in mental health care while also providing services to citizens of Beijing.

Designed to meet the considerable need for mental health professionals in China, the program offers applied academic studies by combining PAU's distance learning delivery system with on-the-ground, skill-based instruction and clinical supervision in a traditional setting at CNU.

"It is estimated that there are only a few thousand mental health professionals in China," said William Froming, Ph.D., PAU vice president for academic affairs. "Addressing the substantial needs in the culture by training psychiatrists and clinical psychologists is neither economically practical nor a timely solution to the problem. We see mental health counselors' role in providing mental health services as having great promise in China and countries around the world."

The program consists of two components, academic studies and clinical training. After completion of the program's two-year academic component, students begin the supervised clinical training component in approved practicum sites near where they live, including at the Clinic being established at CNU for students in China. The program's first class of U.S.-based students began academic studies last fall, and efforts to enroll students in China are now underway.

"Our collaborative program offers Chinese students an accessible path to gaining the requisite knowledge and training in their own cultural environment with an emphasis on appreciating and understanding other cultural landscapes," said Martha Chiu, Ph.D., PAU faculty member overseeing the Clinic's establishment and the program's academic instruction in China. "The program adheres to the highest international standards for mental health counseling while seamlessly instilling the same values Palo Alto University upholds -- ethics, competence and compassion."

These standards include those promulgated by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the International Registry of Counsellor Education Programs.

"Through this cross-cultural exchange and cross-pollination of ideas, we are learning from each other and helping our students in the process meet the rapidly changing challenges of practice in their own diverse communities," noted Dr. Froming.

 Allen Calvin, Ph.D., PAU president, applauded the work of Drs. Chiu and Froming, commenting that "success for the Clinic will come with the identification and training of students who then go on to train others, thus accelerating the growth of the profession. With a successful outcome, we see the framework of this program being replicated in other countries facing shortages of mental health professionals."

About Palo Alto University
Founded in 1975, the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology reincorporated as Palo Alto University in 2009. Combining the advantages of a professional school with a traditional university, Palo Alto University provides undergraduate and graduate students small class sizes with renowned faculty and impressive clinical training resources through the University's cooperative relationships with Stanford University, Golden Gate University, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Palo Alto Veterans Health Administration, and now the Capital Normal University in Beijing, China. The positive results of this strategy can be seen in students' placement in high quality internships, outstanding test scores on the licensing examination and successful careers.

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